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Battling For Freedom

Battling For Freedom

It was raining. A dismal, grey day in February. It made me want to curl up on the couch and ignore my priorities. I had things to do, but the Dark Side (how I refer to the devil & his minions, lately) was fighting hard to keep me down.

I’m sure you have had days like these, yourself.

And, as my newly acquired accountability partner, Anna, likes to say, the struggle is real.

Battling For Freedom | Life, Unleashed

I am thanking God for Anna, though! I’d complained to her about how I was feeling, and I tried to make excuses for why I wasn’t going to get things done. But she wouldn’t let me succumb to the Dark Side — she told me that I needed to “do it anyway” (just GO!), and that I’d feel better afterward.

I kept arguing with the Dark Side, in my mind. I was still making justifications, even after talking to Anna. But, I’ve been here before. I have fought this battle countless times, in the past year, especially, as I have been building the habit of going to the gym on a regular basis. And, each time I’ve made myself “do it anyway”, I have felt better afterward…and I’ve been able to do a little victory dance, as I’ve dealt one more blow to the enemy!

So in the end, yes, I did go to the gym, and I did get my errands run. Score: Jenn – 1, Dark Side – 0 … for the win!

For Freedom | Life, Unleashed

John 10:10 tells us about the Dark Side. It says that the enemy (the “thief”) “comes to kill, to steal, and to destroy“. He is out to KILL our dreams, to STEAL our freedom, and to DESTROY our future! And, he does it one poisonous thought at a time.

That is why we’re instructed (in 2 Corinthians 10:5) to “TAKE EVERY THOUGHT CAPTIVE”, and make our thoughts submit to Jesus’ ways. The battle truly does begin in our minds!

It is not easy, by any means. But then, that’s why it’s called a “battle”, right? We have to fight back against the Dark Side! Our default setting is to do what is easiest, and what feels comfortable in the moment. We’re suckers for pleasure. But that is exactly what the enemy wants — to get us comfortable so that we will forget that we’re in a war.

My goal is to level up my life, and to take back the years that the enemy has already stolen from me. And, if I have to do that one thought at a time, so be it! Like with getting myself to the gym … some days, I really have to fight my thoughts HARD! But, I usually end up telling myself that I can just do 20 minutes of cardio (on the treadmill). By the time I’m there and warming up, though, I always decide that I “may as well” do the rest of my workout. So, I win. It’s always that FIRST step that’s the hardest. And, like I read in someone else’s post, the other day, that first step is actually… SURRENDER. I know — it sounds counter-intuitive, right? Surrendering –not to the Dark Side, but to God’s will for my life– is how I win, because Jesus already fought the battle and won the victory for us! So all we have to do is CHOOSE to surrender to Him. By choosing to go against the Dark Side, by choosing to take our thoughts captive, and by choosing to fight for the abundant life and foregoing the “easy” path, we are choosing to accept Jesus’ victory, and to stand with Him against the enemy! So yes, surrender to God is how we win against the Dark Side.

This is war, friends. But we’re already victors! So, stand strong, and show the Dark Side that you won’t be falling for its schemes!

 


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How Personality Quizzes Set Me Free

How Personality Quizzes Set Me Free

I love personality quizzes! Mind you, I’ve always been very self-reflective, and I love psychology (knowing what makes people do what they do).

Either way, I honestly believe that knowing my personality type has brought me freedom. Let me show you how…

How Personality Quizzes Set Me Free | Life, Unleashed

 

A LITTLE HISTORY

I started learning about personality types back in 1997. Florence Littauer’s books were the first to introduce me to these, and from there, I have taken several others.

THE RENAISSANCE SOUL

Margaret Lobenstine has a book called “The Renaissance Soul“, and it describes me perfectly! When I found this book, I immediately recommended it to my sister, and she, too, feels that it perfectly describes her. She and I now frequently reference this aspect of our personalities. ;)

STRENGTHSFINDER 2.0

Tom Rath’s book, “StrengthsFinder 2.0“, had a code for you to go online and take the Clifton StrengthsFinder quiz. From that, I learned that my “Top 5” are Empathy, Connectedness, Input, Intellection, and Strategic.

This explained for me my love of keeping empty boxes around in case I might need them some day (Input), and my love of books & reading (Intellection / collecting knowledge!).

