My 2016 resolution is two-fold, but the two ideas go together:
(1) Set boundaries and (2) Be more discerning.
Can you think of anyone you know that has presence? When someone has presence, it’s like they have an invisible bubble around them that you just wouldn’t dare to cross. It doesn’t mean they are unapproachable. Often, they are extremely charismatic! But you wouldn’t encroach upon their space out of respect for them.
Generally speaking, people with presence are respectable. Now, there are always going to be those people who lack respect and cross boundaries, but that’s why my resolution is two parts.
So let’s talk more about presence for a moment. I can think of a few of my Christian women friends who have a real presence. I bet you can, too. They just have this thing about them. They are down to earth and real, and yet you totally just want to behave around them. Their lives seem perfectly imperfect. They have struggles just like you, and yet they meet their struggles on their knees, and they are just right with God, you know? I’m totes jealous of the way they seem to handle everything. You know what I’m talking about right? They are wholesome and approachable, yet have solid healthy boundaries. I love it. And I don’t think I’m there yet, but I’m getting there.
The boundaries thing is hard because often other people don’t have boundaries, and I feel like people cross mine far more often than I’d like. This goes for both men and women! Whenever I’m not in my own home—whether it’s a social outing or even at work!—I feel like I’m having to “field” the people I come in contact with. I’m constantly having to reinforce my boundaries. Tell people no. Say “stop” or “that’s too much” or “no thanks.” And that’s fine I guess. But it’s exhausting and it makes me anxious and irritable sometimes. I want to be able to be myself without feeling threatened or icky because someone crossed my boundaries.
And I’ve been stressing about HOW to do this. How can I get people to respect me? How can I get people to stop being inappropriate and treat me like a lady? How can I get people to stop approaching me and want more from me than I want to give them? I mean, I want to still be approachable and friendly and kind but not seem vulnerable and able to be taken advantage of. I want to feel safe and protected.
What I’ve realized…
I can’t do any of this by myself! I am on my knees with the profound weight and realization of that statement. I am not enough! But God is! I’ve known this before, of course, but it’s another thing to feel it and feel the conviction of it. All I want to do from this day forward is cloak myself with God’s grace and surrender and say, “Make me into who You want me to be!”
I started out saying that this year would be for ME. But I’m realizing that in order for this year to be for me, it needs to be for God first. He is the only one who can change me into who I want truly want to be. I’m not strong enough to do it myself. I cannot always protect myself from people who want to cross my boundaries. So I am surrendering. I want to be better. I want to do the right things. I want to be humble and serve others. I want to prepare to be the wife and mother I am called to be one day. I want to have a gift to give to my future family. The gift of the best possible version of myself I can be.
This year, I have learned that I am valuable. And precious. A treasure. I’m not sure why this wasn’t so real to me before. I want every step I take to be toward the person I want to be and the family I want to create. I am living with intention. I feel alive. I feel reborn. And I’m filled with a profound sense of joy. My impatience is still there, but I can feel God’s peace surrounding the knot of impatience in my belly. I have security knowing that He is there no matter what and that He has a plan for me. I am so thankful for the salvation offered in knowing Jesus Christ. Life is hard. But life without God is harder. I’m so grateful for His unending Grace and that I can always run back to His open arms. As I pare away pieces of myself that I don’t like and reign myself in, limiting certain behaviors, and being more aware…it may seem ironic, but I feel more freedom than I’ve ever felt before because I feel safe and protected. Thank you all for joining in my journey of self-discovery. All the glory be to God.