Empowering Questions – Journey to Greater Intimacy – Week 3

What is my life like when it is in balance?

So, I took a little longer to answer this question. Partially because I was out of town last weekend when I would have sat down to write it and partially because, well, my life is out of balance right now and most days I am just going with the flow (flying by the seat of my pants!).

I used to be very structured and controlling every aspect of my life, every single part of it. But in this last year, God has brought all of that to a screeching halt and has taught me what it looks like to just take things one day at a time and color outside the lines a little bit. It is because of this that I knew this question would be pretty hard for me to answer because for the last year, my life has felt like a roller-coaster with a lot of loose screws that goes in and out of the dark and seems to start and stop at its own pleasure. I’m sure that sounds much worse than it actually is because the last year has been really great, but it’s been hard for me on a personal level.

But in this last year, God has brought all of that to a screeching halt and has taught me what it looks like to just take things one day at a time and color outside the lines a little bit.

When I first pulled this question from the deck I laughed, like out loud, and thought oh boy! Here goes another question that I do not even know the definition of the keyword: balance. I have seriously spent a lot of time trying to discover the meaning of this word and have gotten close to understanding it, but then the rollercoaster takes off again and I am back at square one. I know I know, I am being dramatic again, it really is not that bad. But sometimes, in moments like this, when I am asked what is my life like when it is in balance, I feel like I do not have a real clue.

I have like textbook answers. What I think the answer should be. Or what I feel like the answer could be. But I am unsure of the truth of what that looks like and honestly, I’m just going to wing it to find out.

Every time I think of this question a life wheel pops in my head. Have you ever seen one of those? It kind of looks like a pizza with equal slices cut out of it, except instead of pepperoni and jalapenos, you get an away of life qualities like; self, health and fitness, intimate relationship, family, fun & social life, career, financial, and personal development. I found one on google that I will use as a visual so you can see where my brain is going with this. The particular one I found has numbers in between the slices so you can more or less grade yourself in each area. wheel-of-life

Well, this just got real. On a scale of 1-10, I need to decide where I fall in each of these categories and then tell you what I think it should really be like. I think I’m just going to stare at it for a little while and see what comes to me…

(times lapse)

Okay, I got it.

Let’s go back to the definition of balance: an even distribution of weight enables someone or something to remain upright and steady. A condition in which different elements are equal or in the correct proportions. With synonymous like stability, steadiness, footing, evenness, levelness.

When I look at the wheel I feel like you should have an even circle going all the way around and that circle, no matter if you are on level two or level ten, should be the same all the way around, and that is balance.

balanced-millennialBut then after I look at it more and think about what I just said, I feel like that sounds a little crazy. I feel like that sounds really hard. I feel like that puts unnecessary pressure on something that is already pretty hard to do without any added weight to it. And just like that, I’ve changed my mind.

 

Have you ever seen one of those cool looking pictures of rocks? Like really pretty and smooth ocean rocks. The kind of rocks that you can only find at the ocean that has been tossed back and forth by waves for years and are like a perfectly smooth texture. I have another visual for you if not.

When I see this picture and this depiction of balance, I get a little air in my chest and feel stronger. The wheel of life was overwhelming and made me feel incompetent and incapable of finding balance in my life. But the balancing rocks with the beautiful ocean in the background, made me feel human and alive. I chose more than one rock visual because I do not think there is one right or wrong way to find balance in one’s life and that it will look different for everyone. But I also think that is where the beauty lies and I’ll tell you what that looks like for me.

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When I look at this picture and see the ocean, I think of God and the universe and all the majesty it holds. When I see the bottom rock, the rock that holds all the other rocks up, I think of Jesus and a firm foundation. When I look at the other rocks and the different shapes and sizes I see my life. I see where there are some areas that I may give less attention to or that hold less weight in my life but are important to the foundation and steadiness of the other areas of my life. I see more things and more weight on one side, but bigger and greater weight on the other, and when the rocks are stacked just right on either side, you get balance.

What I like about the rocks and the uniqueness that they all bring is that they have the ability to be shifted, moved around, and even make room for other things that may not exist yet or even let go of things that shouldn’t be there. I see the ability to be unperfect, but yet have perfect parts that fit perfectly with each other. When my eyes wander back to the ocean I think about the steadiness and calm that it beings, but then I think about the weather and how storms can come and all of this can get knocked down and take what looks like a perfectly balanced masterpiece, and it all crumble to the ground in an instance.

