This week our speaker spoke over a variety of topics. From character, to reducing the use of plastic, to new takes on the old testament, to social responsibility.
A point I had heard before, yet hadn’t thought about in a long time, was the question of who I am when no one is around; and the contrast of that vs. what kind of person I choose to be when people are watching. (Also to be referred to as the “masks” I wear around different people). Being reminded of this was healthy for me. Since I am someone who can become distracted easily, it’s important concepts like character that can get lost in my world.. and often lookedover.
All this to say, it was a week to check in on my character, and deeply consider the person I am building within myself through daily habits, beliefs, moral values, and intentional character development practices.
I wasn’t disappointed in seeing the character I had build, but did realize some of the small habits I’ve created… that I prefer not to stick with me. Such as picking up my phone as if it always has the answer. I often keep busy number one- because I like to, and also- because it can numb my areas where I struggle and emotions I don’t like. Another bad habit I have is making quick judgements on people… and making assumptions before allowing myself to build relationship with a new person. I worry about money a lot; in the past 4 months I’ve easily checked my bank account more often than I open my bible or write in my journal. I easily get offended when men tell me what to do or people in leadership approach situations different than I think they should. Honestly, the more I sat here and typed, the more bad habits I could admit to. But the point is, these little things turn into big things..,. so big, they could eventually define who I am. And that is why character awareness and development is so important.
- Character – not the same as personality. We’re not born with it but develop it. They’re based on our moral qualities and built through creating habits (repetition).
- “Be more concerned about your character than your reputation… If you take care of your character, your reputation will take care of itself.”
- Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habits. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.
Another big part of this week was the first session of “Dream Nights.” In this, I led students and staff to write out a list of all their dreams; and by grouping them in themes, reflecting with others, and attempting to envision which ones could be done in the next 5 years… we narrowed down to three that are potential project material. I believe this went well, but challenged me as an individual… because I have no idea which dream I want to invest to in this season. Writing down over 50 I could do, picking top 10 came easy, top 3 wasn’t the worst either… but which one was God calling me to focus on now? Which one holds the most meaning behind it?
To be honest, I still don’t know. But later in the week, I had a thought. “What if I didn’t approach this planning thing as linear? What is I chose one dream to pursue without worrying what exactly would come before/after?” I don’t know if that makes sense- but I struggle when it comes to fitting all my dreams together in a context such as a ‘ten year plan’. So what if instead, I saw 10 different plans as ‘one year plans’, and let go of the anxiety of how they fit together?” Because honestly, most of the things I want to accomplish don’t make sense together in one puzzle… and the puzzle of life (of the next 10 years) is one I don’t have all the pieces to.
This didn’t get me out of needing to choose one to develop in this school, but it did bring me immense peace by relieving the pressure of needing one dream make complete sense in context of the rest.
In this came lots of excitement! Why? Because my dreams are real, and even attainable! Maybe crazy, but possible. But like I said early, they are easily forgotten in my day to day distraction of everything else. But having this list is a step in the right direction when it comes to holding myself accountable to all I want to do. Perhaps, I should turn it into an artistic board to hang in my room and take remembrance of every day.
- We don’t have to spend our whole lives investing into one dream. And all our dreams don’t have to make sense when placed next to each other. Sometimes it’s more about what you learn in trying different things and giving chances to all your dreams, and trust that one day… the right one will stick.
- Book recommendation (I just started it, but love it so far!) – “Launch Your Dream” by Dale Partridge
The third major thing I took away from this week happened Friday afternoon during local outreach. As we walked around the city I realized I hadn’t done this in a long time… go into a place to intentionally reach people. As time ticked, I realized I had something to connect me with the strangers that stood around me and walked past me. A CAMERA. In that moment I realized it was my tool to connect. As we cruised different streets I looked out (and also felt out) any women that I could approach with the intention to take a few photos of them.
Not much longer- I met my friend Elizabeth! It was quite challenging to first approach her, but once the conversation started and I got to capture a couple moments- I realized it was easy. I knew how to made friends, how to talk to strangers, and for the most part- take photos. So when it came down to it- I loved this approach.
Our speaker stressed this week that “we are part of a family, a community and society.”
I think this reality is HUGE. To me it’s the realization that we aren’t alone- and it’s not all about us. In the scenario of me taking a couple photos of someone I just met, this concept brings immense relief. Why? Because in a perspective that included only myself- fear, worry, and concern of how she would respond triumphed my decision. Yet, in a perspective including her as a part of my family-community-society; I could consider that the interaction would bring life to her story. I knew if someone would approach me on the street and say “hey I love your style, can I snap some photos of you for a project that I’m working on,” I would be honored! At that moment, it became less about me, and more about me honoring her.
This is what I took away (which is super cool cause it goes back to what was taught in lectures):
- The more we look outward- the more understanding we gain inward; because recognition of the groups we are (and even aren’t) part of ignites a responsibility within our story to be involved with the world around us; and where there is responsibility for the outside, there is greater meaning for the inside.
Overall, this week has been busy, it’s been tiring, it’s been fun, it’s been fundamental. Come the weekend, I look forward to rest… but I also look forward to the next week to begin.
Week two. Check.