God gave us a preview of what would come in our life several years ago, and it was much different than what we expected. What happens when God redirects you? When you think you’re headed one way, and He abruptly switches the direction you think you’re on? Do you pivot? Do you obey even if you don’t necessarily agree or understand? Do you fight it? This has been stirring in my heart and I wanted to share a few things here today.
First of all, THANK YOU ❤️️
If you’re reading this, you are one of my loyal followers. You might have noticed my silence in recent months or be aware that I have opted to merge TJT’s Instagram with what was once my personal page, close the Facebook group, and have since invited my Facebook followers to follow my personal page. Why would I do that?
Honestly, I was overextended. I was doing so much to keep all of my pages, stories, group, etc. full of content that I wasn’t doing any of it well, and in my attempt to tread social media water and keep all of it afloat, I felt myself drifting.
Maybe one of these days I will hire a social media manager and things will be different, but today, it’s a one woman show over here and I was doing so much that I wasn’t doing any of it faithfully, and I want better than disorganization and scatter brained content for you. So I’m zeroing in on one place for this season so that I can steward my resources well.
And in the drifting, and feeling that I was actually getting farther from where I wanted to be instead of closer, I felt God simultaneously shifting my focus.
And I felt like a quitter.
I felt like I was abandoning something that I started. I felt like a failure for not seeing something through.
I saw a quote the other day, I wish I could remember where to give credit (Kristen Boss maybe). It said, “This is your friendly reminder that changing course is not the same thing as quitting.”
And I thought, “That’s me.”
I am an only child, and I didn’t realize until recently just how much that has affected my perceptions of the world around me or the people in my life. I got very good at conforming and adjusting parts of myself to make my peers like me, and it was really damaging to be rejected repeatedly as an impressionable pre-teen and teenager. That solidified that I wasn’t really “likeable” beyond my immediate family. I got really good at shoving my feelings and not being “too much too fast” for fear of rejection.
I figured the list of people who would actually like me and want to be in my life (by choice) if they saw my true colors or my true personality was pretty short, so I became very guarded in most of my relationships with friends. I got really good at getting to know people before I let them get to know me.
I’m 25 and I’m just now coming to terms with these things, and truly, I don’t like them. I don’t even want to share them because that fear of rejection thing keeps coming up (“it sounds like a pity party”), but it’s part of my story and who I am and I have to accept that to be able to be authentic and stop hiding behind the fear of what people might think of me if they know me.
I have played small my whole life, and I’m done.
I’m sarcastic. I crack myself (and my mom) up. I worship in my kitchen like I’m at church, I pray constantly, and I hate bandwagons. I love God so much because He has come through for me again and again when I don’t deserve it and I’ll never shake that.
I get aggravated in traffic and I hate stupid, repetitive noises. I call my kids stink weeds. I laugh all the time. I try hard to give people the benefit of the doubt, but sometimes I fight the urge to take things personally.
I’m impulsive and I tend to want to jump into big things and be like, “Let’s just do it! It’ll be great! We’ll figure it out later!” Joey will be like, “How?” and I’m like, “I don’t know, but it’ll be fun!”
I make ridiculous faces. I love “casual” wellness, if you will. I love my supplements and a big salad, but also lasagna and iced coffee and that doesn’t make me a hypocrite. I see potential and get 150% fired up. I love dreaming and doing and seeing new things and having new experiences.
I can make almost anybody open up to me. I’m an encourager to the point that it has depleted me because I pour so much of myself into others. I’m a mom through and through and I can’t turn it off. If you’re not watching your kid in a grocery store, I’m literally in the background make sure they don’t get abducted.
I love to help and serve people and go out of my way to do that. If you’re one of my people, my come through is strong. I’m loyal for life.
These are just a few of the things about me that I have kept small because God forbid… Someone doesn’t like me. Ope (inner Ohioan coming out). That ship has sailed. I am positive there are already people who don’t like me right now.
And I am just now figuring out that all that means is they’re not the people I am supposed to reach, and I have to let God direct that because I will never be able to control that. And honestly, I wouldn’t want to.
I have wonderful parents who have loved me faithfully, through all of my trials and shortcomings and in spite of things I don’t love about myself, for my entire life. They have never wavered there. So out of this place of “it’s just me”, arose this need and drive to make them proud. Not necessarily in my behavior because I was a total turd at times when I was a kid (sorry Mom), but in my accomplishments, or lack thereof.
