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five minute friday

why

write-4Each Friday, the Five Minute Friday community gets together online and writes for five minutes. Timed and unedited we write, then post. I strive to participate each week, whether I post here or on Instagram. At times, these writing sessions bring more than five minutes of writing; but regardless of what it looks like for me as a writer, my hope is that for you it brings encouragement and direction as you seek to live a faith-filled and purposeful life.

prompt: why

(adv) for what purpose, reason, or cause; with what intention, justification, or motive

(conj)  1. The reason, cause, or purpose for which; 2. On account of which; for which

(n) pl. whys 1. The cause or intention underlying a given action or situation; 2. A difficult problem or question

(interj) Used to express mild surprise, indignation, or impatience

*definitions from AHDictionary.com

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The definition listed above so effectively covers all the ideas that we could look at as we consider “why”. Why did this happen? Why did they respond this way? Why did he do that? Why do I feel terrible? What is happening?!?

Yet, in line with my purposefully living theme, I most easily turn to . . .

The why. The reason. The motivation.

There are a handful of things that I enjoy thinking and talking about, and the why’s behind things is definitely one of them. Yet, there are fewer things that are more frustrating and overwhelming to consider. Too much dwelling on the why’s can lead me to be a bit more in my head than is healthy.

Still, it is worth giving some time and attention to the why, the motivation behind one’s actions or plans. When we really look at why we do what we do, we grow more effectively into the people we are designed to be. Evaluation of our motivations can very quickly bring to light things which are not right. Areas that need growth or healing, become apparent as we consider our whys.

Stop

whycontinuing on . . .

The why behind the doing of something . . .

The why reason behind someone’s actions . . .

Why is such a broad word and cover so many ideas.

Why live purposefully. If we don’t have a greater understanding the of the motivation behind our actions and plans, then is life nothing but a constant stream of response to people and situations around us.

There is the temptation to so quickly become focused on the bigger goals and plans that one fails to respond well to the everyday well. Yet, ignoring any bigger picture thinking because of the uncertainty of what may happen around us leads to wandering and potentially unused resources.

Without a why behind each thing we do, we run the risk of living a life designed by someone else. As a child, this is good – we live our lives by what our parents have set up and designed for us. As an adult, this can be frustrating and, in extremes, demoralizing.

It may not be an easy journey to come to a clearer understanding of your why’s, but this journey is one worth taking!

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five minute friday

Privilege

write-4Each Friday, the Five Minute Friday community gets together online and writes for five minutes. Timed and unedited we write, then post. I strive to participate each week, whether I post here or on Instagram. At times, these writing sessions bring more than five minutes of writing; but regardless of what it looks like for me as a writer, my hope is that for you it brings encouragement and direction as you seek to live a faith-filled and purposeful life.

priv·i·lege

defined

(n) A special advantage, immunity, permission, right, or benefit granted to or enjoyed by an individual, class, or caste; Such an advantage, immunity, or right held as a prerogative of status or rank and exercised to the exclusion or detriment of others.

initial thoughts

Let us turn the idea of privilege on its head. Rather than considering it an excluding idea – though this is true – consider privilege the ability to assist.  Yes, the responsibility to do so, for Christ taught in Luke 12:48b. “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.” Yet, I’d like to focus more on the ability to aid or encourage others.

If you have walked through a difficult family circumstance (death, divorce, abuse, etc.) you have the privilege of having knowledge and experience that others may not have. An experience that enables you to be able to help someone else walking through a similar difficult situation. Those are pretty heavy things, though.

What if we consider something a bit lighter. If you have experienced having a colic child – one who cries unending and seems to not sleep in the ways that seem normal to other babies – then you are privileged. Maybe a privilege you would not desire, yet a privilege just the same.

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Privilege is often thought of in the terms of exclusion and responsibility. One possesses something that sets them apart, often in an elevated position, from those around them. This mindset can lead to pride and ridicule and jealousy.

What if instead, we turned the idea of privilege into the idea of ability and potential. Because of what one may have or have experienced, the ability to walk along with someone else in a similar situation or aid one in need of assistance now exists.

Because of the difficulty I experienced with a colicky infant, I now have the ability to offer encouragement and assistance to another parent who is living life with an infant who is colicky.

