Lessons Learned from Dignity

Bench

2015 has been a weird year. I feel like I have been on a very long blogging break and I miss writing more than I can even express- more than I’ve allowed myself time to contemplate.

It’s strange to go from blogging at least 3 times a week to 2 times a month, but that has been the reality of this year for me. But as I lay in bed last night, reminiscing about this past year, I decided that 2016 is going to look different. I need it to look different.

Prior to this year, blogging had become as normal to me as breathing. In the past 5 1/2 years, blogging has become an outlet for me, a way to share my thoughts, an opportunity to interact with like minded folk and a challenge to live life intentionally. When you are consistent in blogging, you naturally set goals and pursue them.

This unintentional blogging slow down has caused a bit of a tailspin in my life. In some ways, I needed to let go of control in my life. God has led our family down pathways we didn’t expect and our lives have become incredibly full. It has been good for me to follow His leading and to trust when I didn’t feel like trusting. It has been good for my family to have a mommy who is present. And it has been very good to remember my calling in life.

But as that calling has come into focus, I can see clearly that blogging must fit into my life. It must. I have discovered that it is similar to my relationship with studying the Bible. When I am not teaching a Bible study of some sort, I become haphazard in my devotional time and so in order to remain consistent in my personal time with the Lord, I need to be teaching. The purpose and clarity that writing brings to my life still surprises me, but I am convinced that for me, blogging is crucial to a life well lived.

And I want to live my life well. This concept is one I have wrestled with a great deal this past year. I haven’t written much about my one word for 2015- dignity- a. because I haven’t written much at all and b. because dignity has kicked my butt. Who knew that it would be such a hard word to infiltrate my thoughts, my emotions, my interactions, my relationships and my very life? But dignity has done exactly that. It has messed with me. It’s almost as if my life was poured into a giant strainer and then sifted. Left behind were my insecurities, my petty thoughts, my pride and my selfishness. When you clearly see all of that mess in one place, when you are laid bare and scrubbed clean, you want to hide for a bit and I think that is what I have needed. I had to step back, because I saw my ugliness.

And I didn’t don’t like it!

But dignity is teaching me to look at life through a different lens. Dignity is a choice. It is a daily decision to seek to be the best version of yourself. It is refusing to accept excuses. It’s not allowing assumptions to become fact. It is not acting upon your own opinions without seeking truth- even if the truth stands in stark contrast to what you have always thought. Dignity involves searching for the best in others. It stands for justice, stomping feet when necessary, but most often quietly setting an example. It doesn’t judge based on appearances, but always looks at the heart. It sobs in the face of hurts. It laughs when there is cause for joy.

Dignity is a choice and it is one that I will choose to make for the rest of my life.

Because it is also a gift that has been given to every single person regardless of race, gender, background, status, talents or ethnicity. It is not determined by human decision. Rather, it is given to all by a gracious Father who looks at His image bearers and says you are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14).  And because of the way He made us, we don’t have to live in captivity to the opinions or whims of others.

His grace offers dignity to all, so I am going to walk in it, treating others with respect, even when they spit in my face. I will teach my children to be kind, even when they are trampled on. I will stand up for the downtrodden and fight against injustice. But I will do this by being faithful to the paths God calls me to walk down. Dignity is teaching me to let go of trying to explain my paths to others who aren’t walking the same ones.

It seems appropriate to tell you that one of the greatest lessons I have learned about dignity this year came from watching my husband. He has faced several trials this year, but he has handled them with grace. As a pastor’s wife, I am privy to the behind the scenes of the pastor’s life and it has been incredible for me to see the way God has been working in his life. He is not perfect, but he is growing in grace and it is teaching me more than I ever imagined I would learn from my husband.

The more I choose dignity, the more I am blessed by the gift that it is. Isn’t that just like God? He takes us through difficulty to prove His greatness and His worth and once we walk through it, we can’t help but be overwhelmed by Him!

Stay tuned for my one word for 2016. I am hoping for “peace” or “joy” or “blessing”, but we’ll see what God decides!

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