Even when we have been on the interior journey for a while and have grown in self-knowledge and self-acceptance, we may find that we still struggle to integrate our new awareness into our daily living. Why is that?
In this episode I delve deeper using my own current ongoing struggle of integration to explain why it is that even when we have become much clearer on who we are, we can still find it very difficult to let our be-ing match our understanding and experience.
Share this episode via thisepisode page.
Ep 4: Living from the Inside Out
Ep 62: The Four Layers of Self-Knowledge
(00:00:28) - Introduction
(00:04:02) - Common Assumptions we Make
(00:05:34) - It's not that Simple
(00:07:18) - No "One-Size-Fits-All"
(00:10:14) - Framework #1: The 3 Layers of Living
(00:11:55) - Framework #2: The 4 Layers of Self-Knowledge
(00:16:36) - My Traits – 1. Kinesthetic Learner
(00:22:06) - My Traits – 2. Comprehension before Conviction
(00:22:50) - My Traits – 3. Being Explorative
(00:24:22) - My Traits – 4. Not being Hurried
(00:26:37) - My Traits can be Different from my Scripts
(00:28:12) - My Perfectionist Script
(00:44:28) - PRAXIS: Listen. Ponder. Act
(00:46:37) - Conclusion
- As you listened to me share and talk in this episode, what resonated with you?
- What struck you?
- Can you think of one way that you struggle with God's design for you?
- Notice in your day-to-day living if there is some part of you that resists certain aspects of this design? - What is that aspect?
- Write this down: I believe I struggle to accept [this part of myself] because [identify a script that goes against this aspect of God's design for you].
- Fill in the blanks, fill in your answers into the [square brackets].
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EPISODE 71 | WHY CAN'T I TRUST THE DESIGN GOD GAVE ME?
I still need to learn how to trust that and be okay that maybe the methods that are being taught by teachers that I greatly respect – that maybe I agree with them at the level of first principles. But when they teach the execution of those principles, the methods of execution may not align with the design that God has given me.
And so, it's okay for me to take my time to find the method that actually aligns with how God has created me.
Welcome to Becoming Me, your podcast companion and coach in your journey to a more integrated and authentic self. I am your host, Ann Yeong, and I'm here to help you grow in self-discovery and wholeness. If you long to live a more authentic and integrated life and would like to hear honest insights about the rewards and challenges of this, then take a deep breath, relax, and listen on to Becoming Me.
Hello again, dear listeners. Okay, today I want to talk about what it's like when we find that we can't trust the design that God gave us. Okay, what do I mean by that? Now, as you probably know, one of the main things that I do in my work as an interior journey coach is to help people identify what their scripts are and then what their unique motivational design and temperament – you know, what's the unique makeup that God has given them so that there's some kind of objective data to look at. Oh, this is the design that God has given me. And then I can compare it with the way that I've been trying to go about doing things, the places that I place myself.
Maybe the kind of work that I'm doing or the kind of service and ministry that I take up. Is there alignment or not? Do I have a choice in what I do and what I take up? Can I make choices that are better aligned with the design that God has given me or even within the same place that I am?
For example, in the job that I have, if I become clearer about the design that God has given me – the kind of things that motivate me, or the way I process information, all that kind of stuff – can I then go about my work in a way that is more aligned with the design that God has given me?
Sometimes, it's not just about changing the external environment. Sometimes, we can change the way we go about our work if we understand what actually motivates us or what kind of pace of work or what kind of like – so, for example, for me, I need variety to keep me interested. So, I cannot just keep going at one particular task – that's going to just wear me down.
I need to change up what I do, maybe more frequently in order to keep my energy levels up. So, that's an example of once I understand the design that God has given me, I can make adjustments in the way I go about my life to make me more effective as an instrument of God – to feel more alive.
Because if I operate in the way that God has created me to operate – hey, I mean, that's the best that I can also give myself, also the best that I can offer the world. So, in theory, this sounds great, right? And it's not uncommon that people want to find out more about themselves. We like to do personality tests.
Maybe we want to learn more about our giftings, our strengths. We kind of think that once I know about maybe the strengths that I have, the design of God has given me, the rest should take care of itself. Okay, I don't know if you know what I'm saying – just think about it a moment.
