Today’s chapter of Balanced led to some pretty deep soul searching. Tricia shared her own list of eight life themes, and challenged us to write our own.

“When you discover your life themes, you aren’t limiting yourself. Instead you’re understanding who God made you to be – and the purpose He designed for you.”

Looking back at my life and considering all the highs and lows wasn’t an easy thing to do. I struggled tremendously to come up with eight themes that I saw recurring throughout my life. I’m not completely sure who I am to begin with. How could I possibly sum up my life in eight themes? But once I got started, I was surprised by what I saw.

  1. God comforts us in grief

    I’ve been facing the heartache of losing people I loved for as long as I can remember. It always hurts. It still hurts. The thing about that hurt, is that it keeps me running back to God for comfort. And He always does.

  2. Broken people can have beautiful relationships

    There was a time when I avoided letting anyone get too close to me. I was scared, and so very broken. God has been at work on my heart for a lot of years, and He has put people in my life who love me anyway. It doesn’t matter how broken we are, God can still help us to have beautiful relationships.

  3. Letting go of one dream, because God has something better

    I was quite sure that I was headed for a career in aviation. Most likely as a missionary pilot. It was my dream, my passion. And then in a plot twist that surprised even me, I married Aaron instead. Today, I don’t fly small airplanes to remote jungle airstrips. I spend my days raising a family with Aaron (and writing too). I have never once regretted it. I had big dreams, but God had better ones!

  4. You can never be good enough… that’s where grace comes in

    I’ve always felt like I had to measure up, to be “good enough”. I never will be. And that’s the truly amazing thing about grace. Grace covers all of my “not good enough”. Grace makes it possible for me to stand before a holy God.

  5. No matter how bad it seems, there is always hope

    Depression can make everything appear pretty bleak. Anxiety can convince you that things are only going to get worse. When things seem particularly bad, I go outside and look at the stars. Because the stars are still there, exactly where they should be. God is still there. He’s still in control of the entire universe that He created. He’s not surprised by anything going on in my life. If He can keep track of all those stars, then He’s got this handled too.

  6. Past hurts and failures shape you, but they do not define you

    There are hard things in my past that certainly played a part in making me who I am today, but the bad things do not define me. Understanding that is what allows me to learn from them, and then let go of them.

  7. Some risks are worth taking

    Stepping out and taking a chance is never easy for me. Many times I do end up falling flat on my face. But there are other times… So many amazing things in my life would never have happened if I hadn’t taken that leap of faith.

  8. God chooses messy people too

    If I had to pick just one theme for my life, this would be it. Honestly, I’m a complete mess. The thing that blows my mind, is that God can take my mess and turn it into something amazing. Jesus didn’t defeat sin and death to save perfect people. He did it to save the messed-up people. “When Jesus heard this, He told them, ‘Those who are well don’t need a doctor, but the sick do need one. I didn’t come to call the righteous, but sinners.'” – Mark 2:17 HCSB

When I thought about it, I realized that these are themes that pop up frequently in my writing. What astounded me though was this: There is so much hope in this list. Looking back over my life, God’s written hope all over the story. Right now, I needed to be reminded of that. Reminded that He is the “God of hope”. (Romans 15:13)

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13

This turned into a much more personal challenge than I’d anticipated, but it turned out to be exactly what I needed.

This post is part of the Balanced challenge with Tricia Goyer—and you can join, too!