The logo of life . . .

A few weeks back I registered a new business and so with that now comes the deciding on a logo and business cards.  So I outsourced this task to a graphic designer.  I’m told the first step is to decide on a logo.  And once that is finalised, then go on to design a business card.  So after explaining what my business is and my style of taste, the graphic designer sent me three concepts to consider.

Initially I struggled (with fear) to even open up the attachments to see what she had designed.  What if I didn’t like any of them?  Could I be bold enough to say so?  Or would I end up settling for something less than I was happy with?

Then after opening the file . . . while I liked certain aspects of each of the three concepts (each for different reasons), none of them really grabbed me.  Why?  Because I had to choose one!  And I could see that in my choosing, each logo design would limit (because of its design), the design of the business card.  How?  Because I have to choose a colour theme, which then rules out other colour options.  I have to choose a style, but which style?  I don’t want the business card to be overcrowded, but then how do I decide if it is or not?  If the logo is detailed then maybe the design of the business card should be simple?  Or should I make the logo simple and the business card detailed?  And yet ultimately, I just want my business to be known for what it’s about, so that it draws the right people to me.  I had just three logo concepts to choose from, but it felt as if each concept held a hundred different possibilities of business card designs.  How do I make a decision on the hundreds I can’t see, with the three that I can see.  I found myself wanting to know what the final result of the business card might look like for each logo, before I could decide on any one particular logo.  I did not want my choice of one logo to rule out the other possibilities of a business card I might have had, if I had chosen a different logo.  I know that in choosing one logo, the other two logos would be put aside, and work on the business card for the logo I had chosen would begin.  But I didn’t want to rule out what might have been, even though I had no idea of what could have been, or would have been, if I had chosen one of the other logos.  Couldn’t I choose the logo based on the business card?  I might fall in love with any one of the logos, if I know what it looks like on the business card as a finished product?

Then I saw what all this indecision and confusion was about?
Life!  And how do I trust my choices? 

“How is this about life?” you might ask.  Well, let me explain.  If the ‘logo’ is who we are, and the resulting life that we live is the ‘business card’ . . .  in thinking about the ‘logo of you’ and your ‘business card of life’, you decide if you can relate.

I can’t recall what other ‘logos of me’ I had that I didn’t choose, but the ‘logo’ that stood out to me in my early 20’s, that I did choose was the Africa logo.  To be a missionary, a volunteer in Africa, working with orphaned children.  That was my heart beat!  I didn’t struggle with making that choice at all!  I jumped in at every step that the door was opened to me, and went with it.  A couple of times doors closed and I had to walk away, other times they opened (or reopened) and I stepped on through.  I never thought, or even perceived that the Africa logo had limitations on it, because I fully believed it was the one to run with.  I saw colour, style, what it was about, and the people I would connect with.  But in hindsight, if I had seen the whole story, known the resulting ‘business card of life’ that would come (in my perception) as a result of choosing the ‘Africa logo’, I have often wondered if I should have chosen a different logo for me.  If I could have chosen the beginning, based on knowing the end result. To have been able to make my decisions back then, based on what it looked like in the future, which is now.

But then would that have truly been the ‘logo of me’ . . . the choice that I make based on the outcome that I like or want. Rather than the choice that I make based on who I am, not knowing what the outcome would be?  What’s to say that any other ‘logo of me’ would have turned out with a better outcome, than the outcome that I got, with the logo I chose?  There’s no guarantee, only that which I perceive.

It’s about perception and ‘what we know we got with our choice’ compared to ‘what we think we would have got with another choice.’

But then it’s also about (and more importantly so) choosing who you are, over what you do. To be true to oneself, is more important than what you do, even if within that choice, you’re not doing what you hoped to be doing.  To be true to oneself regardless of the outcome, because that is who you are.  And because you stood up in who you are, you stand out in that space that is yours.

So choose your logo first, and your business card second.  Your logo tells of who you are, and your business card then compliments that logo, advertising more of what you do, with details of how to find you.  Just as I’m putting my business cards out in places and spaces where they can reach and connect me with those I’m meant to reach, I believe that when we know the ‘logo of who we are’, our ‘business card of life’ compliments and advertises that, drawing the right people around us that we’re meant to reach.  While your logo may be adjusted as you grow and expand, it should still be the logo that tells of who you are.  Your business card (regardless of what it looks like) then continues to compliment and advertise your logo, connecting others to you.

The ‘business card of life’
It doesnt limit you in the ‘logo of who you are’,
But it does define for others the ‘logo of who you are’.

Is your ‘business card of life’
complimenting and advertising
the ‘logo of who you are?’

So let go of what you perceive would have been, or might have been, and hold on tight to who you are, what you choose, and who you want to be through growth and expansion, because within that, is who you were made to be. Choose the ‘logo of you’ that is your heartbeat. Trust The Master of Graphic Designers, and see the resulting ‘business card’ of life that compliments and advertises you, because of who you are.

Choosing your logo first,
then guides the direction of your business card.
Just as
Knowing who you are first,
then gives direction to what you do.