[00:04:02] COMMON ASSUMPTIONS WE MAKE
I often have clients coming to me because they would like to learn more about themselves because they're seeking clearer direction in their life journey. But there is some kind of an underlying assumption that, I just need to find out what my motivation code is, what maybe my Myers Briggs is – a little bit more about how I can use that in my life, and then I should be set.
Today, in this episode, as someone who has been on this interior journey for over a decade now – intentionally learning about myself, about my design and all that – I'm here to tell you that there's more. There's more to it. It's not that simple. So, I want to talk about what happens when you realize that you can't quite trust the design that God has given you.
So, think about it – when we think that, okay, I'm going to find out what my temperament is like with instruments that I use, for example – what my motivation code is, right? What my motivational design is – I operate on an assumption that I, one, would have no problem accepting what I find out, right?
Or that I wouldn't have any issues embracing the design that God has given me. And also, secondly, that once I know what the design is – and say even that I do accept it – that in actual living, I would be naturally okay to just use the design at God has given me. Now, here's why it's not that simple.
[00:05:34] IT’S NOT THAT SIMPLE
Okay, it's not that simple because you and I, we all have our baggage. It's not that simple because fundamentally, we are all still in the process of growing in interior freedom. So, what do I mean? When we still lack interior freedom, it means that even when we know something, even when we understand something, we may find it really difficult to act on it.
It may not even be conscious, okay? Because the deeply ingrained scripts in our lives – they have an effect of binding us. And it is the long work of the interior journey, of healing and integration, that allows us to become more free. This happens in our relationship with God and our relationship with ourselves. But it is still a process.
Now, when we forget that we are still in the midst of this process, we may get very, very frustrated when we realize that life is still very complex, complicated – that I still struggle with the same things that I struggle with, maybe at a different level. Okay, we do grow in freedom, so maybe at a different level.
So, today, in this episode, I just want to share some of my personal experience. In fact, this is very current, okay? Because it amazes me how, we really go in cycles – and I keep going in cycles. Even as I go deeper each time, I come up against the same problems. And I want to illustrate to you how, even though my mind is very clear and I'm very convinced about certain things, I find that when I go about living my life, I still get stuck in the same kinds of ruts.
[00:07:18] NO “ONE-SIZE-FITS-ALL”
So, you would've heard me say before, that there is no one size fits all when it comes to the interior journey, when it comes to our vocation. We are unique. So, it doesn't make sense to think that just because there's some particular way of doing things – or living their life, in glorifying God – works fantastically for someone that we admire – a saint maybe, for example – that we should emulate that.
Okay, because that is a very different person, with a very different mix and blend of traits – both the natural design, supernatural gifts, the place and time that they live in, the resources that they have at their disposal – all that was unique to them. And we have our own mix and blend of, you know, everything.
So, there's no one size fits all. Which means that we must always still make that additional step of asking, what does this mean for me? How do I go about it? And ultimately, apart from God, we are the only ones that will be able to be in continual accompaniment of ourselves in this interior journey. Let me repeat that.
Apart from God, we are the only ones that can be in constant accompaniment of ourselves in the interior journey. And that is why it's so important that we know how to accompany ourselves. And because this is an ongoing deepening journey, that's why when I talk about my current signature program, Clarity, which is actually – it's really the deepest journey that I can offer now, in terms of a service.
We go through several months of coaching, of teaching my clients about the interior journey; about how to descend deeper into themselves, to accompany themselves. And then to learn about their scripts, their motivational design and their temperament and cognitive preferences in the Myers Briggs – I use an in-depth, Step II Myers Briggs (MBTI® Step II) instrument.
Even with all that, this program, Clarity – a good beginning. Because it is really just the barest of beginnings. The really impactful stuff happens after you learn those things that I teach and coach in Clarity. So, it's not that after this process of learning about your motivational design, about your temperament, even a beginning awareness of your scripts, that then you are fully equipped.
It's a great beginning compared to what you had before. And I'm speaking with conviction here because I have learned those things that I teach in Clarity years and years ago about myself. And I've been, since then – I've been trying to integrate all that into my life. So, I’m going to share a glimpse of what it looks like in real life when you try to integrate those things and find that, oh, it's not that easy.
[00:10:14] FRAMEWORK #1: THE 3 LAYERS OF LIVING
And so, that is why understanding the four layers of knowing ourselves is also a very, very key – a key framework, okay – if you want to learn how to accompany yourself. There are two kind of frameworks I've talked about in different episodes in this podcast. One, is very early on – I think, in episode four; about the layers of living, about the three layers of living.
