NOW AND THEN

by Anna Walker


SUBSTANCE

Over the past ten years, I have been on a journey towards discovering who I am meant to be.  It doesn't mean dissatisfaction with who I am, on the contrary, it means continuous improvement. It means daily committing to being more and more authentic and listening to my life and purpose speak. My purpose continually shines forth in the night like a beacon of light leading me towards it. The more I say no what I don't want, the more I can say yes to what I do want.

I do a lot, I mean A LOT of volunteer work. Mainly, because I love it. I came to the conclusion that I would rather volunteer than get paid for something I wouldn't enjoy, adds stress, and not fulfilling my purpose. It became clear that I VALUED purpose more than a paycheck. I'm clarifying my purpose, gifts and values NOW, so that I will have lived a life of fulfillment THEN. Then is when I leave this earth empty because I have lived it to the best of my ability-to the fullest.

As a Guide for AARP Life Reimagined, I have studied many tools on discovering new ways of thinking and new possibilities. I found a test on the Lifereimagined.org site by renowned Dr. Phil McGraw. It was intriguing because it was a Test of Congruency.  The word congruency is huge for me, so I took it. It asked you to choose words that describe who you are, and then choose from a list of words that describe who you want to be.The results compared the two. I scored high because I have been on this journey a while. Words like approachable, compassionate, resourceful and knowledgeable had more meaning to me now than words of my past like people-pleaser, passive, fearful, and likeable. I am working towards becoming philanthropic, wealthy, wise. These are not just wishful thinking words, I create opportunities now!

This week, I encourage you to identify those words that best describe you now and those that will describe you then.  For example, are you:

NOW: Beautiful, Faithful, Strong, Arrogant,

THEN: Philanthropic, Intellectual, Adept, Supportive

Knowing who you are, despite circumstances, setbacks and triumphs will ensure that you will live a life on purpose, congruent with who you were meant to be.


HOW MUCH DO WE TOLERATE?

by Anna Walker


SUBSTANCE

In a previous post, I mentioned that I am in school for my coaching certification.  Throughout my coursework, I have learned a great deal about the field of coaching and the desired outcomes for the coachee.  Most importantly, I have learned more about myself.

Every chapter in our coaching book includes a section on DISTINCTIONS. These are two closely related terms with subtle, yet important differences in meaning.  For example, there are distinct differences in the terms hearing vs. understanding or authentic vs. truthful. Understanding these distinctions has allowed me to perceive new layers of meaning and shift my thoughts and actions. Last week, we learned about TOLERATION VS. ACCEPTANCE. Toleration is something we put up with, which can be eliminated; acceptance is understanding that a condition or circumstance cannot change, but our attitude or approach can alter our perspective about it.

So I began to delve deeper into some things that I know I have tolerated in my life and have become determined to eliminate them.  Here are my top 10 tolerations:

  1. Expecting more success than I am Investing.
  2. Procrastination and tardiness
  3. Not writing down my goals and sticking to them
  4. Being less of a risk taker
  5. Not trusting myself to dream bigger and take action.
  6. Being more organized (I'm a tote bag hoarder-I love fab totes!)
  7. Watching three (or more) hours of the classics and westerns on tv when I should be more productive.
  8. Not holding myself to a higher standard.
  9. Leaving dishes in the sink overnight (I know...I know...)
  10. Being overweight and not doing what I know to do about it.

I encourage you to take an assessment of your tolerations. Accept the things you cannot change and stop tolerating the things you can.


OLYMPIC GOLD

by Anna Walker


SUBSTANCE

Off and on all week, I have a watched the 2016 Summer Olympics coverage from Rio. To be honest, I only follow gymnastics and swimming, but I am amazed by all the athletes dedication, passion, and focus on their field. I began to wonder, how many hours must they practice daily? What is their diet like? their self-talk before the competition? What does it take to reach that point?