And there’s a flip side!  In the midst of all these decisions about which logo to choose, I sought the advice of a friend on my dilemma, and she pointed out the fact that a business card has two sides (which we all know).  And so I realised the logo could be on one side, and the flip side could be all the details.  Likewise in life.  The logo is what it is . . . a statement in itself of who we are . . . and then on the flip side we get to define the details of what that looks like . . . thereafter is the unknown of how far we will reach . . . and who we will reach.

And so without knowing the end result that I wanted to know . . . the logo I’ve chosen is better than I could have imagined.  And the business card as a whole with the details being on the flip side is not limited by design, but rather it is in line with the logo, as it reflects what the logo is about.  Thereafter is the unknown . . . but let’s see how that unfolds, and how far it reaches out . . .

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Choose the logo that is you!
That you may then
Live the life that reflects you!
And if it’s not what you expected?
Adjust accordingly so that
The ‘logo of you’ is still being reflected!

Blind insight

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When I moved in to my current home some 18 months ago, I was setting everything up just as I would like it to be, part of which was to organise the cords on my window blinds.  I can’t have cords hanging freely, twisting and tangling at their own will.  So in order to have those cords hang neatly, I attached plastic cord brackets to each of the window frames, running the cord through the bracket to create a pulley system.  Now I needed ‘something’ to remind me which way was up and which way was down . . . a saying or some such ‘line’ or rhyme?  And then it came to me:  Front up! Back down!  It really needs no explanation, but just in case . . . the cord in front is up, and the cord behind (back) is down.  The most awesome solution!  Then it occurred to me. . . not just for handling my blinds, but also for handling my life.

Sometimes there are situations in life, circumstances that we don’t know how to handle, or maybe we are trying too hard at, to sort out, or repair.  Those on the receiving end of our ‘approach’ may feel as though we are more of a ‘front up and bowl down’ approach, which is then perceived and received as confronting and/or overwhelming, achieving the opposite result we were hoping for in trying to sort out that situation.  And so the solution may well be to: ‘front up’ (show up) to that environment we want (or need) to attend, but to ‘back down’ in our approach to the situation within that environment.

Here’s another angle . . .

For the New Year weekend I was on call from Friday night through to Tuesday morning.  So what do you do when you can’t make any definite plans with friends in case you have to abandon that ‘space’ for a surgical emergency?  You plan a project!  And so I planned for ‘Project Balcony Renovation’. With my phone in my pocket, I visited my local hardware store for synthetic turf, a new outdoor setting, some pots, lanterns, and a small water feature.  I already had some succulents, and a friend had given me some additional cuttings from her garden.  I also had a packet of seeds from a Woman’s Conference I had attended some time back.  Potting and repotting, succulents and seeds, as I was watering those seeds . . . I wasn’t sure how much to water . . . and there was no water appearing in the tray below . . . so assuming I hadn’t given enough, I kept watering . . . then suddenly I had water over flowing everywhere . . . I was trying too hard, I was impatient, which resulted in me giving too much water, which was more than the pot and the tray could handle.

Sometimes our approach to those situations in life, those circumstances that we don’t know how to handle, or maybe we are trying too hard at to repair, does more damage than good.  In our efforts, we try too hard, too fast, and it becomes too much to handle.  But as it was with my watering, because we don’t see any return for our effort, we think we must need to give more, and so we do, but then we learn it was all too much, and what was needed was actually time.  Time for the initial watering to soak in to the soil, to nourish the seeds sown, and any excess water would show in the tray below, and be taken up later.   And so I’m learning: to ‘front up’ to water those seeds on my balcony, but to ‘back down’ on how much water I give.  And in the right time . . . hoping that in my new approach, I will see a return for my efforts.

So how do we action this in real life? 

Well maybe there’s a situation in your workplace (or some other space)?  You can’t just not go to work.  You could possibly take leave, or find another workplace, but does either of those really solve anything? Not usually.  So in this case, the analogy goes like this: continue to ‘front up’ to work, to do work . . . but when at work ‘back down’ in terms of your approach to whatever the situation that is causing confrontation or overwhelm.  Don’t buy into the ‘behaviours’ of your peers and colleagues, but instead pay kindness for rudeness, as you ‘back down’ in your overall approach and your ‘need’ to make things right.  Ultimately, people are who they are, believing what they want to believe, be it true or not.  But in time, things will turn around.  And in the mean time . . . keep on ‘fronting up, and backing down.’

So whether it be in life or with your blinds,

When you don’t know which way is up, and which way is down,

The approach to remember is to:

Front up and back down!

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On this journey that is my life, I think two of the hardest aspects are: changing my thinking, and believing God (again).

Changing one’s total self-perception from what you’ve always believed, is like trying to remove a footprint made long ago in wet cement. But I know that learning to recognise the negative banter in my head, to stop that before it gets on a roll, and changing it for positive truth, is the key to my recovery.

Believing and trusting God . . . well I don’t even know where to begin with that one, other than to keep reminding Him (well, myself really), that I’m trusting Him, believing He knows and has the best for me, so PLEASE don’t mess me up any more than I already have done so myself.

