authenticity

How to Hide Till You No Longer Recognize Yourself

How to Hide Till You No Longer Recognize Yourself

Have you ever noticed that religion can teach us how to hide?

You can hide your sorrows behind “God is good.” You can hide your anxieties behind “Casting all your cares.” You can hide your burnout behind “godly Christians spend and are spent for Jesus.”

But when you hide, eventually a deep ache grows inside. You may masterfully squash your longings and shield your true feelings, but sooner or later the real you leaks out–or risks being silenced for good.

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Posted by Janna Wright in Living in Freedom, 0 comments
why i hate new year’s resolutions

why i hate new year’s resolutions

Did you make any resolutions yet or did you decide to skip that this year? Yeah, me too. I’m skipping ‘em this year.

I’ve been there, done that, and frankly, I’m just tired of it all. It seems like resolutions are just one big guilt fest for me. I don’t exercise more or stick to a new daily schedule or go to bed earlier for more than a month or two. Then I feel bad every time I’m NOT doing what I promised myself I WOULD do.

Honestly, I don’t need that kind of guilt in my life.

So for a while I tried the goals route. “Goals” just sound better than “resolutions” to me for some reason. I tried a bunch of different ways to make goals: the 48 days plan, dreamscaping, outcome based goals, new planner styles, block schedule, strategic plans. I even made up my own version of umbrella goals once.

Each plan worked for a little while, but I found myself drifting away before long. Then more guilt would set in because I’d hear things like, “If you’re aiming at nothing, you’re sure to hit it.” Great. Now I’m gonna be a floater for the rest of my life.

My New Plan

Enough with the doing already! This year I’m trying something different. I’ve decided instead of making goals or resolutions based on all the things I want to DO, I will focus on who I want to BE.

new year 2016I don’t know why it’s never occurred to me to look at the new year this way before. I’ve concentrated on BEING in grace for several years now, but never in my yearly goals. It excites me to think about who I want to BE this year instead of all the things I need to DO.

So, like with my health. Instead of saying, “I’m resolving to exercise more” I say,

“I want to be a healthy, vibrant person who feels great.”

And when I think about who I want to BE instead, I’m happier, and it’s easier to realize that a healthy, vibrant person eats more fruits and vegetables and exercises regularly. So, BEING informs my doing (instead of guilting me).

And with relationships, instead of saying,”I need to have people over to my house more and invest in good friendships” I decided to

Be a contagiously authentic person
who attracts and cultivates fabulous friendships.

And you wanna know something crazy? It’s working. I’ve already been on four friend dates in the last three weeks. It’s not hard; it’s fun!

Who will you BE in 2016?

If you and I had coffee on January 5, 2017, what would we talk about? Who would you tell me you’d been in 2016? Would that “who” make you happy? And how can you be a little more of her right now?

I believe 2016 is a FABULOUS year! How about we purpose to BE fabulous this year too?

Here’s to a year of amazing and fabulous!
May it – and you – BE all you hope!

Posted by Janna Wright in grace changes everything, 0 comments
carrots or kelp? why people don’t always get you

carrots or kelp? why people don’t always get you

I have a not-so-secret obsession.  I’ve tried to stop, but I can’t. I am compelled to collect words — especially quotations. There’s just something about stumbling over a thoughtful phrase that perfectly describes something I know to be true (and could never say as prettily) that thrills my little heart!

Here’s a recent favorite:

I complained about this recently to a friend,
this disconnect between who we are and how
others perceive us. I said: “The trouble is,
I’m a fish, but everyone thinks I’m a rabbit.”

The friend just looked me in the eye and said:
“Then why do you surround yourself with people
who can only give you carrots?”

(from I Knew You’d Be Lovely by Alethea Black)

Rabbit or Fish Moment

I had a carrot vs. kelp moment not too long ago. It was a wintry Tuesday night, and I was sitting in a metal chair in a drafty basement, surrounded by a crowd of women.

It was a community choir rehearsal, and our regular director was out of town on a much-needed vacation. So, a visiting conductor was leading. You only had to listen to him for a minute to tell this was a jolly man who knew music well, longed for us to love it like he did, and aimed to create “community” as well as “choir” with his rehearsals.

Before warm-ups he had the idea that we should introduce ourselves and share the last piece of music we’d listened to.

I was seated about two-thirds of the way through the group, and as the introductions began, the entire room turned into a Reality TV Voting System. When one person announced her music choice, some voices would agree, others would titter or comment, and the collective ooh’s and aah’s rose and fell based on how “acceptable” the piece was.

My cheeks grew warm, and I fidgeted as I waited for my turn because:

  1. I hate “judge” situations and try to avoid them as much as possible.
  2. My every day allows for little music listening, and I was having a hard time remembering the last piece I’d heard.