Because of one’s experiencing the loss of a parent at an early age, you now have the ability to come alongside a child experiencing this same loss and encourage and hold them up in what for them is the most excruciating of circumstances.

Because my friend’s husband was unemployed for a year, now when someone she knows is faced with this reality, she is able to offer ideas for surviving it well, and encouragement when the difficulty situation seems to never end.

privilege
original photo by Bonnie Kittle on Unsplash

Our privilege, whether a blessing we have been given or difficult situation we have survived, sets us apart, gives us responsibility and also provides us with the ability to encourage and aid others.

With what do we do with our privilege? Rather than keeping it, hoarding it, or lording it over others, let us share it freely – thoughtfully, prayerfully aiding and encouraging.

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five minute friday

Do you agree?

write-4Each Friday, the Five Minute Friday community gets together online and writes for five minutes. Timed and unedited we write, then post. I strive to participate each week, whether I post here or on Instagram. At times, these writing sessions bring more than five minutes of writing; but regardless of what it looks like for me as a writer, my hope is that for you it brings encouragement and direction as you seek to live a faith-filled and purposeful life.

Prompt: Agree

define:

a·gree (ə-grē)

(v.intr.)
1.
a. To share an opinion or feeling; be in accord:
b. To express consent; concur:
c. To accept or support a policy or program:
d. To come to an understanding or agreement, as by negotiating:

2. To be compatible or consistent:

3. To be suitable, appropriate, pleasing, or healthful:
4. (grammar) To correspond in gender, number, case, or person.

(v.tr.)
1. To share an opinion about (something):
2. To grant or concede:

*definitions taken from American Heritage Dictionary online

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To be compatible or consistent

As I read through the definitions above this is the one that struck me the most. Do we live in a way that is consistent with what we say we live? Do we care in a way that is consistent with how much we say we care?

Maybe this word struck me this way because I personally am in the midst of focused effort on being confident that how I am choosing to live my days lines up with what I think is important or what I say I am doing. Is my walk matching my talk? Seems clique, but that is the reality of it.

I think we all have discrepancies here, some bigger ones than others. Yet, what is the pattern of my life? Does what I do, day in and day out, agree with what I say my priorities are? Whether work, home, relationships, hobbies – I do not believe we can separate them out from each other. Every area of our life touches and impacts every other area.

STOP

A few more thoughts

agreeAs desperately as we may seek to deny this reality – it exists! May I challenge you this week, as you move through the ins and outs of everyday living, do those movements agree with your deepest values. Are your priorities consistent with your actions? If so, yah!!! If not, are you going to change? It may not be what you are doing that needs to change. Maybe what needs to change is your acknowledgment of what is really important to you. When you know what you’ll cross the i-beam for, then you can move more confidently in your plans and everyday actions.

five minute friday

What Might We Really Need?

write-4Each Friday, the Five Minute Friday community gets together online and writes for five minutes. Timed and unedited we write, then post. I strive to participate each week, whether I post here or on Instagram. At times, these writing sessions bring more than five minutes of writing; but regardless of what it looks like for me as a writer, my hope is that for you it brings encouragement and direction as you seek to live a faith-filled and purposeful life.

prompt: need

defined:

  • (verb) to be under obligation; to require
  • (noun) a situation or time of difficulty; a lack of something necessary or required; a requirement, necessary duty, or obligation

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To need something or someone can be a very humbling experience. So many of us desire to be independent, free of the constraints that come when we must rely on another person or device.

Yet, what if we did not view this as a constraint, but rather as the freeing thing it can be. Not that being reliant on another does not have its drawbacks. It can be frustrating and disappointing for, after all, we live in and among those that are failable creatures who do not always nor can always fulfill what we feel we need.

But what if we viewed our need of others, rather than a necessary evil or frustatig curse we must bare; but as a joy that we are able to allow them to assist us. We can be a source of encouragement as we allow others to aid us in the areas they are best equipped to do so. There is no one person who can do all things well.  There are those who are very skilled and can do a variety of things excellently, but I dare to say that if we really examined their life and saw into who they really are we would see that there is some area they do not excel. Some space in their life where they need another.