It’s now Sunday evening and while writing this, I’ve been cooking cauliflower and onion soup on the stove ready for Monday and Tuesday night dinners at work.  Having given it adequate time to cool, I got up to put it through the bullet.  Seemingly, God can even use my cooking for his analogy:

“You feel like this cauliflower and onion.  Started out whole (seemingly), chopped up, pan fried, boiled in broth, allowed to rest while cooling (which was actually the preparation time), to then be pulverised in to liquid mush!” AWESOME ! ! !  Not funny God !  And in the same way those vegetables will never be whole again, you wonder if this also applies to you?” 

Hmmm . . . This would be true! And knowing how my soup usually turns out, served reheated with a dash of tahini . . . it’s adequate for me, but probably not adequate for anyone else.  Which reminds me of a line from ‘Pitch Perfect 3’ which I rented just last night:“You were always good enough for me.  The problem is that you were never good enough for yourself.”  Hmmm . . . this also rings true.  Do you ever feel set up by God???

And so the piece that follows came to me this morning (Sunday) on waking up.  I had bought the wooden BELIEVE over a year ago, and sat it on my television stand as a constant visual of encouragement from my couch.   Then several months ago now, one night while staring at it (as if fixating on it, would somehow engrave it in my head), I saw my ‘pull a part interpretation’ of the word, which gave me a different perspective, but I didn’t know what to do with it at that time.  A conversation with a friend a couple of nights ago encouraged me to explore it further, and Voila! . . .

Believing for better
Is to
Leave behind the latter.

Believing:
For a healthier view
Of a better you!

Believing:
For a better financial state
And for a life time mate.

But believing God
Is not the same as
Believing in God.

It’s a relational must
With the One in who you believe.
To have a foundation of trust,
For that which you hope to receive.

But don’t believe
the
 . . lie . .
of
. . . . eve
That is:
“By the serpent I was deceived!”
For which he was relieved!
As he
relie . . d
on
    . . . . eve .
to perceive the
. . lie . . .
as truth.

To fall in his trap of deception.
Choosing her own self destruction.
Distorting both: self and world perception.
Fulfilling the plan of his evil construction.

But as did Eve, you DO have a choice!
To take a stand, and declare with your voice!

“I REFUSE to believe your lies anymore!
STOP! dragging me down, making my heart sore.
I will not be deceived
Leading to my own self destruction
The thoughts once perceived
Are under re-construction.
I’m the Builder’s delight
With a better me in sight!”

If you’re on a journey that requires it, then be encouraged

TO  STAND  and  DECLARE !

A raw conversation with God.

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It is 9am on Sunday the 20th of May after the Adore Conference.  

In reflection . . . one of the guest speakers had said something just before her message, and it struck a chord with me.  I can’t remember exactly what she said, but it was a single line to the tune of “some of you are disappointed in God . . . “

Then this morning I was struggling, and yet I didn’t want to rehash it with God yet again . . . but apparently He did, cause then He said to me “Let’s go over it again.  Talk to me about what you’re feeling, today, now, in this moment.”  and so this is the walk He took me on . . .  

Because I can’t always articulate my words well, let alone remember what I say, it was a conversation I recorded (in about 5 separate recordings) stopping at times to work out my feelings, and how to verbalise them.  But I didn’t want to forget what God would say to me.  And ultimately I guess I had already figured it might be something I’d share . . . in the hope of helping someone else.  So while there was no audible voice (other than my own), I believe those little ‘thought bubbles of revelation’ (in red) that had not previously occurred to me (either at all or in full), were those from a higher place.  

“God, in regards to my hysterectomy, for 10 years and then 5 more years after that, I believed that You would heal me.  But then You didn’t come through.  I was anaemic, I had been on 6 months of iron injections, and was finally put on that drug Tranexamic Acid to slow down my haemorrhaging, while I waited for my surgery date.  I went through various consults in preparation for surgery.  While I wasn’t forced in to anything, at the same time I believed those words:  “You have no choice. Surgery is your only option.  All you have to do is sign the paperwork, then it will all happen from there.”

And so I followed through with having the surgery.  It all came together so quickly.  A connection that got me in to see a top specialist, a cancellation that got me into surgery weeks earlier than expected, and so even then, You were with me in the preparation.  But at the same time in some ways, it’s like the enemy used that opportunity for his plan of my demise, to derail my faith.

Somehow, I didn’t realise that in having surgery I was ‘choosing’ what I didn’t want, and how that would affect my faith, expose some lifelong wounds, and thereafter lead me on a path of wrong decisions as a result of my disappointment that You didn’t heal me.  Because what I really wanted was to receive what I had been believing for.  I had believed for 15 years that You would heal me.  That’s a long time of believing, and a whole lot of hoping . . . lost . . .

For so long God, I’ve wrestled with the woman with the issue of blood.  And that whole question of why You healed her?  But You didn’t heal me?  I think back to how it might have been for her.  She didn’t have the option of surgery; she had spent all her money and tried everything available to her.  She didn’t have any other option.  She had exhausted all her other options.  Then You came to town, and You healed her.  But why not me?  If you could do it for her, why not for me?

