A Guide to Living in Freedom

Inspiration

xo,
Michelle

Each year brings a desire to set goals that will carry us through the entire year and develop us inside and out. It’s a commitment to create real meaning in life and to live in freedom. This year is no different.

In the majority of my posts, I share ways to develop the mind, body, and spirit. I may be an interior stylist and decorator for residential homes, but I also believe that our homes will only function as good as we believe ourselves to be. There is a limit on what the home can provide. It’s our beings that must do the rest. And sometimes our beings need some interior designing themselves or interior therapy as I like to call it. As I learn and grow, I want to share with you the knowledge I gain so you can use it in your own life.

I strongly believe we are all seeking freedom. We want it in our homes, at work, as parents, in marriage, with our friendships, and within ourselves.

It’s my desire to peel back the layers to discover who we are and what we need in order to become our better selves so that we can fully embrace the spaces in which we live. This is The Bungalow Cottage’s mission.

Feeling Alive in the New Year

Moving into 2022, my word for the year is befitting of the journey I am on and the work I desire to do both as a designer and as an educator. My word is…

FREEDOM!

Living in freedom means different things to different people. This is why it’s so important to listen carefully to what your spirit says freedom means for you.

For me, freedom means a great deal. It is a place I have not lived from…ever or for as long as I can remember. I’ve always operated from the position of being responsible, taking care of others (hello, I’m a mother), sacrificing my needs for the needs of those around me, and thinking that my dreams and desires had to be put on hold or forgotten in order to make space for the things to which I believed I had to give my attention.

This is not a healthy position to live in.

But God has taken me on a journey. It was and still is a journey to realizing I am valuable to Him and I need to begin to care for myself as such. It requires me to “surrender all to ALL” as Maya Angelou put it so that understanding what I need will come. At the foundational level, when I surrender, I empty myself of everything and give control over to the One who knows what is important for me.

Pink Sand Footsteps Water

This is Freedom

This is what freedom means to me.

Living in Truth

There is freedom in living my truth and accepting myself as I am. Choosing not to be afraid of my uniqueness. Being confident in the person I am and who I am becoming. It’s important that we don’t apologize for who we are because we are all a work in progress. King David was a man who was no stranger to adversity and poor decision-making. He shared his challenges with God at each turn of his life but believed that God was still with him. The goal is always to live with integrity but we should also remember that we are not perfect and oftentimes will need to extend to ourselves grace just as God has given it freely.

Winston Churchill put it plainly, “perfection is the enemy of progress”. Without a doubt, I will make mistakes on my journey, just as David did. I will struggle from time to time. And that’s okay. As long as I continue to do the work necessary to keep moving forward and becoming a better version of myself.

Having Faith

There is freedom in having faith; operating from a place of faith and not fear. Silencing the negative thoughts in my head and not allowing them to hinder my progress. Fear is our enemy and can stop us dead in our tracks. It paralyzes us. But if we choose to operate from faith, we say “I believe in myself and I’m going to take this chance”. We all know the saying by Susan Jeffers, “feel the fear and do it anyway”. We can’t let fear stop us from living out our dreams or at least trying. Faith says, “I’m going to face that fear and still push forward”. Having faith is also surrendering control and everything you think you know and tapping into something much greater than yourself.

I’ll tell you a secret…in the beginning, starting my interior design business was scary. I was afraid of critics, afraid of failing, and afraid that I just wasn’t going to be good enough (perfectionism, remember we talked about that above). But if I wanted my dream to become a reality I had to face my fear and do it scared because the fears didn’t go away overnight. But my faith in the dream God gave me had to grow. I had to put more of my energy into believing…believing that I can be more even if I didn’t know how.

Holding Forgiveness

There is freedom in letting forgiveness live in my heart; releasing myself from past offenses that have kept me trapped and held in soul bondage. There is no way that any relationship you gain will blossom into something more meaningful or that any progress will be made within you if you harbor unforgiveness. It is a ‘joy thief’ and it robs you of living fully. It keeps your heart hard and closes the door to the possibility of hope. Forgiveness is necessary. And it requires a decision to release the offense and do the work that gets you one step closer to living as your whole self.

Forgiveness is hard because we believe it means that we let the other person who committed the offense off the hook. But forgiveness is 100% for you, to free you from holding on to that pain and replaying it over and over in your mind. Imagine it as moving from hurting to healing when you choose forgiveness. And oftentimes, that forgiveness is for ourselves.