Balance-comes-when-you-begin-to-trust-that-you-are-enough.But then I think about the hands that created the masterpiece and I realize that even if that happens when that happens, He can take all of the pieces and slowly put them back together again. At that moment, when He does, it may look different than it did the first time and some parts might even have to go away for a while, but none of that takes away from the ability to be balanced and be beautiful and be strong. To just be enough.

So, for me, when I think about what my life is like when it is balanced, I guess I think about Jesus. I think that it looks like understanding that my life is made up of many different and important aspects and that every part of me needs attention and to be present in my life. But that also, there will be seasons and storms that cause that balance to shift or crumble and I can find peace in knowing that the God of the universe is going to put me back together again. He is going to take me in His hands and piece by piece align each part of my life exactly where it needs to go until I am in perfect balance again. He is the one where I will find stability, who gives me a firm footing, who will bring steadiness to the situations that are just completely out of my control. He is the one who will level out all the bumps and bring me back on even ground.

As long as I look to Him and build my life on His firm foundation, balance will come.

Therefore, thus says the Lord God, “Behold, I am the one who has laid as a foundation in Zion, a stone, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone, of a sure foundation: ‘Whoever believes will not be in haste. – Isaiah 28:16


Week 4’s Questions: 83145011_213103186522406_8871979223108026368_n

What would I do if I had enough time?

What do I do when I have time?

Stay blessed,

Beautiful Southern Heart

Keep up with these questions and my journey on Facebook and join in on the conversation, as well as checking back each week to see what I post here.

Previous weeks in the series:

Week 1

Week 2

Empowering Questions- Journey to Greater Intimacy: Week 1

What kind of feelings am I feeling right now?

What kinds of metaphors can I find to describe my feelings?

I’ve been thinking about these questions on and off all week long and what my answers to them should be. Wondering if I should just answer it simply or the only way I know how, with length and details. I am just not one for short and sweet and I feel like I am doing myself a disservice to my truths whenever I try to be. When I think about these questions a lot of different answers come to my mind, like what I am feeling right this very second, what I have been feeling over the last couple of weeks, and then the lingering thoughts of do I even really know what it is that I am feeling at all?

Over the last year I started on a journey of self-awareness, self-healing, self-discovery, and just a general desire to have answers to a lot of questions that honestly, I haven’t even asked yet, but others that have been popping up over the last few years and some over the course of my life. A big journey that I have come to the realization will be a life-long one that will change and evolve over time. On this journey so far, I have learned quite a bit about myself, something of great significance to me is having a better insight into my personality type and how it plays a huge role in all areas of my life, including my feelings (that is a loaded statement).

A big journey that I have come to the realization will be a life-long one that will change and evolve over time.

I learned that I am a type two on the enneagram system and we twos are jam-packed with all sorts of feelings, so much so that we closely resemble the likeness of an empath. An empath being someone who is highly aware of the emotions of those around them, to the point of feeling those emotions themselves. For a two, that looks like being keenly aware of the emotions of everyone else around you and so in tune with others emotions that we ultimately fall out of practice with being able to recognize our own or run from the reality of our own emotions by focusing on everyone else’s around us and busying ourselves with their needs and neglecting to take care of our own. Tomato tomato, I digress.

Simply put (ha), I have become, over the course of a year, aware of the fact that I really do not know what it is that I am feeling. Like really really feeling. Sure, in the flight of a moment I can tell you I am happy or sad or mad, like in that exact moment. But the reality of it is, if I am anything less than happy, you probably are not going to know about it and I am going to keep it to myself until I can get to the point where I can look you in the eye and say, I am happy. That’s another interesting thing about twos, we just don’t like to do icky feelings. We can do them with other people all day long and even sympathize or empathize alongside them with genuine affections. But when it comes to our own feelings of really, anything less than positive, we ignore them. We hide them, we sweep them under the rug, we put it in a box on a shelf and do well to never open it again, we put it on the back burner with intentions of coming back to it and dealing with it, but then we find ourselves distracted and we do not.

That I something that I have become good at, distracting myself. Diverting feelings that really need to be dealt with, in an attempt to be happy as soon as possible. Deflecting. Oh, I am really good at deflecting. I am so good at it that I have gotten really bad at recognizing my own feelings. Or just straight-up ignoring them, like giving myself the silent treatment and knowing that if I wait long enough, I’ll eventually forget about it, for a while anyway.

