I am writing this from within the confines of a gorgeous coffee shop in my local town. Walking distance from my flat and serving an indulgent Belgian hot chocolate, it provided the perfect incentive to get me out and writing. The question is, what about?
I had to write my end of year review for my job. My heart sank as it marked yet another year of wondering what I had done between the hours of 7-3 for five days a week. Because I am a harsh judge and speak from my perspective rather than God's, it makes it challenging to think of how I had changed.
The end of year review is quite rightly all about the ways in which I had benefitted the client though my communication or initiative. The language felt to me, at times alien and if I am quite honest I felt like my assessment of myself was one which could have been taken from any year of any employee.
I had met expectations, done my job but it felt somewhat lacking in authenticity and truthfulness. It got me to reflecting and asking myself, had I really changed or grown in any way at all? I felt like I had switched off this year and almost gone backwards. My hope levels had dissipated and my dreams and thoughts had died or had a tendency to get a bit negative.
The psalms writers have a pause in their works. It causes a person to reflect from a place of centeredness and power; the psalmist may be getting it in the neck but it is almost as if one pause can change a perspective. I felt that way after asking myself this. I realised that I had changed on the inside and had more room for more change in my life. The end of year review may look same but my inner heart has grown, become changed and made this year significant. I thought I would share with you my heart level end of year review.
I can rescue myself.... the absence of a guy in my life has been and still is challenging. But at the same time it has caused me to think more deeply about whether I am approaching my desire for a relationship with a sincere and pure heart; pure in this context means free from a self-orientated motive.
I have, in the past, thought that a relationship would somehow validate my existence, that I would become pretty or worthy or that somehow I was only pretty or worthy if I was with someone. Thankfully I can now say that this is no longer the case. God spoke to me one day and said "Rosie you can rescue / change / bring fullness to your life yourself". This perspective has empowered me to work at changing things myself. Growth!
Stop the negative imagining!
One particular lesson for me was in my job I found it hard to censor negativity in my thought life. I was constantly thinking, exhausted and weary about what I might do, was going to do, who I wanted and who I lusted for. I had another list of people who I thought, thought I was weird and all the smart and clever thoughts and words I was going to use to verbally pillow them.
I found that I was thinking, but not well. My head was full not fulfilled. I felt a bit frizzed. One day, God again came alongside and said "Do you realise that you can stop thinking negatively that you can choose different thoughts and that they are probably not even thinking about you that much? " if I did not pillow those people God certainly pillowed me!!
I am not going to lie to you, particularly at the moment because this is a real and almost constant battle in my mind and this week it has felt like I have not seen daylight mentally. But this year for the first time I had a few weeks when I felt so alive and free it was like I was growing a pot of sunshine in my stomach.
I felt so happy and it was because I prayed for joy and I prayed for an ability to praise. I have never asked God for that before as I have thought about my agenda of supposed increase before his of a genuine desire for me to be happy. I know I can be happy. I know how I can get happy. It starts with prayer and praise.
Learn to love yourself and others. This sounds a bit self-help doesn't it? But all I can say is that I have learnt to be more tuned in to what I need physically and mentally and spiritually, which has meant that when I see other people I am learning to hold back, not in vulnerability, but in making the conversation about me. I have work to do still and sometimes I do verbally spill. But I warn first most of the time!
I still may look to some unchanged, but I know I have changed inside. My company may think still I am in the same place but I am not. I am growing and I have changed. When God deems me ready for the next thing, it will be right.
I encourage all to ask, what might you write for your end of year heart review?
Rosie Robinson resides in Manchester where, in between feeding herself coffee and bagels she works for an international financial services organisation. She attends a lively church called Audacious, enjoys reading, running and watching films and slowly discovering life with Jesus.
Rosie Robinson's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/rosie-robinson.html