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-
Most of my audience and work in ministry has been done inside a church or organization with very little external reach. I was totally okay with that. In one sense, it felt safe and I was a bit protected. I cheered others on to leave the walls of ministry and to go out into the world and make a difference. In fact, I LOVED when I could see someone with so much more potential than I had. Now I’m not trying to put myself down but I feel like at 45 years old, I know myself now. I know what God has and hasn’t called me to do. I’ve learned to say “no” when others wanted me to say “yes”. I don’t pretend to be someone I’m not in order to advance or gain position. Ambitious, yes, but I PRAY it is never to the point of sacrificing others or out of pressure to perform.
I realize today a few things I don’t want to give up in this next season of life.
#1 – Writing. I may not be a novelist like my brother, but writing helps remind me of God’s goodness in the little day to day moments in life. Encouraging others is a blessing to me. I hope I can do that in a small way through sharing stories.
#2 – Teaching. I love the word of God and feel like there is so much to learn even after 45 years. I believe every women has influence and we can use that influence in our homes, community and world if we pursue the Lord and follow His will for our lives.
#3 – Speaking. Nothing replaces the intimacy of being together with people. To see someones face, interact and encourage women has been one of the biggest blessings of my life. I will love on you with the word of God.
As I step out in faith, I have found myself in a position I have never been. I am not a self promotor or loud gong. I have never felt the need to do more than the work that was set before me. But I am available in this season to step into new places and walk by faith down a new road. I feel God nudging me to do what I love for His glory. It’s exciting and scary all at the same time. More than anything, I can promise you I will take you through the deep and not just shallow waters. It’s the little moments in life I don’t want you to miss. Let’s do this together! You can find me on Facebook, Youtube and of course here.
Stepping by faith, day to day-