Here’s the crazy thing. Until this year, seriously, like 12 short months ago. I didn’t even know I was doing this, I was completely unaware of it. I was so far rowing down denial, the river of fake happiness, that if it wasn’t for God using my own self against me, then I might still be there, rowing away. You are probably wondering what I mean by that. I just snickered. But, seriously, I signed up to attend a Women’s Retreat through an organization called Women Revealed (if the name doesn’t say enough about it I don’t know what will) to attend a weekend called Release Your Burdens. I signed up under the thought process that I wanted to go see what the hype was about, I wanted to go see what everyone else was going to go do (I had some real FOMO going on) and I didn’t even think I had any burdens that I needed to release. I honestly had no other intentions of going other than to see what it is that I didn’t know (another really funny “two” thing) and like I do with all things in life, see what God had for me. So, you can imagine my surprise whenever He slapped me upside the head with some truth and then led me down the road that brought me here. It was on that weekend that I discovered, I’ve been doing it wrong, I don’t have faint clue about what is going on inside me and now that I am aware of this sad truth, I have a long way to go to figure out what it is that I don’t know, about myself. If you are scratching your head right now with it cocked to the side and wondering what in the world is this girl talking about, that’s how I felt when I received this truth.

I was so far rowing down denial, the river of fake happiness, that if it wasn’t for God using my own self against me, then I might still be there, rowing away.

I have spent the last twelve months trying to unravel that truth and only be left with a slew of new questions that I didn’t even know I had before then. The biggest one that I have been working on, like diligently trying to uncover, is the golden question. What kind of feelings am I feeling right now? See the irony in that? During my search for that answer, I have found some other answers that are like tiny little clues leading up to the big reveal. One of which is my general apprehension towards intimacy and simple vulnerability. I touched on that in my post where I first posted this question and when God gave me this fun little assignment to work on throughout the year. I believe that through my journey of answering questions over the next 52 weeks I am going to uncover a whole lot more answers to the questions I have been asking over the last year and the new ones that I get as each day passes, as God helps me to be seen in my vulnerability.

I want so badly to have real intimacy in my relationships, to be authentic in all that I do, and to not be afraid of vulnerability but instead see it as a strength that can be used for my good and the good of others. I feel like when I shy away from vulnerability, I am actually doing more harm to myself than good, setting myself up for deception, strongholds, and windows of opportunity of attacks from the enemy, as well as robbing myself all of the beauty that comes from the intimacy that is found through being vulnerable. I’ve lived a life-time of being closed off from others in an effort to protect myself that I have missed out on the healing that comes from others when we let them in. So again, I digress.

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I’ve put off answering these questions long enough and it is time to empower myself by revealing what lies within, my feelings. I learned a cool tool to naming my feelings over the last year in a process called a check-in, where you use a chart of feelings (or wheel) to help you pinpoint what they are and then “check-in” with yourself, which all stem from the root feelings of; Sad, Angry, Scared, Happy, Excited, Tender (SASHET).

Today, in this moment, I am checking-in Sad, Angry, Scared, Happy, Excited, and Tender. I am full SASHET. I am sad because I found out this morning after reading my bible and journaling that I have been grieving the Holy Spirit, both intentionally, and unintentionally and I was lying to myself about it. I am also sad because I have a very close friend of mine that I have not spoken to for a little while that I am unsure of what is going on within our friendship and what to expect for our future. I am sad because I haven’t seen my husband in a week, and I miss him. I am sad because I have some unspoken feelings about some other important relationships in my life that I am earnestly praying for God to mend and bring healing to. I am sad because there were some things that I was looking forward to in the next few weeks and months ahead and I feel like God is leading me in a different direction and I wasn’t prepared for it and I guess you could say I am mourning the truth in all that.

I am angry because there are some things in my life that I have no control over and that I cannot fix, but that is like a thorn in my side that I cannot get rid of. Another thing that I am trusting in God to fix in His good timing, but while my boundaries are being crossed and I am pushed against a wall, it leaves me angry. I am mad because there are some things in my past that I really thought I had found healing in and could move past from, but God has shown me that is not the case and that in fact will be “dealing” with it very soon, but in the meantime, I am dealing with PTSD from it and unwarranted and unexpected bouts of anxiety as a result of it. PTSD and anxiety that pours over into my closest relationships and steals very precious moments from my day and it is infuriating.

