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In the previous post I wrote a bit about viewing yourself as a book. Today I want to write about the power of looking back and looking forward. This is important because:
- We are filled with stories that matter
- We could help others with what we’ve learned or help them by simply being more understanding
- We can better see where the Lord has been, or where we’ve felt he hasn’t been, and our pattern with him
- We can learn to identify patterns and tendencies in ourselves
Like I mentioned before, there are about 7.4 billion people in the world, each filled with a variety of experiences and lessons learned.
You’re one of them.
That ratio may sound a little overwhelming; there are obviously a lot of lives out there. But a lot of lives mean a lot of different perspectives, different upbringings, and different outcomes.
Picture a bookstore with 7.4 billion books, and they’re at your fingertips. Meaning, you have access to see how someone else is handling, or has handled a similar situation to what you’re going through.
While approaching monumental life events, I’ve heard people joke around saying things such as, “There is no handbook on how to be a mom, and my baby didn’t come with one!” Or, “Grief does not come with guidelines, what do I do?”
That is the thing, life doesn’t come with a handbook, but we do have stories…. stories from the Bible, stories from you, and stories from me.
I’m un-decided at the moment how long this “You are a Book” series will be, but hopefully what you take away from this series is the start of a book, written by……the one and only, YOU.
Knowing yourself in a well-rounded way leads to wholeness and out of that leads to healthy living.
If you are in charge of taking care of a rose bush that you know nothing about, you’re not going to be able to nourish it to it’s fullest potential. But, if you know where it came from, and what kind of seed it is, you can keep your rose bush healthy, flourishing, and lively. Cheesy, but our lives are like that.
If you know and are aware of who you are inside and out, all corners of your life, where you’ve been broken, and where you’ve been made new, you can nourish yourself making yourself healthy, flourishing, and lively.
Ready? (Get some paper, pencils, colored pencils, play some good instrumental music, get something yummy to drink, and a snack. All things are better while snacking).
- First I want you to pray. If you don’t pray, feel free to try it out, I highly recommend inviting the Lord to be part of the process. Pray that the Lord opens your eyes, ears, heart, and mind to remember, to identify, and to be open to what’s to come.
- Pretend you already wrote a biography. On the back of your book there’s a paragraph or two that briefly describes what the reader would be getting into. It’s a summary of what’s inside. What would it say about your book? Now write it down. When you’re done, set it aside, save it for later.
- Get a large poster board, and lay it landscape wise. For every 5-8 years (you decide) of your life draw a circle along a straight, horizontal line. Connect them using lines.
- Now it’s time to reflect:
- Think about your childhood, your teen years, your 20’s and so on.
- Think and write down on a piece of paper the most impactful 5-10 core trials in your life that distracted you for a while, the ones that caused you to question, tempted you, broke your heart, scared you, the biggest transitions, or moments that made you feel negative.
- Think and write down on the same piece of paper, the most impactful 5-10 moments you were most joyful, passionate, alive, rejuvenated, healthy, or the times you were most excited for the next day
- Remember each circle represent 5-8 years of your life. Using only 2 words to describe each trial, break up the trials chronologically, and transfer them down in your circles. Use one colored pencil for all the trials, and using only half the space of the circle.
- Again, Using only 2 words to describe the joyful memories, break them up chronologically, and transfer them in your circles. Use a different color from the trials, for your joyful memories, and using the other half of the circle.
- *by this time you should have a landscape poster board with circles drawn horizontally across, in one single line. They should be filled with your top negative and positive memories in 2 different colored pencils.
- How does it feel to look at your life on paper, in a big picture scale? You just did a lot of work, if I could give you a high five I would! I don’t take lightly that for some of you this was incredibly painful, or your first time intentionally reflecting on your past. Take your time on this project. You may have started to feel former negative feelings again, hurt, hate, abandonment, failure, sadness, or confusion. Hopefully you started feeling former positive feelings from treasured memories. With all of the thoughts, go wherever you feel closest to the Lord, somewhere you can be alone, and just sit rest.