Point to Ponder:
How quickly can you identify and list the things you love about yourself?
Last week a dear friend sent me a post that was being tossed around on Instagram. The post read, “And if I asked you to name all of the things that you love, how long would it take for you to name yourself?” This question blew my socks off, because honestly, if asked this question, naming myself would never come to mind. This is not because I don’t love myself, because I really do (at least I think I do), but I would never think to put myself on this list. However, what did come mind is this question, “And if I asked you to name all of the things you love about yourself, how long would it take you to identify and list them?
Just as receiving a beautiful compliment with a solid, “Thank You” (without any fillers) is an ongoing Love Yourself opportunity, most importantly is the opportunity to truly love our whole self— our physical attributes, personality characteristics, strengths, gifts, abilities and even appreciate the things we wish we could change, but can’t. Let’s be honest, we/women can pick ourselves apart more ferociously than a savage and hungry momma wolf ripping into her prey. Way too often we’re self-critical, comparing and judging ourselves—wishing we had different physical attributes, characteristics from our past or qualities of someone else. Or, we don’t fully appreciate and use our gifts and strengths and instead covet those of others. Frankly, while we are all striving to be attractive, better and more, being self-critical is much more unattractive than our so-called imperfections and flaws, which only prevent us from fully living and completely loving ourselves and others.
A perfect story of what God can do for and through us when we fully acknowledge, claim and love our unique design, a.k.a His unique and purposefully created masterpieces (us) ,is the story of Austinite and friend of iGnite’s, Kristin Scheel. If you live in Austin, then you’re likely aware of the Turquoise Table movement she started approximately five years ago. I have known Kristin for over ten years and her personality has always been big and bright. In fact, I’ve often referred to her as “Sunshine”, because she’s just that. After her Turquoise Table idea spread like wildfire and became a movement, I sat down with her to ask how it all began. She told me that for years she was coveting the spiritual gifts and strengths of others, and while she knew her God-given spiritual gift was hospitality (because she had taken several spiritual gift tests and hospitality continued to show up as her strongest spiritual gift), she really wanted to have a different spiritual gift. For a good while, she tried very hard but to no avail. Then, after purchasing a picnic table (and painting it turquoise-her favorite color), for a party in her backyard, Kristin decided to move the table to her front yard in an effort to get to know her neighbors, be more hospitable and develop more community within her neighborhood.
Fast forward to today and there are turquoise tables in front yards of homes all over the world, Kristin has written a book, “Finding Community and Connection in Your Own Front Yard”, created a Turquoise Table starter kit, established a Turquoise Table Collection, and is currently on a crazy-awesome speaking tour that is booked at least one year in advance. Even her friends, like iGnite, can’t get on her schedule until 2019! That’s wild, but what is even more exciting is Kristin’s courageousness to fully embrace her God-given gifts and how God is using her to inspire, encourage and influence people and communities all over the world to get outside, connect with one another and love their neighbors.
As for appreciating our ungratifying physical attributes, in a past blog post and iGnite journal, Kathleen Parker, an amazing iGnite Team Leader, wrote about her sun spots on her hands and recognizing her hands are likely larger than most women’s. In the midst of looking at her hands, she she felt tremendous gratitude for them and all they allow her to do. She said, “They held, loved, and raised her four babies. They may not be delicate and beautiful, but they are strong! They can grip and hold a ski rope behind any boat (which is when I am my happiest!). They even won the “grip test” at the Austin’s Fittest Competition and they were great to have at the pull-up station, too. They enable me to live my dream job everyday! They are holding my husband’s hands.”
When I think about Kristin and Kathleen’s experiences the word that comes to mind is awareness. Despite multiple spiritual gift tests indicating that Kristin’s primary gift was hospitality, she was initially focused on other qualities she saw in others that she would like to possess. Later, when Kristin became aware of her natural gift of hospitality and focused on what she does best, creating connection and community, she ended up experiencing blessings and opportunities well beyond her imagination. Similarly, Kathleen had a choice regarding how she viewed her hands. She could have focused on them being a bit larger than other women’s hands or she could be aware that her hands have provided her with amazing opportunities to do things she loves: embrace her daughters, hold her husband’s hand, and grasp a rope that allows her to waterski.
Think about the many gifts you have and allow yourself to be more aware of some qualities/characteristics/attributes that you once thought to be neutral that are actually personal strengths and a beautiful and unique part of you. Choose to change your lens, become aware of all you have and all you are, and then enjoy how you feel as well as how you experience and love yourself and those around you! And finally, every day read and believe these loving words from the magazine Darling:
Darling, you are a work of art.
You have the ability to fully display beauty apart from vanity, influence apart from manipulation, style apart from materialism, kindness apart from passivity, strength apart from competition and dignity without degradation.
You are a catalyst to transform the world around you through your wit, wisdom, character and courage--all the while creating beauty and embodying love.
You are not only interesting but original, not only good enough, but exceptional.
Not just here, but here for a purpose.
List your many gifts, qualities, characteristics and attributes and begin using and sharing them. Choose to change your lens, become aware of all you have and all you are, and then enjoy how you feel as well as how you experience and love yourself and those around you!
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