You know it, I struggle with some of the words in the songs that we sing at church, that I sing at home: of how You’ll never fail me, that “You’re never gonna let me down.” And even though I sing the words, there’s a voice in my head that reminds me that you did fail me, that you did let me down.  So it seems like it’s all lies, and I’m supporting those lies by singing the words to the songs, despite my experience.  And so I cry my way through those songs, because I know what the Bible says, and I know what I want to believe, but my experience tells a different story.  So I sing the words to those songs, in spite of everything, hoping You’ll somehow prove me wrong!   

And yet today, now I see maybe I failed myself in that sense. Maybe I let myself down?  In that instance when those words were spoken to me: “You have no other choice. . .” I lost hope in the other choice that I did have, the choice that I really wanted, but I didn’t see that as still an option.  So yes, I got my healing, but just not in the way I had hoped.  But that was everything to do with my choice, my free will to make a decision, than it was to do with You.  I fell on the ‘train’ of forward motion, and it didn’t ever occur to me, to not go ahead with the surgery.  Without realising it, I gave up on what I truly wanted, and gave in to what ‘man’ would say.  Yes, it was my choice to have the surgery. 

After 15 years of believing, I gave up on You God, and took things back into my own hands without realising it.  And even though I accepted to having the surgery, (effectively saying “No thanks!” to You as the other option), You didn’t abandon me, or take Your hands off my case.  You still watched over me during the surgery, even rescuing me when they found complications, but a urologist was available to come and assist.  I thought I didn’t have a choice, but I did have a choice.  Because, where there is more than one option, there is a choice.  The woman with the issue of blood didn’t have a choice, but I did.  Even though I was anaemic, and I was on TXA to slow down my haemorrhaging (which didn’t work), I still had a choice, surgery or not surgery.  I just didn’t ‘see’ that choice, and so I ‘sowed’ into the surgery option, because that was all that I could see, but really I wasn’t seeing all my options.  And maybe if that woman with the issue of blood was living in my time, she too might have found her healing at the hands of surgeons.  And there’s nothing wrong in that.  She certainly sought out all her options . . . so I reckon she would have taken up the offer, if it was available to her. . . especially given the stigma of ‘uncleanness’ in her time that she would have carried.  But then why for so long did I feel somehow ripped off, cheated of that which I had believed for?  I don’t understand that . . . but then ultimately, it comes back to a choice that I made. 

And all this enables me to fully release You!  It releases me!  To be able to believe for ‘the better’ that You promise in my future.  How?  Because since it wasn’t You that let me down, that situation no longer serves as the example of how You can’t be trusted.  It’s not hanging over my head, invading my head space as a negative example for the enemy to use against You, against me.  Because it all goes back to my choice, which I made, that led to this outcome. 

Thank you for softly and gently guiding me to this revelation.  For not pushing or pressing it on me before I was ready to hear it.  For not overwhelming me with it.  But just allowing it to be a revelation, that would come as a release. 

Wondering what might have been if I hadn’t had the surgery, I cant regret or ‘wish’ about that.  But maybe the final outcome of my story would then have been more like that woman with the issue of blood.  But that is not my story.  This is my story.  And maybe it is this way because it will help someone else in their story . . .

After writing my previous post: ‘Sow & See’ I then got to thinking about that fading ‘See’ and that just maybe there’s a lesson in that for me.  But it doesn’t stop there . . . what about that cyst/blemish (in the pic above) at the bottom of the first ‘e’ in ‘See’ that I pick at especially when I’m feeling anxious about something, which then becomes an open wound. While you can still see it in the photo . . . I had used some essential oils to calm it down, and a concealer to hide it as much as possible.

For me it was the wound of disappointment that was blocking me from seeing anything good for my future. That wound distorted my perception of God.  I perceived that He had disappointed me in not bringing to pass what I had been believing for.  So how could I trust Him, and believe Him to bring to pass anything good in my future?  Why would I trust anyone who has let me down, with so much again?  And even when I tried to ‘let go’ of the hysterectomy story . . . it wouldn’t let go of me.  Because the experiences along those 15 years of believing, that were never realised, were now being highlighted in new struggles of today.

Diagnosed in 2016 with severe depression, (after my hysterectomy in 2015) I had seen progression in the healing of my mental and emotional health, and other things I was struggling with.  But at times it felt like one step forward, two steps back. 

It had been the same with those fibroids over the years.  At times I had seen a degree of healing, but then ultimately gone backwards and the condition gotten worse. 

So then my past experience with the fibroids, became what I feared would be my experience with my current issues.  And so I was always anxious as to if I would ever be free from these issues, because until surgery, I was never free from the fibroid issue.  How could I trust God to heal me from any of my issues, when he never healed me of those fibroids? And yet I have other experiences of healing . . . which I still enjoy the benefits of . . .  but they are somehow forgotten by this fibroid issue . . .

Many times I have felt like Moses in the dessert wandering around for 40 years, on what apparently should have been an 11 day journey.  “God I don’t want to be like that, in this headspace for 40 years.  What do I need to realise, or what revelation do I need to have, to get out of this dessert?  Because unlike Moses, we don’t live for 100+ years.  I’m 48 now, and I don’t want to be living in this desert for 40 years.” 

