Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The promise of a brand new day

A friend posted on her Facebook page yesterday a commitment to writing fifteen minutes a day--she linked to the original challenge. As an extension of some reading and research I am doing in my work, I'm in the process of reading a new book called The Joy of Appreciative Living. I'm committing to combining the reading with the challenge. I did not write yesterday, but pondered instead whether I could commit for the month. I'm here to try. :)

Those of you in the know are aware that I'm using this blog to explore myself and get myself back to me. I've had a bit of a year and I'm ready to hang it up and move on. I've decided that I am not focusing on what was, what has been lost, what didn't fit and what continues to add drama to the world around me. That's no short order, is it? In fact, it's going to take a bit of a miracle to meet this goal and maintain that sort of lifestyle.

Today's Gospel reading was from the Book of Matthew (14:22-36). This is the verse where Jesus walks on water and Peter steps out and does so too, until he becomes afraid. The crux of the reading is a call to step out to do more and to balance fear and courage. I know I am called to do amazing things. Why should I let fear get in my way?

The lessons I am learning in Joy of Appreciative living are threefold:
  1. Appreciate what is.
  2. Imagine the ideal.
  3. Act in alignment.

I haven't finished the reading, and yet I have a good sense of what these phrases mean in my life to date. While I do my best not to let fear get in my way, I have done that in recent months, particularly as it pertains to MPOW. I have had such confidence and courage in other areas of my life, and even here at work. Some people have expressed amazement. That feels pretty good, and yet it also sets a bar--must I always be strong? Must I always be fearless? Or can the bar that other have identified for my tenacity move and adjust with circumstances? Here is where I can apply what I currently believe it means to "appreciate what is." Each day of our lives is uniquely ours, and doesn't have a standard measuring stick. Why should I fear that today I will not have more or less strength that I need to face my fears? Why should I be afraid at all? In this brand new day, there are no limits, there are no standards for how I am and how I will be. A dear friend captures it so succinctly, "It is what it is."

Because I can appreciate that I have fear, and some fear is downright good, my friends, I can also appreciate what it is like to not have fear in the face of opportunities. I can step out confidently knowing that there is a plan for me, and I need to be true unto myself, in my faith, in my family and in my relationships with others. I participated in a training session at MPOW this morning. The topic was Preventing Workplace Violence. One of my colleagues who sat next to me expressed a great deal of anxiety. I wasn't sure if this was fear driven or not, but through some discussion, the anxiety was a reflection of his inclination to help his fellow man rather than protecting himself so that he could be around to help his fellow man. Given my husband's job and training background, and mine, I have, I believe, gotten myself to a survivor mentality and believe that I must survive to help others. I'm committed to doing what I need in order to fulfill my calling--and I firmly believe the bottom line of that calling is to help others.

As I read more today on fear and courage, I came across 1 Chronicles 22:12-14, "Only the LORD give you discretion and understanding, and give you charge over Israel, so that you may keep the law of the LORD your God. Then you will prosper, if you are careful to observe the statutes and the ordinances which the LORD commanded Moses concerning Israel. Be strong and courageous, do not fear nor be dismayed. Now behold, with great pains I have prepared for the house of the LORD 100,000 talents of gold and 1,000,000 talents of silver, and bronze and iron beyond weight, for they are in great quantity; also timber and stone I have prepared, and you may add to them." My ideal is to add to them, to give unto others of my talents and produce more.

One of my challenges is seeing a sibling who is struggling so very deeply with this concept of giving unto others. I am struggling with the fear of judging him for his words and his actions versus the opportunity to help him find a way to confront the fear or anger that continues to push him away from finding his ideal and joy. It's that first step from which he could benefit so greatly and then grow through following the next two steps. I am working to act in alignment--to push through my fear and to seek to grow opportunities. The way I see for this to happen is by sidestepping the drama and drawing boundaries in order to protect myself.

So, as I practice, as I write, as I explore, I'll continue to share. It's hard for me to do that. I tend to be introspective on most things that are personal in nature. Wish me luck, pray for my clarity and wisdom in purpose and enjoy the ride if you are so inclined.

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