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Thursday, March 5, 2015

Pursuit of Purpose: Session 4

New to Pursuit of Purpose? 
Click here for Sessions 1 and 2.

OK, if you're like me, Session 3 was really eye-opening. I started to see how those stories that I had created based on my experiences actually started dictating every avenue in my life.

Fear over my body: Anything and everything (to me anyway) scares me. I have learned to completely distrust my body.

Belief that others won't like what they see if I open up: I apologize for opening up. I guard myself. I don't let others see my passion, I don't speak up, I make lots and lots of relationships, but don't let people in too deep. I guard myself. I try to look pretty all the time. Because somehow I feel that others won't accept a Rachel with a bad hair day or a break out.

I could go on and on. . .  But I just want you to start seeing how your stories might be impacting your own life.

And there is a reason for this. Are you ready for it? (Hint: I actually already told you why. DO you remember?)

We have a very real need in our life.

The need to be right.

And that need trumps every other need or want in our life.

Did you get that?

Our need to be right about our story trumps every other need or want.

I might want to be successful. But in my subconscious need to be RIGHT about not having whatever it takes to be successful undermines my desire for success. At the very heart of my foundation, I believe that I do not deserve success. And I will never out perform my self-portrait.

You will never out perform your self-portrait.

And so it becomes a cycle.

We have an event. We create a story. Then we subconsciously seek out experiences that will validate our story because our need to be right trumps everything else we say we want. And so it goes around and around.

OK, so the need to be right is subconsciously driving our life. Not cool right? At least, not cool if we have the wrong stories in our foundation.

Here's where it gets really awesome.

We can CHOOSE the stories that stay in our foundation.

If we find one that is not serving us, then we can EXCHANGE the story that is not serving us for one that is.

Now it's back to diagramming. I want you to draw your house again on a CLEAN SHEET OF PAPER. Draw out the columns. And on the left side, write in your experiences.

Now, on the right side, I want you to EXCHANGE your story for one that will serve you.

Here are mine:

Now it's your turn.

Create a story that is equally true, equally valid -- but SERVES you.

Once you have finished, again I want you to take some time. Listen to some music. Pray, And then decide.

Decide if you want to live your life with your first sheet of paper. Or if you want to live your life with your second set of stories that will serve you.

And don't just decide.

Physically get rid of that first sheet. Tear it up. Burn it. Get it away from you.

Now friends. Now we are ready. You are ready.

WE are choosing to get our foundation right. And we are ready to move on to finding and pursuing our purpose.

Hold on tight girls. Hold on tight. So much is ahead.

Love you all. So proud to call you friends and to be on this journey with you.

Pursuit of Purpose: Session 3

New to Pursuit of Purpose? 
Click here for Sessions 1 and 2.

For starters, I want you to know that this blog is not one you'll want to read while cooking, driving, tending to kids, or taking a 5-min breather at work.

This is one you need to treat yourself to a delicious cup of joe, turn on some swanky music, grab your journal and settle in.

The info you need to digest in this post is like a 5-course meal. Not a 10-piece Chicken McNugget meal.

Are you ready??

As we go through our events and our stories (remember Session 1?), there is a law of nature that I want you to keep in mind.

According to Keith Kochner of (to whom all the credit for this series goes to), there are two rules or laws in people.

#1 -- We all have a need to look good.

#2 -- We all have a need to be right.

It is this second law that we're going to be looking at in the next 2 sessions.

As we start -- I want you to grab your journals. Flip to a brand new page.

On the top half of the page, draw a line. Then, on the middle of the line, draw a house.

Under the line, draw two lines going down to the bottom of the page. It should look like this:

Imagine that this house is in a neighborhood. All the people of the neighborhood get together, and they all just want more. More time, more money, more balance. Just MORE.

And so someone in this neighborhood says, "If we all paint our roofs green, we'll have more." The community kinda shrugs. It doesn't really make sense, but no one else has come up with a better idea. Sure enough, one person paints their roof green, then another and another. Soon, everyone has painted their roofs green.

