What are you about? What are your core values?
Your priorities? What truly matters to you?
I lob those questions (or similar) at clients occasionally ... and I'd say it's a 50/50 split when it comes to someone having an answer at ready. And even then, those quick with an answer usually wind up amending their response as a session progresses.
The lesson? We're all a little confused when it comes to being honest with ourselves, especially about ourselves! Without a standard of truth, it's very easy to get lost ... especially when life gets busy, change comes and details threaten to consume.
So, in a busier season than I've experienced in awhile, I've been challenged to make sure I KNOW WHAT I'M ABOUT ... so that I don't get lost and/or distracted and grow resentful. 'Cause, you know, hypocrisy sucks. As does regret ...
In re-reading Shauna Niequist's Bittersweet recently, I came across a portion (read the awesome chapter here) in which she talks about what her life is about ... and the day she came face-to-face with the reality that:
As a result, she made a list of what she's about ... and what she's not. I like that idea. Seems clarifying. So, I'm giving it a try.
What am I about? Some of the following:
- Letting the light in. I'm outdoors or tugging blinds open every chance I get. I like God best when I'm in nature. I believe in hope easier when the sun is out. I was made for a Garden and something core in me is restless when stuck indoors.
- Putting my husband first. I want an awesome marriage. I think we're called to such things — to reflect the glory of God in our joining. I want our marriage to shine hope and joy and a whole lot of potential in Jesus ... so, the Mr. gets first dibs on my time, my sacrifice, my attention and my growth.
- Valuing vacation and travel. I choose budgeting for getaways, play, adventure and experiences over new clothes, house renovations, new cars and speedy student loan payoffs.
- Self-care. I've learned to listen to my body and to honor what it's telling me. As a result, I eat better, cleaner and, sometimes, just in response to cravings (this explains my vanilla custard/rainbow sprinkles, chocolate cake and buffalo wing obsessions). I go walking or running when I ache. I lay down the cash for a massage when I can feel the toxicity building up. I nap when I'm tired. And, I wine when I'm anxious, beer when I'm happy ... :)
- Banning busy. I want my life to breathe, to have space to flex and wonder and wander. It's in the empty, quiet spaces that I hear God, feel, find clarity and am acted upon by the extraordinary. I'm not going to give that up for any amount of money, prestige, friends, followers or affirmations.
Things I'm NOT about? A glimpse of some of What I Don't Do:
- Keep my house spotless and organized. We LIVE here ... life is messy and I have better things to do with my time.
- Church. At least, not the "go to a building on Sundays" Americana, megachurch version. Instead, I'm spiritually hungry for (and nurtured/inspired by) consistent community, authentic conversations, personal reading and shared prayer.
- Say yes if I'd rather or need to say no. This is a daily struggle for a recovering perfectionist, caretaker type, but I'm getting better at it ... and learning to enjoy the freedom that comes with an honest "no."
- Respond to my phone just because it dings or rings. Just because we live in a culture of urgent doesn't mean we have to succumb to it's demands. My phone stays on "vibrate" and, yes, that's because I don't want to always know I'm wanted, needed or on someone else's schedule. This is part of how I un-shoulder the expectations of others and allow myself to LIVE PRESENT.
- Try to be something I'm not. This is especially true when it comes to hair and makeup. I do both for work (most of the time), but rarely otherwise anymore. I don't have "perfectly put together" in me — genes or otherwise — so, I've quit trying to hit that mark ... and, honestly, I kind of like the "effortless" look/reality of my air-dried hair, freckled skin, and sports bra, tank-top wearing body.
There's more ... for another post and another day. But, in the meantime, again, I ask you: What are you about? Does your current life reflect those things? If not, what's holding you back?