“I wouldn’t want you to be my secretary“

“I wouldn’t want you to be my secretary“

These were the words of a professional, who is without a secretary at the moment.  I love what this person does. That’s why I told him I would love to help out but didn’t think I was the right person for this job.

That’s when he told me: 

“I wouldn’t want you to be my secretary“.

Immediately and before I could ask for the reason or feel bad about this statement, he added:

“That would be a waste of your potential.”

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This little chat stayed with me for the next few hours and I decided to put my thoughts about it into an article.

Today, I completely agree with that professional.
It would be a waste of my potential.

Not because the job of a secretary is worthless. Of course not! I know the lady who did this job until recently and she was priceless for him and his work.  She was amazing and did a wonderful job.

But for being a secretary, you have to have a set of capacities and talents I hold only in a limited quantity.

As I wrote in the last article, today I’m on a journey to discover always more who God made me to be.  A journey where I learn to walk in my unique DNA, enjoying my unique personality.

I can go camping with my four kids and I thrive by doing that.
I can write an article for this blog each and every week and translate it into three languages.

There are many more things I am good at and I enjoy doing.

Caroline leaf puts it this way :

“True self-awareness comes from recognizing the true you. It changes you from the inside out. You are unlocked. This is much more than “finding your purpose.” It is about finding yourself. We all want to know who God is. We reflect his image. The world will lose out if you do not operate in your unique you: You are a specific part of his reflection, the missing piece that brings a unique perspective and hope to the world. There is none one like you, which means there is something you can do no one else can do. ..”

From her book ” THE PERFECT YOU“, Chapter one, sub chapter ” The power of choice”)

As a young adult, I did not “recognize the true me”, as Dr. Leaf puts it.  I remember the deep feeling of insecurity, inferiority and the feeling of not being worthy because I felt I couldn’t live up to the particular standard of our society. I surely didn’t believe that I could be a blessing to anyone.

I believed that I was a burden, a challenge, a problem.

I was very much aware of the things I did not do well, and I was aware of my fears and insecurities.

I struggled with not being a person of relevance, and probably, in this situation, I would have tried to prove that “I can be a good secretary”…. Simply because I would not have identified with the second part of what this professional told me “It would be a waste of your potential.”

“What potential?”

I would have asked myself sadly.

“I am not really good at anything. I wish I could be a blessing, but I don’t have anything to offer to this world!”

I saw all these people around me, who were brilliant at many things. I felt inadequate. I wished I would be seen and celebrated as well. 
I felt trapped in the expectations of how I should be and the feeling of not living up to those expectations.

Today I rejoice, and I am so deeply grateful for where I stand.

Because the more I understand who I am created to be, the more I rejoice over all the beauty around me. I see the obvious beauty – when people confidently walk in who they are meant to be – and I see the hidden beauty, when people are still on this journey of discovery. And I love to be a part of that journey, to discover this beauty God has put in every one of us.

It makes me grateful because I remember how it feels when you are unable to recognize who God made you to be.

Unable to recognize this amazing, unique, beautiful person he created you to be.
The unique blueprint he longs to bring you into, in order that you can celebrate who you are – and in the end who God is.
We reflect God’s image.

As Caroline Leaf puts it,

it is much more than finding your purpose. It is about finding yourself.

This blog for example, is not the purpose of my life. It is rather something flowing from the fact that I am finding myself. In other words, by discovering the person God created me to be, I can be a blessing….simply by being me.

 

The same goes for you.
The more you discover the amazing, unique, beautiful person God created you to be, the more you will marvel at how you will be a blessing… simply by being yourself.

 

I discover that in finding my identity I find my destiny.

 

You see, having a basic in pedagogy and psychology, I know that an identity is built in the first few years of life. After that, one can improve – but this basic identity (or lack of identity) is set.

The beautiful thing is that when we search for our identity in God, literally everything is possible. God is able to restore anything you have lost in your life.

 

He promises us in  the Bible, Isaiah 61:7(AMP):

Instead of your [former] shame you will have a double portion;

And instead of humiliation your people will shout for joy over their portion.

Therefore in their land they will possess double [what they had forfeited];

Everlasting joy will be theirs.

 

This is true for everyone that is willing to enter into that journey of finding his and her identity in God. He is the one that created you, that made you in his image. Therefore, (and here I’ll quote Dr.Leaf again)

“you are a specific part of his reflection, that missing piece that brings a unique perspective and hope to the world. There is no one like you, which means there is something you can do no one else can do… “

From the view of pedagogues and psychologists, my life was doomed to be very limited. The impact of blessing I could have around me very poor.

But God is good. He is faithful.

And if he was capable to do it with me..  then he surely can do it with you too!

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How I learned to be gracious toward myself and others

How I learned to be gracious toward myself and others

The very moment I sat down to write this article (the title already set) I got a call from a friend I love dearly. This friend told me that I’ve hurt and disappointed her in a situation that happened  recently.

