Isn't it interesting to hear how other's view themselves? I would have never imagined that Tamara or Christy wanted to be any different. I LOVE their personalities. I think it is a special gift when we can see something we once saw negative in ourselves and now see it as positive. When I was little, I was often teased by my older siblings and family members for being so sensitive. It was kind of joke to see if they could get me to cry. I was sensitive to everything- animals, my stuffed animals, people hurting, the Underdog..... Don't even get me watching an episode of Little House on the Prairie. Cry a river, Natalie.
Naturally, I grew up seeing this as a negative thing and tried to talk myself out of being so sensitive. I tried to "toughen up" when I was in college. It always felt so unnatural but I kept trying. I finally gave up and gave in to it, realizing that's just who I was. But I didn't embrace it until a couple years ago.
I was sitting at a conference watching a World Vision video where they were encouraging attendees to sponsor a child. I had seen this several times before yet I still had to leave the room because I couldn't quit crying. I went out into a quiet area and cried, asking God, "WHY did you make me THIS way??!!??" I suddenly felt a calming over me when I realized He made me this way so I could do what I do.
To be an effective therapist I have to be able to empathize with others. To do some of the service I do outside of Imagine Hope I need to have a huge amount of compassion and find joy in helping others. I realized He made me this way so I could be who He wanted me to be. When we live out what we were created to be, we live with purpose. This is my purpose.
Since that day, I feel such peace knowing I'm being who I am meant to be. I also realize there are things I need to do to take care of myself to make sure I don't get "compassion fatigue." I make sure I laugh everyday, read inspiring things, spend time doing fun things, and I pray a lot. All of this helps me maintain my compassion as a positive gift rather than a negative dread.
Are you starting to notice something negative in your life that might be a positive?
Thank you for reading this week. Joleen will share with you tomorrow. Have a great day!
*Natalie Chandler, MA, LMHC, LCAC is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Natalie enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, and couples counseling. We also specialize in family counseling, child, and adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Westfield, and Zionsville.