Archives For value

You Matter. Period.

Alana —  October 20, 2013 — 2 Comments

Okay, here’s the deal. I believe YOU matter. I do not care what you feel right now. Please hear my heart in this. You matter. Your story matters, your presence matters. Regardless of what you may think, what society has taught you, or even what your family has told you. You matter. Contrary to common belief, your value does not come from your job, your income status or how many friends you have on Facebook. Your value does not come from how many awards you’ve won, how many church members you pastor or how much money you have in your 401k. It certainly does not come from whether you are divorced, single or married, whether you have children or zero children. None of that matters. Not in the sense that I am speaking, anyway.

If you believe that your value comes from these things, it does not surprise me. These messages are crammed down your throat 24/7. You are told that if you do not make a certain amount of income or if you are not a high-end executive, then you are not successful. You are told that if you do not have a rockin’ sexy bod like Matthew McConaughey or gorgeous face like Megan Fox, then you have little value. You have been bombarded with the message: “You have to be more like _________________ and THEN you will be important. THEN you will have something to offer.”

I am completely adamant in my disgust about these lies because these same messages have held me captive from reaching out and engaging in life… and it’s highly likely they are doing the same to you! Believing these lies has kept me from being me. As I mentioned in a previous post I have allowed others opinions to sway what I believe is right for me. The fear of failing my own standards and the standards others have set left me paralyzed. The opinions of others caused me to bow and sway like a tree on a windy day.

However, the truth is we are each here for a specific purpose. Think about this: Everyday that you hold back, you are depriving people who need you.

In the past six months I have experienced incredible breakthrough in realizing my own value. Without getting too churchy, the Lord has shown me that I have value simply because I am me and I am His creation. Ironically, I have been told this my whole life… it just never sunk in.

Bottom line:
You matter.
People need you.
Your presence makes a difference.

Your own healing is the greatest message of hope for others. – Julia Cameron

Your Story: Emily Maynard

Emily Maynard —  October 23, 2012 — 11 Comments

Note from Alana: I first came across Emily at prodigalmagazine.com. I was drawn to Emily’s rawness and how she showed her strength through her vulnerability. I’m honored that she would share part of her Story here today.

My Story: The Busiest Person Doesn’t Win
by Emily Maynard

It must have started when they named me.

Emily means “Diligent One,” and I definitely am that. I may not always be the “Focused One” or “Tasks Completed One,” but my life has been full of energy and opportunity. I traveled extensively in high school, worked my way through college in the Midwest, and moved back to my beloved Portlandia. But somewhere along the way, my name got twisted up. Somehow, somewhere, I took on the name of “Does Everything One,” which quickly turned into “Disappointed One,” “Self-Berating One,” “Flakey One,” and “Exhausted One.” And let me tell you, these titles are even less fun in real life than they are on this page. When you’re so tired you can’t even sleep, your body starts to reject certain food groups, and your immune system is on permanent hiatus, it’s probably time to start paying attention. And that’s what it took for me to stop competing and start listening to myself. Continue Reading…

Being Who I Am

Alana —  August 30, 2012 — 4 Comments

Note from Alana: This is strange. Josh and I both wrote our posts on this topic within a similar time frame. Each not knowing the other person was writing about the same theme. I’m intrigued by how many 30-somethings struggle with their identity… and perhaps people of all ages do, but it’s the 30-somethings that are beginning to speak out. You can see Josh’s guest post here.

Alana Mokma, you are OKAY as you are.

Just be you.
Just be you! It sounds so simple. Yet for me, this is really difficult. To be honest, it’s embarrassing. Especially because I’m putting myself out there as a person who can help you identify who you are. I can help you identify your strong spots, your weak spots, your passions, your talents… but… I’ve been struggling to do this for myself.

Two weeks ago, I realized why: Continue Reading…

Your Story: Amanda Whitehead

Alana —  August 14, 2012 — 13 Comments

Reclaiming Lost Identity
written by Amanda Whitehead

Amanda pictured with her Mother.

No one is a stranger to hurt and pain. While the causes vary, the feelings are experienced by all of us. My story is about my flawed attempt at handling my emotional life, the aftereffects of that attempt, and the journey of finding real healing and learning to walk in wholeness. My story is a Jesus story.

I came to believe certain things about myself as I navigated my school years, unwittingly attempting to find definition. None of them were spoken over me by my parents or loved ones; I picked up and accepted them as I learned the ugly art of comparison. Carrying these falsehoods around like a heavy dark shroud, I spent the bulk of my teens and twenties trying to be perfect…to be extraordinarily productive…in order to earn value. I hid myself in busy-ness. I navigated a few significant broken relationships. I arranged my world to foster the delusion that anything lacking was lacking because I simply didn’t have time for it. Every choice I made, every motivation, was silently influenced by my warped identity. I was set up for surface success, but it was all built on a foundation of failure and misery.