MYERS-BRIGGS TYPE INDICATOR

Through reading several descriptions online, I learned my MBTI — only to then take a quiz at 16personalites.com and have my findings confirmed. I am predominantly INFP (Introverted, iNtuitive, Feeling, Perceiving), but also ENFP (probably about a 60% | 40% mix).

[Fun fact: One who has a fairly even split between Introvert & Extrovert is called an “Ambivert“! Thanks, Pinterest!] LOL

ENNEAGRAM

I haven’t done enough research on this one, yet, so I don’t know enough about it. But, from the quiz I took, my Enneagram number is 5.

HOROSCOPE

Generally, I tend to stay away from Astrology & horoscopes — they’re never very accurate, anyway. However, there are bits of the Sagittarius profile (my horoscope) that fit me perfectly … fiercely independent? Yep! A fiery temper? Not so much. I’m quite easy-going, in fact.

CORE VALUES

I also researched my core values, and came up with a list of my top 10 (plus a few extra). Suffice it to say, Freedom is my #1 core value, and Life, Unleashed has that as its overarching theme — the thread that ties all of my various interests, and all of the topics here at Life, Unleashed, together. ;)

So, having done all of these quizzes (plus, a whole slew of the ones through BuzzFeed… Thanks, Facebook! LOL), I now feel I have a really good grasp of who I am, what makes me tick, and why I do what I do… especially on default/instinct, when I’m not really responding, but reacting.

LEARNING TO “SEE”

Because I know my personality type and core values, I can now see why certain jobs never fit me (mainly any of them where I work for an employer! LOL), and why I’ve acted as I have — or made certain choices — in the past. Knowing that I’m a right-brained creative, for example (INFP is “the Artist”), shows me why the left-brained, secretarial jobs I’ve had never worked out for me (I had 3 of them in 3 years!). I was trying to force the proverbial square peg into a round hole, so-to-speak… acting in a way that was in opposition to my type.

glasses

During the second of those secretarial jobs, I was super-stressed because of work, and decided to make up a list of all of the things I both loved & hated from all of my previous jobs. Doing this, plus taking into account my personality & values, I was able to make my next job a much better fit for me, even if it still wasn’t perfect. Of course, at that time, I still hadn’t realized the bit about my right-brained creative side (I knew I had it, but it’d been buried for years at that point). Therefore, I still didn’t see that secretarial jobs weren’t a fit for me. After all, I’d gone to college and had gotten a certificate in Office Administration! So, I assumed that that’s what I needed to (should) be doing! I knew that, eventually, when finances allowed, I wanted to start my own business — I didn’t know what business, yet, but I knew I wanted to work for myself. But again, finances at that time didn’t allow for that.

Well, fast forward nine months, and I found myself out of a job — again. And, being that the job market was pretty sucky (especially in the small town where I live), hubby suggested that I go through the government-run self-employment program (here in Ontario, Canada) and try starting up the business I’d told him I’d been considering (virtual assistance for authors). So, I did!

LIGHTBULB MOMENTS

BulbSince October 2013, I have been self-employed (yay!). As previously mentioned, I’ve always had a gut feeling that I was meant to be an entrepreneur — long before I got the chance to be one! I come from a family of entrepreneurs, actually (both of my grandfathers, two of my uncles, and my sister), so I like to say “it’s in my blood!” LOL

Mind you, even this last year-and-a-half of self-employment has been a learning curve. As I’m sure you’ve guessed, the “virtual assistant” thing didn’t last long, partially because it was yet another secretarial gig.

I then thought about doing Life & Business Coaching and took the steps toward that, but I realized I’d need years of training first, which I don’t currently have the time or money for. So, that got set aside.

And now, here we are at Life, Unleashed, where I’ve decided to just do what I already love — blogging. Add to that the fact that God’s been pushing nudging me to be a Writer for years, and it seemed to be the right path for me to follow right now.

I love that I can combine all of my passions — books, creativity, psychology, faith, music, etc — in this one site/career path. I even get to say that reading is a part of my job! (hee hee…) So yeah, I’m totally loving the “pro blogging” thing, so far!

FREEDOM!

stockvault-brushes149264The biggest thing my path has shown/taught me, though, is first, to know myself (ala Socrates), and second, to trust my intuition. All of the various versions of my “business(es)” over the last few years have been me getting an idea, trying it, feeling that something was still “off” (not quite “it”), and then pivoting to the next thing. It’s been frustrating, at times, and somewhat discouraging, too. However, I’m blessed to have an amazing business coach & friend who helps me work through all of that, as well as my sister — a business-owner herself — whose business is thriving after just 2 years being open!

