Wednesday, June 19, 2013

flourishing in a fast-paced world

I am introvert.
I married an introvert.
We are big dreamers.
Most of the time, our ambitions seem unobtainable in a world based on speed, money, and dominating personality-types (i.e. unrealistically positive, go-getter, in-your-face types). For the record, I am not saying that it is bad that there are natural personality types like that. I am merely addressing the fact that there are many of us who are not and who desire to succeed in a world where it seems that it is only those extreme go-getter types that get to obtain their goals (particularly because they have "bigger voice" or a more positive, dominating personality). As someone who is more quiet, introverted, and not a particularly big self-motivator, I find myself discouraged before I even begin laying down a solid foundation, which I believe is perfectly natural when starting a venture larger than you can even comprehend. I only really thrive in relationships and environments that teach me to be patient and support me on my toughest days. I am so humbled by the ways that my husband and I complement each other in this area and affirm and build one another in these very places. I am so thankful for this. In my music, writing, and essential oil home-business pursuits, I have been learning a lot about myself - i.e. what motivates me, how quickly I work or get things accomplished, what distracts me from my goals, etc. But, to keep myself from rambling about my woes (haha), I decided to chronicle the 5 things that I am learning along this path. They do not seem like major steps, but I find that they are the keys to blossoming into our dreams.

1. Make small, obtainable goals for each week [but don't find your fulfillment in merely meeting those goals] Even if you fail to meet every one of your goals, learn the art of patience with yourself. I find that I expect too much from myself and based my own level of worth on how many productive things I complete each week.Unfortunately, although I know this about myself, I still catch myself getting frustrated at myself for not being productive. Basing my fulfillment on meeting goals does not bring enjoyment, nor does it boost self-esteem. It just makes you more and more aware that you fail. A lot. I find that I get more done when I am intentional about enjoying the process of meeting goals. I have to enjoy what I am doing on some level, or else it is all about the check-list. I dare say this is true for most people.

2. Read blogs of others who are also venturing on the same path. I find it deeply inspiring to read blogs by others who are also pursuing big goals. For some reason, it jump-starts my day when I do this. Well, I think it is a natural part of being human. We all thrive on mutual support and serving each other in our words and actions. Although I do not personally "know" some of the bloggers from which I obtain fresh inspiration, I love their transparency and vulnerability through sharing their lives via the internet and chronicling their ups and downs and what they are learning from life. Photos are a plus, too. ;) I have a small list of blogs from couples or singles who are journeying through their own business ideas or health/fitness pursuits. I find them via Pinterest, Blogger, and Facebook.

3. Live. This seems pretty simple, but it is a big step. Sometimes, we get tunnel-vision about a particular pursuit and we forget the joys of merely living life and cultivating relationships along the way. There is beauty in the journey. The destination would be nothing without first living to the fullest (the joys and the sorrows). Spend the afternoon with friends/family and listen to their hearts and their lives. Invest in relationships. Go outside. Visit nature and remember how much sweeter it is than staring at a computer screen or listening to your own thoughts go round and round like a broken record all day long {this step is difficult for me considering that I live in the city with one of the hottest summers! Nature isn't as easily accessible, and, if it were, I would be a puddle of sweat by the time I got there}. Do something that requires physical/mental stimulation that you enjoy at home (or with friends/family). For me, this includes writing, cooking, reading, practicing guitar, and walking.

4. Prayer & Meditation. For myself, I am not just talking about general prayer and meditation, but prayer and meditation that is Spirit-breathed from the heart of Christ to us. Drawing near to our Father and resting in what He has accomplished for us in and through His Son. Remembering the indwelling Spirit that grants us strength and courage in all seasons. Personally, this is a major step. Sometimes, I feel like my Father is teaching me to pray in new ways, to be more vulnerable in my relationship with Him and not try to fashion my prayer-life off what I have seen, but in what HE wants to reveal to me. Also, learning my identity in Christ and not limiting myself to my own personality limitations.

5. Learn gratitude. I think this fits in with #3 because to be thankful is to live. Count all the little every day blessings of life and love them to the fullest. I keep a gratitude journal in which I write down things that I am thankful for each week. It helps me remember how rich life is! Gratitude isn't something we naturally know how to do. It is something we learn and cultivate and grown in. 

Here are some lovely graphics and words (from Pinterest, yes! muwaha!) that I find reflect my own heart and how I desire to live out this adventure of life.


  1. This is such a great post and relevant to so many! As an outgoing and very ambitious person, I can declare that having the personality isn't the problem out there, it's those who exploit their personality that are and that is what is wrong with the society. I also struggle with the dominating personality types, because it's the heart behind them and not the personality that is the core of the issue. I am learning the same things and those 5 steps are exactly what I'm going through now too and I'm a "go-getter!" haha. So remember those with the good heart behind what they do are struggling to make it and keep that heart in tact while pursuing their dreams. This is something that crosses every personality type. It's the heart that matters most. :-) ♥

  2. :) Yeah, that is true. Attitude and heart is everything. Personally, I was kind of addressing the discouragement I have faced when seeing certain people succeeding at something I am pursuing. They seem to have the "upper hand" with their super positive mindset and their one million connections. As if all it takes to meet your goals is merely a positive nature and being outgoing enough to make all those connections. To me, it isn't relatable or inspiring at all. Yet, I know it takes more than that. Also, like you said, it is about more than just personality. It is about the core driving force behind who they are and what they are going after.

    1. Yep! And connections, I can tell you, are NOT a product of personality haha. Anytime we get connections that further our goals it is 100% God ordained, even for people who think it's because they've done it of their own accord. So just remember that! It may look like the power of people, but you know ultimately it's all the power of the Lord and their pride will goeth before a fall. The Lord scatters the proud, but he raises the humble in heart. Keep communicating as we learn this together, I'm totally with you! ♥

    2. Yeah, connections are truly God-ordained. I guess I am just wrestling with the fact that it doesn't "happen" for me as easily as it does for others. haha! But, thank you for the hopeful reminders! :)

  3. So enjoyed reading this post, Erika. :) Very relatable(to me!), inspiring and helpful.

    So true about the gratitude thing - something God has consistently been teaching me for a while now. Always being reminded how much better life is when I remember and take the time and mental energy to take note of the good things in my life. I'm so blessed, however so often I get caught up in my own little world and the momentary problems that go along with it.

    "Even if you fail to meet every one of your goals, learn the art of patience with yourself."... So good and also something I've really been working on for months now. Being very OCD and perfectionistic it's easy for me to get frustrated and just want to give up because I feel like I'm never good enough. However this year I've really been trying to focus on simply being patient with myself and the development of my skills... continuing to push forward even when I start to feel vulnerable. I think the 365 project is really pushing me in this area as far as my photography goes!

    Also, thank you so much for your sweet comments on my blog. :) They always make me smile.