Sunday, January 27, 2013

Acceptance

In Chris Maxwell's book, Pause, he asks us to look in the mirror and accept the person looking back and to look through our neighborhoods and accept the people nearby.


Acceptance...this is both easy and difficult for me.

When I decided to go back to school and get my degree, I wondered if I'd be accepted. I chose Georgia State University in downtown Atlanta not just because it offered a degree in public relations but because of the diversity the school offered.

Not everyone looked, thought or acted like I did. Nor did they look, think or act like everyone else I'd ever known. I was fascinated, though at times a little scared and insecure. But I soon learned that it was easy to accept them. They made it easy. They openly accepted me.

I made friends easily and accepted into my social circle people of different faiths, ideologies, orientations and cultures. They made me a better person. I hope they can say the same about me.

Accepting others nearby is the easier one. Accepting the person in the mirror...now that's a bit of a challenge.

I read a while back that part of integrity is acceptance. Acceptance of both the good and the not-so good about ourselves. When we accept all of who we are, we are integrated. We have integrity. Integrity is not a lofty ideal. It is...realness.

In general, I like who I am. But I have difficulty accepting some things about myself. I don't particularly care for the way I look. I get easily discouraged when it comes to my weight. I learned at a young age to associate happiness and success with thinness. That thinking has messed me up on many occasions. There are some things I need to change and other things I need to accept.

I don't like my relationship with God right now. My faith is on a roller coaster complete with ups, downs and loops. It's hard to trust when all is silent, when the doors are closed, when the darkness surrounds. I'm fighting to trust and fighting to believe. I'm fighting to accept. To help, I have a picture on my Facebook page that reminds me not to confuse God's patience with his absence.

Chris reminds me in his chapter about acceptance that I need to accept and experience life and all its abundances. And that reminds me of the Serenity Prayer: God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. 

Chris Maxwell's book Pause

Friday, January 25, 2013

Learning to Pause

" In our efforts to reach  our desires we often miss what we desire the most. Let's change that.
Let's pause.
Let's read the words.
Let's experience a better life in the normal, in the usual, in the hurt, in the questions.
Let's see the wonder. One word at a time."

These are not my words, but they are what I desire.
These words come from my friend Chris Maxwell in his most recent book, Pause.

I want to be a better person, and Chris always inspires and challenges me to be that better person. I feel so blessed to have him as a friend. I can't tell you how many times I've needed prayer and encouragement, and the next thing I know I'm getting a text or message from him. He has a way of guiding and leading and nudging that leaves me feeling encouraged, like I can accomplish big things. I never once have felt judged or like I don't measure up when I'm around him.

I want to experience a better life. I want to take the good and learn from the bad. I want peace. I want to help others be happy, be better, be whole.

I want to see the wonder. Chris always reminds people to enjoy the journey. I've heard it enough times that it has now become part of who I am. I consciously take time to notice things as I go through life. It's not always about the destination. I know that now.

I love to brag on my friends. And that's one reason I'm writing this now. I really want people to check out his new book. But I'm also writing this because as I've been reading his book, I have a million thoughts running through my head that I need to write down. So I'm using this as an introduction to future posts.

Chris takes one word at a time, shares his stories, thoughts and feelings, and then leaves the reader with three takeaways: reflect, receive, and respond. I've been reflecting and receiving. Now I want to respond and share a little of my personal journey.

So stay tuned. There is more to come. Perhaps my journey will inspire you on yours.

In the meantime, check out Chris Maxwell's book Pause. Clink on the link below the picture to learn more about his book and about him personally. He has a wonderful story.