For the Love of Introverts

This post is part of a series, sharing my favourite products and discoveries from this last year. (You can find the first post here.) If you have any favourite ideas to contribute, please feel free to comment. Anyone who comments during this series over the next two weeks will have their name entered in a draw for an Amazon gift card. Let us know what you’re loving!

Today’s favourites are related to the post I shared yesterday on personality types. As I mentioned, I’m an introvert and I love my alone time!! But as a homeschooling mom of three kids, it can be hard to recharge, so today I’m going to share three things which have been really helpful this year. If you’re an extrovert, take notes, because you’re bound to have an introvert in your life who could benefit from these things, too!! (affiliate links included)

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking

This book has been showing up everywhere, and for good reason – it is AMAZING!! It’s such a good read for anyone, extrovert or introvert. It’s been crazy for me to read the ways in which our culture is built for extroverts. I’ve actually needed to read this book slowly, because I need to give my mind time to keep up with all the shifts that happen as I read it! I’m constantly recognizing ways in which I give in to pressures around me, or how I’m parenting my own little introvert in ways that aren’t helpful or healthy, but it’s just the way things have always been done.

Susan Cain has done a phenomenal job researching this book, and it is so well written. Her interviews are fascinating, and she questions many things we consider normal, but are really geared for extroverts, and make introverts miserable and uncomfortable. I keep realizing how much I’ve come to accept being uncomfortable! It’s hard for me to be honest and stand up for myself, and say no to things which don’t work well for my personality type. No, I’d rather not shake hands with complete strangers in church. (No offense!) No, I’d rather not answer my phone…like, ever. (I bet an introvert invented texting!) No, I’d rather not work with a group of people on anything I could just do it by myself.

As I shared in yesterday’s post, I truly love people, and I don’t like to be alone all the time. But there are certain interactions (small talk, gossip, strained conversation, etc.) that drain me quickly, while deeper conversations about topics which interest and inspire me are life-giving. It’s interesting to think of ways to recover from energy-sucking interactions, and add in more of the life-giving ones.

This book is great for introverts who want to find out what’s awesome about being an introvert, and for extroverts who need to grow in their appreciation for all that introverts are capable of, and why we need them to keep things balanced.

Headphones

Best purchase of the year. All of my kids looooooove listening to music, but most of the time, I just want it to be quiet and peaceful. I don’t like multi-tasking, so my favourite time to listen to music is when no one else is around, and I don’t have to listen to people talking to me and listen to music.

We’ve struggled with my low noise threshold for years, but finally figured out that headphones would save the day for everybody. It’s been the best thing ever – I have my peace and quiet, and my kids take turns listening to as much music as their little hearts desire. They think it’s far more fun to listen to music with headphones than without, so it’s suddenly become a special treat, and great entertainment.

Podcast Episode: How Personality Types Manage Energy

I used to think being alone was enough to recharge me, but listening to this podcast episode was very eye-opening. There are 16 different personality types (take the test here), and each type recharges in a different way. Each one has it’s greatest area of strength, and when we utilize that strength, we are recharged. For me, that strength is thinking! Specifically, it’s thinking about how my day is going, noticing patterns in my kids’ behaviour, trying to think up solutions to make our home run better and keep everybody in a healthier place. When I have the chance to be alone, I make myself set aside the phone or the book or whatever would distract me, and I just think. At first it felt weird and like I should be doing something more productive, but it’s been amazing for me! I could think for hours. However, there are also times when I need to get out of my head, and so the best way for my type (INFJ) to balance out is to do something that physically connects me to the moment of enjoyment, like yoga, a walk, or a hot shower.

But that’s just my type. There’s a type that recharges by going back to a familiar book or movie, and a type that feels most rested when they’re learning, so listening to a podcast feels very restful. Extroverts feel energized and refreshed by different types of social interactions. There are many different ways to recharge, and it makes a lot of sense to get intentional about it. When we just blindly stumble along and do whatever feels good, we could be wasting valuable down time that’s not leaving us recharged. This episode is definitely worth listening to, for all personality types!!

Alright, let me hear it – what are your favourite ways to recharge? What gives you energy?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Personality Types

This post is part of a series, sharing my favourite products and discoveries from this last year. (You can find the first post here.) If you have any favourite ideas to contribute, please feel free to comment. Anyone who comments during this series over the next two weeks will have their name entered in a draw for an Amazon gift card. Let us know what you’re loving!

