So here we are at the end of this journey with Shauna and I find myself sad that this book is over, but hopeful for what is ahead as I begin to truly strive to be present in my life!

Here’s the video discussion of this week’s section:

 

Throwing Candy

In this chapter, she tells of a camp she went to where they would stop everything when a kayak passed and throw candy at them. So “throwing candy” became a metaphor to her for doing spontaneous, fun, silly things just for the sake of making others happy. She says, “I used to throw candy no matter what”, because she believed in the “power of silliness and memory-making and laughter”. She then found that she would only do it as long as it “didn’t get in the way of being responsible”. And then she was so busy being responsible that there was never a right time to throw candy. Then worst of all, she found herself making fun of those who threw candy because it seemed irresponsible to her. I think this is a beautiful reminder to just have fun and be silly despite the pressures of life. Life will demand things of us and we do have to get things done, but if we are only striving to finish our list then we are missing out!

Reflections from this chapter:

  • Does throwing candy come naturally to you or do you tend to neglect the fun and silly for more responsible things?

Essential Self

In this chapter, Shauna reminds us that “every new season of life is an invitation to leave behind the things of the season before”. The beauty of that idea is that when we leave behind those things they don’t have to control us anymore. The busy, the exhaustion, the striving, we can leave it behind. Through this journey to find our essential self, we should remember that our passions and loves will not be the same as someone else’s. She encourages us to look at our past selves and think about our childhood dreams. In evaluating those things, we should dip deep to find what it is we truly love and those are the things we should fight for in our lives.

Reflections from this chapter:

  • What did you love to do in your childhood? What were you drawn to in your high school and college years? Before the crazy pace of life set in, what were your loves?

Heart and Yes

Shauna shares with us the two tattoos she got during this season of her life, a heart on her left arm and the word “yes” on her right arm. She said the heart reminds her that God loves her no matter what. There is nothing she can do to earn that love or lose that love. God’s unconditional love that changes everything.  It became the fuel for everything that she did, rather than the the fuel of competition, fear and striving.

She chose the word “yes” for the other arm, because it was “a symbol for being awake, for being alive, for showing up, for jumping.” Yes means being seen even with your imperfections and insecurities. Yes means doing scary things not knowing the outcome. Yes means telling the truth even when it’s messy. Yes means building a future regardless of the past.

Reflections from this chapter:

  • What do you need to say YES to?

Ballard Locks

In this chapter, Shauna talks about her marriage. She talked of learning that two close friends had an affair and how it left her & her husband devastated. She said, “it plunged us into a very deep set of questions about marriage and secrecy and friendship, and what it looks like to build durable, whole healthy marriages.” 

Personally, my husband and I have found ourselves at that same point several times and we found ourselves asking those hard questions. I think what you choose to do in these moments is incredibly important. It’s tough to address the vulnerabilities in your own relationship, but essential. No marriage is exempt from these things happening, the devil seeks to destroy Christian marriages and unfortunately he often succeeds! I encourage you to spend some time talking truthfully with your spouse about the places where distance creeps in, what areas are vulnerable and make a plan for ways to strengthen your marriage. Don’t be afraid to seek counsel from your pastors, a counselor or go to a marriage conference in your area. Marriage is hard and saying so doesn’t make us weak!

Reflections from this chapter:

  • Have you ever truly discussed these things with your spouse? If not, share some thoughts from this chapter with him and talk through your own relationship. As Shauna says, “saying the things you never say, taking the power out of them, and making us stronger.” That’s the goal, stronger marriages!

New Fuel

In an earlier chapter, Shauna talked about the fuel of love that is beginning to drive her life. It was a journey for her to move from being fueled by what she calls an “addiction to achievement”. I don’t know if you relate to that, but something fuels all of us and I think finding out what fuels you is important. It could be fear, pride, greed, jealousy…. the list goes on and on. She encourages us to move toward being fueled by love because that will bring a deep sense of contentment and joy. She admits that being fueled by love might mean that things move a little slower, and you might not accomplish as much, but you might find that what you do accomplish is deeper, richer and more connected.

Reflections from this chapter:

  • What fuels you to get things done? Is that what you want to fuel you?

And the Soul Felt Its Worth

She opens this chapter with the lyrics from “O Holy Night” and she talks about how the line “till He appear’d and the soul felt its worth” stopped her in her tracks. This is what we are all craving she says, “the sense that we matter, that someone sees us, that we are loved and valued.” I have found on my own journey that I spend way too much time finding my worth in expectations that are placed on me, either by myself or by others. I have been so focused on tasks and striving that I often fell into bed at night exhausted and empty! My soul was dead!

She says that “it’s from our souls that we love, that we feel, that we create, that we connect.”  Then she goes on to share what kills a soul, exhaustion, keeping secrets and trying to manage your image… that makes me tired just typing it! Truth telling, real connection and grace is what brings your soul back to life.

Reflections from this chapter:

  • Where are you on this journey? Is your soul completely dead, is it fully alive or somewhere in between?

Bring in the Love

We’ve come to the end and Shauna is sharing how this place of being fueled by love is good in her life. She says she has a “new patience, a new settledness, a new desire to be exactly where I am right now.” I have found this to be true for myself as well, even just this month as I’m letting the truths of this book settle in.

I think the goal here is to center ourselves on what truly matters & what God has called us to and be sure that is where we spend the bulk of our energy. This will be something we have to observe and evaluate often and it will be a process that happens slowly with each choice we make. As Shauna ends, she warns us that we will not be perfect in this and we have to give ourselves grace.

So on this journey myself, I have found that after eliminating some things in my family’s world, our lives are still busier than I would like. So what do I do with that? For me, it means that I let go of the expectations either I have placed or others have placed on me in the areas that don’t matter. I spend more time and energy on my relationships than keeping the house clean. I don’t stress over my child’s homework being perfectly done or how I look when I head out to a soccer practice… being present in these moments is more important to me than perfection. It’s shows up in the little choices and the big choices. It takes a true perspective shift for me and maybe for you too.

I’m so grateful to Shauna for allowing us this little peak into her life and journey!  I think her vulnerability will encourage us to move toward a life filled with more meaning and connection and for that I am thankful! Much love to you on your journey!

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