But they don't have more. (Except for more green roofs.)

Finally, someone else ventures that if they just paint all the shutters blue, they'll have more. Sure enough, everyone eventually gets on board, and all the houses soon bear blue shutters.

Except yet again, no one has more.

Keith shared with us that most of us, when we are trying to improve our lives (our houses, if you will), we focus on the surface of our lives. We focus on how-tos (How to be a better person. How to remain positive. 10 steps to significance. 5 must-haves to be productive.) We focus on motivation.

We may as well just be painting the exterior of our houses.

Keith says we have to dig deeper. If we want to change, if we want MORE, we have to look at the foundation of our house.

What you have allowed into your foundation is the basis of everything in your life.

Time to get back to your diagram.

In the left hand column, I want you to write: "Self awareness is the ability to look at the stories in your foundation."

Below this, I want you to write your 3-4 events. Do you remember those?

Now, I really, really want you to get this part.

Our human nature cannot stand for anything to happen to us that does not have meaning. And so we create meaning to each event to make sense of it. 9 times out of 10 we create a negative meaning.

Each event on it's own is neutral. (Now friends, bear with me here. I know most of us have lost a child. And he almost lost me here, because I wanted to yell, "The death of a child is not neutral." So I get you -- just hang on.)

OK, each event in itself is neutral. We attach the meaning. 

Our child's life was important because we believe God has created each life and had purpose for it. We grieve our child because we loved them. We know that each little person is unique and can never be replaced.

You see, we attach meaning based on our views, based on truth of God's word, and with our own emotions.

When a traumatic event happens, we can't stand for it to not have meaning. It goes against our DNA.

And so no only to we attach meaning -- But we create a story that goes with each event based on that meaning.

On your journal, in the middle column, I want you to write "Beliefs."

Now write down some one-word beliefs or meanings that you took from each experience. Some might be positive -- they are not always bad. For the purpose of this exercise, I wrote down some negative beliefs I took from these experiences.

Subconsciously we create these beliefs. And then we turn these beliefs or meanings into a story. Spend some time mediating on what your stories are. To help you, I've written mine out. 

Here are my stories:

Event: Infertility/pregnancy loss

Story: I do not deserve God's blessings that come easily and naturally to everyone else.

Event: HELLP Syndrome

Story: My body cannot be trusted.

Event: Boys breaking up with me in college.

Story:  If someone truly knew who I was on the inside, they would break up with me.

Event: Loss of my promotion and pay raise.

Story: I don't have whatever it takes to be successful. I am found lacking.

OK. Those are my stories.

I want you to take some time now and really contemplate what your stories are. What have you told yourself to be true about your event?

Go reheat your coffee. Hide in the bathroom from your kids if you need to. Do whatever you need to do to get some quiet, some solitude, and a chance to really contemplate your stories.

I'm going to end the post here. I'll go ahead and write the second post now, so if you do this exercise, and you're ready to move forward, it's there waiting for you. But please, do not read ahead without doing this work.

I promised you'd have to do some work -- so here it is.

Good work, girls, getting this far.

See you in Session 4.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

That time in which you think I have fallen off the planet -- but I assure you, I indeed have not.

Hi Pursuit of Purposers.

Just a quick note -- I have NOT forgotten you!

The next post I have planned is the one that was a game-changer for me. And so I want to do it right and not just rush through it a bit at a time between taking care of the kiddoes.

Hold tight! Thanks for sticking with me. I'm loving reading your posts!


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Pursuit of Purpose Workshop: Session 1

Hey girls.

Are you ready to start digging in?

All day long, this post has been playing on my mind. What can I share? Where should I start?

And then tonight, I get together with a friend deep in the throes of grief. She asks if I will meet her at Starbucks and help her write her baby's obituary.

We meet, and she shares all the precious photos she has of her sweet Hannah. My tears drip. I think I cried more than she did. And then we write -- well, she speaks, I try to keep up with my clumsy, frozen cold fingers on my iPhone.