There, I talk about life is like an avocado, right? You have the outer layer, the skin. And then you have the flesh, which is the middle layer. And then you have the core, which is the seed. So, the three layers represent where we experience our life on the outside. And a lot of us, we just stay on that outermost layer, reacting to situations, environments, challenges, difficulties, without descending into the middle layer – the inner layer of our emotions, our deeper thoughts, tuning into how our body is feeling.
And then to go even deeper into the core of what kind of identity am I living out of. Am I living out of the identity that is false? An identity that is borrowed from my personas? Because if that's the case, the way that I react on the outer layer is going to be often defensive, fearful, trying to pre-empt people.
Maybe I'm in constant fight or flight mode, right? So, those three layers is very important for us in the interior journey. We need to know how to descend down those layers, and then to reorientate our identity – to keep integrating our identity with the true identity we have as the beloved of God.
[00:11:55] FRAMEWORK #2: THE 4 LAYERS OF SELF-KNOWLEDGE
So, that's one framework, three layers of life. The second framework that is really essential is what I talk about or what I call the four layers of self-knowledge. I talk about this in a more recent episode – in episode 62, if you want to refer that. I'm going to link those two episodes to the show notes for this particular episode, so it's easy for you to refer to.
Okay, so, in the four layers of self-knowledge, I talk about in deepening order, okay? The first layer would be intellectual knowing of ourselves. And then the second layer is experiential know knowledge of ourselves. Right, and the third layer is effective knowing of ourselves. And the fourth layer, which is the deepest layer, is unitive knowing of ourselves.
I'm not going to go into detail about these four layers because you can always refer to episode 62 to learn that. But I want to refer to this framework now because when I learn things about, for example, you know what my scripts are, what my motivational design is, what my temperament is, maybe what my charisms are – the process of learning these things still fit into the two top layers of self-knowledge.
The intellectual – so, I understand, I go through a process, right? In a sense I understand this about myself. There's the experiential dimension of knowledge, layer of knowledge. Because in order for me to come to the conclusion that this is my design or these are my gifts, I have to reflect on the experiences in my life – so, that's experiential.
Now, what I'm going to be talking about in this episode, really is touching the third and fourth layers of self-knowledge. Okay, so, what happens when I have reflected on my experience, and I detect the patterns in my life? And I understand that this is design that God has given me and I may even become more aware of the scripts that bind me in my life?
So both, in the sense, the positive things that I have as well as the negative things – so to speak – that prevent me maybe, from really living my gifts out. Well, when I actually get to the business of living life – of trying to integrate – and then I experience how difficult it is. Now, what's going to come into play is effective knowing of myself, which is how well can I attune to my emotions, to my experiences in living out this process.
Do I force myself to push through without slowing down to attend to my needs? That's the effective layer, right? That's the effective layer of self-knowledge. Do I know how to accompany myself like a mother would tenderly accompany her child? Now, I've mentioned in other episodes or so – inner child healing and inner child reparenting.
Now, that's such an important part of the journey; how I accompany myself, how I improve the relationship that I have with myself so that the parts of me that feel vulnerable – that feel forsaken, abandoned, discouraged – they can feel safe with me. So, that happens in the context of also attuning to myself.
Inner child healing, inner child reparenting – I would count that as part of the third layer of self-knowing, of effective knowledge – of being able to attune to myself. Now, only when I can successfully continue to build trust with myself, to attune tenderly, compassionately with myself, even as I struggle – only then would I be able to exercise that leadership to bring all parts of myself, in a sense, under God's leadership. Okay, that would happen in the deepest layer, the unitive self-knowing.
This is where the integration really happens, really, by the grace of God, right? It really happens. And I become more and more the true self, or I should say more and more, I allow the true self to take the lead in my life.
Okay, so that's a quick run through of the four layers. Okay, and when I talk about realizing that it's challenging to accept the design that God has given me, I'm talking about the third layer, all right? So, I've understood – intellectual layer – kind of like, I understand something about the design that God has given me.
I've reflected on the experiences of why that is the design that God has given me and what it's like when I don't align with that design. I have all that experience. But now as I'm trying to be faithful to the design that God has given me, I run into trouble.
