Read an Excerpt
Inside My HeartChoosing to Live with Passion and Purpose
By Robin McGraw
Thomas NelsonCopyright © 2007 Robin McGraw
All right reserved.
Chapter OneFrom My Heart To Yours
I am on a mission to get you excited about your life.
And let me tell you, I'm excited-not only excited to be a woman, but to be a wife, a mother, an enthusiastic homemaker, and now an author. My greatest hope is that what I put down in these pages may inspire and help you and other women by offering an honest look inside at who I am: how I've lived my life, the struggles I've faced, the decisions I've made, and how and why I've made them. The journey hasn't always been easy and it sure hasn't always been fun, and I've had my share of disappointments along the way. But it has all made me who I am today.
Stop and take a moment now just for you. Push everything else aside and embrace this time to reflect on the life you've lived thus far, and on the life you are living now. This is what this guided journal is all about-to make a choice to put yourself first and to make the time to think about and create the life you want. Maybe it's not the life you have now, but do you know that it can be? That the life you dream of is one you deserve to live?
So take a few (or many) moments to think about your life-the easy times and the hard times; the joys and the disappointments; the struggles and the triumphs. Then record those significant times in the following space.
I'm smart enough now to value the experiences I've had over the half-century I've been in this world, and I know that the ones that count are all a result of the choices I've made. But I also know that many people aren't aware that there are choices to be made, that they do have control over a lot of what happens to them. The freedom to choose the way we live our lives is one of the great gifts we've been given.
That is worth saying again: The freedom to choose the way we live our lives is one of the great gifts we've been given.
How do you feel about that statement? Do you believe it is true?
Have you been living your life with this perspective of freedom of choice? If so, describe how this freedom is allowing you to live. If what I have just said is news to you, how could this perspective change your life?
A lot of people go through life without really thinking about who they are or why they do the things they do. It's as if we're living on autopilot, staring straight ahead without seeing anything other than what's right in front of our faces. I know what this feels like because it's happened to me.
I'm usually able to snap out of my daze and get back in control pretty quickly, but I know how easy it is to go passive. We do things or agree to things or accept whatever comes our way without considering whether or not it's right for us. And by passively accepting whatever happens, we give up chances every day to create the lives we want.
It doesn't have to be that way.
You can make choices in your life-in fact, you must make choices-in order to have the life you want. And whether or not you're aware of it, you do make choices all the time; even choosing not to choose is a choice.
Do you ever feel that you are living your life on autopilot? What do you think causes you to live in a daze? To what degree do you feel actively in control of what's happening in your life? Are you naturally a proactive decision-maker, or do you tend to be more passive?
Out of the many, many choices you've made in your life, consider three significant ones you've made.
Specifically, how has each choice benefited you, and how has each one challenged you? Think of a time when you have chosen not to choose. What was the result? Do you recognize any area(s) of your life in which you consistently avoid making choices, and just let things happen as they will?
Are you content to continue with your current track of decision-making?
I live every day of my life as an adventure, and I approach every aspect of my life as an event. Life has tried to knock that spirit out of me, and you probably know what that feels like. But I always have faith that things will get better. And it doesn't matter how old I get; I still wake up every morning grateful to be alive and healthy, and passionate about making the most of the day. And while I've always known this about myself, it wasn't until I sat down to write this book that I thought about how I got that way, and how it is that my life turned out the way it has. I simply cannot imagine wanting to be anything or anyone other than who I am: a freethinking woman, wife of the man I love, and mother of two grown sons.
What events or people in your life have threatened to knock the spirit out of you?
What happened? Did they succeed? Did you recover? How did you handle it?
Whether you know it or not, you're constantly writing the "book" of your own life (regardless of whether you actually ever write anything down or not). You are ever-evolving, ever-changing, ever-growing. Keep this in mind as you go through this journal. Some things in your past will be hard to remember, while you will delight in remembering others. Embrace every step in your journey, for they have made you the woman you are.