Another thing that helped add to my feeling of “freedom” is that I started going to an Art Journaling class once a month. This has helped me to reconnect with my creativity.

I used to spend a lot of time doing “creative” or artsy things, but motherhood pushed that (mostly) into the background for the last seventeen years.

I also met some great new friends, in the last couple of years, who are musicians and creatives, themselves — which has helped me to realize (after having spent time with them) that they are my “tribe”, my people… the creatives and the dreamers are with whom I feel at home.

TO MY FELLOW DREAMERS, ARTISTS, AND CREATIVES…

I know a lot of you, here at Life, Unleashed, are also creatives & artists (writers are artists — as are wanna-be writers!). And I love that about you guys! So I hope that this blog can become a sort of hub for not just books, but all sorts of creative, right-brained things (don’t worry, you left-brainers… I’ve got psychology and other things for you, too).

Your turn... | Life, UnleashedDo you know YOUR personality type? (Share it here! I’d love to see what mix we have!) If so, how has it helped you? 

Who Says?

Who Says?

Have you ever gotten into something, realized it wasn’t the greatest fit for you, and then… accepted your fate and stayed put? Maybe you thought it was the “responsible” thing to do, or that, since you’d already invested this much time in it, you may as well keep going. But, what if I told you that it was okay to quit — to let it go?

Who Says? | Life, Unleashed!

So often, we blindly follow rules and perform actions without questioning why. We accept that things just are the way they are, because that’s how it’s “always been”, or we do things a certain way because it’s what is “expected”. The problem is, we then end up just going through the motions in life, and things continue to feel boring, or routine, or mundane. We continue to do and think things, but then wonder why we feel so unfulfilled.

Thanks to a couple of books I read, recently (see them here & here), I feel like I’m starting to wake up to the possibilities.

Here’s a question for you: Who decided that you must keep doing things that way? What would happen if you changed things up? And, who said you can’t do this or that? What if you all-of-a-sudden just…did? (obviously, I’m not meaning anything illegal, or morally corrupt, okay?)

Seriously, though… I think far too many of us are left with unsatisfying and unfulfilling lives because we forget the following 4 things:

QUESTION

It’s okay — and even GOOD! — to question things; to ask “why”. Until I was in my late teens, I never really questioned my faith or the things I’d been taught in church, or even the way we did things in that church. Yet when I learned to question, I saw the flaws, and I realized I’d fallen into legalism. My faith has actually grown by leaps & bounds, ever since I learned to question why I do & think the things I do.

BE CURIOUS

Despite what they say about our poor feline friend, curiosity won’t (normally) kill you. Instead, it makes life brighter, and it adds an element of fun! We are born curious… it’s how we learn! Which leads me to…

TRY

You know that thing you’ve been wanting to do, but you’ve put off doing out of hesitation? What would happen if you took a leap of faith, and just gave it a try? Sure, you might fail at it. Would that really be as bad as you think? Isn’t regretting chances not taken ultimately worse? Don’t let your fear hold you back, and leave you with end-of-life regrets. Take chances! Have an open-minded attitude. Decide you will try the thing, and if it doesn’t work out (or you end up really disliking it), you can just let it go and try something else! You have the freedom to choose. Use it! (and hey… maybe it will work out — maybe you’ll succeed — and you’ll have a blast! Only one way to find out!)

PRACTICE

All too many of us (myself, included!) tend to forget that it takes practice to become good at just about everything. All of us start at Level Zero when we’re first trying something new. Every single one of us starts as a beginner — a “newbie”. And that’s an okay place to be. Why? Because you can only go UP from there! By practicing, you may never reach “perfection”, but you –guaranteed!– will see progress. Yes, it may take a while. The more you do a thing, however, the better you’ll get at it. Keep practicing, and you’ll keep “leveling up“! It’s the only way to succeed.

Practice | Life, Unleashed!

 

So, the next time you’re feeling stuck or bored, ask yourself if you need to throw out the old ways, and try something new. Be curious about how you can change things up. And, when you find something that does bring a spark back to things, accept your “beginner” status, and commit to practicing until you’ve gotten to your preferred level of excellence. And, don’t forget: nothing is ever permanent (except death). You ALWAYS have the freedom to make a different choice.