[00:16:36] MY TRAITS – 1. KINAESTHETIC LEARNER
So, this is my story. I'm giving you one – one aspect of how this is a struggle for me right now. So, in the past, among the things that I've learned about myself are these few points. One, I am a kinaesthetic learner. Okay, what do I mean by that? Kinaesthetic, right? Like in action. There's a learning model that talks about how some people are predominantly visual learners. They learn by watching, right? They need to see. There are some that are auditory learners. They do well – they learn by listening, maybe, for example, right? And then there are those who do by reading and writing. And then there is a mode of learning or there's a style of learning that some people prefer, and that is kinaesthetic learner.
Now, the thing about kinaesthetic learners is they learn by doing, okay. They learn by doing. They don't learn just by watching or listening to someone teach us about how something is done. Think about it – that's usually the traditional classroom, right? You have a teacher teaching a subject. And then you listen and then you learn, right?
So, I think that can be effective in terms of learning things conceptually. Conceptually, right – for some people. But for kinaesthetic learners, even to really understand and grasp concepts, it's not enough to just read about it or hear someone talk about it or watch a video on it.
We need to learn the concepts and really understand and grasp those concepts by doing, okay – by being in action. And that's one of the reasons why I really struggled, actually and hated my school days. I did well enough. I did well for the exams. But I hated it because I never really felt I learned anything, and my grades did not reflect the level of understanding I actually had.
And it was only when I was much older, and I realized that I learned best by doing and by exploring, not by reading about it. And see, the thing about being a kinaesthetic learner is also, it's usually very non-linear, right? I have to be involved in doing something.
So, give you an example – my least favourite subject when I was in secondary school was physics. It was my least favourite subject, okay. And all those things about optics and heat and all that. I mean, I didn't understand why I had to learn all those things. But in my thirties, when I started getting a little bit more serious about photography, and all of a sudden, I wanted to learn about the different kinds of lenses.
I wanted to know how to achieve certain kinds of effects. Like, you know how those beautiful photographs with blurry backgrounds, right? Like, what they call bokeh – where the subject in the foreground is really sharp, but you have this beautiful, creamy background. I wanted to know how do I achieve that.
And then I learned – I read up about it, right? So, I read about it, and they said, oh, you need prime lenses. Prime lenses are lenses with fixed focal lengths. And something about what kind of focal length gives you a better blur at the background. And then I found myself wanting to understand the principles of optics.
I found myself revisiting things like focal length, and aperture, and light – all these things that I had to study when I was studying for my O Levels – my GCE O Levels – in physics, which I completely had no interest in. Now, I had interest because it was applicable, and it was helping me to achieve something that I really wanted to do. And then I learned these things.
The same thing happened again when I got interested in making coffee. Okay, there was physics involved again, about things like the taste of your coffee will vary. Even the same coffee beans will vary accordingly to the size of the grind of the coffee, the temperature of the water, the rate of extraction.
So, okay, I'm not going to bore you too much with that. But I'm just saying, these things that you just heard me say, those are not subjects – in terms of like the physics behind it – they are not things that I'm interested in just purely conceptually. I only learned them because I was interested in doing something else, right.
So, that's what I mean specifically, that I'm a kinaesthetic learner. And then in order to pursue something, I learn whatever I need to learn about it. And through that, I can gain deep understanding. And that's how I studied and learned about the interior life, okay? I did read about saints, about spirituality. But those were all just conceptual.
They didn't make an impact in my life until I was going through specific things in my journey. I struggled. I conversed with God, I wrestled with God, I wrestled with myself. I sought resources and help. And then, as I was making the journey and I read certain things, they began to not just make sense.
What I read was actually explaining to me and illustrating to me what I'd actually gone through and had already begun to start making sense on my own. So, that's why my grasp of certain principles of the interior journey – the way I talk about them can be flexible, adaptable. Because in some sense, I can say I know them from the inside out.
I know them from experience. I'm a kinaesthetic learner. And that is why I put so much emphasis on praxis – because I think knowledge, just on the intellectual level can't do much. Especially not when we're talking about relationship with ourselves and with God. So, okay. So, that's one. I'm a kinaesthetic learner.
[00:22:06] MY TRAITS – 2. COMPREHENSION BEFORE CONVICTION
And then secondly, another trait about me: I have a very strong need to comprehend the why and the how before I'm convinced about something. Okay, before I'm convinced that I should even do something, I need to understand why. And I need to be convinced that the how that is being recommended actually will help me accomplish what I'm seeking.
