I tend to be a defensive person.
I am defensive about many things: my gifts/abilities and how I do or don’t use them. My temperament. My motives. My parenting. My shortcomings.
I have learned that most of my defensiveness is born out of fear – fear of being misunderstood, of being alone in my experience, of feeling that I am not lovely or worthy, and that I am not enough or capable. I am most defensive when I feel most threatened. Isn’t that true of most of us?
I have spent much of the summer focused in my Bible Study and devotional time on who God says He is, who He says that I am (and the way He created me), the implications of that relationship, and how it all plays out in my life.
Coming to the realization that He created me exactly the way I am, for a purpose… that He loves me and gives me everything I need to carry out the purpose He has for my life and to take care of the responsibilities He’s given me… that my strength, wisdom, discernment, patience, love, and joy find their source in Him and not myself… it has allowed me to lay down some of my defensiveness in light of His love and grace. He is my defender, my provider, my protector, everything that I need but often try to be on my own. I don’t have to fight for what I feel like I want or need – from myself or from anyone else. I have all that I need in Him.
I’ve come to several conclusions that have been big “Aha!” moments and brought freedom and joy that I have not known before.
I am a blend of introversion and extroversion, but I slide more to the side of introversion in many ways. I have fought this in my life, and finally seeing myself for who I was created to be and celebrating it as I learn to accept it has allowed me to explore what that means for other areas of my life – my marriage, my family, my friendships, my roles in ministry. I no longer feel guilty for how I respond to people or situations, especially when that looks differently than the way others around me might respond or act. I can let go of the guilt I often feel when I take steps to care for myself – taking time and creating margin in my day and week to recharge in ways that are necessary for me. And I can see the value that I add, being wired the way that I am. I am also able to look honestly at my tendencies and push myself not to hide behind my temperament and use it as an excuse. There is a clarity here that I have been seeking. I feel like the lens has come into sharp focus (finally). And it hasn’t come without a good amount of work, study, and soul searching. It’s been worth the effort.
It has been a very good summer – full of fun with the kids, growth in my marriage, deepened friendships and some of the sweetest quiet times early in the morning. A few friends have asked for a list of “Favorite Things” to make a comeback. That cracks me up, and I’m always up for sharing what I love and enjoy. So here you go – a list of my Favorites from the Summer of 2013 to close out this blog post.
Books I’ve enjoyed:
Books that are next on my list:
As little makeup as I can get away with each day!
Laura Mercier Ambre Vanille Body Scrub and Shower Gel (can't find it anywhere anymore!)
Liquid Coconut Oil poured into a spray bottle for allover skin hydration
Food and Beverages:
Infused water (Sage and Blackberries is my favorite combo)
Wheaton Meat Co.’s White Meat Chicken Salad (with Wheat Thins)
Boar’s Head Oven Roasted Turkey and Tavern Ham
Pluots and Blackberries
Homemade stovetop popcorn
English muffin pizzas
Family bike rides
Scooters at the park
Backyard sprinkler and mini trampoline
Early morning swim lessons
FroYo at Yogli Mogli
Nerf Gun wars on Saturdays
Simple sibling play in the playroom
Trips to the lake house, all 3 kids tubing
Robbie and Ellie learning to read
Dance parties after dinner
Bedtime conversations and book reading
Spa day with my lobsters
Celebrating friends’ new babies and new homes
New babysitters that bless our family in countless ways
Trying new recipes
Simplifying our home and our schedule
Finding a new rhythm as a family
Three-pack slim greenroom notebooks from Target (in chevron - already gone)