Have I mentioned lately that I love The Influence Network? Last year, I attended their conference, and since then have become involved in their online community. It's a place for Christian women to come together, pray, encourage and empower one another. There's forums, private small groups, and monthly online classes on all sorts of topics, from studying the Bible, to business tips, savvy wardrobes, or household decorating.
On Tuesday night I took a class called Thriving over Striving by Sarah Dolislager. In the class, Sarah lead us through different scriptures, shared from her personal life, and encouraged us to consider where we're truly finding our value. Is it in numbers, in being recognized, in making a large stamp on this life, or is our value found in Jesus alone? For her, this meant closing her business for awhile, so that she could focus on being the best wife, best friend that God created her to be.
When the class began, I honestly didn't think there was anything I could apply to my life. But then, I started to see the cracks. I started to recognized the areas in which I do strive to be recognized, to be known. Where I do strive to be something... more.
I think it's a part of our lives that often has to be reevaluated. From time to time, it's good to ask ourselves where our focus lies. Are we looking to the work for recognition too much, or looking too much at our own abilities, versus focusing on God?
For me, it means keeping my priorities in check.
It means being content with the gifts and abilities that God has given me.
It means, not necessarily that I stop writing, stop trying to submit work to publications, but that I make sure that my focus is on Jesus, not the amount of Instagram followers (or blog reads) that I have at the moment. And that, honestly, I don't take it too personally when people reject my writing. I know I have a story to tell, so I'll keep putting the time in, keep seeking out new venues to share that story.
It means not comparing myself to others, but finding joy in the life God has created for me.
It means finding ways to use my abilities, in the life, in the family God has given me. This means that I often don't have much time for writing. My 2 & 5 year old are way too dependent for me to do that just yet. But I do think it's important to not feel frustrated with them. And to not compare my life with someone else's.
It means... truly being happy being me. Me, fearfully and wonderfully made, with a love of reading, writing, sharing what the Lord has on my heart. Me. Just me. Created in the image of God with passions, desires, words that I long to share. Me. Thriving where God has placed me for such a time as this.