Okay, so in order for me to carry something out with passion and joy, I need to understand – that's part of me. And sometimes, that's challenging when I need to take certain steps just on faith. But the point is, the surestway to kill my interest is to tell me that I have to do something just because. I need to understand and really have the why.
[00:22:50] MY TRAITS – 3. BEING EXPLORATIVE
Now, another thing about me is that I have also this great need for exploring new and different ways of solving a problem. Okay, I don't want someone to tell me, this is how you do it. I need to try different ways. Okay, I can hear your recommendation and I'll go try it out.
Okay, but then I may check out somebody else's recommendation and try that out. And I'm going to compare which one works better for me, for the problem that I'm trying to solve. Or which one is more aligned with how I am and how I work. Which one is more intuitive to me? Which one can I use more effectively?
So, then I will analyse the pros and cons before I find a way to synthesize for myself a unique solution that best fits the problem at hand. Okay, I realize as I'm saying all this to you, I'm also describing to you the unique way that I coach people. I mean, that's what I bring.
Okay, I don't just – it's not for particular methodology that I learned from someone else. I bring different things and then I synthesize them, and I apply them in a way that's best for the person that is making the journey. Okay, so, those are three things I've mentioned. I'm a kinaesthetic learner. I have a strong need to understand and comprehend the why and the how before I'm convinced to really do something with passion. And I need to explore new and different ways of doing something. I will not just accept on face value some guru'sway or method. And I need to synthesize for myself a unique solution to the problem at hand.
[00:24:22] MY TRAITS – 4. NOT BEING HURRIED
And then fourth – and this is the last point I want to bring in about what I've learned about myself for this episode – I am most effective when I am not hurried. Okay, think about it – I learn by action, by doing something. I have a strong need to understand the why, and I need to explore different ways of solving a problem – of going about something. That requires that I have time to experience it. And when I'm hurried, when somebody's hurrying me, like, hurry up, do this – I can't.
I can't really just experience it, you know? I can't be immersed in the experience. I don't have time to really ponder and reflect and analyse. So, one of my greatest griefs in my time of working in the pastoral scene in the parish, is that the pace of things happening there is so fast.
And the need and the demand on me to just make things happen and do things is so fast, that pausing to reflect was not something that was encouraged. In fact, it was something that was frowned upon. More than once, I would hear this saying – you know, we shouldn't just sit around or stand around navel-gazing. We shouldn't navel-gaze.
We should just go out there and do things. Now, my problem – as you've just listened to me – my problem is God created me to reflect deeply, to understand why we're doing things. To reassess every now and then is what we are doing achieving what we are hoping to achieve. Because if it's not, maybe we should change our plans or what we're doing.
I need to understand, and I need to explore, right? I need to reflect on what the new data that comes from us carrying something out. And you know, when we are talking about caring for souls, when we're talking about relationship with God and self and others, for me at least, these are not things that can be hurried.
It's like nature; planting a seed, letting the tree grow, and bear fruit, you can't rush it. And I hate doing things fast for the sake of having it done. So, that's something that I've learned about me. And I'm convinced about it because through my experience I know that that's true, right? So, that's the experiential level of knowledge.
[00:26:37] MY TRAITS CAN BE DIFFERENT FROM MY SCRIPTS
So, I'm very clear about all these things about myself. So, what's the problem? What's the problem? So, the problem is that what I just described to you – all these things about myself – goes against certain very deeply ingrained scripts in my life. So, underlying my design, okay? So, I have that design that God has given me.
But there is also all these scripts that I've learned to live by. And this is why you hear me talk about scripts very often – and you'll still hear me talk about scripts. It's so important to know what our scripts are because our scripts operate in the background, often without us being consciously aware. And they bind us, they prevent us from moving forward even when we are clear, consciously, about the direction that we want to move in.
So, for some reason, for example, my scripts make me somehow feel that it's better to be linear in learning, okay? So, some part of me can't help but think like, you know, it's more efficient to learn just in a traditional way. Okay, like, it's too inefficient to have to wait until you understand something well before you act, right?
I mean, there are situations, for example, that you just need to take action, okay? So, there's no time to ask why. And so, there's a part of me – the script is very strong. So, what it does is, this script makes me unhappy, right? There's a part of me that's actually unhappy that I take so long to get to the point of understanding something, so that I can carry it out.
