I’m a firm believer we have a lot of control over lives. Especially when it comes to the kind of man/woman we want to be. The choices WE make, how we carry ourselves, the influences we allow around us and how we respond to our circumstances will define the kind of man or woman we will be to the world around us.
Intentional or Circumstantial
Proactive or Reactive
Aware or Distracted
Being in the same area for a long span of time has allowed me plenty of time to w-a-t-c-h and observe the women around me navigate their way through many seasons of life. It’s easy to critique how people transition from one season to the next and decide what you like or don’t like about who they are or have become and also note what you really admire about their ability to float from one season to the next with grace when you’re watching from a distance.
It’s also a great reminder that just as we are watching others, we too are being watched.
In smallgroup this week, we are writing out the kind of woman we will be. We know that over the next decade we will take on many hats as business owners, managers, dreamers, wives, moms, sisters, daughters, bestfriends, worship leaders, smallgroup leaders, students, teachers, friends, acquaintances, colleagues, customers, neighbors, room moms, patients, and so on. We’re writing out our list of what we want people to observe about us as we transition and acquire all these roles over the next few years. If we want to change the world around us in our day to day living, we must be intentional.
Small Group Lesson 2:
As each season fills up our schedule with a new collection of roles, pressures and responsibilities, if we do not decide today to cultivate the habits, discipline and awareness to be the woman we describe in our list, then I’m afraid we must prepare ourselves instead to allow each role to define us as its added pressure lays upon us. Not everything in life can be planned for, but that doesn’t mean how we handled yesterday does not play a critical role in our instant reactions to the new things tomorrow brings.
Tis the difference between being defined by your life roles or remaining constant in spite of them.
There are few different types women I’ve observed the last few years –
Woman 1- Love this girl! This is the woman you see and know that there is something in her foundation and DNA that allows her to supersede the cards she’s been dealt. She walks in constant grace regardless of her agenda and life pressures. This woman is passionate about what the Lord has put into her life and honors her seasons, frustrating or blissful. She is juggling a lot and doing so with grace, peace…and a little bit of fun. She may not be the best compared in all areas of her life according to the world’s standards, but each area is still marked with success, by her standards and the Lord’s. To be honest, I don’t see these women a lot. Their happiness and success isn’t measured against a world status quo, because they have learned to derive their fulfillment from being faithful with what the Lord has put in their path and the joy that comes from him.
Woman 2- This is my accessory girl. I may not like her whole picture, but I like pieces of her world. She’s a great businesswoman, but I don’t like how she makes people feel belittled in moments. Or she’s an excellent wife and mom, but she doesn’t walk out the influence on her life. She has a platform, but doesn’t take it. She’s an incredible leader, but doesn’t balance that out her making sure she’s protecting her role as a wife and mom. She’s juggling lots of things and dropping balls along the way…and she’s a bit frazzled. This is my “do it in her own strength, wisdom, and ability” girl. With a few tweaks though she can go from being reactive, to operating in a grace and stamina that isn’t derived from her circumstances.
Woman 3- My goal in life is to not be this woman. We all know her. Her value and success in life is measured by what the world loves. Her pursuit is to keep the perception of who she is and how her world is defined in perfect order. She might have it all, but she sure doesn’t posses a lot of depth. I don’t want to make people feel like she does. I don’t want to change a room how she does. And sometimes I want to slap her and ask her if she knows she has influence to shower people with a lasting fragrance other than crap. We all know these women. This woman looks like she has it all together and through her attitude and body language she has become untouchable and unattainable to the women around her. The root of her is empty. She longs for depth, we all do and to be accepted for who she is rather than for the picture she paints.
So my home work for myself and my girls is to keep in mind the list of all the roles we will acquire over the next few years and write out the kind of woman we want to be in those roles.
Will we be perfect? No.
Will we fail at the juggle in moments? Yes.
But there is power in understanding your season today and to come, and there is freedom in allowing today to serve as your training ground. When we allow Jesus to create our life definitions (and most importantly, be the source) for success, fulfillment, joy, peace and grace, then we no longer rely on people and circumstances around us to tell us if we’re winning in life or failing in our season.
If I know the kind of business owner I want to be then I can paint the picture and be aware of that as I go through my daily life. I know now that I will have moments where I go against the status quo to attain success, but I can trust that Jesus will not only compensate but increase my success for the moments I have to walk away from. If Jesus is the author and definer of our life game, then the moments we feel our circumstances are going to cost us something to remain the person we want to be, we can stand on the promises he has for us to provide for us, care for us, protect us, bless us and direct us. Our value, success, worth and happiness isn’t coming from shallow promises.
I’ve said it many times our mountaintop moments in life are blissful, but they are not fulfilling beyond that moment. We can’t live for the mountaintop moments to sustain us or we’ll be disappointed. Jesus made us for today and he is the source of our life direction and satisfaction.
Have you thought about the kind of “adult” you want to be? What are you defining success and failure as? What does peace look like in different life roles to you? What does it mean to walk in grace or flourish in each season? When you’re in a season of frustration what are you thinking about and fixing your eyes on?
Best of all, what do people think when you walk into the room? Are you untouchable? Which person defines you the most- 1, 2 or 3?