My turn came, and after I said my name, I blurted out “Pandora” (partly because it was the truth, and partly because I felt a little bit rebellious). The room grew quiet, and the director blinked at me blankly for a few seconds before nodding pseudo-enthusiastically and moving on.

Changing the Lenses

When I think of this silly, small event, I’m drawn back to the carrot quotation. In that moment, sitting in the metal folding chair, it dawned on me that many of the people in that room saw life a certain way – through a Music-Is-Ultra-Important lens. And while I used to wear those glasses too (like when I was taking 15 years of piano lessons, winning state competitions, earning my bachelor’s and master’s degrees in fine arts, doing music ministry in church every Sunday, singing in traveling groups, soloing in a women’s ensemble), I’ve taken them off.

I value other things now. Not because I suddenly hate music or anything — just because I know myself better today. Now I know more things I truly love, know who I am, know clearly what I’m created and called to do.

horse and carrotDo you ever feel like the people around you just don’t get you? That maybe
you view life from a far different vantage point than they do?
Are you ever confused about why people keep handing
you carrots when you’re a radiant angel fish?

You should never have to convince yourself you love orange with stripes when turquoise with bubbles is more your style. No one deserves to be force fed. That’s why knowing who you are and what you want are so important.

You are marvelously, intricately created by the Greatest Designer in the world who’s never made a mistake on any of His works of art. Maybe it’s time to swim out to sea a little? Find a new circle or two? Or perhaps take some time to sit and ponder what you really love and who you truly are.

That’s one of the first steps of living a true adventure story – discovering who you are then surrounding yourself with people who support you in being the best you possible.

(Psst… pass the kelp, please.)

Posted by Janna Wright in Discovering My True Identity, grace changes everything, 0 comments

what if your biggest weakness houses your greatest strength?

One of my favorite lines from the detective show, Monk, is when Monk admits,

“It’s a blessing and a curse.”

See, Mr Monk is a man who refuses to shake hands for fear of germs, touches light poles consecutively (backtracking for any missed ones), and wears an identical shirt/pant/sport coat ensemble every single day.

He’s also an absolute GENIUS at solving crimes. When he enters a murder scene he inevitably finds the smallest overlooked detail or some random object that’s missing or moved – and ultimately unlocks the who-dunnit!

Sure, we shake our heads at his compulsiveness, but that same attention to detail makes us shake our heads in wonder when he solves the unsolvable!

I think when Monk says, “It’s a blessing and a curse” he wisely sums up what most of us can’t realize about ourselves:

Our biggest glaring weakness often houses our GREATEST STRENGTH!

binoculars

Our Weaknesses . . .

If this line were here for you to fill in what you feel your biggest weakness is right now, what would you write?

                                                                                               

Today, I’d write emotionalism. (Is that even a word? . . . Just looked it up and Webster says it means “a tendency to regard things emotionally; undue diligence in or display of emotion.” Yup, pretty much on the money.) I’ve always had Anne-of-Green-Gables tendencies — either overcome with joy or in the depths of despair.

In trying to make a decision this morning, Dave lovingly told me to set the emotion aside and think with my True Self. Such wise words (and much needed in that particular moment)!  As I was processing later, I realized I’m often annoyed by the emotion I feel so deeply, and I hate it when it seems my emotions are running the show.

. . . Are Strengths

Then God brought to mind the storytelling book I’m devouring lately that’s teaching me the two keys of sharing a good story are authenticity and communicating emotion. God reminded me that story is important to who He created me to be and what He created me to do and that He didn’t make a mistake when He gave me emotionalism!

Sure, feeling things deeply might seem a glaring weakness when I let it run away with my thoughts. But it can be one of my greatest strengths – the one that turns me into an engaging grace and truth storyteller. A blessing I’d love to have!

So, what would you fill in the blank above? And how might it be your greatest blessing – something God designed you to be – and not just a curse?

Posted by Janna Wright in grace changes everything, 0 comments
the only place vulnerability thrives

the only place vulnerability thrives

How can you tell if someone’s a safe place? I mean, how can you really know if a person will tromp on your heart or hold it carefully with open hands?

To be honest I’ve never really liked the word vulnerable. It smacks of “Bare your soul, (but I’ll most likely judge you at some point and probably won’t be as honest with you as I demand you be with me).”

I know that shows a bit of my learned distrust. We could probably swap some jaw-dropping stories, you and I. Isn’t it funny how sometimes the ones who demand vulnerability the loudest are the least safe places to share? Hmm? Oh, you’re so right — “funny” isn’t the best word for it.

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Posted by Janna Wright in Discovering My True Identity, grace changes everything, 0 comments