[00:28:12] MY PERFECTIONIST SCRIPT
Okay, and then there's another script. The one that is perfectionist. I have a perfectionist script within me, right? It makes me want to make sure I get everything properly – like, you know, I can execute something at a very high level before I even try it. So, that makes me procrastinate or makes me even slower. Because if you think about it, I can only reach that level of excellence when I learn by doing, when I have a strong need to comprehend and I've explored different ways – all that, right? I need all that to be able to do something at a level of competence that is generally more excellent.
So, when I'm in my perfectionist mode, I feel like I can't show anyone the work in progress. Okay, I only want people to see that final result. And that's even worse because I take so long. So, these are ways I struggle, I'm unhappy. I'm unhappy that it takes me so long. And furthermore, the way that I'm designed to operate – all these exploration, all these testing out, and trying and stopping, and then trying another one and stopping in order to collect different data – it just feels so messy and inefficient.
Okay, so, listen to me. That is the script in me judging, that the way that I was created to operate is messy and inefficient, right? So, there's an inner critic that says all this is all very messy and inefficient. That's not God saying it. That's not my true self, who knows that this is a beautiful way that God has created me. It's just different maybe, from what I've been used to.
But the script in me says, oh, this is messy and inefficient. Okay, and the fact that I need to spend time – so much time – doing, trying different things, creating and testing and failing. Because failure is a big part of learning, right? Trying something out realizing, oh, this, this doesn't work that well, and then trying something else.
I have to sometimes make mistakes – actually, a lot of times make mistakes – before I get to the more elegant solution or synthesis of the problem that I was seeking. So, if you catch me just giving you the end result, you may think, "oh, wow, she knows what she's doing", right? She's clear about it.
But if you catch me in the process – oh my gosh, the process that's so messy – you would probably think, "oh my gosh. Like she doesn't know what she's doing", right? She keeps trying all these different things. And here's the thing – I think that about myself. My script, the script in me, makes me judge myself and go, oh my gosh, you look like you're so fickle minded.
You know, you're trying it this way. And then you try another way. You're trying to implement what this teacher is saying, to test out whether you know it works for you. And then when you realize it doesn't quite work for you, you move on to a different method. It looks messy, right? And there's something about my script that doesn't abide messiness well.
And it's very harsh, a very harsh critic. And then the part of me that does not take things at face value – you can't just tell me, "Ann, do it this way because this is the best way". I won't believe you until I find the answer myself – after I've tried, right. Now, this part of myself, I judge.
On my script – my inner critic judges to be difficult, stubborn, unteachable, and rebellious. Okay, the fact that I won't just take something at face value – I want to test to understand so that I have ownership of it. Which on one hand, I think is a remarkable thing. It's a beautiful thing. The scientific method is based on that, right.
To test, even spiritually, we say, well, you need to do it and then test and see the fruit. Does it bear spiritual fruit? There's nothing wrong about that. But the script in me says, "oh, Ann, you're so unteachable, so disobedient" – especially when the process of testing, of learning may span not just months, and years, and looks messy.
There's a part of me that tells me that there's something wrong with me. And when I try to honour the pace at which I learn and grow so that I'm not rushed, that critic in me – my script tells me, “Oh, that's so self-indulgent". My inner critic calls me self-indulgent. So, but that's the thing – when I'm in the zone of just following God and not worrying these things – when I'm unselfconscious, I meander, you know? I enjoy the meandering, the being with God and letting him take his time to show me things. But when I am hijacked by my scripts that tell me that I need to get certain results by a certain time, I don't need someone else outside of me to tell me, "Ann, like "don't naval gaze".
Okay, in this case, it's not so much not naval gazing. But you don't have the luxury of so much time testing all these things out. You have to get your act together and start doing, and do it well, and deliver it in a polished way, an elegant way because that's what's necessary. That's what's demanded of you.
So, this is why I struggle. This is why I struggle. Even though I have become quite clear – I'd say compared to it, the past – very clear about myself. I know myself so much better now at the intellectual level, at the experiential level. But I struggle so much because my scripts can go against the way that God gave me. And I find that I still struggle to trust the design that He has given me.
Why? So, why is it that I can't just go with the design that He has given me, even when I'm clear about what it is? Because there's still fear and anxiety and insecurity inside me that tells me that I have to perform to a certain level, in a certain way in order to succeed, in order to make a difference.