I felt shocked. I never meant to hurt her! I had plenty of good intentions by doing what I did but obviously, it ended in me having shattered her trust.

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I was so terribly sorry! I was confronted with feelings of shame, guilt, anger, powerlessness – but all I could do right in that situation was to tell her how sorry I am and how much I regretted the way things went.

A couple of years ago, I would have felt overwhelmed with guilt and fallen apart by my failure.
I would have felt bad for days, walking around with that constant feeling of failure and sadness. I would have had a self talk that went something like this:
“I can’t believe how stupid I am! How could I not have realized that I should do things differently before? Those things always happen to me! I will never go far in my life, I always mess up situations! I am one great failure!“

Today?
Right after that phone call, still in front of my computer, I looked at the title of my article, smiling through some tears.

“How I learned to be gracious toward myself and others”.

Well. Actually exactly through situations like this.

Through moments when I am confronted with situations I messed up. Situations, where I have to recognize that I didn’t live up to what would have been right/wise or loving to do. Situations where others are hurt because of my immaturity, my ignorance or my perception.
The closer the relationship, the harder it is to face such situations.

There are two tendencies of how to react here:

  • One can, as I would have done in the past, feel like a complete failure. . Be overwhelmed with guilt and shame, and blame oneself. 
  • The other way would be to never recognize our responsibility. To put the blame on any other person rather than to admit that we wronged someone, failed in our attempt to be that friend/parent/spouse/ boss/ or employee we want to be.

Today my reaction is very different.
Right there on the phone, I made sure to listen what my friend had to tell me. I told her how sorry I was that my ways of doing things did make her feel that way.
After I hung up, I did feel really bad and terribly sorry for the way I hurt her.

However, I refused to go on that guilt trip. I refused to put the blame on anyone else. Right then, I couldn’t do more to fix the situation.
But I knew by experience that this doesn’t change anything concerning my value and worth.

This, because I deeply know that I am not who I am today because of my perfection or my own righteousness.

It is not my capacity, my performance and my awesomeness that brought me here.

It is rather the other way round. Because I experienced God’s grace, His mercy and His compassion in my life, I am at a place today where I am able to live a fulfilled life despite the situations where I fail to be who – in this situation that friend – I want to be.

Today, such situations make me humble and deeply grateful.

They make my heart moved by the grace and compassion God has for me – and each and every person in this world.
Instead of blaming myself or others, I bless each and every person involved in such situations.
I thank God for his grace, His love, His goodness and His capacity to touch our lives, turn them around and bring them into harmony with Him.
God is not afraid of our failures and of the situations we mess up. He’s not scared of our humanity.
And I love that about Him. 

 

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I’m so glad that I have come a long way to being merciful towards me and others.

Of course, it still is an ongoing process and it sometimes involves tough decisions to stand above my feelings and take the right action. Still, God has been so gracious to bring significant change into my life, concerning that matter.

Instead of becoming discouraged and depressed, I am today able to grow from such experiences.

Instead of becoming bitter, I become more grateful, gracious and softhearted toward myself and others.

Instead of blaming myself or putting the blame on others, I take responsibility – and no matter the outcome of that situation, I will use it to grow, to learn, to mature.

 

From ashes to beauty – 8 factors that bring change into your life.

From ashes to beauty – 8 factors that bring change into your life.

I am very excited to write my first article for this website. Excited, because there is so much gratefulness and compassion in me, when I look back to where I came from and where I stand today. 

 

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Compassion because I remember very well where I come from.
I remember all those struggles, the stupid things I did in my ignorance, unmet needs, wrong beliefs and fears.
I remember the people I hurt, the ridiculous situations I put myself into, the hurt I caused to myself for not knowing how to live, for being completely lost in a world that didn’t teach me how to live a life in freedom, that’s worth living.

I struggled to find my place in a world that rarely tries to find the gold but points out the weak spots, the flaws, the imperfections and the things that need to change in order to be acceptable.
I remember the feelings of loneliness, the shame of being myself, the heartbreaks I could have avoided (if only I would have been tought on how to do that)  – and the feeling of complete failure every time I had recognized that I wasn’t at the level of the expectations of the people around me. 

My realities were feelings of failure, of not being enough, unworthyness, unableness. The labels of ADHD and epilepsy promised me a future of trying to adapt to these diagnoses.

I hated it. I tried to fight those things. Fight those things in order to “become” normal. In order to become a person like anybody else.
Somehow, this felt like a lost struggle. My environment, who knew me well (or so they thought), tried to make me accept my fate. They shaked their head at my efforts to get out of those labels and diagnoses, those feelings that tried to determine my life. They smiled at my determination to overcome those obstacles (and circumstances) they had put in my way. 

My French teacher told me one day:

“Jeanne, you are definitely not made to learn any foreign language. You will never speak more than one language.”

Well, today I speak four of them fluently.