You guys, today’s topic is my favourite of all the favourites. It’s shaped my thinking in some big ways over this last year, but it’s a huge topic, so I’ll only be able to give you a bit of an overview. If anything peaks your interest, I’ll point you to some great resources so you can dig deeper if you’d like.

Today we’re talking about personality types and the Myers Briggs tool. Most people are at least familiar with this tool, so you probably know about it, but this was the year I dug into it and got a much better understanding. In case you’re not too familiar with it, here’s how it works:

There are 16 different personality types, but this doesn’t mean each person with the same type will be exactly the same. We give our personality our own individual twist, and there are many factors playing into it, but these generalizations can be extremely helpful in exploring how we think and respond to people and situations.

Each 16 types is given a combination of four letters which stand for words describing your personal preferences – Introvert or Extrovert, Sensing or Intuition, Thinking or Feeling, Judging or Perceiving. My letters are INFJ, and Ben is an ENFP, for example. Here’s what that means:

Introvert or Extrovert

Do you need to be alone to recharge, or does being with other people make you feel energized? “Do you prefer to focus on the outer world or on your own inner world?” (source) Although people have a preference one way or the other, people are usually a mix of the two. For example, I’m an introvert, but I really love people and don’t like to be alone for endless amounts of time. I need to be alone to recharge, and get super grumpy and overstimulated if I don’t get enough alone time, but if I’m alone for a whole day, I actually start getting depressed and feel very out of balance. Ben, on the other hand, is an extrovert, but says he would have no problem being alone for a couple of days. We are opposite in how we prefer to recharge, but because I’m an extroverted introvert, and he’s more of an introverted extrovert, we’ve found it pretty easy to find balance in this area.

Sensing or Intuition

Sensors are very present in the world around them. They take in information with their five senses and are very aware of their environment. They are focused on facts and experiences as they actually happened, while intuitives are all about reading between the lines and picking up on undercurrents. Their thoughts leap all over the place, they love new ideas, and they are more abstract. Ben and I are both intuitives, so our conversations go deep and wide, with lots of new thoughts to explore. Both of us use metaphors a lot to explain things. I find that most of my friends are intuitives, but I have great appreciation for the sensors in my life. My mom is a sensor, and there is no one like her when it comes to throwing a party. Sensors are all about holidays and traditions, and when I look back on my childhood, I can see how consistent she was with traditions that meant and still mean a lot to me. Unfortunately, I have a lot of trouble with repeating the same practice for my own family. I used to feel a lot of guilt about this – being a “good mom” meant being like my mom, but I just didn’t have the energy to do a lot of things she did. It’s been very freeing to discover this past year that a “good mom” can actually look many different ways, and when we spent Canada Day at the cabin with my parents,  I was delighted to let her decorate and make the whole thing beautiful and festive so we could enjoy the tradition without me needing to do all the work. I’m absolutely not lazy, like I used to worry about – I just have different priorities, and get excited, energetic, and motivated by different things.

Thinking or Feeling

When making decisions, Thinkers focus on facts, logic, and effectiveness, while Feelers focus more on people’s emotions, and think more about keeping everybody feeling happy, understood, and cared for. Thinkers still have feelings, and Feelers still think, but it’s their preferred way of processing. Ben and I are both Feelers, so things in our home are very focused on the deep conversations to get everybody connected. Anika may very well be a Thinker, though, because sometimes she’ll suddenly say, “Okay, I get it, can we stop talking about this now?” I used to think she was being totally disrespectful, and while I still think tone makes a huge difference, I’ve come to recognize that she reaches her limit for conversation on certain topics. Sometimes I’d feel a little shut down when she’d say it, but now I can understand that my efficient daughter is just ready to move on to the next thing, and I choose not to take it personally.

It seems that many times, hurt feelings come about because of these differences. Feelers tend to share thoughts and emotions which Thinkers don’t always connect with. Thinkers are more straightforward, and think all the fluff and emotions Feelers use to communicate are unnecessary and maybe even a waste of time. These are vastly different styles of communication, and I’ve seen (and felt!) these opposite approaches bring about misunderstanding and hurt where it was never intended. As a Feeler, I find it very helpful to have another point of view to examine when someone doesn’t respond to me in the way I expected and anticipated.

