Friday, March 11, 2011

worthwhile "exercise"

I've been rereading last year's journal. I came across an entry tonight that I want to share...for the sake of example, I guess, because I think it was a worthwhile exercise (from the prompting of my counselor last spring). The "homework" was born out of conversations surrounding identity (and, subsequently, for the purpose of understanding self): Q1, What personal character traits make me "me"? Q2, What are my innate qualities (how God has made/shaped me) Q3, Who are some of the people who have profoundly shaped/influenced me (and in what ways)? At first these might seem "cheesy" but I think they are good questions to ask and consider.

I'm only going to include my answers to the 3rd Q. I guess all of them are pretty personal but I want to include that last Q for the sake of celebrating the influence of these people as well as for the sake of challenging you all to consider the people who have helped "make you." Lately I've been reminded how we're shaped by relationship(s). While in Africa I heard the phrase, "Everyone I ever meet has something to teach me." I've always found it rather fascinating how lives intersect. The crossing of stories is part of the gift of life, not something I want to take for granted.

So, people who have shaped my life (not limited to but including):

Papa--taught me that I don't have to be loud and outspoken or constantly "verbal" to be someone, to stand for something, to have value and/or be valued.
Mrs. Monroe (High School teacher)--through creative writing and the study of literature, taught me not to be afraid of making something of myself; to be properly proud of who I am (and am becoming).
Mrs. O'Hair (High School teacher, mentor)--taught me that failure doesn't change who I am or what God thinks of me. She taught me boldness, courage, and honesty.
Paco (a "missionary grandpa")--taught me of God's pleasure in and over me (and each one of us). Encouraged me to pursue my dreams and passions with God.
Dr. Sundahl (Hillsdale Prof.)--taught me to learn to laugh at myself and at life; to not be afraid of being who I am or of doing what I choose to do and pursue. Helped me live and experience freedom in life (and to approach life with a twinkle in my eye :)).
Dr. de Rosset (Moody Prof.)--taught me boldness and confidence; to "lighten up" and enjoy life and not take it all so serious. She taught me to not apologize for my gifts and talents but to use them (and develop them). Encouraged me to "be real" and to speak truth.
Mr. Howard (Moody Prof.)--taught me of the goodness of God and how understanding it forever changes our relationship with Him. Taught me about the pathos of God; how to humbly and truly fall in love with the God of Scripture not Scripture as book; to pursue and live dynamic relationship with God.
Dr. Schmutzer (Moody Prof., mentor)--taught me to learn/know self (strengths/weaknesses) and not apologize for who I am and am becoming; the integration of biblical/theological study and the realities of a broken world. Encouraged me to embrace my abilities and capabilities and to use them for God and world. Taught me confidence, boldness, honesty, empathy, self-care and rest. Helped me understand and explore the suffering of God and the impact this has on God's relationship with/to the world. Encouraged me to be a life-long learner; helped me study well and study for the sake of living not merely for the sake of knowledge.

**disclaimer: these are not things "learned," necessarily, but still (and always) things learning.

This Lent I'm finding and entrusting parts of my life that need to remember the gifts and promises of God. One such gift and promise is relationship. Something we easily take for granted and begin to feel entitled to... about you? Who have been some of the "key figures" in your life thus far? I think it's important to recognize and acknowledge them. It makes us grateful people. It helps us live life as gift.

[I feel like i need to say that "family" is a huge category of relationship that has shaped me. For those of us blessed with loving, supportive, and encouraging families, the relationships therein can often be easily taken for granted. Also, i think that relationships that travel with us through life can often be easily overlooked. They can grow more "common" but hardly less significant or important. Those key figures who come in and out for a season--or two or three--can leave a more "obvious" impact because the intersection is more of an interruption. hmm...see, i told you...i find this sort of thing so fascinating...]

ugh. ok, this headache isn't going away. tylenol pm and an early to bed. hello, weekend, so glad you are here.

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