  • What’s at the bottom of your (inability to) see? 
  • What cyst/blemish/wound is there?
  • I wonder . . . what are you calming down or concealing, but not dealing with? 
  • A wound that maybe nobody else can see . . . but you know it’s there?
  • What is blocking your ability to see that which you desire to see?

Interestingly (or at least to me) shortly after this conversation . . . I realised . . . I had my surgery the week before Adore 2015.  I was there, drugged up to my eyeballs on pain medication.  And here I am having this revelation (releasing a whole lot of pain) . . . which seems somehow full circle . . . 3  VERY LONG  years later.

Sow & See!

It’s just gone the weekend of Adore Conference, the annual women’s conference at my local Enjoy Church.  The theme for which was ‘Sow and See’: to sow seeds (of love, kindness, etc) and see the results of our sowing.

So as is a recent part of my prep for church conferences . . . I went to my hairdresser (with artistic design skills) and had him shave the theme ‘Sow & See’ on the side of my head.

However, this time I didn’t factor in that the hair closer to the nape of my neck is lighter, and thus the ‘See’ while it just made it in the space, is (ironically) difficult to see, and un-readable by some.  ‘See’ kind of fades out at the base of the lettering.  One says “It just looks like swirls.”  Another can’t make out either of the words.  Some have to stand back to see it.  And my favourite: “It’s easy to see when you look at it from an artistic perspective.”

Sometimes life can be just like my head ‘Sow & . . . ‘ a big fat question mark.

We can sometimes feel like all we do is Sow & . . .  Sow & . . . Sow some more.  Only to be left wondering where is that which we desire to see?  And when will we see it?  And so our ability to ‘see’ what we are believing for, fades as a result of our discouragement.  We may even be tempted to stop sowing . . . but then the whole principle of ‘sowing and seeing’ is wiped out.  Not that our motive is to sow, so that we see (like we don’t give to get), but because sowing and seeing (reaping) is a principle, when we apply a principle, we can expect to see the results of that principle.

And so I wonder why is it, that for such a principle that ultimately has to bring a result, instead of:

Sow & See!  (with a bold exclamation point of certainty.)

Some of us instead have a:

Sow and See? (question mark mentality.)

And so I would ask:

To what or who did you exchange

what should be your confident declaration,

for that of (seemingly) reasonable doubt?

When by faith, we can in fact, stand in that of

‘beyond reasonable doubt!’

The me that I see!

When I wrote this piece a few months back, I started somewhere in the middle and continued to almost the end.  Then I started asking myself “Where did this all come from?” And so I worked my way backwards to what is now the beginning. Then came the end!

Why am I sharing this?  Because as I mentioned in a previous post: ‘Remember the Hoodoo Gurus’ … it’s especially for those who relate, but aren’t in a place to share.  Those who are maybe not as far on the journey, but need to know they’re not alone in their issue.  And then maybe there is also an aspect of my own healing that will come, as a result of allowing myself to be vulnerable enough to share the deepest insecurities of my heart.  Scary as that is . . .

While it’s not something I’ve consciously contemplated every minute of every day of my life, I am aware of a negative self-perception that has been evident in my thoughts, in my speech (or lack thereof, when I’m too scared to speak), and in my actions.

Hurtful words from the age of 6 that stuck like glue (obviously never fully dealt with, to be confronting them now at 48), and how that negativity has then grown to the extent of influencing and impacting my decisions and handling of situations throughout my life.  It is an example of how negative thoughts are like an undercurrent, hidden beneath the surface, dangerous, and able to pull us under without notice.

That’s not to say that I haven’t had good, encouraging, positive people in my world, because I definitely have, and still do.  But as the analogy goes, regardless of who builds the structure, the structure itself is only as solid as the foundation on which it is built.

So read this not as a ‘woe is me’ piece, or a stab at anyone, because it’s not either.  But rather it is an expressive piece, a spoken word (a ‘read word’ in this case) about my perception of my being (the me that I be), and my doing (the me that I do), resulting in ‘the me that I see’ today.  That which has been my self-perception, and now I’m on a journey of self-discovery, as I learn to shake off negative thoughts, confront my fears, accept myself mistakes and all, and their resulting consequences.  I’m learning to challenge my thinking, so that I can move forward to finding a bigger, better, brighter life path with a healthy self-perception.

We’ve all had a childhood …

We’ve all got insecurities…

A mixing pot of experiences.

Forming our personalities.

 

Low self esteem.

Too quiet and shy.

Always on the outside.

Feeling passed by.

 

Childhood taunts,

and teenage peers.

Words that haunt,

and all their sneers.

So despite what you see, your version of me, is not the me that I see!

I hate seeing myself in photos,

or that mirrored window reflection.

Yet I miss out on capturing memories,

all because of my own rejection.

 

For the me that I see is unattractive, with a big nose,

a crooked smile, and hooded eyes.

And the me that I be is not smart, somewhat naive, gullible to pranks, socially awkward, with a tremor to hide. 

 And as I stand here declaring my faults,

I’m secretly wondering if you would agree?