Judging or Perceiving

The easiest way for me to differentiate between these last two preferences is to figure out if someone has a “work before play” mentality, or if they just love to have fun anytime, throwing in a bit of work here and there, wherever it fits in best. Or make the work fun! I use judging, and it’s all work. I don’t want to even think about having fun until the to-do list is done, and then I can move on to the fun part feeling guilt-free and ready to enjoy myself. But Ben is the fun one in our home, and he’s all about turning on the music while we work, and thinking up ways to make it more enjoyable. Life with him has definitely made me learn to be less intense. Sometimes there’s a bit of frustration because I have a list and I’m on a mission, which is not his style at all, but it’s pretty much the only area where we have to work on things in our relationship. I read an article recently about what it’s like for an INFJ and ENFP to be in relationship, and it said we’re the perfect match, comparing us to levitating unicorns, which sounds quite magical to me. Our relationship is not perfect, but it’s pretty great! I’m very happy with my unicorn.:)

So all of that is only the beginning of the 16 personality types, and it can go in a million different directions. In the last year, I’ve used it to deepen my understanding of myself, my relationship with Ben, in parenting, extended family relationships, friendships, pretty much anywhere I interact with people. It’s been eye-opening and sometimes slightly uncomfortable, but mostly fantastic. Interestingly, not all personality types like personality typing! Some types see no use for it, while other types are drawn strongly to it. Ben’s type doesn’t like to put people in a box, but he sees some value in the tool. My type finds it a huge relief, because I finally feel understood and like I’m not completely weird in the way I respond to stuff!

If it’s something that interests you, the best place to start learning is by taking a free personality test here. I love the podcasts by Personality Hacker, which you can find here. The profile descriptions at this site are very informative, and to get a better understanding of what the difference is between Extravert/Introvert, Sensing/Intuition, Feeling/Thinking, and Judging/Perceiving, I really like the list format provided at this site.

The best book I’ve read this year is MotherStyles: Using Personality Type to Discover Your Parenting Strengths (affiliate link). A lot of things started making sense to me when I read this book, like why I parent the way I do, my relationship with each of my kids, why I was the way I was as a kid, and our family dynamics. I’m just finishing it up now, and I’m eager to see how it will positively impact things in our home.

Earlier this year, I was searching for a book that would help me figure out how to survive as an introvert parent when I’m with my kids all day. I love them like crazy, but I was feeling overwhelmed because of never having enough alone time. I’d feel guilty when I took alone time because I felt I needed to be with them to be a loving, attentive mom! I couldn’t find a single book for introvert parents, which made me feel very frustrated, but then a friend mentioned this book to me, and it’s been so much more helpful than I was even hoping for! Because it covers all 16 personality types, as well as the different personalities our spouse and children bring to the home, it is very informative and useful for absolutely anybody interested in learning more about Myers Briggs. Such a great resource.

And a big favourite around here is the Myers Briggs Disney princess site, because it’s become vitally important to understand which princess everyone is most like, and it makes me Elsa, so it’s a big topic of discussion around here.

Are you a fan of the Myers Briggs tool? Bonus points to anyone who takes the test and comes back to tell me what you are! 🙂

 

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Maybe It’s Not Too Late

Last December, Anika and I set off on a little orthodontic adventure together.

I’ve been grinding my teeth and experiencing jaw and neck problems for 17 years. I’ve spent thousands of dollars on pain management over the years, so when I was told braces were the only remaining option, I decided to take the plunge. It was not an easy decision – I’m nearing 40, and it seemed a little late for braces. I didn’t want to go through the pain, hassle, and expense. Besides, my teeth didn’t look that bad, and Ben is perfectly happy with my appearance, so why bother changing anything?

There was a very clear turning point in my decision-making process. Dr. McFarlane (whom we love, and if you ever need an orthodontist in Winnipeg, you should definitely see him!) told me about an 80-year-old woman who had just finished her process with braces, because she couldn’t get dentures until her jaw was fixed. I remember thinking, “If I have to get braces, I would rather do it now than when I’m 80!” Along with that, Ben thought that if I could live with less pain, the cost of braces would be covered by the money we would save on pain management.

Being a loving, generous mother, I passed on my jaw problems to Anika. Although it’s a financially challenge to have both of us in braces at the same time, it gives me great joy to know we’re saving her from all the years of pain that I’ve had to put up with.

So we’ve had the bonding experience of getting our braces tightened together, and that part’s been fun. During the times when we’ve been in a lot of pain, and she’s come to me for comfort, I’ve found it hard to fully be there for her when I’ve got my own pain to deal with, and the comfort is in short supply, but other than that, it’s been a really positive experience.