I am scared because my husband is on his way home from traveling all week long and there are some very bad storms happening today and I just want him to be home, safe and sound, and not spending the next few hours waiting and wondering when he will get here and if he will be okay. I am scared because in a little over two months I will be going on another women’s retreat, this time through the Women’s Crucible, and I will be coming face to face with some strong demons that I personally do not think I am ready for (don’t’ ask me how I know, it’s just a feeling). I am scared because I told God a couple of months back that I was going to quick trying to control everything in my life and since I have been keeping up my end of the deal (for the most part anyway) I am walking every day in the unknown and even though I know He has nothing but great plans for me and works His will in my life for my good, it still scares me. I am also scared because I live a very fortunate, blessed, and highly favored life that I feel like with my good graces I will mess up at any moment by standing in my own way and just making the dumbest decisions that leave me sitting in the floor with a bucket over my head (I don’t honestly think that will happen, but I don’t trust me).

I am happy because my husband is on his way home and I haven’t seen him in a week and he is my best friend and his presence makes me so very happy. I am happy because homeschooling your kids is really hard, but even on the rough days, I get to see some amazing things that I never would get to experience otherwise and I am constantly reminded that this is the right choice for our lives and I am so expectant at what God has for us in the future. I am happy because lately I have been trying really hard to put God first and allow Him to direct my life and I am doing a really great job of it, for the first time ever. I am happy because God is so incredibly patient with me and has allowed me to be stubborn and hard-headed, while He has led me to where I am today. I am happy because I have been working really hard on trying to heal myself mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually, and in every way possible known to man, and it’s working.

I am excited because when I think about the upcoming year and I see what God is already put into place I just want to scream and shout for joy and do a little happy dance in anticipation for all that is to come. I am excited because I am turning 30 this year and I welcome it and look forward to what this decade will hold for my life. I am excited because I have been losing the equivalent of 2lbs a week and I am stronger and more flexible and more determined than ever to see where this will all go. I am excited about the upcoming Women’s Crucible weekend that I will be participating in. I am also very excited about my husband moving on into more Crucible work and all the insanely amazing things that God is doing in his life. So excited.

I am tender because God asked me to reach out my friend today and be vulnerable and I am attempting to leave all other feelings at His feet and bask in the trust I have for Him in this situation, that no matter what happens, He is in control and through my obedience will come great things, whatever that may be. I am tender because I am now being vulnerable with all of you and I am not quite sure how else I feel about that, but tender is definitely part of it. I am tender because so many of my friends and loved ones have been going through some major trials and tribulations and loss of loved ones and my heart just breaks for them and their sorrows.

I feel like I have so many more feelings boiling inside of me, but these are the ones that I was able to pinpoint, right now in this moment.

The second part of the question was what kind of metaphors can I find to describe my feelings? I snickered again, I almost feel like this question is as hard or harder than the first. But I’ll try to answer it.

Right now, since I am full SASHET but with various forms of the words, metaphors of my feels;

Sadness is a bittersweet friend.

Anger is like an alarm for the fences around my heart.

Fear is a friend of mine.

Happiness is a common familiarity that I am often in search of.

Excitement is my favorite distraction.

Tenderness engulfs me most of the time.

Wooooooo. I never thought I would make it through the first week and this first question, but here I am.

I hope that by me answering this question in length and my desire to embark on this journey, that God will inspire you to either join me and answer the questions along with me, or in your own way, or at the very least you follow me over the next 52 weeks as I pull a new question from the box and I become closer in discovering what true intimacy is and as I learn to be vulnerable with myself and others on a whole new level.

Week 2’s Question: 82975432_565251114321763_5809495033698582528_n

What larger entity am I a part of?

I look forward to praying and journaling about this one and seeing how I answer it.

Stay blessed,

Beautiful Southern Heart

 

 

Keep up with these questions and my journey on Facebook and join in on the conversation. My first post on the topic on Facebook.

For more information over the enneagram and finding out your own personality type, I recommend checking out the Enneagram Institute and taking a test to get you started. The Enneagram Institute

For more information over Women Revealed and attending a Release Your Burdens Weekend, check out their website or feel free to message me on Facebook. Women Revealed

For more information about The Women’s (or Men’s Crucible) Project and attending one of their weekends, check out their website or feel free to message me on Facebook. The Crucible Project