Let me tell you about two times I fell off a cliff.
Photo courtesy * Honest *
Okay, each were metaphorical (the real me stays away from heights), but they were serious in a figurative way.
I graduated college and realized I no longer could use an “A” to measure my success. And I had a baby almost a decade later, and struggled to feel my life was “successful” when I stayed home and cared for a baby.
Mundane. And also transformational.
Even when not in the middle of life change, though, I’ve often found it hard to decide that I’m good enough, that any risk is worth taking. I’ve pursued writing seriously since college, but if I don’t make a living from it, does my writing have significance? I’ve missed speaking Spanish since living abroad fifteen years ago, but was too scared to cross cultural divides at home. I’ve longed to serve others and be useful, but never knew where to start. Often, I’d try to do something to “succeed”, and found myself crippled by anxiety.
Lately, I’ve realized I’ve been defining success through others all my life. Success has been someone else telling me I made the grade. Someone else deciding my work is worth paying for. Success was someone else liking me, complimenting me, or being impressed.
That kind of success was always just out of reach—or so fleeting it made me ache.
Lately, I’ve changed my focus. Instead of reaching for the end result: the grade, the degree, the accolades or the money, I’m setting my sights on the first step.
I can take time to think about what gives me joy. How I can be useful. I can gently and carefully figure out how to move towards those dreams. And every day, I can say yes—in small ways—to making them come true.
I don’t have to know exactly how everything will turn out. I don’t have to wait for people to pat me on the back. I can practice being brave by choosing to say yes to my dreams.
I’m astonished by the difference it’s made in my life. I know God can use this kind of gentle yes for good. I want to encourage YOU to say yes to the challenges He’s setting before you.
Won’t you join me?
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Or, read my writing at these fine establishments:
“Relieving Myself” in Brain, Child
“Sortilegio” in The Griffin