What has surprised me is how often people who comment on my braces will say things like, “I’ve been wanting to get my teeth fixed for years, but I don’t know if I’ll actually do anything about it….” And then they have a bunch of questions, which I’m happy to answer, because I’m becoming kind of passionate about this: If there’s something you want to do, you should do it. Don’t say it’s too late. Deal with tight finances for awhile to make it happen. Put in the time and effort. Because when you’re eighty, you might really, really wish you had done it.

Sometimes it’s just not possible to fulfill our dreams, and I get that. I have my own share of unfulfilled dreams, but I’m trusting God to restore what’s been lost. There will be other dreams, and it will all be good. But if it’s in my power to go after something I want, and there’s peace about pursuing it when I pray about it, I want to do it.

And so we are immersed in the wonderful world of dental wax and trying to get food out of our braces whenever we eat and doing the good work for the long-term.

Is there anything you’ve been wanting to do for years, but something’s holding you back? Anything you think is too late to pursue?

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Grey Hair, Don’t Care (I Wish!)

It’s time for another grey hair post! Every so often, I need to remind myself why I’ve decided to grow out my grey hair. I’ve reached the uncomfortable stage of this process. It’s been fun and surprisingly painless until now. My hairdresser has been using a variety of highlights and lowlights to blend the line of my roots growing out, and I’ve liked it. Highlights make me feel fancy. But the line’s been blended, my natural hair colour has grown out everywhere except at the top of my head where I’ve been getting highlights, and now my hairdresser says I’m ready to grow everything out.

Taken last fall, when I was still having fun with highlights.:)

Yikes.

I have mixed feelings about this. I love the freedom of less hair appointments, and not having to cover up roots all the time. But there is a lot of junk for me to work through in this process, because my grey roots make me feel old and unattractive. I wish I didn’t care about these things, but it turns out that I do, and it’s something I’m learning to deal with. Because I’m in transition, I don’t know if I’m just feeling the discomfort of having five different colours in my hair right now, and things will get better as everything grows out, or if I’ll still feel this way once I’ve reached my goal.

I look at pictures of grey hair, and I love it. It looks beautiful, but I don’t know if it will look beautiful on me. I’ve always struggled with change in general, so that might be contributing to my discomfort, as well.

Whatever the issue really is, the cure is always the same for me. I give myself a good talking to about what is truly most important in my life (it’s not hair colour!), and then I go find some fun pictures to remind myself to stop taking this all so seriously. It’ll be fine in the end.

Sources: 1/2/3/4

I’ve also come across a couple of interesting blog posts on growing out grey hair:

The Silver Lining – A Guide to Growing Out Your Natural Grey Hair

My Eight Best Secrets For Dealing With the Emotional Ups and Downs of Going Grey

Young and Grey? You Might Want to Just Stick With It

Five Reasons I Stopped Coloring My Hair

And here are the posts I’ve written in the past about my thoughts on grey hair:

My Grey Crown of Glory

Surrounding Myself With Grey Hair Inspiration

Have you ever thought about growing out your grey? Why or why not?

 

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How I Did a Five Minute Plank

You guys, I am finally able to do a five minute plank!!! I’ve been working at it since December, and it feels absolutely amazing to have reached my goal! I don’t think there’s ever been something I’ve worked so hard physically to achieve. Except labor. Delivering babies is slightly harder than a five minute plank. 

Ben and I have been talking about habits a lot lately. He’s also wanting to get more consistent with exercising, and I want to be more disciplined about staying on top of our budget. How can we make these things stick?! Ben has been listening to some great podcasts about habits, and sharing interesting tips with me, so I thought I’d make a list of things that worked for me:

Reward Yourself

When we need to do something difficult and unpleasant, it makes sense to combine a tough challenge with something fun. According to one of the podcasts Ben listened to, it’s even better if the reward happens while you are completing the task – like listening to an audio book or watching a show that you only allow yourself to enjoy when you are exercising. But it works to treat yourself afterwards, too, if it’s not possible to combine the activities. In the months since I started planking, Instagram has become my little treat. Once I collapse on the floor, I give myself permission to not move for 10 minutes, and enjoy some guilt-free time on Instagram.:) If the kids need something or anything else comes up, Ben does it for me, because I’m not getting up until I’ve recovered. It’s funny how such a little thing is something I look forward to!