Somehow I got this thing in my head that my value came from what I did. It came from pieces of paper or people externally recognizing my achievements. Girl Scout awards, graduating with honors from high school, pursing a nursing career at a career tech center my junior and senior year, and acceptance into a private college to pursue a nursing career are a few that come to mind to prove that I was valuable and I was not going to be a failure. Because it was just me. So in my mind, success was not optional.
I have recently been asking myself, “What even is success?”
Society would tell you that success is defined as:
- Get married in your early 20s (We did “too young”)
- Have children several years later who are perfectly spaced out 2-3 years (that didn’t happen either)
- Finish college with roughly $90k or more in student loan debt
- Pursue a 30 year career where I would pay off my student loans
- Buy a small house then a bigger house where we get into a 30 year loan that we would spend most of our life paying off
- Get cars on loans
- Pay it all off when you’re in your fifties or sixties
- Retire after 30 years
- Stay married until we die
- Raise a nice family
The kicker here is all of these standards that were rooted in my mind came from societal norms and what is deemed as acceptable or unacceptable.
Our life has loosely followed some of these things, but I have known in my heart for years that we are on a path that most people will not understand or even necessarily support. And God has been working on us and what that will mean for our life for the last five or six months.
Typically what I do when I feel Him at work is to hush. That’s my move. Shut up and listen.
I shush myself so I don’t miss something that He’s calling me to or trying to show me. I do my best to shut up and get out of the way because I don’t want to miss where or what He is calling me to. But I’m learning that I have a heart that is willing. I am willing to go. I am willing to obey. I’m willing to lay down my picture of what my life might have hypothetically looked like and allow Him to move instead, and that place of willingness is going to be the very thing He works through to not allow me to miss it.
Three years ago, I was sitting with a lot of confusion and didn’t know what next steps looked like. I sat at an altar one Sunday morning, crying and praying. I remember saying, “God, will you give me something obvious? Let something slap me in the face that’s so obvious that I can’t miss Your will for me.”
The next day I had a positive pregnancy test.
I have gone back to that and asked God for that kind of clarity over and over. Usually I don’t get something that obvious.
What I have been doing is jumping around. I haven’t had focus or clarity because I haven’t had peace. I’ve been searching for what wasn’t supposed to be in my lap until recently. Going forward, my focus might shift a little bit. But here is what I know: Joey and I have wild, audacious dreams, that I have repeatedly dismissed because they seem so large and in charge that my mind wants to automatically let go of them because it seems like they will never happen.
Ephesians 3:20 was on my heart for months in the beginning of this year. God has been doing exceedingly more than I can get my mind around. He has been working on this story that is far different, cooler, and more intricate than I ever could have dreamed up.
The part of me that is still fighting fear of failure doesn’t want to tell you the dreams of my heart, but I’ve been working on growing into the fullest version of myself and the greatest potential that God has been inside of me. If I don’t do that and work through the discomfort, I will remain stagnant and I won’t be able to help others get through the muck. I will be honest with you and tell you that even just typing that, literally has been wanting to turn this off right now, switch gears, and not finish. But growth comes from a place of honesty, vulnerability, and transparency. And that is who I want to be for you so that we can work through it.
I know I want to help and serve people. I know I love writing and I don’t want to stop sharing my heart. I know that it appears that how I’m going to make money as an entreprenuer is not the shop or services I was headed towards offering and the gateway actually looks much different than I thought it would.
I know that most of my audience is going to be young wives and moms of little ones. I know I want to help women get unstuck and press into her full potential. I know we will end up traveling, and Joey will eventually be home with us. That means that likely, this will eventually be travel blog and/or vlog.
I know I have opposition, resistance, growth, and a whole lot of learning ahead of me, but I also know I have already waded through a lot of that and a lot more learning curves than what I saw coming. I know I will end up leading in some capacity, but again, that is shaking out much different than I saw coming.
I know we will be debt free. I know we will work with and adopt children. I know we will end up moving around more. The ultimate dream of our hearts if that Joey is able to quit his job within 5 years. We want to be debt free and travel as a family while we homeschool our kids and see all kinds of incredible sights. We want to give our kids massive experiences and an exceptional childhood, full of rich experiences. To do that, we need exceptional mindsets and exceptional finances. And the gateway that I think God is using to provide that is so far off of what I thought it would be that it honestly freaks me out a little bit.
I say all that to say, I am still here! God is still at work. And I am honored to share that journey with you.
Thank you for hanging with me, being here, sharing it with us!