Yesterday was a significant day. It was a Sunday. A Sunday like many others but still it was significant.
For all the writing I have done over the past seven months I have not really spoken about it outside of one on one conversations or groups of three to four people at any one time.
Yesterday I had the chance to speak to a group of people, perhaps 40-50 in total! Wow! The last time I spoke in front of people I was a teenager, in high school and probably talking about a subject that really didn’t interest me….which is actually probably a harder thing to do when I think about it.
This though was a chance to talk about the things that God has been doing in my life recently. On this occasion I had a subject which did interest me, a subject which I knew pretty vividly. I had an audience which was going to be far more welcoming than a group of bored, tired and moody teenagers.
Yeah! This was a lot easier.
For most of the week leading up to this I knew what I was to speak about. I wanted to speak about the idea of investing myself in things that were important to me. I knew my topic pretty well. In fact i’d written everything before with traces of it found in many of the blogs I’d already written.
The key was to piece it together. To identify the things that were important to me and to search for how I had invested myself in those things. Some of those things were pretty small on the surface – like giving my time to something i believed was important to the greater good of world and not just myself.
Some of them were bigger, like nurturing a relationship with someone or committing financially to non profits like Save The Children and Love146. These were things that mattered so much to me. If I truly believed that this life was not about me then I needed to start living like this was the case.
I wanted to become more selfless.
The key to my “investment” though was that i challenged myself with the belief that;
You get back what you put in. You reap what you sow.
The challenge was that I needed to invest myself in the things that were important to me. My friends, my family, my faith, my Church and Myself! This meant working on myself, which is a process, sometimes easy and sometimes hard.
Why? Because we are our own harshest critic. We demand perfection even when we realise it doesn’t exist. Our standards are higher than they need to be. But I’ve learned that i am who I am and that who I am is who I’m meant to be. I’m comfortable in this place.
What’s more important is that I focus on the things that I can control and that’s where I stand today.
What I learned yesterday was that the voice within me is greater than the one inside my head. I hope that makes sense to you all.
For what I mean is that deep down we know who we are. We know what we stand for. What’s important to us and what we want for the future. What we need is to believe in that place a little more and block out the noises in our heads which question the legitimacy of those thoughts.
I also learned, or rather was reminded that essentially what I am carrying within in me is fragments of God’s love and I think that truly is a sign that I’m where I’m meant to be right now.
As for the talk I gave to my church?? My fears were unfounded. I said all I hoped to say despite being a rookie at speaking. I got through 5-10 mins and took comfort in the fact that i said all i wanted to say and perhaps it’s all I was needed to say.
Giving a speech like this felt like a natural progression for me. If you’re going to write about such things then you’re going to need to speak about them at some point.
Investments go through stages, periods, seasons. When done right the investment grows and becomes something greater than it was.
What I felt for yesterday was that in order to grow I needed to do this. I needed to do the very thing I felt I wasn’t comfortable doing.
Well, God doesn’t put you in to positions that you can’t handle. So immediately I knew this was something i could do, and if I’m honest, it’s something I needed to do. Not just for myself though. For people need other people.
We all need others around us who encourage, who inspire, who push us. We all need people who see something in us. People who believe in us. That is why we need to open up to others.
I said in my talk that it feels as though this past 12 months has seen me given a key that unlocks my own self. The idea of doing that is a little daunting. Allowing yourself in to such an exposed position isn’t easy.
But what I find is that it allows me to grow. It allows me to receive from others and to sow in to others.
That there is perhaps the real reason behind it all. That there is how it’s meant to be.
We’re all in this together and there’s no coincidence that the people in our lives are there. They are there for a reason and if you look for the reason you will find it. Sometimes we will become that reason.
The message couldn’t be clearer. We all need to invest in our own lives. Whether it’s our jobs, our friends, our communities, our church or even just ourselves.
Invest in the things and people you care about. Invest in the things that you’re passionate about. Take some time to put your heart in to it.
Invest and you will grow.