In the book Outliers, author Malcolm Gladwell says that it takes roughly ten thousand hours of practice to achieve mastery in a field- that would amount to forty hours a week for about five years.  Those who track the behaviors and requirements of star athletes say it requires much more than that. In addition to the thousands of hours of intense training and focus, it requires adequate rest, overall mental well-being and acuity, a "gold-medal mindset", which is persistent and positive, and a rigorous diet. 

What if I adopted that "gold-medal mindset" to everything I do? I will never stand on the Olympic podium singing the anthem with thousands cheering, but I can dedicate my life daily to intentionally fulfilling the purpose God has for my life.  There will be challenges, setbacks, nay-sayers, injuries, and a tremendous amount of time and financial investment in myself and my dreams, but with God as my Coach and the Holy Spirit as my Guide, I will win gold.

In the scriptures, Paul often uses the metaphor of life as a race and a fight. He admonishes me to fight the good fight of faith and run the race with patience. It takes thousands of hours studying the Word, daily fortifying ourselves, and having the "gold-medal mind" of Christ. In the end, I always win against the adversary. 

The last thing athletes must have is a vision for gold. They see themselves winning, they train themselves to win, and they are surrounded by people who want to see them win. As my vision for my life becomes clearer, I have to envision success and surround myself with people who share that same vision. We can all take a lesson from the athletes and live our lives with excellence, persistence, dedication and vision for our own Olympic gold.


FROM CLARITY TO PURPOSE

by Anna Walker


SUBSTANCE

cla-ri-ty:  insight, foresight,  metaphorically- mental vision, the quality of being clear, coherence and intelligibility, profound insight

pur-pose: the reason something is done, or exists; the feeling of being determined to do something; aim; fully explored; completely defined; the reason something exists

One of the most amazing things God has given us is the ability to see through our eyes. When our eyes are healthy, the parts of of the eye- the retina, optic nerves, iris, cornea, function well. We see the beauty of nature, facial expressions, the wonder of great architecture and so on. When our eyes are unhealthy for a variety of reasons, we become near or far-sighted or experience such diseases as cataracts (a clouding of the eye's natural lens), macular degeneration (deterioration of the central area of the retina that controls visual acuity), or Glaucoma (loss of peripheral vision and blurred vision). Some of these diseases can lead to blindness.

We can parallel this to spiritual vision. As powerful as our eyes are, they can’t perceive spiritual reality. When our spiritual vision is sharp, we can see the things of God, when it is obscure, our sight becomes cloudy, unable to focus, we experience myopia and loss of a broader perspective, blurred vision, or worse, total vision loss.

God wants us to have a divine perspective of our lives. We need clarity for the fulfillment of His purpose. 

Many times we ask the question, What is God’s purpose for my life? In Experiencing God, by Blackaby and King, they believe that the real question is, What is God’s will and purpose? Once we know that, we adjust our lives to His; once we know what God is doing, then we know what we need to do.  The focus is shifted from ourselves to God! 

I have been on a personal journey to purpose since 1998. I really began to question who I am and why I was created.  I wondered what is the unique thing that sets me apart from anyone else on the earth. Truly, it has been a process. Over these years, I have experienced more and more of my purpose, as I have aligned my life to His.

Understand that getting from the place of clarity to manifestation of purpose is not like going from point A to point B. There is a gap between the two.  The larger the gap, the greater the purpose. In those gap years, there will be tests, obstacles, character building, alignment, the need for patience, perseverance, trust, shifts in perspective, humility and complete surrender. Once we have reached His purpose, we see the manifestation, feel fulfilled, hopeful and motivated by the fact that God has created an eternal legacy.

Eph 1:18 The eyes of your understanding [eyes of your heart, deeper insight, perception of your mind] being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, and the  surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.   (NIV)

 

In this scripture, Paul prays that the we receive clarity and expand our capacity for vision from a divine viewpoint so that we can have full understanding of God's purposes-calling, inheritance, and power.

On a scale of 0-5, Zero being the cloudiest, what is your level of clarity? If you are experiencing spiritual cataracts, ask God to give you more clarity. If your pathway seems clear, ask God for a deeper revelation of Who He is. The journey is not over. There is much more in store for you. Is your spiritual vision 20/20?