faith, goals, Prayer, Purpose, Uncategorized, values

Writing a Personal Manifesto

Writing a Manifesto

At the beginning of each year, I love to take some time to evaluate my progress in each area and set new goals for the coming year.

This year, I was inspired by Gretchen Rubin to write a personal “manifesto”. A manifesto is described as “a published declaration of the intentions, motives, or views of the issuer, be it an individual, group, political party or government.” It is a little more detailed than the personal mission statement and describes things that I want to be true of my life. We all have a “facebook fantasy self”, as Gretchen calls it. But the key here is to identify and live out what is true for you. Or at least what you WANT to be true of you. In Joel, God says “Let the weak say ‘I am strong.” (Joel 3:10) Words have power. So here is a list of things I want to be true of my life in 2019.

My Personal Manifesto:

  1. Be Vanessa
  2. One thing is needed
  3. There is only love
  4. Live with margin
  5. It is well
  6. Outer order, Inner calm
  7. Laughter is medicine.
  8. Remember the tapestry

Be Vanessa

My “fantasy self” loves to host family gatherings and dinner parties. The truth is that the mere thought of hosting or cooking for a group of people makes me nearly break out in hives. Hospitality is not my gift. What is true for someone else may not be true for me and that is okay. Be YOU.

One Thing is Needed

I love the story of Mary and Martha. Jesus commended Mary because she had chosen the “one thing” or the “better” thing–to sit at His feet and spend time with Him. He wasn’t scolding Martha for serving. Jesus Himself came to serve. The problem was Martha’s attitude and the fact that she was preoccupied with doing things He hadn’t asked her to do. What are you doing that God has not called you to do? A good way to measure this is to ask yourself, “what am I doing that I dread each day?” If He has called you to do it, it may not be easy but you will have joy and feel fulfilled.

There is Only Love

It is something I want to be true when someone hurts me or angers or irritates me. I don’t want to let offense or bitterness take root in my heart because “offense” is from the Greek word “skandalon”, meaning “bait or trap”. Don’t take the bait!Grudges are like poison to my body and spirit.

Live with Margin

If I am running from thing to thing, I cannot take time to be still and know that He is God. I love Centering (silent) Prayer. There’s a great app if you’re interested in trying it! The goal is to choose a word to focus on in silent contemplation. You breathe deeply and when you are distracted, keep coming back to the word. Sometimes you will have a vision or deeper revelation. Other times you will just feel more peaceful and well, centered. I was amazed recently when I led my middle school classes to try this at Forerunner Christian Academy. They loved it! Embrace the silence and “margin”. If you are a creative artist, you will find that often your most creative ideas come during times of idleness!

It is Well

The woman from Shunem’s son had just died (2 Kings 4), yet she kept saying in faith “It is well” until she got her breakthrough. The man who wrote “It is well with my soul” had just lost his business and his family yet carried the unshakeable faith that he would see them again.

Outer order, Inner Calm

I don’t like to admit it, but when my surroundings are in order (and my shoes are put away), I feel more calm. I love the “1 minute rule”—if it takes less than a minute to do (make the bed, put a cup in dishwasher, clear my bathroom vanity…) do it now. Your spouse or roommate will be so proud 🙂

Laughter is Medicine

Feeling down or sick? Look up the principal Gerry Brooks or John Crist on YouTube. Stream your favorite comedy or get your funny friends (or family:) together. A merry heart really is like medicine! (Proverbs 17:22)

Remember the Tapestry

If you look at the back of a tapestry where the artist is stitching, all the strings look like a big mess. But if you could see the other side, you’d see that the artist is making something beautiful. God is the Artist, and your life, a tapestry. It may look like a mess to you right now, because you are in the midst of it. But take time to be still (get the centering prayer app!) and trust Him. He makes all things beautiful in His time.(Ecc. 3:11)

Now it’s your turn! What will be your personal manifesto? You could also have a job manifesto or a family manifesto. I will share my teaching manifesto here soon. Please share some phrases or quotes from your manifesto! I’d love to hear them!

with love and much HOPE,

\m/,–Vanessa

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Purpose

A Life of Purpose

 

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“At daybreak, Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking for him and when they came to where he was, they tried to keep him from leaving them. But he said, ‘I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.”  —Luke 4:42-43 NIV

 

“He’s like me..he came here to teach people about love and about Jesus. Now he has to go back home to heaven and soon I will too. . . ”

Two weeks before our daughter Maegan died in 1997, we were watching a movie about an angel who had come to earth on a mission and at the end of the movie when it was time for him to return, she turned and said this to me in sign language. (Maegan was deaf) There was a hint of sadness in her expression, but I was taken aback by how confident she seemed, knowing that she had completed her assignment on earth and was ready to go “Home.”

I decided then that I wanted to be like Maegan—to know without a doubt what I was made for and to walk out that purpose in my everyday life so that I can hear one day as I have no doubt she did, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” As believers, we all have the same purpose in that we were made to love and be loved by God and to bring Him glory with our lives as we love and serve others, but we each have an unique personal mission as well—a “Tailor-made blueprint” for our days on the earth. Our problem is that we get sidetracked or loaded down with the cares of this world or even helping someone else with their mission, which is not necessarily a “bad” thing. In fact, it is most often a “good thing”, but we have to continually be asking the question, “is this God’s Best for me? Is this why I was sent?” It would have been a “good” thing for Jesus to stay and continue to minister to the group in Luke 4, but He recognized it was not His Father’s BEST and so in this circumstance, Jesus said NO.

One of my favorite stories (from the book Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World by Joanna Weaver) is about a man who asks God if he can do something for Him and God gives him the task of carrying three rocks in a wagon up to the top of a hill. The man is thrilled about his “mission” for God and takes off singing. Along the way, friends hear what he is doing and ask if he could take their rock or “bag of sand” or “handful of gravel” to the top of the hill too. He agrees and lets them put their burdens in his wagon because well, surely God would want me to help my friends, right? As the wagon grew fuller, the man was no longer singing praises, and resentment began to build until he was ready to give up and let go of the wagon altogether.

God comes along and asks what the problem is. “You gave me a job that is too hard”, the man sobbed. God begins to unload the items others had placed in the wagon until only the three stones He had given him were left. “Let others shoulder their own belongings,” God said gently. “I know you were trying to help but when you are weighted down with all these cares, you cannot do what I have asked of you.” (pgs 51-52)

The first step to finding out “why you were sent” is to ask God what “rocks” He has placed in your wagon. My rocks are prayer, writing and teaching. Recently Savannah’s school had need of someone to organize the library and for someone to plan special events and parties. While I was tempted to meet the needs out of a genuine desire to serve her school, I waited and I’m so glad I did because the following week, I was asked to join a weekly prayer group with other parents to intercede for staff and students and later to substitute for an elementary Bible class teacher. I was able to say “Yes!” to these requests that were God’s “best” for me, and clearly rocks that He had placed in my wagon. (AND the event coordinator and library organizing positions were filled by others who were gifted in those areas and thrilled to serve!) One of the best definitions of stress I have heard is “when your mouth says yes to a request while your heart says no.”

There’s a commercial that asks, “What’s in your wallet?” Today I am asking you, “What’s in your wagon?” As we near the end of the year, take some time to go to a “solitary place” and ask God what rocks HE has placed in your wagon and ask for the grace to remove some rocks that are not His “best”. In John 17:4, Jesus was able to say “I finished the work You gave me to do”. So did Maegan, and by His grace, so will we.

 

 

 

 

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