And then we trim, trim, trim and reword.

And then it's done. 500 characters to sum up an entire life.

It just doesn't seem like enough does it? It would never be enough.

And so my head and heart are now in that beautiful place that is brokenness. Tonight's brokenness was not my own, but I was allowed in to that sacred place with her. Where time was not enough. Where time has both stood still -- and yet mercilessly still charges on.

And so tonight, I want us to start with our stories. I'm going to share in later posts why this is so important. And why we are starting with brokenness instead of with optimism or success tips and tricks. Trust me, eventually this will make sense.

I'd like you to pick 3 events of brokenness in your life that have shaped you or molded you in some fashion.

Here's how mine looks -- and how I want to you to fashion your events on paper. If you have more than 3 key events, feel free to add more. I stuck with my top 4.

Tomorrow, we'll talk this through.  But as you write your key events out, as you think about them over the course of the next 24 hours, I want you to really think about how these events have shaped your life. Shaped who you are. How you think. What you do. Or maybe what you DON'T do.

Ok, do you have them? Good. Now publish that blog post, close that journal, and get a good night's rest. We'll meet up again tomorrow.

Click here for Pursuit of Purpose Session 2

Pursuit of Purpose Workshop : Session 2

This is me. Looks fun right? I look happy? Yep. I was happy. And freaking terrified.
Right after this picture was taken, the people in the backgound started shaking the bridge.
 I ran (I mean RAN) off that bridge. Want to know why?

(I had hoped to get this post up yesterday, except I fell asleep writing it. Oops. Better done than perfect, right??)

So ... How was the last 48 hours, thinking about your big events?

If you're like me ... Those events often cross my mind, but often in subtle ways that I'm not 100% aware of. How was it to think of how you've changed as a result of your experiences?

Before I delve deeper into the significance we attach to the events in our lives, I want to address one small (MAJOR) thing.

And that is fear.

The moment we set out to accomplish anything outside our comfort zone, fear sets in.

Maybe you've already felt it starting this workshop. I know I have. It sounded like a great idea in my brain. Until I wrote out the first post.

And then doubt crept it ....

What if no one reads it? What if I'm the only person who does the activities? What if there are no comments, and every one can see that I'm just a fake when it comes to leadership and mentoring? 

Worse, what if I turn people away from my blog? What if they need someone to grieve with them -- and not someone to cheerlead? What if I don't have the right words to make an impact?

It all sounds kinda irrational right now. But the fear was real. Paralyzing even. It made me not want to hit publish. And then when I DID hit publish, I regretted it and wanted to take it back to draft.

But I didn't. Sometimes, all you need is 20 seconds of bravery.

20 seconds could change everything . . .

Fear has a purpose... To keep us safe, healthy, and otherwise free of unnecessary risks.

But a major problem with fear is that it is not the best judge of our actions or choices.

You see, it's meant to keep us stuck inside our comfort zone, where we feel happy and healthy. So we fear things like jumping into an ocean full of sharks ... Or walking alone down a dark alleyway in the city ... Or climbing to the top of a cliff without any safety ropes. Those are all legitimate fears.

But fear has a bad habit of turning everything into something we should be afraid of ... Something that will be risky or will cost us. 

Fear tells us that speaking in front of an audience is as risky as swimming with sharks. Fear tells us that putting our ego out on the line is just as risky as climbing a cliff. Fear tells us that rejection is life or death.

And the problem with this is that:

#1 There is no reward where there is no risk. Fear minimizes risk, therefore minimizes reward.

#2 You cannot grow unless you are stretched. You cannot stretch unless you are out of your comfort zone. And you cannot get outside of your comfort zone if you base your decisions on fear. Because fear is designed to KEEP YOU COMFORTABLE.

#3 Fear keeps you average. Which is fine if you want an average life. But if you want more? Then you have to learn to control your fear, instead of letting fear control you.

Fear is False Evidence Appearing Real.