That’s all that there is to be seen in me!

 

But the me that I do … she follows her dream,

she steps out in faith, knowing her purpose.

This is the me I was made to be.

In spite of the me that I see, and the me that I be,

it’s the me that I do,

that gives me acceptance and value in humanity.

 

And yet I still wrestle with the me that I do,

Because it’s not fully accepted by you.

I didn’t choose marriage, a home and a kid.

I saved all I could, sold all I had, to do all that I did.

 

So against all the objections, and blockages by you,

I stood by my convictions, and followed them through.

Cause I’m answerable to God, when I stand at the gate.

How would it be … if I said “No!” to His date.

 

With a firm hold on my heart, Africa wouldn’t let go,

And with each step of faith, You confirmed I should go.

So I followed the dream, the purpose, and the call.

Yet nothing worked out as I thought. None of it at all!

So despite what you see, your version of me, is SOOO NOT the me that I see.

But through all of this I’ve held to some facts:

I’m integral, of good character, reliable and true.

Telling myself:

“Inside beauty conquers the outside ugly of you!”

 

But then the me that I ‘do’ was shattered.

A scar on my belly, a hope that was scattered.

No longer a dream, just a faith that is battered.

 

I prayed and I believed,

but I never received!

So they took it away!

I felt lost like a stray!

 

A journey of distorted thinking and bad choices.

Headed for some damning eternal dark voices.

I’m deep in the pit without an escape!

How will I ever get back to my faith?

 

Then came those words:

“That’s not what a good friend would do.”

And so the words that I heard,

With the outside ugly I knew,

Truth that cuts like a sword.

My actions had deleted all beauty through!

 

Without the me that I do,

Or the inside beauty I knew.

Maybe now you can see?

Just how ugly I be!

 

But God, as I’m looking to see the me that You see!

Discarding the negative I see in me.

Please help me to find who You made me to be.

 

You told me today:

“There’s to be NO  MORE apologies.

Nor any such feelings of your inadequacies.

Cos what you did, where you been, and how you see,

Are not who you are, what you be, or what I see!

So STOP with the apologies.

You’re on a journey of discoveries.

It’s a journey with Me!

You’ll see who I made you to be!”

 

God we’ve worked hard to make a new start.

And we’re beginning to see growth from my pains.

Changes that come with a renovating heart.

New thinking for my mind like fresh blood in my veins.

 

So I challenge you: Push through!

To believe for the future

For better times, a better you!

 

Don’t let the darkness win.

Because we’re all just waiting to see

When you stand up and sing . . .

When you boldly declare: “This is me!”

While there is the need to accept ourselves for who we are in the now, we are always growing, so there is also the need to challenge ourselves to believe in and ‘see’ the better version of ourselves in the future.  That’s why I’m loving the hit song ‘This is me’ from ‘The Greatest Showman’ as the words are about standing up in our individuality, making no apologies for who we are, and shaking off all our feelings of inadequacy.

While out having lunch with a friend recently, I came across a children’s book in a shop window titled “Can you see what I see?” by Walter Wick.  In the book description it says “Walter . . . challenges our minds . . . to discover objects in a mirror image that doesn’t quite reflect what’s really there.”

So to put a twist on Walter’s story . . . are there any ‘objects’ that you are ‘seeing’ about yourself, that don’t quite reflect what’s really there?  How’s your self-perception?  If it needs a tweak . . . then go on the journey of self-discovery, confronting any fears, challenging your thinking, accepting who you are mistakes and all, to then boldly declare with full acceptance of yourself: “This is me!”

The hair tie . . .

Three weeks ago I spent four nights on the Gold coast at a healthy lifestyle retreat. Three full days of learning all about how to be a healthier me.  Not being from Queensland, I had opted to stay in the hotel where the conference was being held, so as to avoid any transport issues, and just for the overall convenience.  On the first morning I got up and got ready for the day.  Enjoying all the little hotel samples I got with my room … shampoo, conditioner, etc.  I know … but hotel stays are a novelty to me.  Tearing the top off a little ‘vanity pack’, so as to get out one of the cotton buds, I left the packet mostly intact.  I could see a facial cleaning pad in there as well, and that was it.

Off to Day 1 of the conference … choosing my seat based on the location of the stage and projector screen, I sat down.  As it turned out, I was joined by 2 fellow nurses also from Melbourne.  Throughout the course of the day, we were ‘given’ opportunities to re-energize through dancing and stretches, and the result was a hot and sweaty one.  One of my new friends realised she’d forgotten to bring a hair tie … but with my short hair, I was not equipped to help her out.  So she got resourceful … and used her conference lanyard.

Day 2: I got ready, utilising my freshly provided sample packs, and went off to learn all that I could.  Being in conference all day, my friend hadn’t managed to find time or energy to get out and buy some hair ties, so the lanyard was employed again.

Day 3: I got ready, once again utilising my freshly provided sample packs, and went off to learn all that I could for the final day.  Today my friend didn’t take off her lanyard to use as a hair tie, but instead had managed to find a more suitable option in the form of a rubber band.  Not ideal … but it will do the job.

