Tag Archives: insecure

Love Yourself! Inspiration for Your New Year

jan15_2017

Point to Ponder:
Do you love yourself as God loves you?

iGnite Neissa

by Neissa Brown Springmann

Since the New Year, I set a soft goal to find new and meaningful content that would not only challenge, encourage and inspire growth within myself, but that I would also want to share with you. I didn’t take formal goal action, like write it down and visualize finding this information, but instead, I set an intention. Excitingly, the intention started to bear fruit last week when iGnite’s wise and wonderful Amy Younkman shared 4 Yogic Tips to Make Your Resolutions Stick. Amy’s advice was perfect, as it was important and bite-sized holistic information that is realistic to achieve.

Then, more inspiration came again last night in the form of a text message from the always spunky, and never-met-a-bad-day or stranger, iGnite member, Lisa Wade. Lisa shared an article by Simone Talma Flowers that was featured in the Austin American Statesman. Simone is the Executive Director of the Interfaith Action of Central Texas and this spiritually-based article may be one of the greatest articles I have ever read. Simone speaks beautifully to every woman’s heart and tendencies: care giving, selfless, critical of oneself and even insecure. Most importantly though, Simone shares her experience with hearing God and His encouragement: for her (and us) to not only love others, but for her (and us) to love herself and ourselves, like He loves us all:

Selflessness is a virtue admired by many. It is an aspiration countless try to achieve. We often praise acts of selflessness, as great human achievements. Witnessing the acts, the dedication and commitment by others like Martin Luther King, Mother Theresa or Gandhi, we have great admiration for a life dedicated for the advancement of others.

Selfless acts are perceived as acts of graciousness, discipline, humility and hospitality. The person who receives this grace knows how powerful an act of generosity is; and the person who is engulfed in the act of serving, knows the power of this experience, the energy, the flow, the connection to God, to source, to the universe. It is a powerful feeling of blessedness, that makes you want to continue to do even more.

Living a life of purpose, a life of selflessness in service to others, is what I aspired to. Growing up, I saw people like Martin Luther King and Mother Theresa as examples of living purposely and selflessly in this world. I appreciate people in my community who are gracious and hospitable.
Hospitality is another virtue I admire greatly and associate with selflessness. Hospitality is being welcoming, generous with an unwavering expression of love and acceptance, making sure others are taken care of. So, in a recent conversation with God, I was shocked at what He revealed.
Enjoying a few days of rest, one morning after I finished my morning prayers and meditation, I had a conversation with God.

I was in a very relaxed state, a state of stillness, in tune and conscious of everything around me. I told God how much I love this feeling of peace, well-being, love and kindness I felt for myself and my surroundings. I told God how I appreciate my purpose here in this world of loving and serving others. I love going beyond myself to serve and share love, without effort. It is as natural to me as breathing or drinking water. Yet, it is common for me to delay taking time for my needs, and neglect to give myself the luxury of pacing or caring for myself. These unhurried moments of pure blessedness were rare.

What I heard in answer from God, really shocked me. God said to me, “You are here on Earth not only to love and serve others, but to love yourself as I love you.” I wondered if it wasn’t selfish to love myself that much. God said, “No, you are here to love yourself – like I love you. Loving yourself like I love you is just as important as your other life purpose of loving and serving others. You are perfectly made, in you lives my light that can give you everything you need in this life. As you love yourself, you love others more, as you care for yourself, you care for others deeper, as you speak kind words to yourself, you speak kind words to others gentler, as you think loving thoughts of yourself, your loving thoughts of others increase.”

Living this life, loving myself is just as important and necessary as the gift of purpose in this life. So, why did it take me this long to fully realize this? I always knew love is the key, however, the extent of the love I have for myself, has limits. What God is saying to me, is that I need to remove these limits and conditions that I set for myself, and love all of me, wholeheartedly.

As I look in the mirror, I sometimes do not like all I see, especially if I see myself in comparison to others. Yet when I see and conceptualize that God’s creations are perfectly made, beautiful, whole, this gives me a different perspective, a perspective, that I am one of these creations. I am included in that: I am beautifully made.

How am I whole when I look at myself and see so much that needs fixing? Loving yourself is embracing all of you, knowing that God loves you, for who you are, and forgives you in spite of knowing what you have or have not done. God is not conditional. God forgives us, so we need to forgive ourselves. If we think we are on a wrong path, we can always try again; we can make amends. We can start over.

In my conversation with God, I realized that what I say to myself, I say to God. I love God, and I want to deepen my relationship with Him and enjoy God’s love. So I am going to speak kindly, and speak with the love that God has put in my heart.

As I live my life, selflessness, has a new meaning to me. It means I live fully, I live wholeheartedly, I live nourishing myself spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically – so I have more of myself to share with others.


Action Item:
Make a list of the ways you can begin spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically nourishing yourself.


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Approach Your Fears with Child Like Perspective

iGnite - keep focused

Point to Ponder:
Are you a fearful person?

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

I’ve always been of the mindset that children have it figured out. It stinks that we have to grow up and often times become jaded, cynical, insecure and obsess over our perceived pudgy legs and numbers on a scale. Children don’t worry about how many steps they take in a day or how many hours they spend exercising. Instead, they simply play — run, jump, spin and dance. They ride their bikes for hours, climb on the monkey bars and enjoy a high-calorie treat without feeling guilt. They stop eating when they are full, don’t talk about others, and without fear or doubt of what others think, they proudly proclaim what they want to be when they grow up, just as my five-year old nephew Cole did at his pre-school graduation when he announced that when he grew up he wanted to own a doughnut shop. Awesome!

