Do you ever go through seasons of growth where you look back and are just amazed at how much you have grown and how far you have come? Or maybe you are longing for a season like that – you are ready to grow and be challenged in new ways but are struggling to get there or stay there? I have been in a season recently where I am just hungry; hungry to learn, to be challenged, to grow and mature. As I look back on this season I can identify 5 things that have made the biggest difference for me and really helped grow. I encourage you to think of the things that challenge you the most or even make you work for the consistency of it – there is where you will find growth.
1. Changing the perspective I have of myself
Does anyone else feel awkward and immediately shy when someone pays you a compliment? Why is it so hard for us to hear nice and good things about ourselves?! Maybe we feel like it is not true but chances are it’s likely because we don’t see what they see. I truly believe that the perspective and the value that we price ourselves at doesn’t start with how many compliments we get, it starts with how we feel about ourselves.
Loving yourself is a hard thing to do sometimes. Changing the way that you look at yourself though is step one – every time that a negative thought pops in your head about your worth or your ability, you have to remind yourself of the truth. You are not incapable, you are not stuck, you are not a product of anything other than what you allow yourself to be. You get to define who you are – not this world or life. I encourage you to change the lens that you look at yourself with. The better that you love and accept yourself – the more you can love and accept others and ultimately grow.
2. Be present
It is so hard nowadays to be present when literally the entire depth of the world is in our hands at all times. There are time I will be with friends or family, having a great time and then out of nowhere I catch myself on my phone with no recollection of even reaching for it. One of my goals for this year was to be intentional with my time and time is something that doesn’t last forever. I want to make the most out of the time that I have with my husband and family, our friends, my work – whatever it is I want to use the time with intent. I want to be present when the line of the joke hits, when someone accidentally spills their drink or when a topic of conversation is brought up that requires my attention. I encourage you to be present, make the memories that will last forever, feel the emotions even if they sting – be intentional with the time that you have.
3. Drink all the water
Do you ever get to the end of the day and you are just dying of thirst and struggle to even think or what if any water you drank that day? I have to admit this is a big thing for me. I am not even a soda drinker but dang do I love coffee and Topo Chico. I started to make a deal with myself that for every cup of coffee I have in the morning I have to have a glass of water before I can refill my cup. I also try to have a glass a water before every meeting and every meal – literally for no other reason than to make sure I am drinking enough water! I am not here to tell you exactly how much water you should drink mainly because I couldn’t tell you how many ounces a day I am drinking – but the key is, if I have to go to the bathroom at least once an hour I know I am drinking enough.
4. Changing how I move my body
I love running – I am totally that gal who is like “wow I feel so alive” after a run. But I do have a confession – for all the good that running does for my mind and my body, I tend to have an unhealthy relationship with it. I am the girl who will go out and run even though I am in pain the entire time (running should not hurt guys – if it hurts you are doing it wrong or you are probably injured and over doing it). When I got injured last year (yeah, from running too much) I had to find ways to still move my body and workout that didn’t make me miserable.
If running is not your thing – then don’t do it! The point here is twofold – move your body at least 30 minutes a day and do it in a way that brings you joy and makes you feel like a boss after. If that is power walking – go do it, if it cycling – do it, if it dancing in your home while you sweep the floor – do it (then come to my house please!) Don’t feel obligated to do what everyone else is doing, they don’t have your body. Do what brings you joy.
5. Making my faith my own
I grew up in the church – I can say this with 100% honesty, my entire family is and has been in ministry. My grandparents started a church when I was a baby and pastored there for over 22 years, my parents were youth group leaders, worship pastors and lead children’s ministry’s for years, my aunts and uncles were missionaries, pastors, leaders, etc. Even Jared and I served in ministry for years also – but I honestly came to a point a few years ago where I didn’t want anything to do with church or God. I was completely burnt out and didn’t even really know where I stood with my faith.
I had to take a real big step back and formulate my own thoughts and find my own relationship with God. I feel like this is something that people struggle to do – rather than doing it and finding their own relationship, they don’t and feel lost. I mean this with all the love and encouragement – do not feel guilty for wanting to have your own relationship with God. You don’t have to inherit your parent’s religion or your spouses view of God. Your relationship with God is your personal relationship. Seek Him out.
Seasons of growth are uncomfortable and hard but who wants to stay where they have always been? Take the steps to grow and be challenged. My dad recently gave me some advice that I have been mediating on a lot, “all gas – no break” pretty much meaning you have to go all in. Commit to yourself and your journey.
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