Updated: Jan 11, 2020
I can certainly confess to being the type of Christian that believed in God, but didn't believe in myself. I have never doubted how powerful God is, what I doubted was how closely he was paying attention to my situation. That may sound crazy to people who know my story. Those who followed along in my life in 2012 know that my husband was severely wounded during a deployment to Afghanistan and lost both legs. In his recovery, I think I was known for having great faith, and I did! God gave me a lot of authority in those days. I could tell God to make a fever go away or pray for a treatment to work and those requests would be fulfilled right in front of me. But, once that chaos ended, I kind of felt like I would never be used like that again. After a solid two years of believing that God had used me up, I was miserable. I continuously thought: surely this isn't all there is to life. 2018 was my year to "go all in" with God. Meaning I realized that the miracles He might perform now could be taking my marriage to the next level, helping me understand people that hurt me, and making me be a better parent. I jumped in and believed that if I opened my heart and mind that I could be used in a great way through small, daily decisions.
So I've spent the last year and a half listening, reflecting, and taking inventory of my life. I've worked to foster and nourish the things that are pointing me toward what I want to be and dismissing the things that weigh me down. Thus, this blog and my amazing church community and my wonderful relationships with my military friends. I have also FINALLY finished writing a memoir (watch out for this)! In short, I have accomplished some things. But, more importantly, I have had a change of heart. I make an effort every day to see people the way God sees them and not be so offended or feel so cast aside when they don't love me the way I want to be loved. I get mad less and instead ask "what is this teaching me?" I am more than the tasks on the to-do lists, the errands I have to run, and even the number of wins at the end of a season. I see myself differently, the problem is, I don't think the world does yet.
See, the problem with going for more is that.. you want more. I think humans get in a bad habit of assigning people roles that do not develop their leadership. I think people confuse mastery with homeostasis-- they often think they've mastered something when really they've just settled on a step slightly higher than the last time they settled. It doesn't create a sense of ownership, leadership, creativity, or passion toward the overall magic of a group of people collectively trying to reach their potential. That's what I'm going for. The truth is, sometimes that can be overwhelming or annoying to people. Sometimes people are just indifferent because they just don't get it. It's not that they want to slow you down or discourage you, but they don't understand how your background or a revelation you've had in your life relates to getting your expense report done on time.
So what do you do when you feel like you've caught a glimpse of your future self in the mirror and you're excited about what you see? Well, don't do what I did....
1. Let someone else control my excitement. We all have that person we call first when something big happens. Have you ever called that person to give them big news to just be met with an "ok" or maybe they aren't even listening? That feeling hurts and it easily offends. However, you cannot expect someone who hasn't seen what you've seen to feel what you feel. God gave you the great revelation not them.
2. Back off because no one was encouraging me. I think this is one of the hardest things for a young adult to understand. It's the guilt you feel for doing something outside of your job. When I was in college, I felt bad for reading for fun or not studying constantly. As I am blogging right now, I feel guilty for not doing something for work even though it's 5:30 in the morning! Women are especially bad about dismissing or downplaying things that bring them joy. It's fine if you enjoy hiking, writing, music, or gardening, but for heaven's sake do not make time for it! You need to be working! When people didn't cheer for me or even made comments about making sure my job didn't suffer, I slammed on the brakes and put it to the side. But, here's the thing, writing brings more than joy, it brings clarity. I've heard professional writers say before: "I don't know what I think until I write it down." That's why I do it-- to witness to myself and clearly state the lessons I have already learned. If I don't slow down and take this breath, then I blow right by opportunities for growth. So, it's not silly, frivolous, or a waste of time if you are growing as a person. In fact, it may be the reason the things you get paid for have new life!
3. Assume people don't support you because of how they react. I think every entrepreneur, leader, and innovator would agree that some of their biggest cheerleaders today began as indifferent or maybe even skeptics. I think sometimes we even make the mistake of pegging these people as our "haters" because they didn't support our dream the way we expected them to. As I have already said, they just don't get it. They aren't doubting you or your abilities, but they also don't take any ownership of it. Until it becomes tangible; your hiking becomes a documentary, your writing becomes a book, your music becomes a hit song, or your gardening becomes a work of art; they just can't obtain the vision. It really is okay, and quite honestly, sometimes people just aren't good at showing support. Some people are afraid to build it up for fear of it failing. If they aren't driving the idea, they can't be sure it will be seen to completion. All rational fears that actually come from a root of caring. If they truly are indifferent about it, well... as much as it might hurt, it's better to know that now than later.
Micah 6:8 "He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God."
*He has shown you (not anyone else) what is good
*Requirements: not winning everyone's attention, not convincing people it's right, not building a fanbase, but to walk alongside God
If I'm being honest, I needed to hear this more than anyone. I have some very exciting things coming up in my life that people just don't get. I long for their stamp of approval because I am nervous about how to steward all of it. When I don't get that stamp of approval, I immediately think that I'm probably doing something wrong. But, just like Micah 6:8, God has only given me this vision and calling. No one should feel as convicted about it as I do. Micah 6:8 is my mantra to build up my confidence in being an instrument for God's Will. I can be sure that it is God because every bit of what I'm about to do calls me to a great level of vulnerability. I don't willingly sign up for that!! The thing that reaches the most people might begin as just a whisper in your ear from God. Don't discredit it or reject it because it will never leave you alone.