Last week while finishing a hike and walking along the beach, I noticed a man, probably in his forties, standing alone in shin-deep water and jumping over every wave that came his way. Like a six year-old would do, each time a wave rolled in, he’d hop over it! It was the most playful, inspiring and refreshing sight. I watched him for several minutes and it was a great reminder that nature gives us everything we need to calm, invigorate and feed our body, mind and spirit. And what I loved so much about this guy was that while he was playing, he wasn’t worried or fearful about what those of us around him thought. In my opinion, the enormity and magnificence of the Pacific Ocean made his fears of what others might think insignificant, while also putting troubles and life stressors in perspective. At least that is what nature does for me. It swallows my doubt and fear and allows me to shine!

Robin Roberts, the always shining and inspiring co-anchor of Good Morning America, has a great line about doubt and fear in her book Everybody’s Got Something. She says:

“We all have doubts and fears. The thing about fear is that it only needs the tiniest space, the size of an eye of a needle, to get through and wreak havoc. Maddening, but true. So, when I was struggling in doubt, I would simply take the next small step. I would stop and think: No, life is not tied up with a beautiful bow all the time, but it’s still a gift. I’m going to tear away the wrapping paper like a kid at Christmas.”

What I love so much about Robin’s wisdom is that instead of running from her fear and doubt or dreading it, she sees it as a gift and looks forward to tearing into it to see what it is, just as a child would and just as Kayla Montgomery, the eighteen year old in the video below, who, despite being diagnosed with Multiple Sclorosis and losing feeling in her legs when she runs and when her body heats up, was determined to not only run, but win! It’s their child-like perspective that has kept them curious, eager and willing to conquer their fear, doubt, and SHINE! What a great example for all of us!

Action Item:
This week, try facing situations with the fearlessness, playfulness and confidence of a child.

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It’s Time to Turn On Your Shine!

iGnite - let your light shine

Point to Ponder:
Are you a light to those around you?

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

Excitingly, last Tuesday our kiddos (Durant, 4 & Malaine, 2) attended their first week of pre-school in San Diego. You. have. no. idea. how thrilled I was! Not just for me and my own sanity, but for theirs too. I was excited that we could begin establishing a routine, they could start making friends, their world was expanding beyond “mom,” and I could have a little freedom.

The pre-school they are attending is at the church we attend, The Rock, and it’s in an area near downtown called Point Loma. Like all of San Diego (including the neighborhood we live in), it’s full of a very diverse group of people. Ironically, moving to a more diverse neighborhood was actually something that my husband Russell and I considered while living in Austin before we knew we were moving to San Diego. Now, I realize that our interest was more than just coincidence — rather, it was God opening and preparing our hearts and minds for our future environment.

So, Tuesday was their first day of school and it was an exceptional day for all of us. Absolutely, my heart was a bit unsettled and nervous, but I knew it was necessary for feeling grounded, creating relationships and for our overall growth and development. Then on Thursday, after dropping them off and while filling out paperwork in the school, a heavy dose of loneliness blindsided me out of nowhere. As I I looked around, everything felt unfamiliar. I’m just gonna be honest and say it — no one looked like me (how about that “don’t judge a book by its cover” fail!?). Unlike at the Mother’s Day Out my children attended in Austin, I do not have a relationship with the director, the teachers or any of the moms here. Seriously, I was on the verge of tearing up when out of the blue a random woman walked up, noticed my Stronger TogetHER tank [that I was of course proudly wearing 🙂 ] and said, “I really like your shirt! What’s that about?” I perked up and gave her the 15 second description of iGnite, ending with “we are community-based and believe that in all aspects of life, we are stronger togerHER.” She then enthusiastically invited me to join the women’s Bible study called SHINE. Shine – wow!  What an encouraging, happy and powerful word!

That word shine made an impression on me, and I’ve been thinking about it ever since. By definition, the word shine means to give out a bright light. As I looked more into ‘shining,’ I was reminded of a sermon I heard by preacher Francis Chan about how a silversmith gets his best, shiniest silver through a process called “testing.” The testing process starts with raw silver in a pot and a fire that is heated to the highest possible temperature. As the silver melts, the impurities rise to the top, at which the silversmith scrapes off the impurities and continues the same process of extreme heat and scraping the impurities off until he or she has the shiniest possible piece of metal — so shiny that they can see their own reflection in it.

What I find remarkable is how this process relates to life and the hardships, stresses, losses, disappointments and discomforts that we all must experience in order to shine. That with the right attitude and perspective, those scary and seemingly ‘unfair’ experiences actually produce maturity, perseverance, faith and wisdom in us so we can shine for others. That’s the part that I was forgetting about on Thursday in my moment of self-pity. I was so consumed by my own discomfort that I was forgetting about my responsibility to shine for others. I had to step outside of myself and my self-pity in order to see the big picture.

Author Marianne Williamson says is perfectly below, suggesting that when we shine, we give others permission to shine:

“Our deepest fear isn’t that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that are more powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, how are you not to be? You are here for a reason! Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are born to make manifest the glory that is within us. It’s in everyone, and as we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people the permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
– Marianne Williamson

Action Item:
If you are currently experiencing hard or stressful times, just remember, you are going through the testing process so you can shine even brighter on the other side. If you don’t have the energy or even the hope to shine, find someone that is shining and allow their shine to brighten yours.
Or, if life is feeling great and you have plenty of shine to give, in all of your interactions, conversations and even casual passings-by, make it a priority to shine. It’s our responsibility to and for others who are not shining to gain strength from our glow. So let’s shine as brightly as we can so others can be inspired and encouraged to shine as well!

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