It will make our palms sweat, our hearts race, our adrenaline flow. It has the power to paralyze. Fear doesn't take reality into consideration. It's based almost entirely on emotion. We fear sharks (well, maybe just I do) while watching Shark Week -- even though we are comfortably seated in our living room, just about as far away from a tropical beach as one could get.

Sometimes fear makes sense. And sometimes it doesn't. Like the fear of success? Why is it we fear EXACTLY what we are working toward? And then the opposite, the fear of failure.

But here's where we need an injection of truth.

Fear has killed more dreams than failure could ever touch.

What dreams has fear killed for you?

So let's journal or blog . . .

What has living by fear cost you? What has your living by fear cost others around you? What fears do you have that make sense? And which ones are False Evidence Appearing Real?

Here's that bridge again. Guess what's beneath it?

This 9-foot-long hammerhead shark. And his friend. Just to make things extra terrifying.
Can you guess that sharks just might be one of my biggest fears??

By the way, I'd just like to add that I actually did this water slide.
The one that slowly meanders through a shark tank. I also did the one that does a death drop
through a shark tank. That one was TERRIFYING. But I'm still proud I did it. And believe it or not -- I lived!

Click here for Pursuit of Purpose Session 1

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Pursuit of Purpose Workshop commences!

Recently, I published a few posts about purpose. (You can find them here, here , here and here.)

And as I have explored what makes me tick, I've come to realize that helping others find their purpose and their stories are just as important to me.

And so I want to know if you want to join me on this journey to discovering what we are meant for, who we were created to become, and how we can fulfill our callings.

While this is not the blind leading the blind -- it is the learner leading the learner.

I am not an expert on purpose, but I am passionate about it, I'm learning about it, and I'm pursuing my own. Instead of just doing this myself, I want to create a community around me of people who are looking for and wanting MORE.

So here's my proposition -- I'm going to be posting a few articles/thought prompts/homework assignments each week for the next few weeks. If you want to join me in this blogging workshop, just comment that you're in.

If you blog, I recommend adding in your blog address in your comment so we can all follow each other. Feel free to "do" your homework on your own blog if you'd like, and comment back on each of my posts with your permalink.

If you don't blog, simply keep your own purpose journal where you can write down your answers and chronicle your journey. (I just gave you an excuse to get yourself to B&N's and grab a darling new journal. You may as well grab a cup of Joe while you're there.) ;) To be apart of the community, feel free to add your answers/thoughts/homework completion in the comment section of each post.

I want us all to learn from each other, and grow better together.

And if I may add -- while I hope hope hope that my posts will help inspire you and lead you in the right direction -- it will take EFFORT on your part to actually discover and develop your purpose and calling. I promise, it isn't hard and it won't take forever. But it will take some intentional effort and focus on your part.

So here it is girls! The Pursuit of Purpose Workshop.

Homework #1: Comment below if you are in (and add a blog link if you are a blogger. And if you're not a blogger, go grab a journal.)

Monday, February 9, 2015

Urgent prayer request

My friend Kristin deserves a baby more than just about anyone I know.

Her story resembles mine: HELLP syndrome, which for her resulted in a micro-preemie at 28 weeks, multiple miscarriages, and infertility.

And now today they found out their beautiful daughter, their longed-for and hoped-for rainbow baby has died at 24 weeks.

I cannot wrap my brain right now around the unfairness of it all. I'm crying, but I know that my hurting for them isn't even a drop in the bucket to the sorrow and devastation they feel. 

Why? Why, God? You are good ... But why? 

Kristin will have to deliver their daughter, and I ask that you would take a moment and surround this family with your prayers. 

And pray for those around her ... That her friends and family will know how to show the love and compassion and support they need. 

I wish I could say something Christiany... But I'm honestly so angry that death has won this timr here on earth. I am angry my friend has to say good-bye before hello. I am not understanding why. 

And you know what? I think God is just as angry at death, and sin, and Satan for robbing this baby of her life here on Earth. Even as He has prepared heaven for her, I have to believe that he too is mourning right now as well.

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