On my quest to discover ways to live my life more authentically—to use my God-given gifts and talents more wisely, and to incorporate my passions and the desires of my heart more seamlessly into the fabric of my everyday life—I came across the book, Something More: Excavating Your Authentic Self by Sarah Ban Breathnach.
On the page titled Our Authentic Lives, just before the first chapter, was the following quote:
“I have a sense of these buried lives striving to come out through me to express themselves.” – Marge Piercy
Two thoughts came to mind as I read that quote: “Wow, that is perfectly worded,” and “Me too!”
While engaging in the hustle and bustle that is life—handling family obligations and other commitments (church, organizations, activities, extended family, friends, etc.)—I noticed that the things I enjoyed doing and felt passionately about (music, dance and writing) were repeatedly relegated to the bottom of my “To Do” list (and sometimes, didn’t even make the list).
What was worse, I was the one responsible for putting them there!
Somewhere along the way, I deemed my passions to be “something I’d like to get to,” instead of priorities, hobbies rather than necessities that feed my spirit.
That mistake is easy to make when you’re living life in a mindless fashion—racing and rushing about, busy doing instead of being.
I knew I needed to find the time for the things I enjoyed, but part of the problem was the wording of that intention: “find the time…”
Time can be elusive, and “trying to find time” proved to be an exercise in futility.
Making the time for the things I love, and making them a priority, however… that was altogether different. With that slight shift in perception and intention, I had a much better chance of realizing my goals.
Having a plan of action was the first step, but forming that plan—thinking about what I really wanted and needed—required me to stop chasing behind my life and to start asking myself the important questions.
Do I really need to do all that I’m currently doing? If not, it was time to let go of those optional things that weighed me down without replenishing me.
If they were required, who could help me with this? Could my husband and children do more to help? (Answer: always). And could I be less of a control-freak to allow them to help in their own way? (Answer: sometimes).
These questions led to family discussions and managed expectations overall. They led to the acknowledgement that self-care is essential, and that working together as a family to ensure that each member’s individual needs are met, is vital.
Making time for the activities I enjoy (in essence, making time for myself), required me to examine my commitments and adjust our schedule, with the goal of improving my quality of life and that of my family.
Through this process of slowing down and restructuring, I’ve realized just how important my interests and passions are to my sense of well-being.
And with this newfound clarity, the understanding that actually doing what’s been placed in my heart, allows me to fulfill God’s purpose for my life, through being my authentic self.
Wishing the same for you in this New Year!