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Over the past few weeks my spirit has been growing increasingly restless. I've been doing a lot of "heart work" (which is also incredibly hard work) with a circle of trusted girlfriends and on my own. Sometimes it's hopeful and exciting, other times I want to throw up.

But maybe that throwing up feeling isn't so bad. What if our unpleasant emotions that physically manifest themselves are internal alarms telling us something is off? When something "violates our personal integrity"? (I can't remember where exactly I heard that phrase but it's not original. I put it in quotes as my attempt to give that person due credit - sorry! LOL)

Last weekend I attended the "Becoming You Enneagram conference" hoping to gain more clarity on why I've been feeling so restless. If you live in Nashville you're probably already very familiar with this assessment tool as it's all the rage right now! If you don't know what it is, here's a summary:

"The Enneagram of Personality, or simply the Enneagram, is a description of the human psyche which is principally understood and taught as a typology of nine interconnected personality types." (Source: Wikipedia)

For a long time I was convinced I was a 7 - "The Enthusiast" or "The Adventurer", high energy, optimistic, and terrified of being trapped or in pain. But I've also tested as a 1 - "The Perfectionist" or "The Reformer"; oddly enough, hearing this one expounded at the conference actually brought me to tears if that means anything. Ones are hungry for righteousness and moral goodness.

Finally I've gotten 4 - "The Romantic" or "The Individualist", wanting to be seen and appreciated for being unique. This one was super hard for me to consider, which some people say is how you know that's the one you identify with most. As I listened to the speaker explaining the 4, I literally heard my inner critic saying, "Eww, gross! You're one of those..."

Though I'm still not convinced as to which type I am, I did have a pretty profound epiphany at the end of the day as we took time to reflect on all that we had learned.

As the room of attendees sat silently

I heard God whisper, "You are an artist" - and I immediately burst into tears.

I knew it wasn't my own voice because it's not something I would ever have told myself. My whole life, I have struggled to actually own being an artist because I never felt good enough to be able to call myself that - or anything else. In my mind, "singers" are on Broadway or on tour. "Photographers" have perfect Instagrams, have a "style", and have other hip-fancy-beautiful-photographer-friends/followers who comment on their posts daily and tell them how amazing they are. "Writers" write best-selling books, speak at conferences, or have a hit on the 100 Billboard charts. "Dancers" dance with the city ballet or as the Katy Perry shark at the Super bowl.

As I learn to give myself permission to "be" so that I can truly discover and unpack the gifts God has given me, I am hopeful not in my ability but in His design and purpose for me - that His work may be done and that He may receive all the glory.

I am Amanda Mae Steele. I am an artist with a focus on writing, photography and singing.

<3 amanda mae

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