Tuesday, October 13, 2015

It's Hard

Oh yes, if you choose to follow the dreams in your heart, your life will most definitely be hard. You will cry more than you ever knew was possible, feel alone more than ever, be heart broken continually and most days question why you choose to start down this path as you force yourself into action. Well that is how I feel anyway. If you see my social media sites or see me in public you won't see that side of my journey. Unless you are my husband, one of my mentors, or in my bible study, you probably have no idea the struggles that I faced to get to where I am today. Or the ones that I battle now. I know what I feed survives, what I focus on grows. I always focus on the good. You see the highlight reel. I am so focused on where I am going that I don't have time to slow down and talk about how hard it will be to get there. I already know. You may not. I want to be real with you for a second, I think it's important to share this. I hear people discredit successful people and it drives me nuts... "oh they are lucky, they have this talent, their family did this... they were born into it.. must be nice... " I'm totally guilty of it too before I started on this path. That's just the hurt, jealousy and the fear coming out. "Why don't I have the courage to follow my dreams too?"  

Let me tell you about flip side to the coin, the thing that makes the hard worth it. The thing, that for most of us dream chasers, is what drives us to wake up every morning and continue to jump back into the fight even though our face is bloody, our heart is broken and we are tired from the night of fighting before. It's our burning purpose, our WHY, our story, our preferred future, our vision, our calling. Whatever we call it, it burns so hot inside of us that nothing will stop us from pursuing it. And we surround ourselves with people, books, and ideas that add fuel to the fire. I believe everyone has a burning flame, it may be small or smothered but it's there.

Somewhere around the age of 25 or 30 most people forget what it is... we take out student loans, buy a car, buy a house, start our families, start paying bills, get into a routine, watch hours of TV that reinforces our lost hopes, Eat too much, drink too much, pick up the kids, drop off the kids, pay more bills, busy, busy, busy, face in our phones, live an acceptable life as deemed by society.. . We bury those dreams deep down and convince ourselves that money is evil, successful people are lucky, dreams are for kids and this is our best life. You have heard the quote, ''Most people die at 25 and aren't buried until they're 75.'  I know this because I did for a while. I know better. It sounds easier to just live in auto pilot. Believe me, if I did not seek out and create such an amazing support system and constantly fill my mind with positive thoughts, I would be working a 9-5  and binge watching American Horror Story right now. But that is not the life I chose.

See when I think about how hard it is to build the dream that's in my heart, I remember how much harder it was to feel sick to my stomach on Sunday afternoons thinking about walking into a job I wasn't passionate about. When I think about how much it hurts to fail at goals I set, I remember how much it hurt to not have any and end up somewhere I did not want to be. When I think about the pain of discipline to get out of debt and become financially free,  I remember what it felt like to call my parents as a grown woman and ask for money. When I think about how tired I am from driving 4 hours to a meeting and back, I remember how tired I was from being up all night worrying about how we were going to feed the family, put clothes on the kids and get out of the mountain of debt we built. When I don't feel like picking up the phone and calling one more person, I remember what it what it felt like to be scared to answer my phone because it might be a creditor calling. When another person tells me I am a pipe dreamer and building a house of cards, I remember how I had to tell my kids 'NO' because we only $10 in our bank account until pay day. When I cry because the kids were being crazy toddlers all day and messed up my schedule, I remember the tears running down my face when I thought about dropping them off at daycare. When a teammate I poured my heart into gives up on their dreams and decides to quit, I remember how much it broke my heart to give up on myself and my family every day. When I have to make tough decisions and don't want to, I remember what it was like to not have any choices.

My current dreams, the ones that make all of the hard stuff worth it... We will be financially free so that all of our decisions can come from our hearts instead our bank account. We will be consumer debt free by the end of next year. We will pay off our mortgage over the next 7 years. We will be YES parents. We will take the kids to see Mickey Mouse without a budget. We will travel the US in an RV for a year with the kids in the next 5 years.

The house that we just bought started this way, a dream, a vision, a decision, sticky notes and a picture cut out of a magazine.

