Monday, September 29, 2014

When You See the Changing Leaves, Think of This

This morning, I remembered one of my favorite Live with Flair moments from October, 2011. It's the one where my friend, Cynthia taught me about a tree's habit. Every time I see a tree in Autumn, I think about how my life takes shape and what I do to hinder or help this shaping.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Your Best Habit

On the walk to school, my rurally-raised neighbor (who knows everything about the land) comments upon the beauty of various trees' habits.  She informs me that a tree's habit refers to its overall shape.

She identifies trees by their habits.  Some trees squat and spread lower to the ground:

Others rise tall into the sky as perfect vase shapes:

Some grow into beautiful ovals:

And some unfold against the sky like Japanese fans. 

But as I look around me, I notice something astounding.  Some trees in the forest don't squat or unfold.  Some don't rise up and spread their arms wide.

I learn that if other plants or objects crowd a tree, the intended habit changes.  It diminishes.  Stunted and pressed upon, the tree loses potential somehow.

I think about the simple and natural need for space.  We have an intended shape--our best habit--but when crowded and pressured, we change. 

I think about making room for my husband, children, friends, students--and myself--to unfold, to stretch wide.  Do I stifle?  Do I crowd?  What would it look like to give everybody some breathing room? 

Today, I'm making space for my best habit to take shape.  I want to unfold like a bright yellow fan.

Journal:  Do you feel like you've taken shape into your best habit?  What allowed this?

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Perfect For You

The more women I meet, the more I love hearing how they have chosen to live their lives. I love all the different kinds of women I know:

I know women who homeschool and keep the home; I know women who work-full time or part-time; I know women on the mission field; I know women researchers, women with tenure, women who bake the best chocolate chip cookies the world will ever taste, women who run neighborhood groups, women who volunteer in their communities, women athletes, singers, poets, and scrapbookers. I know bloggers, bakers, coaches, cleaners, crafters. I know librarians, musicians, doctors, photographers, engineers, artists, scientists, and teachers. I know women who rescue animals. I know a mom with 8 children. I know women taking care of aging family members, women adopting children, and women fostering children.

I could list a thousand different women. Each life is perfect. Each life is her special calling. Lately I'm realizing how important it is not to box a woman in or compare her life to anyone else.

I love your life. It's perfect for you.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

A Pure Motive: Love

I've been thinking lately about how ambition governed so much of my twenties and thirties. Achievement and recognition were so important to me. I chased after prestige at every turn. Speaking and writing and teaching were tainted with the ulterior motive of needing to feel important.

When God healed those places in me that needed all that attention, I felt lost at sea. What now could motivate all the work and all the achievement? Could I still be me up there on the stage even though I no longer needed to be there? Who was this new woman and why would she do what she was doing? 

Love. Just love. I pray to be a pure and clear conduit of God's love. With myself out of the spotlight, I'm hopeful that God will teach me how to truly live a life of love. It feels profoundly different. It feels peaceful and free to love an audience and not need anything from them.