Accountability

We hear this one all the time, because it is SO TRUE. I need someone checking up on me. Ben has been encouraging me all along with exercising, but lately, Anika has also become my little cheerleader and planking partner. There was a day when I wasn’t feeling 100%, and convinced myself it was okay to take the day off. But then Anika came upstairs and asked me if I had done my planking yet, and was really disappointed when I said I wasn’t going to, because she wanted to do it with me. I didn’t want to let her down, so I decided to just do a short, quick plank with her. Once I got going, it wasn’t hard to keep going longer, so I did!

But as much as I appreciate Ben and Anika’s accountability, what really kept me pushing myself was having to report back to my muscle therapist every two weeks. He was always encouraging, but he wasn’t overly impressed with me when I was slacking off, and he knew I could do better. He kept telling me about the 70-year-old client he has who only took four months to reach a 10 minute plank, or the client who was stuck at seven minutes but stopped watching the clock and suddenly jumped to an 11 minute plank!!! What in the world. It would make me mad, so I’d go home and push harder. I needed that push. Find somebody who will give you a regular kick in the pants – pay them to do it, if you have to!! It is totally worth it.

Understand the Wisdom of the Process

This one comes from the pants-kicking muscle therapist. He is the most disciplined person I’ve ever met, so I asked him recently if he was always so disciplined, or if it was something he had to work at. He was surprised by my question, and said, “I’m not a disciplined person. I just understand the wisdom of the process.” He explained that once you understand the why of what you’re doing, and focus on how your future will be impacted by the choices you make today, you will have all the motivation you need to keep going.

This resonated with me, because I understand the wisdom now, but I haven’t always. When I first started seeing my muscle therapist, he would give me many different stretches and exercises to do, and I would, but not every day. He’d tell me to do yoga daily, but it hurt so much, I just *couldn’t*. It wasn’t until that month when I gave up every appointment, and felt like God was telling me to “act like a healthy person” when I finally got my butt in gear. I had nothing else to lean on, so I did every stretch, exercise, and yoga routine I’d ever been told to do, and by the end of the month, I was a new person.

Was it a miracle from God? Yes.

Did I work my butt off that month? Yes.

Could I have done it on my own without praying for a miracle? I would say no, because up until that point, I was never able to. I didn’t know what else to do, so I did everything I could, and prayed like crazy that God would do something new. And He did. I was finally strong enough to have a baby, and that is when Everett joined our family. It’s when I learned to push through the pain to bring about change. My body took a big jump forward during that time, but in the year and a half since Everett was born, I’ve still had a lot of pain.

That’s where planking came in. My therapist said it was the cure-all exercise because it brings every muscle into balance. It’s fantastic for people with back problems and neck issues, so he told me to start working towards a one minute plank. Then suddenly he was saying two minutes. Before long he was talking five minutes, then 10 minutes. I thought he was crazy – until that point, I had never even considered the fact that a ten minute plank was possible.

But I kept trying. IT HURT SO BAD!!! I would sit on the floor before starting and cry because I DID NOT WANT TO PLANK. I hated it. I felt more terrible than I’ve ever felt, because all my muscles were being challenged. I’d go to him and complain, and he’d pretty much say, “You have to push through it. There’s not a lot I can do to help you – your body has to adjust to using muscles in the right way. It will feel like you’re going to die.” So I’d go home, and I would feel like I was going to die, and I’d keep pushing, because I was so desperate. I wanted to be well and strong. I want to ride my bike and run after Everett.  I want to play piano again. I want to stop being the person who is in pain all the time. I don’t want my life to be defined by pain and limitations. I was sick of all of it. I had to trust that my muscle therapist was right – I was taking his word for it that this present torture would result in a strong and pain-free life. It’s taken nine months to get to five minutes, and he seems to be right – I have stretches of feeling really, really good. It doesn’t last, but it’s coming. Apparently, I won’t even feel my back by the time I get to 10 minutes. I asked him if it would take me another nine months to get to a 10 minute plank, and I liked his answer!! He said it’s like a big, heavy truck – it takes a long time to get going, but once it’s rolling, it’s hard to stop! That’s me. I’m rolling now, and I’m going to keep rolling right to a 10 minute plank…and beyond! I want to be the 70-year-old just killing the plank.

