Today I was on the Worship and Praise Team (which means I sang today!) and during the 2nd service I normally head out to get a coffee in our foyer area. Almost always, there is a really friendly older gentleman that prefers to sit in the foyer area to listen to the sermon on the speaker system. Today, he stopped me, as he normally does, to tell me how I sounded. (Some days he has tips and tricks for me, some days he has wonderful compliments. Today as a compliment day!) I have learned that the most valuable teachings in this world most definitely come from our elders who have lived more life and have much to tell us. Today, as this gentleman was talking to me, his words struck a chord and I have been thinking about all he has said. Here is what I learned today:
1. YOU DON'T NEED INSPIRATION AS IT IS ALREADY IN YOU
SO often, we feel as though we need some sort of inspiration to be better, do more, or live the life we want. But here is a secret...we already have that inside of us and it is ready to come out! A couple years ago, I made a point to post morning selfies during my run or my workout. It was not me trying to inspire others, it was simply a form of accountability I was holding myself to. However, so many people told me how inspiring it was for them to see my daily workouts.
Google defines Inspiration as "the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative." But it also means "the drawing in of breath". So I ask you to think of this...could you draw in your breath (INHALE!) and find the feeling of doing something you desire to do? I believe when you close your eyes, inhale, and really listen to yourself, you can feel in in your CORE what drives you and you begin to inspire yourself. You begin to use positive self-talk like, "Why not me?" (Thank-you Russell Wilson!), "You can do this!", and "Oh yeah, you got this, uh huh uh huh, you got this!" (Or is that just me???!!!)
Motivation is something that helps you push forward to pursue that inspiration. Motivation is "the general desire or willingness of someone to do something." And I think oftentimes we misuse inspiration for motivation, and vice versa. For example, all those people who said I inspired them may in fact HAVE inhaled, felt in their core the stirrings to become more active because of the visual I provided, and thus became inspired to begin a fitness routine, but REALLY, from the visual suggestion of my social media, there was a form of motivation, especially as I invited others to join me and hold them accountable!
Inspiration is something from the INSIDE, while motivation is from the OUTSIDE. Also, did you know that the word “inspiration” comes from the late Latin word “inspirare” which means “inspirit” or “divine guidance”? (thanks again Google!) SO, let me ask you this: Where do you find your divine guidance??? I find mine through GOD. And God is always with us, for us, and in us, which means, God is within! Again I say, you don't need Inspiration as it is ALREADY IN YOU!!! Yay!!!
2. YOU MUST LOVE YOURSELF BEFORE OTHERS CAN LOVE YOU
I can not tell you how many time in my life I have heard this, in some form or another. And I know that "WE LOVE BECAUSE HE FIRST LOVED US" (1 John 4:19), therefore God loved me before I was ever even created! God WANTS me to love myself because HE made me perfect in HIS eyes! It took me a good chunk of my life to realize this. And I can't tell you what a relief it was when I let go of the idea of not being good enough!
Also, I think you must love yourself before you truly know what it is to also love others. Loving yourself, and everything GOD created in you, is the path from which all love flows. Check out the Song of Solomon scripture below and just let that sink in for a moment!
Pretty powerful, right??? There is NO FLAW IN YOU! No matter your past, or what you have done, or how you feel about yourself, YOU ARE LOVED. You are BEAUTIFUL! And as soon as you accept that and feel that in your core, as you INHALE and exhale, you will forever love yourself the way HE made you to, and love will overflow from you!
3. IF YOU ARE GOD-CONSCIOUS YOU WILL NEVER BE SELF-CONSCIOUS
I think this was, by far, the most thought-provoking sentence the gentleman said to me this morning. I must have given him such an inquisitive look, because he went on to say, "Listen senorita, I have watched you bloom over the last year or so. You used to seem worried about how others thought you sang, but then somewhere along the line, you let go and you sing now solely to glorify God. You'll never be self-conscious again when you are God-conscious! How can you be when you do it for HIM?" Wow. Let me say that again. Wow. That is totally, without a doubt, 100% true. And I don't worry anymore...I just smile, let God's inspiration that is within me just sing out! It's His voice I use to proclaim His greatness!
God gave us confidence and purpose. He wants to see us fulfill all that he has put in us to do. I used to not feel worthy enough, or pretty enough, or talented enough, or, or, or...I could go on. But notice I said USED TO. At some point, God knitted together all my goodness so tightly that I literally felt as though HE was hugging me all the time. I felt it from within so strongly that I could not doubt myself any longer. "If God is for us, who can be against us?" (Romans 8:31) No, not even I could be against myself. Especially after learning to truly love myself!
Three thoughts, or teachings, or A-Ha's for today...just three. But I do believe they are extremely beneficial and powerful. Give each one a bit more thought. I'd love to hear your feedback and get to know YOUR stories!