Audio version of this post here.
At the end of each season, I make it a habit to stop and reflect on what I have learned. I have a tendency to rush forward and press on to the next thing, which results in losing the opportunity to learn from what has been in order to carry those lessons into the next season. This tendency to want to push away the past and head forward is an effort to avoid dealing with the emotions and taking an honest look at areas I’ve fallen short in. Maybe you can relate? Find an invitation to stop and reflect on this last season in the lessons I share from my own life.
Intense fear gives an opportunity for intense courage and compassion.
Early on in this season, I was involved in an incident where a girl was attacked right next to me as we were walking down the street. I have never been more afraid in my life. An opportunity for courage and compassion was waiting in the midst of the fear. I was able to come to her aid and hopefully prevented the situation from becoming even worse.
The ongoing fear and panic from the trauma of that incident held the same opportunity. This time the courage and compassion was for me and not for another person. The intensity has faded and the panic attacks have dissipated but there are still moments I need to remind myself to have courage and be compassionate to myself.
Not all situations fit into this extreme. The principle remains true though. When I feel fear rising as I work in my new role, feeling out of my depth at times, an opportunity for courage and compassion exists. Courage is found in ‘doing it scared’.
Sharing spoken words is as life-giving to me as sharing written words.
My role in MOPS has involved speaking to groups and events in many locations across Australia. Over this last season, I have taken steps to bring this speaking part of my life out into the wider world. It has stirred a renewed fire within me. I have been working with a speaking coach, Caleb Tan from Presento Labs, to grow and develop in this area and am LOVING it.
I have started speaking at events, such as my ‘Do It Scared’ talks for Opportunity International’s Inspired Speaker Series. (Check out my speaker page if you’re in need of a speaker for your next event!) I also kind of accidentally launched a mini-podcast as I record audio versions of my blog posts and send them out each week. It has surprised me how much this resource has resonated with people and how much I have enjoyed creating them. Who knows? Maybe it will grow up into a real podcast one day.
Plans meet life and get turned upside down.
This really shouldn’t be a surprise! And yet, I still get caught off guard when plans are derailed in a moment. Plans of a six-month transitional handover process, with time to wrap up one major role before taking on the next, can be swept aside by a diagnosis and transformed into a two-day handover. Christmas day with family can include a loved one falling and fracturing a hip. You may end up sharing Christmas treats with the paramedics who need to be called! Conversations can turn into an opportunity to join a company in a freelance capacity, where you find your people and know you will thrive and grow.
Our response to these changes is always a choice. We are not victims in these situations. Admittedly, the appeal of playing the noble victim to garner sympathy and awe from others is strong! It is my choice to operate in an overloaded schedule in these few months in order to honour a commitment I made while stepping into opportunities I feel will be my best yes. I choose whether to focus on the hard parts of this past season or on the growth and all I have to be grateful for. Maybe I’m not the only one needing to face the truth of that.
What have I learned this season? I continue to have opportunities to grow and stretch. I discover more of who I am and more of the faithfulness of my God. The trivial things don’t tend to stick in my mind so why do I make such a big deal of them at the time? I can choose comfort or I can choose growth.