Continue Reading…

The backstory.
Josh was out of town this past weekend for a cycling event, so I had the house to myself. Being a person who loves to be surrounded by people, my original plans were to pack virtually every moment with hosting out-of-town guests, meeting up with others for coffee, and spa dates. As the time drew closer, a few of the plans fell through and I felt the increasing desire (or need) to spend a substantial amount of this time alone. This time would be used to re-group and focus on what the heck I am doing in life. Ha. One of the things I love about myself is that I always have ideas for projects, businesses and improvements. One of the things that frustrates me about myself is that I always have ideas for projects, businesses and improvements. My mind moves at 100 miles/hour and sometimes I cannot even keep up with myself. I feel like this weekend, I got a little taste for what this has been like for those around me. :)

My original intention for the weekend was to figure out which of my many projects I should pursue first. However, it took a completely different direction. Last Wednesday I met with my naturopath of whom I’ve been meeting with for at least three years now. That being said, he has had plenty of time to get to know me – my strengths, desires and struggles. The abbreviated conclusion of our conversation is that I do not love myself. Yikes. This is coming up, AGAIN?? This must be an underlying current because it pops up in various areas of my life and recently has been popping up more and more often.

The twist.
I left his office with a new focus for the weekend – one I was much less excited about: “I am loved and accepted by myself and by God right where I am.” Not so ironically, the thing I have been avoiding is what I needed most. And… ironically, the thing I wanted most for others is what I most needed.

The basics.
I have based my value strongly on what I can produce – how quickly I can turn projects at work, how much house cleaning I can complete, how many people I can help… It has been an exhausting life to say the least. In my mind, if I am not actively producing, then I do not have value. So to deal with this this weekend, I chose to eliminate distractions (facebook, e-mail, and tv) and all projects (no blogging, no housework, no finishing the basement project that I started and have left hanging for a week now). It was hard.
I then wrote on a few notecards, “I am loved and accepted by myself and by God right where I am” and placed these in each of the bathrooms. Throughout the weekend, if I found myself thinking critically of my physical appearance or spastic tendencies I would drop what I was doing and force myself to walk into the bathroom, look into the mirror and read out loud: “I am loved and accepted by myself and by God right where I am.” Admittedly, at first, I had a difficult time even looking myself in the eye. Throughout the weekend it became easier.

The love.
Despite all the “soul-searching” I have done over the past year, I have lost touch with the basics of what I love to do. I have been caught up in what everyone else thinks I am good at or what they think I should do. This week, when I met with my naturopath, he asked me “What do you love to do?” When I’m asked this, I always go back to the same staple answer: “Well, I love being with and interacting with people.” This weekend I forced myself to go deeper.

What do you love to do?

I selected a yellow index card, wrote the words, “What do you love to do?” and taped it on our living room wall. Throughout the weekend, as things came to mind that I truly enjoyed doing, I would write them down and tape them to the wall underneath the original card. I was surprised by my answers! I forgot how much I enjoyed dancing. At one point this weekend, I closed the living room curtains, moved the furniture and danced like a crazy woman – and had a BLAST!

The conclusion.
I realized a few things this weekend:
– I don’t need to have all life’s answers figured out RIGHT NOW.
– My value is not based on what I can produce (still grappling with this one).
– It’s okay to take time to do the things I love to do (dance like nobody is watching).

What is one thing you love to do but have put it on the back burner because “life happened”? Please share in the comment section.

What Part Are You?

Alana —  November 22, 2011 — 13 Comments

Cari Troyer w/husband Steve and daughter Kaitlyn

Cari and I met at the Speak it Forward Boot Camp in October of this year. We immediately connected on our awesome tastes in fashion and our desire for others to understand their own value. You matter. Below, Cari shares the significance of knowing your purpose.

Few things matter more to me than the singular idea that each person has dignity and worth.

I believe very whole-heartedly that we each have been commissioned with a mission of hope—a message destined for a desperate world. And each message is as unique as the person it has been entrusted to – we are as the many instruments of an orchestra, our solo melodies blending together to create a master symphony.

Like parts of the body, we each have a specific purpose and are all necessary for the proper function of The Whole (1 Corinthians 12). But two things must happen for all parts to operate as they should:

1). Each part (person) must realize they are part of the body (or what I call ‘The Whole’ – or God’s Divine Plan), and
2). Each part must know and perform their job (or unique purpose within that Plan).

A hand cannot be used to see, just as an eye cannot be used to feel. No part of The Whole is lesser than another – for what is a foot without a leg? Or a head without a neck? Likewise, what good is an ear that doesn’t know its purpose is to hear, or that tries to be a mouth?! (It sounds absurd, I know, but consider how true to the mark this analogy may actually be — most of the difficulties in my life have occurred when I tried to play a part I wasn’t designed for.)