* * *
I believe I'm smarter today than I was yesterday, and I know I'm a whole lot smarter than I was ten, twenty, or thirty years ago. I don't know if fifty is the new thirty, but I do know that I'm in my fifties now and I love it. I also know that I didn't become who I am through dumb luck; I did it by listening to God's voice, knowing myself, and using all of that knowledge to create the life I wanted.
You see, I absolutely believe that in order for a woman to experience happiness, fulfillment, and peace, she needs to know two things: who she is, and who she is meant to be. They're not quite the same thing: the first one has to do with the reality of your life, and the second one has to do with your purpose for being in this world, which is something each of us has to discover for herself and cannot be dictated by any other person in our lives-not by our husbands, parents, children, employers, or friends.
I think it's getting harder and harder to tell the difference between who we are and who we're meant to be. So much of the time, we lose ourselves just trying to keep up with the frantic pace of life. We drag ourselves out of bed in the morning, already half an hour behind, and spend much of the day responding to the needs and demands of others. Somewhere along the line, we often lose track of the essential feminine self-that unique, life-giving entity that invigorates our beings and warms the souls of the people we love.
But we don't have to lose that feminine self, and the way to hold on to her is to accept nothing less than being simply the best-the best we can be in the roles we choose for ourselves: wife, mother, daughter, sister, and friend. I believe we were put on this earth to enjoy lives of joy and abundance, and that is what I want for you and for me. I want to get you excited about whatever phase of life you're in, excited about being a woman in this day and time, excited about being the woman that God created you to be.
I sincerely believe that God has created each of us-that means you!-uniquely and with great intention. You were created with specific gifts and talents-all of which are a big part of who you are.
Do you know that you are special and that you have something to offer the world that no one else has? What do you think is the difference in knowing who you are and who you were meant to be? Do you feel that your life is one of joy and abundance? Why or why not?
Are you excited about your life? If so, what excites you? If not, what do you think is holding you back from feeling that excitement?
I believe that in this life, we are defined not by the station in life into which we are born, nor by our pedigree, race, or religion, but by the choices we make. By choosing to live with passion and purpose, I have fashioned a rich and rewarding life-not because I'm special, or a genius, or born under a lucky star. Far from it.
My goal for this book is to tell everyone who reads it about the power of choosing her life rather than taking it as it comes along-not so you'll make the same choices I made, but so you can make the choices that are right for you. I'm not a professional expert and I'm certainly not an expert on your life, but I am an expert on mine, and that is what I hope to share with you.
It's not my intention to give people advice on how to solve their problems (I leave that to my husband). But I've had my share of struggles over the years, and I know a thing or two about what has worked for me in this life. I have learned which battles to pick, when and how to push back, and how to bend without breaking. In short, I have figured out how not to lose "me" in the course of being so many things to so many people in so many areas of my life. I have chosen to be an active participant in my life rather than a spectator, and in so doing I have chosen how to be a woman, how to be a wife, and how to be a mother in ways that are uniquely my own. I offer the stories of these choices as evidence of the power of sheer determination, will, and faith in God.
Do you believe you can change your life with the choices you make? Why or why not? In what specific ways have you chosen how to be a woman, a wife, a mother, a friend in ways that are uniquely your own?
To be sure, I'm not doing it alone. I wake up every morning and I thank God for everything that is good, right, and true in my life. I am thankful for all the people in my life whose love and care are sources of constant rejuvenation for my spirit. I am thankful for the gift of free will and for the chance to choose the life God means for me to lead.
Not least, I am thankful for the opportunity to reach out to women everywhere, and touch their lives by telling them about mine. I want to reach out to all women-older and younger, married and single, women who are mothers and those who are not, women who work outside the home and those who don't.
As I write this book, I find myself looking deeply into the reservoir of memory and seeing reflections of things I haven't thought about in years, sometimes decades. When I reach out to touch them, I do so gently. God has blessed me so that I can still feel the touch of my mother's hand and see my father's smile. This is what I offer, with equal parts humility, wonder, and truth. Should any of it touch you in any way, I shall consider myself abundantly blessed.
Before we move on, let me ask: What do you hope to gain from your time spent on this journal?
Excerpted from Inside My Heart by Robin McGraw Copyright © 2007 by Robin McGraw. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.