"Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear." ~Ambrose Redmoon

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

It's All About You

There’s a well-known saying that makes me a little crazy—“it’s not about you.” Maybe it bothers me because free will means I am the one who makes the operating decisions for my life. If my life is not about me and my choices, then how can I ever hope to find any purpose or meaning? I understand the intent of that question is to get us to think beyond ourselves and that’s important.  In fact, I could easily argue the other side of this coin, but for now I've got a different point to make.

Before I can think about how my life might impact others, first I have to figure out who I am and what I want. I think that’s a biblical principle. Jesus said the second greatest commandment is to “love your neighbor as yourself (Mt 22:39 emphasis mine)” How can a person do that if she doesn’t even know who she is?

It's taken me a lot of hard work to figure out who I am. Leadership expert Dr. Mick Ukleja and his co-author Dr. Robert Lorber helped me think through these concepts in their book  Who Are You? What Do You Want?. It's practical applications deeply impacted me. The authors talk about how “self-leadership consists of the thoughts, behaviors, and strategies that help you exert influence over yourself “ (p. 24).

Sometimes responsibilities influence us to do things we might not consider otherwise. When I went to work at Staples over a decade ago, that job had nothing to do with my career goals. It simply helped me pay the bills and provided medical insurance for me and my son. 

Now, I’m at a different stage in life. And, even though I’ve been out of work almost two years, the unemployment benefits have kept pace with my financial obligations. Maybe that’s why as I asked the Creator for His will instead of my own regarding a good job offer (see yesterday’s post), He showed me that the right decision this time was to turn it down. Without His help to think through who I am and what I want, my fears would most likely have caused me to react to my need for work by taking whatever job became available. 

Quite often my fears make me want the quick fix, the solution most obvious. Present anxiety distorts recent reality and makes me forget or ignore what's most important to me in the long-term. Nor do I have the courage to take risks. I like to play it safe.

It’s my decision to admit that I’m not able to live my best life on my own terms. I am a woman, who needs Someone to save me from my fears, from my own limitations, from my own misperceptions. I make the decision to submit myself to my Creator’s authority. By doing so, I jump into the Fountainhead of peace. By choosing (or leading myself) to surrender to God's will instead of my own, I end up with His power drenching my life.

Less than a day after turning down what seemed to be a good position, I received a Facebook message about a great possibility much more in line with my passions. A few days later I met with the men involved. Now, barring unforeseen circumstances—the same week as my unemployment benefits run out—I’ll start a project I can buy into with my whole heart. And, I'm convinced there will be other projects to follow--stimulating, valuable, and satisfying. Risky? Not really. Because I've chosen to put my trust in Someone far better qualified. I know who I am and it's not God.

More about who He is with the next post. Additional responsibilities make it necessary to  rethink my blogging schedule. Should it be random? Two or three days a week? If you have any input for me regarding how often you'd like to see posts, please leave a comment or send me an email at ptcovert@yahoo.com. I'd sure appreciate it.

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