Because to some degree, to a great degree, it still matters how I look, maybe to a different audience now. You heard in a previous episode about how the burden of expectations that people have on me change from season to season, right? So, just because a certain group of people, their opinions don't affect me anymore, it doesn't mean that I'm immune from people's opinions.
Maybe for now, in the season that I am, in the kind of thing that I'm doing, different set of people's opinion matter to me now. So, for example, now in my work, maybe my prospective clients, or my current clients, their opinion maybe matters to me. And maybe I may struggle to find how I can be free, like to meet them from my true self – from identity in God, rather than trying to impress. Rather than trying to achieve some result that I hope that they will be impressed with me. You know what I'm saying? So, at every point, in every season, there's going to be that challenge and that struggle, and I'm struggling with this right now.
The question is, how do I hold myself in this struggle? How can I attune to myself in this struggle? How can I experience God attuning to me in this struggle? So, that's also the effective layer of knowing God. Can I experience this attunement to me? Can I descend down the layers of life from the outside, the environment, the circumstance that I am in; make time to listen to what's going on in my inner layer, my emotions, what my body is telling me – that I'm stressed because I'm pushing myself. I'm hurrying myself.
Can I descend into the core of myself and just experience being loved by God because I need that experience so that I can come back out and act from who I am and not who I need to be.
So, the thing – now giving you a very concrete context – in the last year maybe, I’ve been learning and applying things in business modelling and then in content creation – because these are new things to me. In the past, I just wrote every now and then, let's say on my blog, and write reflections – and I love that.
But they were ad-hoc, you know? And then I do my research, right? And then I learn – so many different teachers are saying, you know, well, if you're doing this to generate, let's say, interest in your services, for example, you need to have a regular, consistent cadence of producing content, creating content.
And then there's the question of different people or articles out there that tell you the frequency at which maybe you should create content, for example, let's say on social media. So, even just in terms of the genre of content, right – there is my blogging, which was the first way I used to communicate my insights and thoughts.
And then there was podcasting, which was a purely audio experience. So, when I'm recording a purely audio podcast, which actually, originally is really meant to just be an audio thing – like right now, this is a purely audio podcast. I don't have any camera on. I have notes that I've kind of like written down, but I'm speaking off the cuff.
But I don't have to worry as I'm speaking right now; how I'm looking, or whether I'm looking anywhere, whether I'm looking at the camera, I'm looking at my notes. It's different from when I'm recording video, right? And then even with video, there's the difference between a pre-recorded video where I can take several takes and maybe think things through a bit more and then make cuts versus a live video, where it's just very organic and authentic. And there are all these arguments, different arguments about the benefits, the pros and cons of different kinds of content, right.
Okay, so, think of what I said earlier. I'm someone that needs to try things out, right? I need to discover for myself what works and what doesn't. And in the past, I didn't really want to venture into other ways. I didn't want to really venture, for example, very much into social media, much less into video.
In obedience to the call of this season, where I feel that God is asking me to venture out, I want to learn, and I want to be open to try new things. And I accept that the process is going to be messy, right? And so those of you who are following me, not just on the podcast or even on the podcast, you would've heard different kinds of recordings – like those that are purely audio first, or sometimes I share recordings from live videos.
They sound different, right? Now, your preference is one thing. I mean, maybe some of you may prefer the pure audio kind of experience. Some of you may be indifferent. Some of you may actually prefer the flavour of a live, unscripted recording. But that's not the main question for me.
Because different people will like or prefer different kind of things. And I will go insane. I'll go nuts if I keep tracking like metrics and preferences – you know, like what kinds of content is preferred. You know, even, let's say my Instagram account. Like even Instagram tries to give me all these metrics, right?
Like, which posts get the greatest visibility. Which ones has the highest engagement. You know, it's easy for me to go down that rabbit hole because when I'm learning about these things, I'm listening to the teachers out there who are coaching on these things. I have to separate out the wheat from the chaff, right?
I have to make the discernment. But for me, I learn best through experience. So, sometimes I have to let myself get caught up in some of these things – try what other people are teaching, and then I work out why something works for me and why something doesn't. Or in the process, I find myself maybe forgetting why I am doing all of this. And then I find God knocking on the door of my heart and reminding me, "Hey, Ann, I think you're not really having fun anymore. You're getting stressed about this. Do you remember why you're doing all this in the first place?"
