While I was decluttering my home I was brought face to face with the reality that I needed to declutter my heart as well.
Not only had I handled my home without much thought, but I had also been doing everything on autopilot, by default. Same Habits, gut reactions, just getting through the day.
I spent most of my time in reaction mode. Responding to babies, to my cravings, to my pain, to the plans that swept into my life that day.
I felt overwhelmed in my daily life. I felt restless in my life. I knew I needed to do something different.
SHOW UP FOR YOUR LIFE
I heard this quote in those early days of learning about intentional living/life on purpose.
In the past, this saying would have made me sweaty and angsty. But now it was like a coach on a sideline calling out my next move. I’m not sporty, if you’re not either, a better analogy is that it was like someone handed me the keys and said ‘decide where you are going and enjoy the ride’.
This quote really sat with me.
I was at home with small kids and feeling like I wanted more than snacks and tv and cleaning up. I knew I was letting my role of mother take over my life and my identity. I wanted to let my identity, those things that made me ‘me’ – my values, my dreams, and my heart – to wake up, get dressed and show up.
What does it mean to show up for your life?
It means being responsible
What it takes to show up for your life is to take responsibility.
I’ll be the first to admit this was the first hurdle for me to start living my life on purpose.
I had spent many years turning to the person beside me, considering their dreams and ambitions and merging mine with them. It is a type 9 quality for sure.
But it was also the easy way out. I never had to really take responsibility which put me in the victim mode. I never had to tap into my own resolve, I could rely on theirs. When things went wrong it was easy to pass the blame.
Things were happening TO me, I wasn’t capable of handling them. I didn’t need to be the one making my life better and more purposeful because I didn’t see that it was my job and nobody else would do it for me.
It means being active and not passive
Showing up for your life means taking control. It means we can’t sit in the backseat and complain about the road trip, we need to put ourselves in the driver’s seat and steer ourselves to where we want to go.
It is more than just ‘productivity’
Showing up for your life is so much more than setting some goals or making a bucket list.
Showing up isn’t about a checklist for your day or your year. It isn’t about output and productivity. Yes, getting things done makes us feel productive and that is a great feeling we long for each day. But, the feeling like we showed up well can happen even if we are at home with sick kids eating toast and cuddling on the couch.
It is about living in line with who you are and what you want
When we show up for our life we become present, purposeful and proactive.
We listen more closely to the person underneath all the stress and mental chatter and chores. We listen to that woman who wants to feel more love and joy and energy. We practice living from that place.
WHERE CAN YOU SHOW UP IN YOUR LIFE?
Showing up for yourself
How do you show up for yourself? Where are you being responsible and proactive with your mind, heart, body and life?
Moms are notoriously bad at showing up for themselves. We know we need to do it, but it seems to be put on the back burner.
When I had all three kids at home I would say ‘do one thing today that my future self will thank me for’. Maybe it was reading a chapter of a book. Or drinking a glass of water. Or putting on a song I love in my earbuds for five minutes.
It can feel overwhelming to start, but all we need to do is one simple thing.
Showing up for your partner
Maybe this is a hard one for you if you are always busy with other things. Maybe you are feeling the tension in the relationship, so you avoid it. How do you show up for your partner, and not at the expense of yourself, but from a place of generosity and enjoyment?
Showing up for your family
I shared in Episode 16 that I had this heart-sinking realization that I wasn’t enjoying my kids anymore. They didn’t do anything wrong, I just slowly stopped showing up in being the mom I wanted to be.
Are you creating a life that brings you further away from the way you want to show up for your family?
How can you slow down and show up for life WITH your family?
Showing up for your friends
I have a great lady posse who gets on the horn if we haven’t seen each other in a while and rallies us for coffee dates and outings with the kids and dinners.
But there have been years of my life where I didn’t have many friends, where I wasn’t a good friend and where I didn’t understand how to really show up for my friends.
How do you show up FOR your friends? How do you show up for friendship?
Showing up for your world.
What do you long to offer the world? What is in you that you want to express? What burdens your heart that you long to act on to make changes in this world?
I believe God puts us in this exact place and space because he longs to use us and if we aren’t showing up in our communities and neighbourhoods – that exist online and offline – then he can’t use us.
WHY IS SHOWING UP HARD?
It is hard because it is a new way of being and doing and thinking about ourselves and our world.
It is hard because it calls us to engage.
To be present, phone down, eyes up, ears open
It is hard because it calls us to step up
To be responsible, be humble, be mindful
It is hard because it calls us to be seen
To be genuine, to let yourself be messy, to let that mess be seen
It is hard because it calls us to challenge how we love
To give love freely and receive love freely, something that does not come naturally to most all of us.
It is hard because it takes practice.
And showing up is about the daily practice
Every day we have countless opportunities to get dressed and show up in our lives. And there was even a time in my life where I focussed on just that: getting dressed every day.
We have opportunities to become active participants in our lives.
And at first, it will seem foreign to us. And as a life coach, I can tell you, that all change we want to make comes with resistance.
That might be physical resistance in our bodies, doubt and emotional resistance, resistance from those around us who rely on us to play a certain role in their lives, maybe even fear as spiritual resistance.
We can’t let the resistance mean stop, it is just feedback that we are pushing through to the other side.
There are many times where I am/have been messy and screwed things up. I haven’t spent my day how I wanted, I wasn’t the mom I wanted to be. There have been times where I have been tired and tuned it all out. There have been times where I have felt like I was being counter-cultural in my home or community and it made me second guess who I wanted.
But daily steps, daily habits, daily actions will build up the life you want, the relationships you want, the work you want to be doing, they slowly change you and allow showing up to come more easily and more enjoyably.
Three ways to tell if you are showing up for your life or not
1. If you feel like you are on autopilot for everything. Perhaps you take no agency in planning out your day, your week, your month.
2. If you notice that you make a lot of decisions to keep you safe and comfortable. For me, this showed up a lot in my parenting, or my health. I wouldn’t go out, or take on big plans. For my health I didn’t commit to taking care of my body, I didn’t push myself to become stronger.
I didn’t want to be uncomfortable – our brain tells us this is how we stay safe – but it is also how we stay stuck.
3. If you notice that you constantly seek out pleasure. And maybe pleasure has a carnal tone to it, but I don’t mean just that. I mean anything that gives you a relief. For me, it was sneak eating when the kids went down for a nap. Or it was social media when I was feeling lonely or unseen. Or it was constantly avoiding feeling any crappy feelings because I had this notion that I ought to be happy 99% of the time.
And what happens when we are not showing up for our lives?
When we live in this state of autopilot where we keep ourselves safe and avoid any discomfort we aren’t really living a life that is satisfying to us.
Life is easy enough and comfortable, but we aren’t satisfying that inner part of us.
So, we think we are doing something wrong because feel dissatisfied.
We are unhappy our life isn’t what we want because we haven’t shown up to make it what we want.
Three steps to show up for your life
Over the next few posts I’m going to cover these steps that I have taken to show up for my life and that I help my life coaching clients use.
All of these steps will require you to examine the excuses that keep you stuck. They will bring you face to face with all the ‘rules’ you have that keep you safe and comfortable. But they also bring your ear closer to your heart and the hearts of those around you.
Sounds fun right? Sounds really messy.
But, showing up for your life is what is real.
It is no longer sitting on the sidelines of your life. It is stepping into what is happening right before.
It is building into something bigger and fuller and richer and deeper and that is why, years later, I am here to tell you it is hard and important and so worth it.
I’m really excited to walk through this with you in the SHOW UP FOR YOUR LIFE SERIES