Take Responsibility

This was super hard for me to do for a long time. For many years, I had a really bad attitude about health problems and a weak body. I was angry with how my life had turned out, and I was bitter about how much harder things were for me than a lot of the people around me. I was jealous of other young moms who were living the life I wanted, and these negative feelings sent me into a very dark time of my life. I felt completely helpless.

I kept sitting around, complaining and wishing things were different. I wanted somebody to help me, I wanted God to save me, and to make it easier for me. I’ll never forget the day it all snapped. It was like God pulled back blinders in my life, and I realized how unhappy I was, and that I needed to be the one to do something about it. He was pouring out blessings onto my life, and I couldn’t even see them because I was so consumed with how terrible I felt. Something inside of me started to rise up. Looking back, I don’t really know how things started to change – it must have been that God just planted a seed, and it started to grow. Determination rose up in me, and I started searching for a better way to do things. I started trying everything, I googled and researched to figure out what to do, and Ben and I prayed a lot for God to show us what path to take.

I needed to accept the health challenges in my life, and instead of complaining about them, start putting that energy into doing everything I could to make it better. I still have times where I break down and have a good cry, and I wish I didn’t have pain in my body, but I try not to dwell on it, because it doesn’t help anything. I can’t control all of the circumstances in my life, but I get to choose how I’m going to respond to them.

There’s a verse in Proverbs that says if you don’t work, you don’t eat. I don’t get the good stuff if I don’t put any effort into it. It’s up to me. It was a hard lesson to learn.

Moving On

So I’ve accomplished my five minute plank, but there are many, many other habits which need to be developed in my life! I’m curious to see how the lessons I’ve learned from planking will be applicable to other new habits. I’m finding that achieving a difficult goal gives me confidence and motivation to do other hard things. I can push myself farther than I knew before. Time to move on to budgeting!!

Do you have any tips for sticking to a new habit and accomplishing something hard?

 

 

A Letter to My 18-Year-Old Self

Grade 12 photo

Dear 18-Year -Old Kendra,

This week, I attended our 20 year high school reunion, and as cheesy as I think these kinds of letters are, there are some things I really wish you knew. The reunion brought up a lot of memories – some good, but some really hard. There are thoughts and feelings I hadn’t realized were still lurking around down in the depths, and churning them up last night made me wish I could tell you some things which would have made these last 20 years easier:

You are stronger than you think. You will spend far too many years claiming the labels other people have given you, and some you’ve given yourself. You see yourself as small, weak, insignificant, but just as every single person is created beautiful, resilient, and unique, so are you. You have what it takes to find your way through, and you don’t even realize it yet.

Some things which seem wildly important to you at 18 actually are not. But it won’t be disappointing – rather, it will be a gradual awakening to new passions, adventures, and tools you will discover to get you further on your journey. Hold things loosely, because they might not be as important as you think. But when you discover something worth standing up for, do it with everything in you.

Your world is very small right now. The people in your world and their opinions of you seem like everything, but they won’t always. The hoops you have tried to jump through to feel accepted and validated can be left behind, and you can go out into the world to discover there are so many wonderful, amazing people and experiences which will change how you see yourself and the things around you. You don’t have to go far to find them – you just have to be open.

You will see how much we all need room for grace, forgiveness, and growth. Just as you need a lot of time, experiences, wisdom, and depth, so do all those around you. You have some scars and old hurts you need to accept, because everybody has them. You’ve given some, and you need to take some, because that’s life. There are misunderstandings, immaturity, and a lot of private pain which lead people to do things we don’t understand. Let it go.

Many of your dreams will come true, but life won’t turn out the way you imagine – it will be better. You will look back and realize you did not get the exact life you thought you wanted, but it will be so much harder, richer, and more worthwhile.

There will be many times when it will appear as though you’re approaching a dead end, and you won’t be able to see a through – keep going. Trust that with God, there is always a way. Life and it’s challenges keep coming, and you will keep growing as long as you choose to rise to the occasion and not give up.

You have no clue what hard things are coming your way, but 20 years from now, you won’t want to change any of it. It will be the hard times which will also bring beauty and hard-earned joy. Accept all of it. You can’t have one without the other, and you will see how it’s all worth it.

You can’t control everything that happens to you, but you get to choose how well this will go. You choose your attitude and response – nobody does that for you. Don’t complain or blame somebody else for your problems. Figure out what you’re going to do about them.