Oh, right, I'm doing this because you invited me to play. I mean, you invited me to go on this adventure with you. I am doing this in obedience to you. And it's not about getting so hung up about the perfect way – if there's even a perfect way – of going about this. It's not about accomplishing something very specific. It's first and foremost about me being me.
It's about me being me, right? Enjoying God's delight in me as I be me, and then hopefully trusting that just by me being me, some of you out there who needs what God has given me to share, can receive that – will receive. Actually, it's very simple, right? But I need to go around in circles sometimes, before I remember that, you see.
But each time I go in a circle, each time I go in the circle, I will remember what I already understood at a deeper level. I will understand it at a deeper level. So, I have learned a great deal about myself in this year. I've learned a great deal about many things – about technology, about recording audio, about making video, about content creation – all that.
But I think the most valuable thing here, is that I have experienced at a deeper level, the challenge of integrating when we keep going on this journey of integration. And I realize that this feeling that there's something wrong with me whenever I feel like, why is it that I can't do things according to the way that these experienced teachers are saying is the best way of doing things – that feeling is not going to just go away. I mean, it comes back every now and then without me realizing it because my script is still very strong.
You know, like there's a right way to do things and those who are experienced and successful in it, if they teach that to you, you should follow that. Okay, but then I remember there's no one size fits all, right? And the best way is the one that works for me or for you – for us – to achieve the outcome that we wish to achieve.
And in this case, it is integration, authenticity, deeper relationship with God and with self, right? So, what works for you? So, that means that even as I go about my daily work, my daily life – in how I want to be a better communicator, a better coach to run this business. The way I can be effective in that needs to take into consideration the design that God has given me.
And I still need to learn how to trust that and be okay – that maybe the methods that are being taught by teachers that I greatly respect, that maybe I agree with them at the level of first principles. But when they teach the execution of those principles, the methods of execution may not align with the design that God has given me.
And so, it's okay for me to take my time to find the method that actually aligns with how God has created me. And you know what? Ultimately, that's also what I teach. It's what I coach people in doing. So, the more I learn this, the deeper I learn this at deeper levels, the more equipped I will be at being a coach.
So, I hope that the sharing that I've given you in this episode has given you more food for thought also – especially if you are pass the very beginnings of your interior journey and can maybe resonate with what I'm sharing here. If what I have shared in this episode seems still very distant from your current experience, it could just be that you're not experiencing what I'm describing yet.
You could be it at an earlier season or stage of the interior journey. If that's the case, don't worry too much about it, okay? But even just listening to what I've shared may give you some encouragement and hope. And hopefully when you do encounter the struggles that I described in this episode, you'll remember this. And remember that it is a normal part of the interior journey and that the discomfort is part of the healing process, okay? Remember that the discomfort is part of the healing process.
[00:44:28] PRAXIS: LISTEN. PONDER. ACT
Okay, so here are the Praxis prompts for this episode. One: Listen– as you listened to me share and talk in this episode, what resonated with you? What struck you?
Two: Ponder– can you think of one way that you struggle with God's design for you? Perhaps something about your learning or working style, or your motivational design or temperament. This is especially the case if you have already gone through maybe the Clarity journey with me – if you happen to be a client, and you have learned something about the design that God has given you. Well, notice in your day-to-day living – is there some part of you that resists certain aspects of this design? And what is that aspect?
Three: Act – I invite you to write this down, okay? And complete the sentence – I believe I struggle to accept this part of myself – okay, and write what that part is – because – and then identify a script that you have about who you need to be – that goes against this aspect of God's design for you. Okay?
So write: I believe I struggle to accept blank – what part of yourself – because another blank to fill in – and fill it in with the part of a script that you know you have that goes against this aspect of God's design for you.
Okay, that's it for this episode. I went quite deep in this one. I hope that you've enjoyed it, that it gives you food for thought, encouragement.
And remember, it's normal to find that you struggle to trust the design that God has given you. We're still on this journey to healing and to remember that discomfort is part of the healing journey.
Thank you for listening to Becoming Me, where new episodes drop every first and third Wednesdays of the month. Remember, the most important thing about making this journey is to keep taking steps in the right direct. No matter how small those steps might be, and no matter where you might be in your life right now, it is always possible to begin. The world would be a poorer place without you becoming more fully alive.
Don't forget to visit my website at becomingmepodcast.com and to subscribe to my newsletter, as well as to this podcast. Until the next episode. Happy becoming!
Here are some great episodes to start with.
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