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"Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive" (Brené Brown).
I love this. Brene Brown has been one of my favorite authors for a long time and her words continue to inspire and challenge me. What if we had a whole world full of people who felt alive and full of life? That would be a stark contrast to the stress and fatigue that is so often felt in the world today.
How do we work toward a world that is alive? God created each of us as individuals. We each have a unique set of gifts, experiences, and interests. It is our privilege to be able to discover those gifts. To explore the heart that God gave us and how our experiences have played a role in shaping the personality that we were born with. It is then important to find ways to incorporate the things that make us feel alive into our lives frequently.
"You can't give from an empty cup" (unknown). In other words, if we feel empty and depleted, we aren't our best selves and can become more prone to be selfish and angry (I can attest to this from personal experience). On the other hand, if we can set boundaries on our time and be willing to sometimes say "no" to the things that drain us (obviously that's not always possible), freeing up time to do things that fill us and bring us joy, we can live and give from a more gentle and selfless place.
"Whatever it is that stirs your soul, listen to that. Everything else is just noise." -Nicole Lyons
In this season of life, I have been exploring what brings me joy and fills me with life in a way that aligns with my personality. I am a raging introvert, so I need to make sure that I am intentional about setting aside time for myself to process and debrief.
Sometimes that's spending hours journaling and reading, sometimes it's jotting down a quick thought, listening to a song that speaks to me, or taking a quick walk around the block. I've found that it doesn't always have to be big things but that the little things, that take only minutes, add up.
Recently, my time alone took me on a little trip. There was a singer that I wanted to see in concert and I, unfortunately, missed him when he was here, in Minnesota. I looked up his tour and found that Indianapolis, Indiana was the next closest concert. Immediately, I felt a spark of excitement about the possibility of spending 10 hours alone with just the road and music to listen to. I knew I had to go. I had to follow the spark.
Before I knew it, I had booked an Airbnb, bought the tickets, and was on the road. One of my favorite parts was being able to turn up my music, roll down my windows, and sing/dance along as I drove. Music and the lyrics have always been very therapeutic to me. I love finding songs that beautifully put to words what I'm thinking and feeling. Finding the right lyrics and quotes have a way of making me feel understood in a way that I often fail to feel with people. The music feels safer. There is no risk of being rejected, betrayed, or misunderstood by a song that I can simply turn off if I choose.
Another thing that I loved was getting to explore little shops in the area. There is something so freeing to me about shopping in a new city and getting a taste of their culture. I also learned that I am much more outgoing when I am alone than I am when I am with other people that I know. It forces me out of my safety zone to be in the present moment and interact with those around me.
Having a few days to myself was exactly what I needed and when I came back, I felt more alive than when I had left. I know bigger things like that can't be done frequently, but it's important to do the big things sometimes. To have something to look forward to, and to feed your soul on a larger level.
A ten-hour car ride or spending three days alone might sound like torture to some people but that is why the discovery of what incites your individual passion is so important. You're not me and I'm not you. We are unique and have differences in what fuels our fire. Find what fuels yours, or the combination of things that fuel yours.
What I need looks a little bit different on a day-to-day basis. Sometimes it's getting up early to get in some movement and quiet time, other times it's sleeping in and letting my body rest. Sometimes I need a night alone and sometimes I need time to connect to those in my inner circle of people. I aim to continually ask myself what I need and what will bring me closer to where I want to be.
Life is full of responsibilities and obligations that will always be there. Perhaps if we all took some time to focus more on the spark inside, we could bring the spark into the "have to's".
"The things that excite you are not random. They are connected to your purpose. Follow them" (Unknown).