what it really means to get in the best shape of your life

You are picking your phrases, your one words, your goals for 2013. You are tending your lists and your desires and I hope your families and friends cheer you on in your endeavors this week.

As you consider what this year will hold, how perhaps through exercise you would like to change the shape of your thighs or the shape of your waist, consider also this:

What does your life hold right now?

What is the shape of your life?

I read Gift From the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh this summer. In it, she answers that question. As we consider where we’re going, the most important thing to know first is where we are.

Getting into the shape of your life means climbing into this right-now place, fold yourself into the rhythm of your current truth.

What makes up the silhouette?

What is flowing from your heart?

Where do your feet now stand?

Who is holding your hand?

The shape of my life begins with my family, the five of us living in our home together in North Carolina. We enjoy time together and time apart. We choose love when we remember and forgiveness when we forget. We stumble and then we help each other up.

We have desires for our future and those desires are important.

I am deeply curious about the mystery of Christ and how his life comes out of his people, how his life comes out of me.

I want to learn how to be a better writer, to accept the dare of pouring words over the shared condition of humanity in a way that somehow says to others, Me too and, There’s hope.

As a couple, my husband and I are open to change and transformation in ways we have perhaps never been before. There is beauty in the waking.

I want to be fully alive as the person, mother, and wife I uniquely am, not the one who others think I ought to be. I’ll finish with Anne’s words:

“But I want first of all — in fact, as an end to these other desires — to be at peace with myself. I want a singleness of eye, a purity of intention, a central core to my life that will enable me to carry out these obligations and activities as well as I can. I want, in fact — to borrow from the language of the saints — to live ‘in grace’ as much of the time as possible.”

Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift from the Sea

May all of my endeavors to lead a meaningful life be thwarted and interrupted if I seek to accomplish them in my own strength.

May I ever know the presence of Jesus in the center seat of my personality as the only glue that holds me together.

May I not set off to discover myself, but may I settle in as the person I most deeply am and know he is God.

What is the shape of your life?


  1. says

    Crazy. I spent all morning thinking about exercise.

    The right-now place for me is grief – the grief of losing two dear ones – the second two months after the first, and both during the holidays. It’s heavy, and soon I will add a new term at college to the load. Many wonderful people are reaching for my hand, but knowing how prone I am to co-dependency, I’m trying to seek Jesus first instead of people. So…it’s complicated *wry smile* and I’m wading around in it, soaked to the hips. I want to learn how to live in it and live from it…eventually, in the grace He so patiently offers.

  2. Bev says

    What a lovely, thoughtful post. I read “Gifts from the Sea” a couple of years ago – you’ve inspired me to reread it. There is certainly lots to think about from her words and yours. Thanks.

  3. says

    This year ahead is one where I want to shape myself more and more into God’s image and “fall forward” to Him, to paraphrase another excellent blogger,Ann Voskamp. I feel as if I am standing on the edge of an abyss and the only way is ahead but I do not know if I can trust my Father to catch me if I fling myself over the edge…. and the only way to do this is to DO it. I really want to be moulded by Him this year and not try to mold myself.Thanks for a great post

  4. says

    Good questions. I’ve been digging deeper for this new year. Trying to comprehend that it will be my 50th year. What does He want for me this year? What does He want from me?

  5. says

    Since turning 40 a couple of summers ago, I have been moving towards becoming more comfortable in who I really am, who HE created me to be and have stopped trying to be someone else. I like your words “settle in”. I see 2013 as a new year to “settle in” even more in being me. Thank you for your words today. As always, they were beautifully written and perfectly right on with what I needed to hear on this 2nd day of a new year.

    New Year Blessings to you, Emily!

  6. doug says

    Well said Emily. Thanks for pointing me to Christ and for focusing on what is the most important thing in this life.. in the midst of so many voices calling to us.

  7. says

    I love this. The shape of my life…who is holding my hand? A great foundational focus before getting into less important things like the shape of my booty ; ) Happy New Year!

  8. says

    The honest, from-the-depths-of-my-soul-truth is this: I just don’t think it’s possible for you to become a better writer. I just don’t. You slay me always, ever.

    I want to hear more about the change and transformation that awaits you in all of life. Wish I could gab at your face for a while.

  9. says

    “I want to learn how to be a better writer, to accept the dare of pouring words over the shared condition of humanity in a way that somehow says to others, Me too and, There’s hope.” <– Dear goodness, you already do this.

    And, me, too on this: "I am deeply curious about the mystery of Christ and how his life comes out of his people, how his life comes out of me."

    Thank you for this gorgeous post.

  10. says

    I love Anne’s quote. And your post.

    Just this morning, I read Psalm 73 … and was reminded God is holding my right hand. Guiding me. Steadying me.
    When I am distracted by ideas or tempted to compare, God is holding my right hand. When I place my affection for family above Him, still holding my right hand. When I wonder about creating a ‘meaningful’ life in the midst of ordinary days, holding my right hand.

    Gracious, He is good.

    Thanks for your thoughts today, Emily.

  11. says

    As usual, your gentle words gave me a lot to think about. After pondering them for a bit, I realized that I’ve been more concerned with where I want to go, than where I am and what I’m ready for. Thanks Emily.

  12. says

    I love Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s Gift of the Sea and reread it annually. Thank you for your honest, transparent words that so often do say, “Me too,” and “There’s hope!”

    Deb Weaver

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *