Find Your True Self…Finding Your True Identity

If you asked me for my New Year Resolution, it would be to find out Who I am. C. S. Lewis

Are you trying to find your true self? Are there certain things you know about yourself and that have always made you who you are? Yet, do you find yourself surprised by things you learn about yourself?

Some of us know who we are and have known what we want to be “when we grown up”. Some of us have an idea of what we want to look like. Some of us have no idea what we want or who we are.

You will have to read my book to get the full account. Room does not permit sharing everything in today’s post. But here are a few things my near death experience taught me  about each of us no matter where we are in the spectrum of finding and knowing our true self:

  • We are each unique
  • We each made promises to God about what we would do with our life
  • We each have been blessed with gifts and talents that are meant to be shared with the world
  • We each have an innate desire for growth and learning

One thing that I hope more and more people will understand is that heaven honors us for our individuality. There, it doesn’t matter whether we have one talent or a multitude of talents. What matters is that we honor that talent by expressing it.

Today, I am sharing a couple of stories of well known personalities who knew what they wanted to do and worked through difficult times in order to share and utilize the talents they were blessed with.

As you read their stories, I hope you will reflect on your own situation. Have you been inclined to give up when life presents obstacles or have you been determined to allow your heart to guide you? Do you have talents and accomplishments that are waiting to be shared with the world? Who are you meant to inspire? What amazing you is meant to come to fruition? I hope you enjoy!:

Jim Carrey

When Carrey was 14 years old, his father lost his job, and his family hit rough times. They moved into a VW van on a relative’s lawn, and the young aspiring comedian—who was so dedicated to his craft that he mailed his resume to The Carroll Burnett Show just a few years earlier, at age 10—took an eight-hours-per-day factory job after school to help make ends meet.

At age 15, Carrey performed his comedy routine onstage for the first time—in a suit his mom made him—and totally bombed, but he was undeterred. The next year, at 16, he quit school to focus on comedy full time. He moved to LA shortly after, where he would park on Mulholland Drive every night and visualize his success. One of these nights he wrote himself a check for $10,000,000 for “Acting Services Rendered,” which he dated for Thanksgiving 1995. Just before that date, he hit his payday with Dumb and Dumber. He put the deteriorated check, which he’d kept in his wallet the whole time, in his father’s casket.

J. K. Rowling

J.K. Rowling had just gotten a divorce, was on government aid, and could barely afford to feed her baby in 1994, just three years before the first Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone, was published. When she was shopping it out, she was so poor she couldn’t afford a computer or even the cost of photocopying the 90,000-word novel, so she manually typed out each version to send to publishers. It was rejected dozens of times until finally Bloomsbury, a small London publisher, gave it a second chance after the CEO’s eight year-old daughter fell in love with it.

The above stories have been shared from the following website: https://www.themuse.com/advice/9-famous-people-who-will-inspire-you-to-never-give-up

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If You Want Something You’ve Never Had…Trying New Things

As we look at the new year approaching, is there something that you’ve always wanted to do but were too afraid? Are you afraid of trying new things? Thomas Jefferson was amazing at trying new things and our country can be grateful for all that he learned and for the boxes he stepped outside of!

Remember that the definition of insane is “Doing the same thing over and over and expecting to get a different result”. Using that definition, are you practicing some insanity? What would you do if you could do anything? Are you willing to try new things? Is there something you would love to do but you are too afraid?

For me, that “too afraid” thing is singing in front of others. I enjoy public speaking but public singing feels like a death sentence to me. I don’t even like to sing in front of family members. What does that tell you? It tells me that I need to improve in that area and work on that in the coming months.

In the last several years, I have found myself learning new things almost every day. I love learning new things! I love that once I learn something or gain a new skill – I get to keep it! You may not know this – but our spirits never forget anything. So, I may forget a fact I learned but once I return to heaven, everything I learned will accompany me! (One of those things I learned during my near death experience.)

I find that bit of truth heartwarming and inspiring. In fact, it makes me want to learn, learn, and then learn some more!

I share today’s story because I think it does a terrific job of getting us to think about the limitations we put on ourselves. I hope as you enjoy it you will think about the limitations you may be putting on yourself!:

Stepping into the Arena

Once upon a time I stood up in front of people and made a fool out of myself.

I’m not sure how else to put it.

I acted (badly) in plays, I sang some especially mediocre ‘specials’ with my sister in church. I performed about one thousand skits, many of which were not even a little bit funny. I did an entire season of Improv Duets with a partner that turned every single sketch into a rap session.

Right now I want to die that you even know that.

But there’s more. I once participated in a month long series of group mimes, most of which I never understood, all directed by a man who was certifiably insane.

Dear Lord, save me.

Then I came to my senses.

I gained a little something I like to call discretion.

At some point in my twenties, I discovered and pounced upon this proverb.

Even a fool is thought wise if he holds his tongue.

Wisdom has always been attractive to me, so if quiet = wise, or even the appearance of being wise, well, that seemed like a no-brainer to me.

Embracing the fact that God created me as an introvert has been one of the greatest gifts of becoming an adult. In great contrast to my adolescent attempts to command the attention of a room, it is now a rare occasion that I am the one talking when there are more than ten people gathered, and for the most part that has been a good thing. I would even say that it has been a gift.

Blogging has allowed me to use my long kept habit of journaling to meter my words out into the world in a way that I am way more comfortable with than public speaking, and that has also been a gift.

But something happened in the taming of the ridiculous performer I once was. In exchange for the quiet (and wisdom) that I so cherish, I lost the ability to be willing to be thought a fool. To laugh at myself. And more specifically, to take risks that involve being in front of people.

A few years ago, I started to do a little bit of yoga teacher training and I was caught off guard by how I had lost the ability to speak in front of people. I had been quiet for so long that it was like I had to re-train myself to hear my own voice.

It was super uncomfortable, like middle school speech class all over again.

I had to find that girl who didn’t mind riding an exercise bike in front of an audience as part of a comedy sketch. Where was she? I needed her. Or a more Zen form of her.

One of things Anne Lamott says about growth is this,

Put something on your calendar that you’re scared to do.

I love that. Just schedule it. Write it down in pen on your calendar and then you have to do it, right?

I’ve tried a few new things this year. A long walk in May. And another longer one coming up in September. Then there was that whole move to another country.

But also, I’m speaking in front of people again.

I’m going to lead some workshops this summer, at BlogStock next week and then again in September for Arkansas Women Bloggers. They will be touchy-feely Finding Your Bliss type workshops. So yeah, that should be fun.

I’m also going to speak about StoryLiving in Arkansas in September. What even is that? I hear you asking. Well, I’m not exactly sure yet, but I am going to find out. Because I am committed. I’m flying home to Arkansas courtesy of a wonderful sponsor, to talk about it. And to see old friends and meet new ones in a conference full of my favorite kind of people, Southern Women.

So there it is. I’m committed to something new. It’s on the calendar. And I’m pretty sure I’m going to make a fool of myself all over again.

As I get ready for my first season of leading workshops and I don’t feel quite ready, I’m reminded of something wonderful I heard Brene Brown say,

It is tempting to stand outside the arena your whole life and think I am going to go in there when I’m bullet-proof and perfect and kick some ass.

But then we’ll never go in and even if we did get to that point and go in, bullet proof and perfect is not want the audience wants or needs anyway.

Cheers to not being perfect, but showing up anyway!

Story shared from the following website: http://www.alisonchino.com/2014/08/03/a-story-about-trying-something-new/

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Last Year’s Words Belong to Last Year’s Language…The Power of Change

The Power of Change

We are about to start a new year. Take a moment to think about today’s quote by T. S. Eliot: “For last year’s words belong to last year’s language and next year’s words await another voice”. T. S. Eliot is talking about the power of change. We all have personal power and a choice about how we use that power!

Every day we are given the chance to change our voice – to change how we look at life and how we affect those around us. Every day we are given the ability to voice the words of our life through our actions.

Do you ever feel doomed? Do you ever feel like you are powerless to change your life? Or, is the reality that it just “feels” like you are powerless because you know the changes required would be difficult to make?

In so many instances, the biggest influence in our life is not others or our problems; it is the way we look at things. Could you make a positive change in your life by changing how you look at it? With that in mind, what changes – however small – can you make right now and what changes can you make in small steps? It is always within your power to change the words are you going to use in your life.

Change does not have to come with the new year. Change can come whenever we choose it. If you are unhappy with your life – remember you have the power to change it!

I hope you enjoy today’s story about change!:

The Obstacles in Our Path

In ancient times, a king had a boulder placed on a roadway. Then he hid himself and watched to see if anyone would remove the huge rock. Some of the king’s wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and simply walked around it.
Many loudly blamed the king for not keeping the roads clear, but none did anything about getting the big stone out of the way. Then a peasant came along carrying a load of vegetables. On approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his burden and tried to move the stone to the side of the road. After much pushing and straining, he finally succeeded. As the peasant picked up his load of vegetables, he noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been. The purse contained many gold coins and a note from the king indicating that the gold was for the person who removed the boulder from the roadway. The peasant learned what many others never understand.
Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve one’s condition.

Story shared from the following website: https://whitepage4u.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/7-inspiring-short-stories-to-change-our-attitude-for-life/

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For God So Loved the World…

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16

As I reflect on the Christmas story and the Gifts that have come to each of us as a result of the Savior’s birth, I never fail to think about the Eternal Father of us all. It was he that I met with during my near-death experience. I never saw Jesus but I did see and meet with God the Father.

Because of my experience, I believe that I know better than most the complete perfection of God and the complete devotion and love he has for each of us as his children. I can tell you that words cannot begin to express or describe his love and his devotion.

As the mother of six children and the grandmother to eighteen grandchildren, I cannot begin to fathom the love that enabled God to send his son and allow his sacrifice for all mankind. We are each truly blessed in so many ways – many of which we are not even aware of!

As we celebrate the birth of our Savior – I pray that we will send thankful prayers to the Father of us all. May you and those you love receive the Father’s love and blessings in abundance!

I hope you enjoy today’s story the includes both sacrifice and a Christmas miracle!:

The Father’s Sacrifice: A Christmas Story
Patti Davis

For 5 years in the late 80’s and early 90’s, My husband and I were foster parents to infants and toddlers with special needs. It was a time of special blessing for us as we saw God’s healing power touch these little lives. We never bought into the sentiment that you can’t get too attached. We believed in fully investing our lives in these children for as long as we had them. Of course, we knew that would mean a real time of grieving as they left, but how could we compare that short time of pain with the incredible joy they brought us? And how could you even begin to weigh it against those children having a time in their life when they were loved completely. Whether or not they ever consciously remembered the experience, I firmly believe that we planted in their spirits something that, throughout their life, would be able to recognize and respond to love.

Our first little girl came to us in July of 1991. After 5 little boys in succession, I was especially excited to have a little girl to dress up in ribbons and bows. She was our little princess. And she was BEAUTIFUL! At 2 1/2 months old, she came to us babbling and cooing non-stop. There were also lots of smiles and giggles. As time passed, it appeared that there was a very good chance she might come up for adoption. But we kept in our minds that the goal of fostering was restoring families, not building our own. We continued to pray for her parents and lavish her with love. She captured our hearts and the hearts of all around us.

At Thanksgiving time when she was 18 months old, we got word that her mother had fulfilled reunification and our princess was going home in January. Our stomachs were in our throats as we faced the inevitable. The thanks were bitter-sweet that Thanksgiving. So grateful for the time we had, but heartbroken to see her leave. Thankful for having a year and a half to fill her with love and cover her in prayer, but knowing a time of real grieving was on its way.

Then, the first week of December, it happened. The social worker came and told us that the mother had decided to relinquish her parental rights and let us adopt. We were euphoric! She was going to be ours – all ours. I was to meet with the mother the following week to discuss what the relationship would be between her and our daughter after the adoption. But within 15 minutes into our conversation, it became very obvious that we were discussing two very different things. She had not yet made up her mind about releasing her daughter for adoption and was wanting to meet with me to decide whether or not this was, indeed, what she wanted to do.

In an instant, I had to completely turn my thinking around and once again become, not the adoptive parent, but the support system for a mother facing a difficult decision. An advocate for that family, not my own. I reassured her that we would support whatever decision she made and do all in our power to make that change a positive one for her little girl. That her decision needed to be solely based on what she believed was in her child’s best interest. My husband and I should not be a consideration. Again, I reassured her that she had our full support. For an hour and a half we talked and cried and hugged and cried and talked. In the end, her decision was one of the most selfless acts I’d ever personally encountered as she decided to give us her child.

I was not prepared for how incredibly humbling this experience would be. It would forever changed me in ways I could not even comprehend at the time. Christmas took on a new depth that year. This woman had given up one of her 7 children so that that child might have a better life. How great a sacrifice this mother, who loved her child dearly, had made. I could see in her eyes a pain I could only imagine and could never heal.

As the Christmas story was told and retold that year, I couldn’t help but draw the comparisons. God had given up, not one of many, but His only child. Not to have a better life, but to be sent to a place where He would be spat upon and rejected, reviled and tortured. And why? So that we would have a better life. So that His perfect life and sacrifice could pay the debt for our sin. The Father’s sacrifice had never been so real to me as it was that year and has been ever since.

As we go into this holiday season, let us reflect, not only on the sacrifice of the Son, but on the sacrifice of the Father.

Story shared from the following website: http://www.yourchristianhome.com/printStory.phtml?id=91

 

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