My vocation in life is to help provide the tools, information, and motivation to assist others as they identify their place and purpose. I am passionate about this idea because I myself once believed I had nothing to contribute to this world, that life was futile and not worth living. As scripture puts it, “… I gave up in despair, questioning the value of all my hard work in this world” (Ecclesiastes 2:20).

I chronicle my life-long battle with chronic depression and persistent suicidal thoughts in my book, Risen From Low Places: How I Overcame Depression & Despair. It was on that concrete floor, alone, that I made the choice to live. By the grace of God I have successfully treated my depression and have now achieved wellness. And let me emphasis this point, because it is pivotal: I got up off that floor and sought wellness because I made a decision. Fulfillment and purpose require Action. Choice. I chose to accept the fact that I had a role to play in this life, and I chose to dedicate myself to the diligent pursuit of seeking it out. That is where meaning is to be found. All else is waste and loss. And let me add that I don’t believe that people are afflicted with mental conditions, or difficulties of any kind for that matter, as punishment for sin; what I believe is that it is through despair that God can raise us up.

John 9:3 discusses this concept. The Jewish High Priests were dumbfounded when Jesus gave sight to a blind man. Jewish tradition held that tragedy and disability were punishment for sin. The High Priests asked who had sinned to cause the man’s blindness. Jesus said, “Neither he nor his parents sinned; it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him.”

Through my depression God molded and shaped me so that my story of survival and redemption might be an example of His divine patience, mercy and power. Be reassured, there is value in your struggle, and good can come of it. For God said in Corinthians 4:6, “’Let light shine out of darkness’”!

It is because of my trials, not despite them, that I now go boldly and unapologetically toward my dreams. My perseverance has given me hope. For it is written, “…we rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” (Romans 5:3-4).

Again, I tell you, be assured: no matter your circumstances or struggle, you are part of a magnificent Whole. Through trial and difficulty God can mold and perfect you, and ultimately, He can use you to achieve a Greater Good.

Cari Troyer is an Author & Speaker, specializing in personal and professional development.

www.caritroyer.com

Reasons for My Existence

Alana —  November 14, 2011 — 20 Comments

What is most important to me? What threads are beginning to reveal themselves through my musings?

I’m taking this cue from Ivan Bickett, who will be my first guest tomorrow on Musings of a Shiny Penny. The other day we discussed themes that he finds to be his own passions. After contemplating my own passions, I discovered the below 4 Threads:

Relationships.
Community. Family. Friends. I’ve always been one to appreciate relationships, (I’m a high “I” for those who are familiar with the DiSC personality test) but only recently have I realized their vitality. Despite how we feel or what we think, we need other people in our lives to support us and challenge us.

Passion.
Dan Miller, author of 48 Days to the Work You Love, recently said, “You speak because you have a message you can’t contain.” SHAZAM! I totally resonated with this! I can’t stop thinking, believing and hoping that we were all called to live amazingly fulfilled lives. Some of us are fortunate enough to have found our passions and begin living them in our daily lives. Others of us know there has got to be something more, something bigger to this life, but we don’t know how to get from point A to point B. We are miserable and cannot bear to get up in the morning, but do not know how to utilize the tools we have to escape Groundhog’s Day. The last group of us are poor, miserable souls but have zero desire to do anything to change. It’s our lot in life. Our cross to bear. (<– those are lies by the way).

My goal and desire is to help others realize their passions, talents and what makes them tick so they can lead successful and fulfilled lives!

Hope.
It ain’t over ’til its over. This is a phrase that Ed Dobson shares in his story at Edsstory.com. It Ain’t Over, the first film in the Ed’s Story series, reminds us that life isn’t over yet and that we don’t have to feel overwhelmed by the struggles we’re facing today. [1] It’s so easy to get overwhelmed by life. I can admit I get overwhelmed on a daily basis, but know this – there is hope for you. Your life is not over. I don’t care if you are 13, 53 or 93. You are still living and you do not have to live this way anymore.

Action.
This theme has been strongly embedded in my brain by Ivan Bickett. He shares his story of sitting around, wanting a different life but doing nothing to change it. You can view more of Ivan’s story here. He is finally doing something to change.

I am learning that we can dream and dream and dream … and things overtime may change. We may get a different job, meet that special someone, start a family. Whatever. Imagine the life you could live if you were intentional. I am working on a program to help others live intentional lives. It takes work, but OHMYGOODNESS the rewards are ::melodic sing-song voice:: AMAAAZING!

K. These 4 themes are shaping my message. I can’t wait for you to hear what some of my guests have to say!

Come back tomorrow for my first guest post from Ivan Bickett @ abetterwayofbusiness.com.

[1] Edsstory.com