So needs may not be so much a curse but a blessing. Rather than a necessary burden, an opportunity for others to serve us.

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continuing on . . .

When I consider the reality of needs in light of cultivating a purposeful living, it becomes clear that, as we begin to cultivate life, we know what the needs are for that life. Like starting on a hike, one needs to know where the end of the path is. It may not need be clear, and it may alter a bit as one’s travels; but when beginning, is it not important to know where you are going?

So in cultivating life, one should have at least a rough idea of what that life is.

The most basic of life needs for us as humans is to connect and relate with God. He created us for that purpose, and the beginning of a life of eternal impact is begun here. Sustaining life is a very close second to our need of communion with God. We can not live without the basics of food, water, clothing, and shelter. To have this then dictates that we must work in a way that will help to supply those needs.

So often, this is where we stop. We get absorbed in what we are doing to meet our physical needs, even meeting those needs that really are not necessary. They are the extras of life that we have somehow tricked ourselves into thinking are needed.  Moving beyond our spiritual and physical needs, we have a need for community, mental growth, emotional health, and the capacity to contribute well to the people around us. Are these also, not needs? They may not be as screamingly obvious as our physical needs. And we can survive longer without meeting those needs, but they are very real part of our human existence. If we neglect them long enough our lives become merely a survival and not the thriving existence we were designed to have.

So what are your needs? The ones you know you are a better version of yourself when fulfilled? Consider what your survival needs are, and then add in the thriving needs. Maybe find what aspect of a thriving life (a faith-filled, purposeful life) may need some cultivating.

Write31Days

Give: A bit of What I Have Found

The theme of cultivate, my One Word for this year, is woven throughout the days of writing this month. I am focusing on several areas of life that have been my focus for cultivating this year. I am not doing things perfectly, but I am learning as I go and would love to share some of it with you.

Prompts provided by Five Minute Fridays are my springboard for each days writing. You can see the complete listing and links to the posts I have written so far on my 2017 Write 31 Days landing page. 

give

A large part of cultivating growth in your life, is taking the time to learn. Whether by listening, reading, or studying – growth happens as we make time and space in our lives to take in information and see how it might help us cultivate the life we desire to have. The best part of this process, is then being able to turn and give the resource or knowledge to someone else.

In the spirit of give – here are some of my resources for growth cultivation from across the web:

Webinar/Classes

Books

  • Make It Happen and Cultivate by Lara Casey. Her second book is still on my TBR shelf, but Make It Happen was excellent. Lara has gone through some life seasons that have refocused her on cultivating life and I am eager to see how this comes out in her second book.
  • Let’s All Be Brave by Annie F. Downs is not one that I particularly would recommend as a growth book, but it came to mind as I was writing this week, and I have learned not to ignore those prompts when they come. This is a partly Annie’s story but also a great resource for growing in the confidence of what it is you know you are to do.

Websites/Newsletters

  • Having a group that will encourage you and challenge you in your spiritual life is one of the best resources for growing in your God-centered faith. Some of the groups I have participated in and used over the last several years are Love God Greatly, Proverbs31 Ministries, and most recently I am working with ladies in my church in leading a study group online.
  • Emily P. Freeman is one of my best resources for growth. She is seeking to grow herself and shares about it all in a honest and encouraging way. Her growth manifests itself in her podcast, books, blog and writing community.  The value of finding someone who is seeking what you are seeking and sharing about how to do it well, is unmeasurable. I have recently realized that for me, Emily is one of those people.  She may not be your best resource – but I encourage you to find someone who is doing what you love to do, doing it well – just like, I realize, I have.

This obviously, is not a comprehnsive list. Rather I hope it is a starting place for you to begin cultivating your own list of growth resources. And as you collect resources for your own growth, don’t forget to me generous and share them with those around you – give.

This post is a part of the Write 31 Days Challenge for 2017. Each October writers around the world, take up the challenge to write and share their writing each day for the month of October. The theme for my writing this year is Cultivate. Following the prompts provided by the Five Minute Friday community, my goal is to write and post each day. Check out my 2017 Write 31 Days landing page for a list of all the prompts I’ll be following and links to each days post. 

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