Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Looking back...

Yesterday Lelia started a new study based on Lisa Whittle's book "Behind Those Eyes." I have yet to start the book, but have been touched by reading others thoughts on chapter one. This will be a journey. I read a few posts on Lisa's blog and came across this activity - she instructed a group of women to look at their graduation picture and write a letter to themselves. Being a reflective person, the activity appealed to me.

Though this isn't a post about chapter one, it relates to what's behind those eyes. It's amazing to look back and see who I was and think about who I lived to be. Rarely was it myself, but who I thought others wanted me to be. Here's what I came up with -

Just starting out…
It was 1994 and you didn’t know what the future would hold. Or really even who held it – yes, you knew of God, but you didn’t know Him. You had plans to enjoy the summer – babysit, play a little basketball, show sheep, talk to your roommate, spend time with HS friends, but also had fears of the unknown – you were afraid to leave home, didn’t know what you’d do with your life, and wondered if you could play college ball. You graduated with honors and had many friends; you made people think you had it together. You never got too upset, rarely showed emotion and seldom did you share deep thoughts, but you were always there to listen and at times put up with more than you needed to. You lived to please others, but deep down rarely satisfied yourself. You tried to be who everyone else thought you should be instead of being yourself.

At the time you didn’t know how important it would be to let go of…
…the worry of what others would think.
…the idea that you had to be perfect.
…the thoughts that you weren’t good enough.
…the idea that no one would love you.
…the misconception that you had to do it all.
…the feelings of inadequacy that left you depressed.
…the lie that how you look on the outside is more important than who you are on the inside.
…the regret for things you had done.
…the lie that the more others know the less they’d want to be your friend.

You also never knew how important it would be to hold onto…
…your belief in something bigger than yourself.
…your faith that was beginning to grow.
…the importance of respect and putting others before yourself.
…your desire to work hard and make an impact for good.
…your ability to listen and really be a friend.

When you just started out, you had no idea what the future would hold and now 14 years later, that is still unknown. But you are no longer who you were, you don’t look the same, you don’t think the same and you don’t feel the same. You have grown and you have changed. You realize life isn’t all about you, but know God is all about you – He cares for you, He loves you and He has plans for you. He created you for a purpose all His own and thru the years as you’ve come to know Him, He’s increased your desire to obey. He’s blessed you and gifted you and expects you to share that with others. So let go of the ways of the world and forget their view of success, but hold onto the One who will never let you go and live to glorify Him.

My prayer as the study goes on is 14 years from now when I see a picture of myself, I will see a woman who is the person God created her to be!

If you have a minute, read below about a wonderful ministry that encourages us to be the mom God created us to be and the one our children need us to be!

5 comments:

  1. What a great letter!! I need to do this. Could involve some healing. I bet Lisa Whittle would agree this is a good exercise for this study.

    In His Graces~Pamela

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  2. What, a fun and revealing activity, what was I like and what were my desires 43 years ago. If I ever sit down and do this I will be sure to post it on my blog. I have been on retreats where we have written letters to ourselves and then the leader has mailed them to us later in the year. What a treat and reflection it was to get a letter from yourself remind you of a weekend when you were away from the everyday stress and pressure and just reflected on Jesus.

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  3. I'm so glad you did that excersize. I read it on Lisa's blog too, and honestly was afraid, to think about it. Now I'm thinking it could be an important part of this journey on this study.

    Thank you for sharing,
    Carol

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  4. Jill,
    Thank you for sharing your heart in this post and for being willing to "go there" with this activity. I agree that this activity would be a good one to do with the ladies...interesting that when I wrote about it, I truly did not anticipate the things it would bring up in women. But I have gotten email after email about it, so I know it has struck a chord.

    I read your comment on my blog this morning and I understand where you are coming from. First, congratulations on the book contract! I'd love to hear more about your project. And yes, friend, please know that when God calls you to something like this book project, He certainly holds you to a standard of personal truth and authenticity...integrity -- don't think for one minute that He hasn't tested me on it on MANY occasions to see if what I am writing about is lip service or from the heart. But I have to be willing to go there myself if I am going to ask women to do the same. That's what I've tried to do in the book and on my blog for over a year.

    Your impact for the Kingdom will be determined by how much you let God take you down the journey HE wants you to go on, comfortable or not. Know that the journey will not always be smooth or easy, as you likely already know. But being called to share a message with women is both the highest privalege and highest responsibility. I don't say that to scare you but rather encourage you to continue to walk through truth everyday you write, share, and live.

    He who has begun a good work in you will be faithful to complete it! It is beautiful!

    Lisa :)

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  5. Hi Jill,

    I read about Lisa's letter to herself over at her blog and was so touched by this activity.

    Oh the things I would have told myself... could have saved me a lot of heart break.

    Thanks for your constant and encouraging comments over at my place. Sweet blessings!

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