Archive for November, 2020

I Get To…

As we approached the stoplight I could see we weren’t going to make it to turn left.  According to my husband Ryan, we missed it because the people in front were “poking along”.  I looked at him and remembered a phrase my dad used to always tell me as a little girl in the same situation. Out loud I said, “We get to be first!”.  Ryan looked over at me and said, “We do huh?”  Me: “Yes, we get to be first next time” (insert cheesy grin on my face).  Ryan: “We get to”(said a little puzzled but reflective).  This obviously wasn’t the mindset he had or quite frankly I usually have in these situations.  I tend to react just as Ryan did by feeling we missed out.  For whatever reason it never dawned on me until that moment the optimism and lens my dad viewed life.  Instead of seeing missing the light as a missed opportunity, he turned it into a game of sorts and opportunity to be the one who goes first next time.  The heart attitude is drastically different between the two responses.  One is sad while the other is happy.  

I often challenge my leaders and clients to view potential goals, challenges and sometimes mundane tasks as “I get to” opportunities. Think about this with me for a moment.  What would happen to your attitude and heart if you said, “I get to call a leader today to check on them” verses “I have to make a call so I can get that over with?”  I ‘get to‘ offers encouragement to someone who may be feeling overwhelmed. I get to leave an encouraging voicemail for someone who may have only heard discouraging words that day. I get to share some information with someone who may have too busy to pay attention to resources available. Even in the mundane day to day chores it can work. I get to do laundry so I can wear my favorite pants tomorrow. Can you see the differences in outlook?  The way we choose to view our circumstances will impact not only ourselves but those around us. 

With my dad, I always thought going first was the best position to be in. It was much more desired to be first in line verses the last one to make it through the light.  I’m not sure where I lost my enthusiasm for going first but this Christmas season, I want to find it.  I want to view life’s moments as “I get to” and opportunities to “go first”.  Will you join me?

This weeks challenge, take a look around and see who you can get to bless.

Living day to day-

Jennifer


Shattered Dreams

The words themselves evoke sadness but the story it tells is all but sad. When I was younger I remember looking upon failure as something that would be humiliating and crushing. In our youth we strive to reach the top and avoid the pitfalls along the way. Skip forward 20 years and failure has been my greatest friend and teacher.

Growing up I avoided dreaming big. I didn’t want to be disappointed. I really didn’t see myself as having the ability to do more than get married (God willing) and have kids. (The greatest accomplishment and joys in my life I must say!) But the concept I could pursue personal dreams, have a successful job and make an impact on anyone wasn’t even a thought. If it was a thought, it was quickly squashed by my other thoughts of not being worthy, capable, or enough. I guess you could say I had really low self esteem. Internally I was a ‘woe is me’ girl (which still rears its ugly head). Not only did I not aim high, I just didn’t aim at all. Until.

It’s amazing how powerful we are as human beings. Did you know we have the ability to influence those around us? (read here) It wasn’t until I was in my early 30’s that fact clicked with me. I was the recipient of someone who said ‘have you ever thought about’, and ‘I think you would be good at’, along with ‘I believe in you’. Just a small nudge unleashed a 15 year journey into leadership development and organizational management. I returned to college to finish the degree I started (after having the twins!) and decided the risk of failing was worth not trying at all.

I began dreaming. I think we can all agree that 2020 has knocked the wind out of us at times and slapped us around a bit. Learning to surrender (read here) has been a forced lesson of sorts. For many of you, like me, we lost our jobs (read here) and in the moment of believing we were living our best lives, things didn’t just fail, but shattered. I sat in sadness and disbelief of it all for a while. The process of processing was necessary and painful. Yet through it all, God spoke loud and clear! (He had my undivided attention.) What I thought was lost wasn’t really lost at all but was about to be found. I needed to take some of my own advice (read here) and realized God didn’t give me the gifts, experiences and dreams for one adventure. He expects me to use them even in the midst of shattered dreams. I read this week a quote that explains so well where I am at today.

“Shattered dreams open the door to better dreams, dreams that we do not properly value until the dreams that we improperly value are destroyed. Shattered dreams destroy false expectations, such as the “victorious” Christian life with no real struggle or failure (or the perfect marriage without work). They help us discover true hope. We need the help of shattered dreams to put us in touch with what we most long for, to create a felt appetite for better dreams. And living for the better dreams generates a new, unfamiliar feeling that we eventually recognize as joy. Our pain will always have a purpose. It will not go away, but it will do its work. It will stir an appetite for a higher purpose – the better hope of knowing God well enough now to love him above everything else…and trusting him no matter what happens.”

– Dr. Larry Crabb, Shattered Dreams.

What I once thought might be the greatest contribution in my work life is now replaced by God saying, it was an improperly valued dream. God doesn’t want us to be limited to one adventure. He wants us to dream big again and again. So that is what I’m doing. Dreaming, creating and finding so much joy in the process. I now have hope in my next adventure. I also am acutely aware it could fail. And I’m okay with that because if you don’t try, you will never know what you might have missed out on.

Living day to day-

Jennifer