Looking Back, Moving Forward

Wow. Already the first week of this new year has passed. As we began this new season along our shared path, I shared a new focus and some ways to bring us into alignment.

On this edition of “Becoming Today”, we’ll take a look back at the week that was, so we can prepare to move forward.

Now in our third year of this quest, I’ve dubbed it version 3.0 and our yearlong theme will be one involving accepting, becoming and moving forward, “From Within“.

You can not create a state of “Becoming”, if you aren’t willing to let the former or current  realities go. To do so we must begin by shifting our focus within.

Turning within, we can find our center. Balance. Ground and prepare to shift our momentum to the next level, moving both forward and upward. All year long we’ll share daily reminders about focusing within as we also continue our initial focus of what it means to be “Becoming Today”:

Coming together as independent individuals, sharing a planet, and intentionally setting our combined focus on becoming the strongest, most empowered God-fearing women we can be; it is vital we set these objectives, hopes and shared visions in writing, to make them truly achievable and to hold each of us and the “we” accountable. “”Coming together as independent individuals, sharing a planet, and intentionally setting our combined focus on becoming the strongest, most empowered God-fearing women we can be; it is vital we set these objectives, hopes and shared visions in writing, to make them truly achievable and to hold each of us and the “we” accountable. 

In this year of 3.0, we will focus much on accountability both personally and as the groups we choose to associate with. It should be an interesting year, hopefully filled with growth and change.

On Tuesday, our discussion was called, “Worry No More“. A key element of being “Becoming” is living a righteous life. To do so requires we cast all of our cares upon God.

Ensuring that we are the same page let’s explore some shared definitions.

Righteous living on our path to “Becoming” can literally be defined as being “right especially in a moral way”.  Being righteous means doing the right thing at all times not only for yourself, but also for others. 

Moving forward then let’s establish that to “cast” literally means to “throw.”  When you throw something to someone, you are releasing it, trusting they’ll catch it and handle it appropriately. So whether it’s tossing the car keys or passing a basketball, it’s the same analogy as releasing your cares to God. You are putting the responsibilities for them in His court. 

So what exactly are your cares? They are different for each and every one of us, but can generally be understood as our personal fears, worries, doubts, anxieties, or troubles. 

By handing them off to the Lord we are demonstrating trust in God that He is able and willing to deal with our concerns.

Inasmuch as Scripture Instructs us to cast our cares, and Jesus himself told people not to worry. Not to show obedience in this matter, would be the opposite of righteous living. It shows not only a lack of obedience but can be described as being dishonorable to God.

Why? Because if we do not release the anxieties for Him to handle and try to battle them alone, we are trying to do His job. Attempting to take His burdens upon our shoulders will crush us. However if we follow the advice of the Apostle Peter that weight can be immediately lifted.

Peter’s advice is to cast all our cares upon God

None of us need to weigh ourselves down with emotional baggage. We don’t have to carry the burden of our worries. Nor must we submit to the bondage of fear, self doubt or loathing. 

God is willing to release us from all of it. By taking all of our anxiety and concerns upon Himself.

By now you’re saying something similar to ( if not exactly as) ‘easier said, than  done’. True but “Becoming” as we have well established by now involves work. Sometimes arduous labor. Making deep commitments and then elevating that dedication to the level of covenants.

Understanding that as well as coming together with common expressions of the involved concepts , now go ahead and ask me, “what’s next?”.

Our next shared step on Wednesday was to “Heal Thyself From Within“.

This involves taking care of ourselves.

What is Self-Care?

On the simplest level it is taking care of yourself. We know we are unable to care for, assist or be of service to others if at first we are not addressing our own needs and healing. It’s the old story about the flight attendant’s speech. What is the first thing you are supposed to do if the oxygen masks drop on a plane? Put yours on first then you can come to the aid of others.

Self-Care is also being good to yourself. Treating yourself like you would others. It involves self acceptance, gentle self talk, self compassion, having empathy for yourself and seeing that your basic human needs are being met.

If you are not feeling that you are receiving C.D.R. (compassion, dignity and respect) the first thing to check is are you giving them freely to yourself? If you’re not respecting yourself, not allowing yourself to live a dignified  life or not accepting your own ups and down with compassion, why would anyone else be? 

Recognizing what self-care is, now let’s explore some of the benefits of this practice.

“Becoming” More Productive 

When you care for yourself and become more balanced in your approach to any situation, your goals can become clearer. You are able to focus better and concentration is boosted allowing for you to get the work done.

“Becoming” Healthier

There is all kinds of research, both from medical and psychological professionals that show Self-Care is healing. Studies have shown those who  do adopt the strategy are able to activate their parasympathetic nervous system. This allows your body to enter into a more restful state which strengthens your immune system.  Researchers have also learned that those who adopt healthy self-care rituals also catch fewer colds, are less likely to get the flu , have fewer instances of upset stomachs and have generally lower stress levels.

“Becoming” via Positive Self Esteem

Yesterday we focused on the need for and benefits of improving or maintaining a positive sense of self. Treating yourself like you matter and are valuable can silence your inner critic and discourages getting involved in negative self-talk. 

