Assessment speaks of stopping to take stock of our lives …we assess the value of our homes ….we assess our relationships – healthy or not so much – we sometimes assess our spirituality and life values and make choices based on our relationship with God and with how we are giving back to society.
In this reflection, I’d like to look at assessing three areas of our lives –
1) our personality (I’m big on the Myers Briggs as most people and certainly my clients know)
2) our season of life
3) our paricular life situation right now
First, our personalities ….do you get more energy from being with people or from doing a task (alone)? Or you might be, like me, somewhere inbetween. Are you a pretty spontaneous, in the moment, I love to have fun kinda person — or big on planning, arranging and love anticipating? Do people love to look into your eyes and share their souls or do they look to you for factual, objective critique and value your ability to make fair decisions? Knowing your personality type (temperament type) helps you to relax with the way God wired you (and to explain to your spouse and friends when you either have a tough time staying on task or appear to be too rigid and controlled).
Second assessment area: Our Season of Life. I’m now in my 7th decade (nearly 62) but emotionally and in terms of enthusiasm, operate as if I’m in my 3rd decade (about 26). I am thriving on the fact that my husband and I are members of a church flooded with 20 and 30 something year olds. I served as a youth pastor for a good part of my life so I’m right at home with the generations behind me. But I’m also loving embracing the little voice that delights in throwing her arms around me and squeeling, “Grammma!” when she sees me and snuggling up for late night chats on her overnites at our home here in San Francisco.
Part of the seasons of our lives include loss of a good friend, embracing the challenge of aging parents, experiencing financial roller coasters, geographically moving, letting go of the last one from the family nest, or getting engaged in our forties (or thirties). Each January, I tend to write and reflect on the season I’m experiencing (great health or not so much), finances (healthy or struggling), relationships (great or difficult or fading). Professional accomplishments or lack of. But the one thing I want to communicate to you today is, everything has a season. My husband and I used ‘for everything there is a season…’ as part of our wedding ceremony 10 years ago for a reason. We knew we were suddenly in a dramatic, romantic and powerful season of embracing new love – and we wanted to love that season completely! And I think he would agree – we did a great job of doing just that. What is your season right now?
The third area of taking stock of life is what I call looking objectively and realistically at my life situation right now. When we age physically, we find our bodies cannot do what they used to do. By the same token, when we are young and without much life experience, certain doors are closed to us.
Last weekend I was the keynote speaker at a women’s retreat in Monterey. I had a truly astounding time of ministering God’s healing words and my own life stories — and as a result 80 women felt healed, released, and grateful for a weekend of transforming words, tears, and hugs. I often spoke at retreats in my twenties and thirties but I recognize that in my sixties, my ability to be a powerful communicator is far more effective – because I am in a season of my life when I have more stories, more life experience — in essence more understanding, wisdom and discernment. But also, now that I’m in my 60’s, I wasn’t out on the beach building sand castles or staying up until 1 am laughing and chatting with the women – I was taking a nap in the afternoon between sessions!
Embrace the season of your life fully – if you are in your twenties, talk until 3 am with friends or do weekend marathons and soar in the knowledge that your body works beautifully in this season! If you are in your forties, and still can hike all afternoon and come back just a little weary in well doing, good for you. But maybe like me, when your lifelong friends arrive for a quick weekend visit from out of state – and we are all celebrating 50 or 60 something birthdays – you might find that sitting in oh so comfortable Ikea chairs and chatting about great stories from the past is just about right! (Oh, and a good Eagles Reunion concert thrown into the mix!)
Assess who you are gently, realistically and openly — and then live in the joy of that realization!