One of the many sticky notes, we had up in our old house

I felt it, I knew what it looked like and I knew it would happen. I did not have an idea on how, except I was going to have to grow, work and push through some adversity. Gosh, I underestimated the adversity part. But let me tell you this, I am sitting here tonight, in this house I dreamed about years ago. Just as real as it is right now, this house was real to me 5 years ago when I was walking into pawn shops selling everything valuable that we owned. Here is another lesson, as hard as your life may seem right now you have what it takes to make it what you want. You are one decision away from a completely different life if you want it. I promise it won't be any easier on this path, but it will be worth it. It is so worth it! Find out what makes you come alive, find your passion, explore what it is you truly want. And then take some actions to get you there. It's not a coincidence you want those things. YOUR life matters. It matters that you live in those passions.  Life is going to be hard no matter what you choose, doesn't it make sense to make it worth it? And maybe even bring some people with you along the way?

Move in Day

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The Disease to Please

Confession, I have been a people pleaser my entire life. I use to think if everyone liked me then bad things would not happen to me and that bad people would leave me alone. Nothing could be further from the truth. I discovered this truth late last year as I went through one of the toughest personal growth struggles of my adult life. It started when I made the decision to get baptized, committed myself to grow closer to God, to follow His path for my life instead of the one that I had planned.  As part of that journey, I read a book called The Best Yes, by Lysa Terkeurst. It was as if God had that book written specifically for me. The message made me so uncomfortable, the thought of changing my people pleasing ways made me sick to my stomach. Yet I was being called to change, I heard the message loud and clear and understood to fulfill my BEST YES or the one God called me to, I was going to have to ruffle some feathers, to say no, to stand for something, to let others not like what I had to say.

There was evidence everywhere in my life that I needed to change. I let negative, toxic people in my life knowing they were pulling me and others down. I did not stand up for what I believed in, in fear of them not liking me. I said yes to everyone and everything because I wanted people to like me. Because of my unrealistic need to be liked by everyone, I let people influence my behavior in negative ways, I let people use and manipulate me to fulfill their agendas, I let others dictate how my time and really my precious life was being spent. I did not stand for anything in fear of offending others and because of that people took advantage of me. I knew it but I just kept thinking, if I keep being nice and people keep liking me than I will get a chance to change them, I will be the positive light that changes their heart... But that's not what happened. I was enabling them and hurting myself. Their bitterness took root in my heart instead. I stopped loving people the way I use to. I felt unmotivated to change the world, to make it better. Cynicism took over my thoughts and my life started to move backwards. I did not realize that by people pleasing I was willingly giving up pieces of me and allowing my God given purpose to be knocked off course.

I knew what I was being called to do, with every ounce of my being I was trying to run from it. But the beginning of this year I faced my biggest fear... I drew a line in the sand and started to only seek approval from God. I stopped people pleasing. I started standing for what I believed in. I started saying NO to things that were not in line with my values.  It has been an eye opening experience. Over the past 3 months, I have had so many of those toxic people walk out of my life. Literally walk out, un-friend me on facebook, yell at me, tell me I'm wrong, stupid, overreacting, publicly bash me on social media and other things. I would say that was always my worst nightmare but it's interesting to me that I feel relieved. Like a huge weight has been lifted off my back and I can breathe again. I was a little surprised how fast it started happening. At first, I wanted to fix it, to make them like me again. To run back and apologize for speaking my truth and standing up for something.  But I clearly hear God reassure me,  "Let them go. You don't have to look good. I'm protecting you. I have something better. Everyone is not going to like you. Its not about you. We are going to do great things. Keep close and follow me."

I trust Him with all my heart. I chose Him over the options of others. I am positive it was the right decision. I am still working on letting go of my Ego to be liked by everyone. I am sure it will be a life long journey for  me. I love people now more than I did before as a people pleaser. I forgive the ones that choose to blame or hate me. Its not about me. Their reactions are a reflection of how they see themselves. They are on their own journey too. They need grace just as I did and do on a daily basis.  I feel like I am able to love them better at a distance. I have time for the ones that love me back. I am now able to surround myself with people that make me better, hold me to higher standards and lift me up because I'm no longer lost in the crowd. I consciously protect my heart and purpose because I am more concerned with my soul and what God has planned for me than what others think I should be doing.

I wanted to share because it has made all the difference in the world. I have no idea where God is taking me but I do know its better than what I had planned. To follow Him, means to stand for something, it means not everyone will like me and I am okay with that. I hope that if you are a people pleaser you can read this with an open heart and maybe it will start the change process in you too. I know we can not make the world a better place by making everyone happy.