Day 4: the conference has finished and I’m getting ready to start my day … and fly home.  Utilising a fresh ‘vanity pack’ for the last time I tore it open and what should fall out … but a white fabric stretchy hair tie.

IMG_20180326_073930

Ha! My little ‘vanity pack’ had more in it than I had thought, or even knew about.  I chuckled and thought of my friend …

In life we can sometimes think that we are not equipped to help someone out.  We look at ourselves, and are quick to assume that because of who we are (or who we’re not), we think we do not have what they need.  Because of my short hair, I did not have a hair tie to offer.  And yet all the while a fresh hair tie was available to me every day via the provision of my accommodation.

Sometimes we underestimate what we have to offer one another, be it support and encouragement, a piece of knowledge we have learnt on the journey of life, or a word of wisdom we have to share.

How much more could we help each other if we did not limit ‘our ability to help’ to that of ‘our perception of what we have’.  But instead extended our thinking to include that which we have available to us, which may require thinking and/or seeing outside the box.

By this I mean that there can be a significant difference between our thinking and the reality:

Who we think we are, and what we think we have

compared to

Who we actually are, and what we actually have.

Sometimes we don’t know just how equipped we are ….

But just like my ‘vanity pack’ … you can’t help with what you have, if you don’t know that you have it.  So then … isn’t that all the more reason to fully open up the ‘packet’ that is you … to fully explore all that you are, so that you can grow to be all that you were created to be … in order to do your ‘thing’ that makes you you, and as a result the world around you gets to experience what you have to offer!  And in that, you may or may not see and know all the ways in which you are having an impact on those you meet …

What’s in the packet?

Sometimes the packet is labelled with its contents, weight and value. And sometimes you just don’t know what’s in the packet?

And what if that packet is you!

Are you feeling like an unlabelled packet? Not knowing the content that you carry, and the weight and value of that?

Or maybe you feel like a labelled packet but you’ve been mislabeled in some way?

Your label doesn’t always tell of your true content.

Delve into the ‘packet’ that is you, to explore all that you are, and to discover all that you can be!

Remember the Hoodoo Gurus . . .

They say there’s a reason for every season.  So if that’s the case, then I reckon there’s gotta be something to gain from my pain.  Not just for myself, but to also help someone else.  So I challenged myself:  How can there be maximum gain if I keep it all to myself?

To share is to be vulnerable.  To be vulnerable is scary.  But then through sharing (in a safe environment), our fears are dispersed.  And that’s the triangle complete.  What we expose to the light through sharing with another can’t hold us back anymore.  And so it is: False Evidence Appearing Real is exposed for the lie that it is, and we are then able to Face Everything And Rise.

So as I learn how to be more vulnerable, to share heart and truths about myself, it is not to sound all ‘woe is me’ or to gain pity.  But instead, because I’m surely not the only one, I’m making the choice to speak out for that someone out there reading my story, unable to share their own story, yet silently relating to mine.  That my story would enable them to see that they are not the only one to struggle with that issue.  That they might find relief, be encouraged, and find the strength to get up and take a step forward, continuing on their journey that is life.

A little while ago now, on my 30 minute walk to work, I was thinking, reflecting, and contemplating my life (at 48), who I am, and what I’ve done with it.  I was feeling somewhat confused as to why I had such conflict in my mind between my feelings about who I am, and my feelings about what I’ve done.   So as I pelted the last of my steps along the footpath, in desperation I literally yelled it out “So God, what is my problem then?”  and I had this lightbulb moment where I suddenly realised (or maybe it was God yelling – not audibly – back at me)  “All of your life you have done what you loved.  BUT you haven’t loved who you are.”

Shortly after, and throughout the day as I processed how I came to be in this place of conflict within myself, these words came to me: a short ‘spoken word’ about accepting responsibility for my choices (realised or not), and my learning to prioritise (for the first time in my life) who I am, over what I do.  It is to be read as an expressive piece, from a positive perspective of one who has: had, lost, searched, and found.  I did an audio for you, to give you context of tone, but unfortunately it fails to load due to ‘security reasons’ which I cannot resolve. Read on:

In a world that is busy.

Focused on my ‘do’, more than my ‘be’.

Losing sight of what’s important.

Choosing my ‘do’, while losing my ‘me’.

 

All consumed by the God dream.

I found my sense of purpose in life.

Significance and value.

That ill perspective put me in strife.

 

So while I have fought my way back.

Finding my ‘be’, after losing my ‘do’.

The fight is now on again.

To guard my ‘be,’ whatever I ‘do’.

 

BUT:

When you speak love for my ‘be’.

Only meeting to action my ‘do’.

Rightly or wrongly it seems;

My ‘do’ is more important to you.

 

I want to serve yet again.

But I fear losing who I ‘be’ once more.

I want to step out! Yes, I do!

But I need courage to walk through that door!

 

So when you speak words of love…

Is it only my ‘do’ that you see?

Cos without my ‘do’ I’m enough!

As I’m learning to see who I ‘be’.

How much more can we achieve when we are all about loving who we ‘be’ with one another, over that of loving what we can ‘do’ for one another.

