All May I’ve been in deep reflection trying to get back to myself after this whirlwind of a year pulled my focus to everything outside of me. In this space, I’ve had a deep desire to spend time with God and myself more than anything or anyone else. While it can be hard to make time for stillness, in seasons like this (when life has worn you out and you finally get room to breathe), it’s essential to prioritize you and your peace above all. It’s in these spaces we can reflect on our role, our needs, and most importantly our patterns.
Patterns is where I want to focus today since my reflection has led me to explore three prevalent patterns in my own life. I invite you to introspect with me and consider the patterns you may need to confront.
Pattern #1: Compromising- making more room for others than I do for myself
I first discovered this pattern in my romantic relationships. In the name of “compromise” I made space for the other person to be themselves while neglecting the part of me that needed the same acknowledgement. Time after time, I found myself months into relationships that didn’t honor the best version of myself when truth be told, I didn’t honor the best version of me. Let me be clear, there’s nothing inherently wrong with finding a compromise between two parties; the key is making sure you aren’t dismissing part of yourself, your needs, or your truth in the name of “compromise” because it will ultimately bubble up to the surface.
In my last break-up, my ex told me, “I hope you honor yourself when entering your next relationship. I hope we both do.” I say the same to you, and I don’t limit this to romantic relationships. Whether with friends, families, bosses, or co-workers, I hope you honor yourself, your needs, and your capacity as you build together. I hope we both do.
Pattern #2: Chasing- thinking that happiness (rest, peace, etc.) will be reached at a destination
This post was the inspiration for this blog. It made me ask myself, “are you happy?” If I’m honest, I often sit in situations, especially romantic relationships, thinking “I’ll be happy when” or “we’ll be fine when” and the reality is, if it isn’t fine now, it isn’t fine. If I can’t find happiness and peace where I am, I’m not happy. That’s a hard pill to swallow when it’s in our nature to see the potential in a person or situation, but if we can learn to acknowledge what’s not so sweet, we empower ourselves to do something about it.
When I find myself in a period of discontent, I have to ask a few questions. Is this a God-lesson or a self-imposed situation? Where is the opportunity to look for gratitude and growth? Where do I need to advocate for myself and make an adjustment? Honestly the answer to the first question will reveal a lot about whether or not you need to buckle down and fuel your spirit, or embrace courage and take action to shift the situation. We are not here to chase peace; God’s peace is something we learn to rest in regardless of the circumstance and if we are unable to do that, something must change.
Pattern #3: Sitting comfortably- delaying action to avoid the discomfort associated with change and growth
I’m sure we’ve seen the quotes, “Change happens outside of your comfort zone.” While we may be able to accept this when it comes to working out, it’s not as easy when it comes to partaking in new tasks, activities, and routines that are challenging or uncomfortable. We naturally want to avoid discomfort which we often do by sticking with what’s familiar or easy. That’s been a pattern for me when it comes to business. My background is in education so everything needed to master entrepreneurship is foreign to me and requires diligence and discipline. I often think I’m working on my business, and to an extent I am, but I’m rarely working on the aspects that are most difficult or full of unknowns. As a result those areas never get taken care of. God isn’t allowing me to do that in this season, so I’m forcibly in a period of discomfort while I learn to figure out and face what I need to do. This is where community and accountability come into play.
If you are unable to push yourself beyond your comfort zone, you have to find new routines, communities, and leaders who will get you where you need to be. Sitting comfortably can be a costly pattern that not only impedes your progress, it also blocks the impact you could have on the people who need what you have to offer the world. Build a plan to push yourself forward. It's okay to feel the fear, but do it anyway.