Monday, January 20, 2014

Creating a Life Story

Is your life a story worth telling?  I re-read these words this morning when I was completing today's assignment for Priscilla Shirer's "Jonah:  Navigating a Life Interrupted."  I have had plenty of experiences in my life that are worth sharing, but at the end of the day, what sort of legacy am I creating?  Is this life one I'm proud of living, and sharing, and most importantly---telling?  Will I be proud to share this story with my family and friends, my babies?  And finally, if I'm not there yet, what will it take for me to create a life that has a story worth telling?

The last year has been quite a roller coaster ride---we have had a few long term houseguests, unemployment, a new company created, a pro card earned and professional competitions entered---and at the end of the day, one thing has been constant.  God has never turned his back on me, even when I've hit my breaking point.  In fact, I believe that it's at my breaking point that God has been able to do the most work with me.  One of the things I shared last week in my women's group is that I don't feel as though we should be ashamed or scared to tell our stories about how God has transformed us, precisely at a time where we felt the least useful to Him.  In fact, if someone had shared how God had used her during a time of crisis, I feel like I would have found encouragement in this rather than despair.  

What are you doing to create a story that is worth telling?

A few years ago, I created a list of 52 things I wanted to do in one year's time, which set some pretty unrealistic expectations on myself---a perfectionist who holds herself to such high standards that anything less feels like a failure.  About a year after that, while crossing some items off the list---learning how to surf, swimming in an ocean, making homemade preserves, and going to Build-A-Bear to name a few---I came to the realization that rather than try to accomplish these experiences at a frantic pace, it would be better to continually add items to the list throughout my life.  Some items won't always stay on the list, and some I'll discover aren't really priorities or desires of my heart.  Some may be unrealistic, and others may come to fruition thanks to the grace of God.  Regardless, these experiences are going to be creating MY story---a story worth telling.

Because I want to be completely honest and transparent, I'll share a few of the items I do plan on accomplishing this year.  I believe in accountability, to myself, to God, and to my family and friends.  With that being said, here are a few of my wishes to accomplish in 2014:
  • Establish a yoga practice---attend or practice at home at least once weekly
  • Read the collection of Jane Austen novels that's been taking up space in my bookcase for years
  • Make S'mores with William---baking the graham crackers, making the marshmallows from scratch---for his first S'mores experience
  • Visit family more often
  • Rekindle my love of crafts, especially sewing
  • Read the remainder of the Harry Potter books and watch the movies (this is something William and I have decided to do together)
  • Read three books I loved in high school (okay, so a lot of the items so far are about reading...)
  • Restore or repurpose a piece of furniture, using Pinterest inspiration
  • Join a Bible study
I'm thrilled that I've already been able to accomplish one of the items on my list---joining a Bible study.  I had visited the website for a nearby church more times than I can count on one hand, and was thrilled to discover they were offering a study on the book of Jonah.  Priscilla Shirer is such an inspirational and well-spoken leader in women's ministry, and I'm fortunate to be studying both Jonah: Navigating a Life Interrupted, as well as Gideon: Your Weakness, God's Strength.  I know His timing on these two were perfect, as we're in a season where I feel as though these studies were written for me, personally.  Isn't that how it always is?

As I go about my week, I want to imprint these verses on my heart.  I want to create a life that is worth sharing my story, and I know I cannot (and do not want) to do it on my own strength.

 And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to observe the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good?
---Deuteronomy 10:12-13 (NIV)

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