When ‘being’ is the priority, and we know that ‘who we are’ is enough, our ‘doing’ (out of the truest expression of our ‘being’), will then naturally follow.

But when ‘doing’ is the priority, our truest expression of  ‘who we are’ may be limited (due to fear of not being enough) because of our perception that our acceptance is in our ‘doing’.

Prioritise your ‘being’, that both your ‘being’ and your ‘doing’ will be expressed in their truest forms.  As a result the world will be maximally blessed by both: who you be, and what you do.

You were born a human ‘being’

before

you could become a human ‘doing.’

Hoodoo Gurus was a band in the 80’s.  Be a ‘Who Do’ Guru for your circle of influence.  A Guru in knowing your/their ‘Who’ is ALWAYS more important than your/their ‘Do.’

Be true to yourself, and who you were created to be.

The heart of art.

“What a waste of time!”  I thought, as I took my ‘paper of effort’ folded it up and put it in my pocket to discard when I got home.  I would have preferred to discard it there and then in the classroom, but a quick ‘risk analysis’ in my head raised the unlikely ‘what if’ of someone retrieving it from the bin and it reappearing somewhere to my humiliation and shame.  But then something shifted on the journey home . . . and ironically, here I am now, the one ‘publishing’ it!

We had been directed to pick an item to sketch, draw, or paint, using different techniques, and to try using different colours to see what emotive response we have to those colours.  So I chose a copper cup, embossed with dimples.

I started with charcoal, then the blue paint, the red paint, and the yellow paint.  For the last attempt (with the grey lead pencil), an extra challenge was thrown in . . . to draw the item without looking at the paper on which I was drawing.  My eyes were supposed to stay focused on the copper cup, as my hand drew it on the paper.  And the evidence speaks for itself, I couldn’t do it, so I gave up on that one.

In evaluating my emotive response to each drawing, this is what was revealed :

The charcoal: I like it for the fact that I held the stick on its end, so as to see what the effect would be as I drew the base of the cup . . . and I got the sharp edge that I expected.  But I don’t like the top of the cup because the rim is out of proportion.

The blue:  I like the vertical effect of the brush tip I used to create the dimple appearance.

The red: I like the effect of the brush stroke I used for the handle.

The yellow:  I like the horizontal effect of the brush tip I used to create the dimple appearance.

In terms of colours, I don’t like yellow; in fact I don’t even know why I put yellow on my paint palette?  But out of all of these my favourite is the yellow, because of the way it turned out.  And so I learnt . . . that my emotive response to colour is not related to the colour itself, but rather how that ‘thing’ worked out is what determines my feelings about that colour.  And all my CrAzY yellow readers said “Yay! for the yellow.”

But another step further is this . . . the biggest lesson . . . is in the one I couldn’t draw.  The one where I had to stay focussed on the object, and let what happens on the page, happen.  I was constantly checking the paper to see what my hand was doing, and how the picture was forming.  I literally could not keep my eyes off the page and let my hand do the drawing ‘unsupervised.’  The end result was too daunting . . .   because without any element of control, I had no idea of how it might turn out, but I had already decided it couldn’t be good, so I simply gave up on it.

While I’m further along on the journey now, and it doesn’t seem as scary anymore, there was a time when I didn’t know who I was, or who I was becoming.  No longer driven or moved by the same things that used to drive and move me, I was somehow scared of the me that I was becoming, because it was all too unfamiliar to who I had always been.  There were things I could see that I didn’t want to be, and things I couldn’t see, but I so wanted to be.  It was a fight in my mind, for my heart and my soul, and ultimately, a fight for my life.  But fear had me in its grip, and I wanted to give up.  I was giving up.  In some areas, I had already given up.

Life is not always like that charcoal stroke, giving us exactly as we expected or hoped for.  When you’re stuck in the middle, and you don’t like who you are in the now, it can seem easier to go back to who you were (because at least you’re familiar with that person), rather than to push through to find who you were created to be!

It was during my own time of being ‘stuck in the middle’ . . . when one day while doing my grocery shopping, with the radio playing softly in the background, choosing my flavoured tins of tuna for work lunches, when it was as if the volume on the radio had been turned up . . .  so I could hear these words . . . which spoke so very true to where I was at . . .  and I felt like God was telling me:

That I see the light surrounding you

So don’t be afraid of something new

Cause I see the light surrounding you

So don’t be afraid of what you’re turning into.

No, don’t be afraid

Don’t be afraid . . .

Cause I see the light

Cause I see the light

Cause I see the light surrounding you.

 (Light surrounding you. by Evermore)

The journey of life is like art under the artist’s hand.  It’s progressive, it doesn’t always look like we thought, but we have to keep going at it, if we’re to see the end result in its reality.

And so I would ask you . . . what is your emotive response to your life?

If it hasn’t turned out (or is not turning out) how you expected or hoped, don’t be so discouraged that you give up because you can’t see how it will turn out.  Just because it’s not what you expected or hoped, doesn’t mean it can’t still be good, or even great!  So be encouraged to push through the fear, the unknown, the unfamiliar, to find the better you . . .