“Becoming” Of More Service

Being good to yourself allows for you to find and develop the resources needed to be more accepting and compassionate. This allows you to build on your strengths and be able to give and assist more freely. 

On Thursday, we took some time to invest in ourselves. In “Boosting Our Value“, I noted:

“Everyday it seems we hear about increases in prices and how the value of this and that continues to reach record highs. 

But what about you?

Is your value increasing? 

Are you taking steps to ensure that it is or are you allowing yourself to be devalued by others?”

If you’re waiting for someone else to declare your value is increasing, not only may you have to wait a long time you are looking in the wrong direction.

The way we increase our value is bringing ourselves into alignment with God’s definition of us. We are His masterpiece.

From the moment He created us, we were designed for more. As you can read in Ephesians 2:10, “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”

A masterpiece, designed to be able to successfully fulfill your unique purpose.

Do you feel that way?

At times we can all be guilty of not living up to the standards we were designed to exceed, so how can we overcome those moments and become all we were intended to be?

It’s another of those steps on the path to “Becoming Today” that at times can sound easier than it is. To develop strong positive self esteem is more than just saying you want to. It takes work, hard work, deeply personal work and concentrated effort. 

Yesterday we shared a conversation about “Renewing Our Steps”.

So how do we ready ourselves for this discussion? Let’s begin with the concept of “Readiness”. 

It’s really beyond just a simple definition so let’s examine three aspects of the word and then develop our thoughts into how it applies to our shared path.

noun: readiness

  1. the state of being fully prepared for something.

synonyms: preparedness, preparation, at the ready, available, on hand, accessible, handy, at one’s fingertips, prepared, primed, on standby, standing by, on stand-to, on call, on full alert

  1. willingness to do something.

synonyms: inclination, enthusiasm, eagerness, keenness, gameness, promptness, quickness, alacrity, ease, facility, address

  1. immediacy, quickness, or promptness.

synonyms: swiftness, speed, speediness, punctuality, timeliness, cleverness, sharpness, astuteness, shrewdness, keenness, discernment, skill, skillfulness

Each of these explanations offer insights to the usefulness of being “ready”.

Readiness allows for us to be ready for change. To have the tools accessible to use to put that willingness into action. The eagerness, the ability, the skills to see ourselves “Becoming” who or what it is we desire, along with the understanding of the immediacy that we need to step forward and build our individual momentum. The first step in exercising our readiness is to commit to resolving our questions and having the resilience to initiate the first step.

Resilience, therefore, is the next aspect we need to examine.

noun: resilience

  1. the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.
  2. the ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape; elasticity.

synonyms: flexibility, pliability, suppleness, plasticity, elasticity, springiness, spring, give, durability, ability to last, strength, sturdiness, toughness, strength of character, hardiness, adaptability, buoyancy, bouncebackability.

Once we have entered the state of readiness we need to strengthen our commitment by stepping up our resilience. We need to have the flexibility to change to become. We need to have the strength and the resolve to continue through obstacles, strengthening our character through both our success and our missteps. 

This adaptability and willingness to learn and grow is essential to our combined journeys along this path of “Becoming”. 

Being prepared and ready , armed with resilience and ability to overcome, we can then take on the next step of “recovery”.

noun: recovery

  1. a return to a normal state of health, mind, or strength.

synonyms: recuperation, convalescence, return to health, process of getting better, rehabilitation, healing, rallying, improvement, picking up, betterment, amelioration, rally, upturn, upswing, comeback, revival, renewal, a turn for the better

  1. the action or process of regaining possession or control of something stolen or lost.

synonyms: retrieval, regaining, repossession, getting back, recapture, reclamation, recouping, retaking, redemption, replevin, recoupment, recuperation

First I’ll raise an objection with the dictionary folks here with the first inclination to be expressing recovery as “ a return to a normal state”.  Since normalcy o a belief of what is supposedly normal is highly subjective, I don’t feel it adds to a shared understanding. In fact a recent study found use of the word normal was perceived by many to be limiting, restrictive and if  something was referred to as normal it made them feel as if they were being excluded.

It caused a multinational corporation to announce they were saying “no to normal” on their product descriptions.

The research conducted in 9 countries found, …

“Seven in ten people agree that using the word ‘normal’ on product packaging and advertising has a negative impact. For younger people – those aged 18-35 – this rises to eight in ten.” – Unilever says no to ‘normal’

Taking this into consideration then I believe we need to formulate a definition of recovery as to be a return to  or the achievement of individual optimal health, increased strength and a clarity of thought.

No two people are exactly alike, not even identical twins, so a recovery for an individual is highly subjective and we need to understand that while we can accept a meaning for ourselves and be cognisant of another’s understanding they will always vary. 

Keeping that in mind,  for our communal purposes then let’s consider recovery as an ongoing process of reinvigorating renewal. The ability to rebound, reclaim and respect ourselves and our goals.  Perspectives that are very much an essential part of the essence of our “Becoming”.

That’s a look back at the week that was. What lays ahead? Find out, come Monday and join us for our next edition of “Becoming Today”.

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