I ran into the bathroom for a final check before heading into the conference room. I wondered why I’m always so darn nervous before walking into a room full of strangers. For a moment I thought my butterflies might hold me hostage, but I pushed the conference room door open anyway. It surprised me to find a small amount of chairs in a circle, instead of your normal rows…that wasn’t the only thing I had wrong. As soon as the box of tissues was placed on the floor, I knew nothing was going to be like I had expected. Within minutes I was wiping my tears along with everyone else. Now, I’m not the kind of girl that cries very much at all. When I do cry, it’s because something deep inside me is coming out. If I must, I cry in prayer or on my husband’s shoulder. It’s a big deal for me. It means letting my guard down. It means being vulnerable.
That’s exactly what was happening all over the room. As the tears fell so did our masks. One by one, we started to peel back the layers and show our authentic selves…imperfections and all. It was a beautiful thing. One of the first things we did was to write out our biggest fears and then own up to them in front of the whole group. Fear is not a pretty thing, and admitting what you are afraid of is even less of a pretty thing. Getting down to the root of fear is painful, but necessary. As Lara said, “Feel the fear and do it anyway.” It was comforting to know I wasn’t the only one whose fear was so deeply implanted in my heart.
From that point on things were different in that room. We all started to move forward together. We identified our distractions, learned how to clear our minds of the never-ending to-do list, realized the need for a good team, discovered how to set ourselves up for success, how to streamline and simplify, how to live out an ideal day and so much more. We got back to what is really important in life, what fires us up. We claimed truth for our lives. I can’t even begin to explain how much positive renovation went on in my heart. I could feel how much lighter the room became by the end of the day. It was incredible. With so much junk moved out of the way, I could finally see what I want to make happen in life a bit more clearly.
Personally, I really owned up to the fact that I was afraid of God’s voice. He has called me to do so many crazy things this past year (or at least that’s what it seems like to my finite mind). I’ve been living in fear of being so vulnerable and helpless. Those 2 months of waiting for direction after He told me to quit my job last August were terrible. I have been so fearful of having to go back to a place like that. I feared that I might invest so much into this business only to have Him call me to something else in a few months or years. I’ve been afraid this is where I’m supposed to stay…forever. I’ve been fearful of the pressure of success and the shame of failure. I can’t tell you how freeing it’s been to let those fears go. By the grace of God, they will no longer hinder me from moving forward.
By then end everything boiled down to what matters most in life. For me I want to bring glory to Jesus more than anything. I want to worship Him and help lead others to do the same. I want my words, my images and my music to tell stories that point people to Christ. I want to make a difference. I want to be completely spent for this cause. With my last breath I want to praise the name of Jesus. What will life look like between now and then? I’m still working on that. But one thing is for sure – I’m fired up and ready to live each day with purpose. I’m not afraid to run along the path the Lord sets before me.
In order to live each day with purpose I have to clear out the clutter in my life, physical and virtual. That means spending very little time on facebook and twitter and cutting out a lot of the blogs I read. Less screen to screen. More face to face. I moved all social media to the last page on my iphone. I don’t want it to be easy to reach. I also started clearing out the clutter from my home. I took 4 trash bags of worthless stuff to the Good Will…and that’s just from our bedroom! Now I have my ideal day scheduled and sitting on my desk next to a list of things the fire me up. Fear isn’t a crutch for me anymore. My goals aren’t that far out of reach. I can see how attainable they are now. I’ve got a game plan to live by.
I can’t thank Lara, Emily and Gina enough for sacrificing of themselves to give us all such a gift. They led the way for us by being to transparent, genuine and compassionate. I was completely blown away by how beautiful, amazing and passionate they are. I will never forget that day, nor will I forget the beautiful people that I met. The passion for Christ in that room was incredible. I can’t wait to see where God takes all of us. I am so thankful for a sweet, new friends and a support group for this exciting journey we’re on.
Anyway, I could go on and on and on and on (ok, you get the picture), so I’ll just leave you with just a few practical things I took away. I highly encourage everyone reading this to go take The Challenge and start pursuing your passions. I’ll definitely be posting more about this!
- Gut your social media. Be aware of what you’re letting in. Get rid of distraction.
- Turn down the volume on negativity.
- Stop looking at the competition! It’s just another reason to be critical of yourself. Instead, be inspired by those who are truly the best in your field.
- Remember, “I am not my photography.”
- Emails are just a bunch of decisions to be made. Go make decisions.
- “How you start the day determines the day.” (Simon T. Bailey) Thus, it is vital to start the day well. Set yourself up for success by preparing for tomorrow today. PLAN AHEAD.
- Progress is the important thing, not perfection.
- Which is greater: risk or regret? Put yourself out there. Feel the fear and do it anyway. You’re going to hear “no” more than “yes” anyway.
- Constantly remind yourself of the most important things in life. Keep a list nearby of what fires you up.
Well, that’s all from me for now. I’m off to make things happen today!
PS: I’m thinking about all you lovely MTH ladies today! Love you all!