Little Steps Lead To BIG Joy

What the heck is all this business about having a #SOULTATTOO and when am I going to stop #-ing it?  That, my dear friend, is a very good question. I know that all of you do not share my same framework of faith or beliefs. And I love that! But I do firmly believe that we all want to know our life has more meaning than the life of a gnat. So hashtag #SOULTATTOO… 😉

The deal, it seems to me the older I get, is our lives are largely about learning and re-learning how to live in our own skin and out of our most genuine selves in order to play our part in this amazing story God is writing (and I do mean play because it’s about deep joy).

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I believe we are each given a tool belt filled with the precise set of tools we need to fulfill our purpose here on our great planet but then, somewhere along the hurry and the hustle we misplace a few of them, maybe even forgetting we ever had them. Which means we spend a fair amount of time fumbling around looking for them and often end up picking up tools that were never meant to fit in our belt.

It also means there are more than likely a few tools, maybe on the side of our belt, we haven’t yet fully figured out how to use.  And then there are other people’s tools that look shinier and more useful and we wish we could wear their belt instead of ours.

I have spent a fair amount of time in the hurry and hustle grubbing and grabbing for tools. (You can read about some of that  here  How The Wrong Pair Of Shoes Can Make You Sick.)  I have spent years using tools better suited to other people because it seemed that the situation called for it.  And I have thought that my real tools were sort of frivolous and less than necessary. But mostly, I don’t think I have understood, or possibly my soul has forgotten, the beautiful strength some of the tools in my belt have been offering me all along.

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That’s why during this first month of 2017, I keep #-ing SOULTATTOO. I have shared with you before that I am a visual learner. I generally need a picture to drive a point home.

When I took the VIA Character Strengths survey (Did I mention it’s FREE and it is the best beauty product you will spend yourself on this year?)  a lightbulb went on for me and suddenly the purposeful and permanent Strengths God inked into my soul from the very beginning of me were begging to be called my #SOULTATTOO.

These aren’t things I have become good at doing. They are beautiful Character Strengths that have been given to me in order to play my part, to join the dance, to breathe in the Life (yes, capital L) that God is offering me right here and now.

One of the parts of my #SOULTATTOO that I am beginning see in a new light and step into in a different way is LOVE. It is my #2 Strength.

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As I have been resting with this Strength called Love (because resting is what I am doing this January before making resolutions) and soaking in it, I realized I have viewed it in part as a weakness rather than a strength. (Yeah, no joke.) Somewhere along the journey, I lost the clear picture of it as a Strength.

Not consciously, but definitely in how I have reacted in so many situations. While Love is my #2 Strength, I have so often judged myself for being too emotional, too concerned, too preoccupied with, too too too over relationships whenever there is a hint of displeasure, conflict or judgment. (Truth be told living from a skewed perspective I have no doubt be “too” at times.)

The VIA Institutes definition of LOVE as a Character Strength is: Valuing close relationship with others, in particular those in which sharing and caring are reciprocated; being close to people.

So in my purest expression of Love, maybe I’m not too whatever. Maybe I just need to own it as a Strength and step into it with the confidence a Strength inherently has.

Maybe instead of fretting and losing sleep and distancing, I can actually own LOVE in my tool belt as one of my strongest Strengths. (That is redundant. But funny how things get muddled and foggy if we don’t give ourselves the gift of rest, time and perspective to reclaim what is actually ours.) 

This changes things for me. This changes me.

This means I can lean in with caring confidence, not distance with hurt and fear.

This means my tender heart can offer of the safety net of relationship to others in times of conflict (whether or not they accept it is up to them).

This means my desire for close and deeper relationship need not be viewed as “too this or too that”.  This Strength called Love can create places and spaces of heart that help meet the need in others of love and belonging.

SO…I’ve actually got this. I just need to learn step into Love and own it as the Strength that it is.

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This change of perspective is kind of a big deal.

It means I can take courage in who God made me to be. It means that by stepping into my Strength of Love as God intended- merciful and gracious, listening and kind, confident and calm- I can participate joyfully and wholeheartedly in my place in His story and never look back.

Will it be hard to step into? Probably. Just like learning a new dance or speak a new language is hard when you first begin.

Will I fumble around a bit? Yep. I am used to fumbling.

But will practicing  eventually bring familiarity, and familiarity bring more ease, and more ease more joy? Absolutely.

Little steps lead to OWNING our, you guessed it, #SOULTATOO. Little steps lead to joy, BIG JOY. 

So enough about me. Let’s talk about you. The sheet below is for your sifting, sorting and seeing… enjoy, Sweet Friend.  XO

Just click and print     jan-rest-3

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