Know Yourself, Accept Yourself

As we leave the portion of this series focused on self-care, I would now like to spend the next few days talking about living with intentional and grace as it relates to personal growth.

This past spring, I became good friends with Jen at our local home improvement store. Maybe not so much friends as I kind of stalked her. You see, this year I was bound and determined to have an amazing vegetable garden and she had the knowledge that I needed.

I would march into the garden center armed with my composition notebook that I had titled The Medlin Family Almanac. I would follow her around and ask questions about soil pH levels, composting, and watering schedules. I had sketched a beautiful little square foot garden in my notebook, and spent countless hours researching each and every plant that I planned on growing, with notes scribbled on each page of how to plant, when to fertilize, how to prune, and when to harvest. I could tell you how many onions fit in one square foot and that it was important to plant your tomatoes far away from your strawberries. I was working hard to turn my brown thumb into a green one because I so badly wanted to be like all of the natural living/homesteading bloggers with beautiful gardens, my late summer days spent harvesting and canning.

By the end of August, I had harvested about 3 baby tomatoes, 5 strawberries, 20 peas and beans, and one squash from my 9×5 space. I spent a few weeks dejected and discouraged, but then I did something that felt really good.

I decided that I am not a gardener.

Now I may plant some containers and do a little herb garden next year, but my dreams of having a small suburban farm have been laid to rest.

Some of you with the ministry of encouragement might tell me to not give up, that it was a tough year in vegetable gardening for a lot of people. But you see, I know that down deep I don’t really enjoy gardening that much, and that there are things that I do enjoy much more and would rather invest my time and my energy in.

One of the steps to cultivating a life of intention and grace is understanding who you are and who you are not. I’m not talking about simply giving up on goals because you hit a rough patch. I’m talking about knowing yourself well enough to know which goals to set, and accepting the fact that there are just some things that you are not good at or simply do not enjoy, and that’s okay.

I recently made a list of who I am, and who I am not.

I am a writer. I am not a photographer. I am also not a scrapbooker.

I am classic. I am not vintage.

I am an eclectic homeschooler. I am not a Waldorf or Montessori purist, although I do glean from their ideas.

I am passionate about health and natural living, but I am not an extremist.

I am crafty and creative, but I am not going to open an etsy store in the near future. (Update: I did end up opening a small, seasonal shop. More info here.)

That’s a small glimpse of my list and it may seem silly to you, but it was very helpful for me to define a few of those areas of my life.

You see, by writing out a list of all of the things that I am not, I am eliminating a lot of potential time and energy wasters, so that I can then turn and invest that time and energy into the things that I truly do enjoy and feel passionate about.

Cultivating Intention:

  • Take a piece of paper and on the top of one side write “I am…” and on the top of the other side write “I am not…” and draw a line down the middle. On the “I am” side, write some things that you are passionate about and that come naturally to you. On the “I am not” side, write down the things that you put a lot of pressure on yourself to do, but that you don’t necessarily enjoy or have passion for.
  • Tuck this paper away into your journal or your dresser, and pull it out from time to time to add new things to each list as you continue to your journey of personal growth and discovery.

Cultivating Grace:

If you are stumbling under this self-imposed burden that you need to be able to “do it all”, I encourage you to stop believing the Supermom myth, and remember that you can’t do everything. We all have strengths and weaknesses and we must learn to embrace the uniqueness in which we were each created.

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10

I encourage you to stop trying to be someone that you’re not, and simply be the woman that God has called and created YOU to be.



This post is Day 11 of the 31 day series I am writing on cultivating a life of intention and grace. For a complete index of posts in this series, click here. To read more 31 Days series, please visit The Nester.

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  1. I have a similar list: things that really nurture, stuff that just doesn’t. Unfortunately I find myself doing things on the “not nourishing” list and I get frustrated (talking to you Greys Anatomy marathon). What you’ve written about is really the heart of intention.

  2. latoya @ a peaceful crib says:

    This was so good Amanda! I actually never thought to do this and if I had it would have saved me from a lot of angst and worry over some things these last few years. I have dibbled and dabbled in a lot since then and I often felt discouraged, mad and just plain jealous. Using this exercise in the future for sure will help me avoid that dreaded process in future attempts. Thank you!

    • I can’t tell you how much my list has helped me! I used to get so stressed trying to do everything and do it all perfectly, now I feel free from all of that pressure I was putting on myself.

  3. so very well said, Amanda … wonderful insight! the truth does, indeed, set us free!

  4. I love this!!! I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve tried to be something that I’m not, simply because I wanted to be like someone else or had some unrealistic definition of what a “good” wife and mother is/does. Truth is, I’m also NOT a photographer or a scrapbooker….although I wish I had that talent. But I do love to cook for my family and spend time with my kiddos just playing and being silly. And I know that there are other moms who struggle in those areas.

    Thanks for the reminder that being who we are called by God to be is always best. Practically every post I read in your series gives me the impression that we would be fast friends! : )

  5. I really loved this post…such wise words. I highly recommend the book “You’re Already Amazing” to help women pinpoint who they are and who they aren’t…what their strengths are and what they aren’t. I’m good at writing and photography but I find cookings and baking EXHAUSTING. I do it, on occasion, and can enjoy it at Christmas time, but I really don’t like it. Crafts I can do if they are easy but I have no passion for DIYing or crafting like as what we see on Pinterest these days. So I just try to stick with what I’m good at and forget the rest, but it’s hard. Maybe I need to write a list like you did!

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