Saying Yes

There is freedom in saying yes to new discoveries, new adventures, new possibilities, and people that will add to my life. Deciding not to be afraid to try new things and stepping outside of my comfort zone. We all try to fit ourselves into a box, whether it’s people-pleasing, making ourselves small, sacrificing our needs for the comfort of others, or any other action that reduces who we are for the sake of others. But saying yes is about choosing you.

Yes, I will put myself first and pamper myself the way I deserve. Yes, I will join in on things that interest me and that I am curious about. Yes, I will go after my dream and allow nothing to deter me from bringing it to life. Yes, I will take my health seriously and begin to do things that will improve my well-being. Yes, I will take time to enjoy loved ones, especially my daughters because the laundry isn’t more important. Yes, I will carve out time just for me to meditate on the thoughts that draw me closer to my calling. Yes, I will be honest about my needs and choose not to sacrifice them. YES!

If you haven’t noticed it, there is a common thread amongst each pillar of freedom. We must say no to fear. The word yes is the beginning of silencing that fear. During an interview with Oprah, Shonda Rhimes committed herself to saying yes to things and opportunities that normally she wouldn’t have considered. In her interview, she shared how she became transparent and honest with herself about what she wanted for her life. And this is what brought her real freedom.

Discovering Friendship

There is freedom in discovering real friendship; building and growing new relationships with the people God brings into my life. In an earlier post, I talked about finding your tribe; a person or group of people that will stand by you through the good times and bad. But in order to find those relationships, you have to be open to connecting with others; being honest about who you are in order to weed out the seasonal people and discover those individuals who are in it for the long haul.

You must show up as your true self, your authentic self. Do not conform. Don’t be afraid to be you. I now know to give my energy to those who accept me as I am, flaws and all but who also encourage me to grow. I no longer entertain people who require me to perform in order for them to feel comfortable with me. That is living free.

Going with the Flow

There is freedom in going with the flow; not forcing situations, relationships, conversations, emotions, perfection, etc. All things should occur naturally. Anything forced is not authentic and most certainly is not worth it. There is an opportunity present when you slow down to experience the flow of each moment. It can be seen as riding the current in the ocean instead of fighting it. You exert more energy when you fight it rather than using the power of the current to take you where you want to go. Nothing God brings to you needs to be forced and “…God is always at work for the good of everyone who loves him” (Romans 8:28 CEV). This is where we exercise that faith we talked about earlier. God is at work, always.

Look to each day with renewed hope expecting to experience great things.

Embracing Love

There is freedom in embracing love; learning how to love me in order to give it and receive it.

My youngest daughter is so sweet. She bubbles over with love so much so that she gives me cuddles full of love, she is energized with love. She just loves love. Every chance she gets she tells me, “I love you mommy”. And it melts my heart. The other day I asked her does she love herself and her answer was simply, “yes”. My next question was, “why do you love yourself”. And just as frankly as she answered the first question she gave me her next, “because I am me”. I couldn’t have said it any better. And in that moment she defined love for me. Love is not a feeling, it is a decision to accept myself as I am. Everything falls into place after that.

“And now there remain: faith [abiding trust in God and His promises], hope [confident expectation of eternal salvation], love [unselfish love for others growing out of God’s love for me], these three [the choicest graces]; but the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13 AMP)

Loving ourselves is the start to loving everything and everyone else around us. It also makes it possible to accept love from others. When I remember that I am a person made on purpose, for a purpose and with a purpose I realize how valuable I am. The same goes for you. Take a moment to love on you because you are a wonderful creation.

I dare you to sit down with yourself and discover your word for this year. Define how it is unique to you. What goals will you set each month that will make that word come alive for you? Allow your soul child to be nurtured by the Divine Authority and discover what you really need this year. Living for something more than yourself. Not those superficial needs. Let’s go deeper. Knowing that life is precious and each moment should not be taken for granted. Set yourself up for success right from the start.

Share your word for the year in the comments below. It might be a source of inspiration for someone.

Until next time…

I'm Michelle

I'm an island girl with a desire to create relaxed and personal spaces for people who want to live meaningful lives. As a designer, educator and mother of two girls,  my goal is to live on purpose and share tips and tools that help others experience beautiful living, inside and out.  I lean on my faith to guide me and let God do the rest.  LEARN MORE 

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I'm an island girl with a desire to create relaxed and personal spaces for people who want to live meaningful lives. As a designer, educator and mother of two girls,  my goal is to live on purpose and share tips and tools that help others experience beautiful living, inside and out.  I lean on my faith to guide me and let God do the rest.  LEARN MORE 

I'm Michelle

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