Be okay with messing up and making mistakes. You expect perfection from yourself, but it’s not possible, and it makes you too hard on the people around you, as well. Go gently.

I can tell you all of this, but in the end, I know you need to go out there and learn it for yourself. And that’s okay – it would be less painful to learn it by simply being told, but sometimes it’s necessary to learn from experience. So learn. Be open to it. You are in for a fantastic 20 years.

Sincerely,

An older and hopefully wiser version of yourself.

 

Looking For Ways to Show Honour

We’ve been talking about honour in our home recently. I listened to a podcast a few weeks ago about how it’s even more important to show honour than obedience. Obedience can happen even if the heart is angry, but honour happens when we value someone’s heart, and are motivated to obey by a deep desire to bless others with our actions.

It’s a tricky thing to teach, because it’s a heart thing. Obedience and honour can look the same from the outside, but it’s the unseen that I’m more concerned about – with my kids, and also with myself.

A synonym for obedience is compliance, which can mean simply going through the motions. A synonym for honour is reverence, and to me, this speaks to the fact that each of us is created by God, made in His image, and we honour Him when we value each other.

I was trying to explain all this to Anika one day, and searching for ways to make it easier to understand, when a memory popped into my head. Sometimes it’s easier to understand what honour looks like when we think about what it does not look like, and although there are many sad, horrible examples in the world around us, I thought she’d enjoy my memory.

I was in college, and I met a boy who was convinced we were meant to be together. I did not share his conviction, and although we were friends, there were many reasons why I was not interested in pursuing a relationship with him.

He had a lot of trouble understanding this, and kept asking me out so often, I started keeping track, just for amusement. He reached a total of 17 times, which is a testimony not of my ravishing beauty or charming personality, but rather of his amazing persistence.

I finally asked him why he wanted to date me so badly, and his reasons were as follows: I didn’t have pierced ears (which he considered a rare novelty, for some reason), I had long hair, and it wasn’t long distance to call me.

That was it.

I remember having a very mixed response to this. I thought it was ridiculous, I couldn’t wait to get back to dorm to share this with my friends to give it the mockery it deserved, and deep down, I also felt really… yucky. I felt like an object. I felt like all of who I was – my thoughts and ideas, my sense of humour and creativity, my dreams and fears, joys and sorrows, whatever all combines within me to make me who I am – had been diminished to a phone number. His desire to be with me was based on an area code. He thought I was cheap and convenient.  He didn’t really care about me or what I wanted, he didn’t value all of the things that made me Kendra. He did not honour who I truly was.

It’s a pretty harmless example of not being honoured, but I’ve been thinking a lot about this since telling Anika that silly story – about how such a tiny example of being devalued still affected me. And yet, how many times in a day do I not value people around me, even in the smallest ways?

When I’m in a rush to get to an appointment, and I don’t want to let someone into my lane because I don’t “have time” – I forget there is a person driving that car, who is living a life, like me. They are not randomly driving their car around the city of Winnipeg just for fun. They also have places they need to be, a schedule I’m completely unaware of.

When I brush off someone’s opinion because it’s different than mine – or even get offended by the things they say – I forget they are on a journey, like me. They go through stuff, they feel things, they have their own junk to work through, and things that make them happy or sad. They have reasons for thinking the way they do, and I forget to find out what the story is behind those reasons.

The grumpy clerk, or the annoying salesperson is living a life, and they didn’t get up that morning with the intent of making my life frustrating. They have their own frustrations – can I honour them in the way I treat them?

I once had someone try to sell me something that was supposed to change my life. It was going to fix all my problems. Only problem was, they didn’t take enough time to actually understand what my problems were, or what I had already tried. They had the answer, but they didn’t listen to my questions. They didn’t wait long enough to hear my whole story, or to understand this crazy journey I’ve been on. It made me not want to listen to them, because I didn’t feel like my experiences were valued.

I want to learn how to honour people. I want to value where they are, where they’ve been, and where they dream of going. Anytime these things are forgotten, things start to fall apart.

I’m trying to pray about that – to start my day with asking God to show me how I can honour my family, or the people I come in contact with throughout the day.

There are so many examples in the news and in the world around us of ways in which people are being devalued. Things are a mess, but I wonder if the first little step to take is remembering the life behind the person, and looking for the smallest ways to show honour.

I found this quote which seemed to sum it up well:

love

source

Maybe we just need to take a little more time to see the other person’s heart, and honour what we see.

 

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