 

Because of a pretty severe stuttering issue, I felt very helpless and shy, insecure to meet new people. Somehow I knew that I either had to hide in an office, or I face this reality. So, at age 16, I chose to do an apprenticeship in a small butcher’s shop. My thinking was that this way, I had to face all those clients, everyday, who came to buy meat and sausages in the shop. And it worked! I got much more confident and relaxed in meeting new people, and my stuttering diminished very much. 

When I was around 24 years old, God spoke to my heart in a very real way. He told me:

“ Jeanne, you can’t become something you already are: “normal” in your uniqueness.“

 

From this day on, I quit my fight to become “normal” – and I entered into the process of becoming who I truly am – the person I knew deep down inside I could be, if only I would be able to enter into this freedom of who I am, of who God truly is.

  

Today, I’ve gone a long way. I am at a completely different spot – in my inner and outer reality. My life has a stable foundation that is filled with life, joy, peace, gentleness, compassion and humor.  Even though neither my life nor I myself, nor the people around me are perfect… challenges can’t change that basic foundation of freedom.

And well, knowing what I know today about psychology, how the usual effects of child rearing and a difficult childhood will influence the adult life – I stand in awe before this God who was capable to break many of the “normal” consequences in adult life. There is this deep gratefulness for all those people in my life who treated me with grace and compassion and who were eager to find the gold.

 

Today, I am simply amazed by this God who is so faithful!
I look at the freedom I found of being simply being me.
I see the grace of God all over my life. His compassion. His love. His capacity. He is so good!

 

My heart is filled with compassion and thankfulness, because I know that the reality I experienced in the past is the reality of many people around the world.
We live in a time, where brokenness, hurt, pain and injustices are as much reality as they were at any point of time in our history.

In this blog, I will share my journey, from where I was to where I stand today.
However, today I would like to point out eight important factors you have to know to enter this journey.

  1. ) There is no way I could experience my freedom today without the reality that Jesus died on the cross.
    Why? Well, because today all my efforts, my will would not have had the power to overcome all those wrong beliefs, lies, fears and the ignorance that held me back.
    Because of God, because of Jesus who paid for us, I had a truth to hold on to. To cling on to in my failure, brokenness and pain. God saved me from so many things I would have entered into if I would not have given my life to Jesus Christ. The thief came only to kill, steal and destroy, but Jesus came that we may have life in abundance, to the fullness, until it overflows.
    Therefore, the first step is: Invite Jesus into your life. It will seriously change your life on this earth for the good. Visit this section of my website to see how to that.
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  2. ) Dwell in his love.
    I got to know a God full of compassion. He never accuses. He never blames. He never shames you. He knows your past, your experiences, your lack and needs.
    The only people Jesus got angry at in the Bible, were the religious people who were trying to put a burden on the weaker ones. The ones who were “rejecting” the sinner and pretended to be the “perfect” ones. Once you experience His Love in your life, everything else will become so small.
  1. ) Be aware that coming out of your comfort zone is scary and uncomfortable.
    This means that any process of transformation is challenging. Many times, staying in those “securities” one has, no matter how destructive they might be, seems more promising than leaving this place to grow into another reality.

4.) Persevere.
Promise yourself to hold on, even if you feel that you have failed, that people have failed you or that you just can’t keep on anymore. Every time in my life, when I felt that way and I decided to persevere, God was so faithful, bringing people or circumstances into my life that gave me courage and strength to go on. 

5.) Accept the reality that there will always be people that hurt you, don’t understand you or wrong you.
They may be your own family, or even people who believe in Jesus. Accept that they are on their own way, just like you. NO human being is perfect. Bless them, engage a way of life that decides to enter the school of forgiving and go on.

  1. ) It is great to get help along the way.
    Psychologists, therapeutics, Christian counselors, pastors or any other people who are there to help you. My life got changed because of people, who helped me turn around my life with lots of know-how, investment and professionalism.
    However, they are human beings too, with weaknesses and blind spots. Don’t build your life around them. Center your life around Jesus, and the truth the Bible says about you and about Himself. 

7.) You will be hurt, you will be disappointed.
However, you too, will hurt and disappoint people along the way. So learn how to be gracious – toward yourself and toward those who want to help you.

 

  1. ) Cling to the truth that God wants your freedom even more than you do.
    This is such an important point to me: The whole process of maturity brings up our humanity. We get to know ourselves, we get to know others. Truth is, God was aware of humanity in us long ago. And he loves you anyway. He is the one who made you beautifully and he wants to go the process with you. Cling to it – even in moments when you feel like you’ve been let down.
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The process can be very hard. While in it, you may not even see the progress, let alone the light at the end of the tunnel. But then, suddenly, you realize how things have become different. Suddenly you’re looking back and you realize how things have changed. More and more, you start to enjoy the fruit your change has brought into your life. You start to see the beauty in place of the ashes. And this is the moment you realize that it has all been worth it.

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