Being Brave With Your Steps
I had big plans here. If you follow this blog regularly, you know I've been absent. I was on vacation and returned to a whirlwind of good business activity. Speaking engagements. Hosting an exhibitor booth at a local women's conference. And then, life got in the way.
When was the last time life got in the way for you? Just yesterday, I thought so.
So I had big plans to return to blogging with a bang. God has been speaking to me about our stories. Actually, if I'm honest with you, my story in particular. Do we trust Him with our stories? Do we embrace our own stories? Do we allow God to use the story He is already writing?
All of that came to a screeching halt Monday. After a whirlwind of activity, I opened my Facebook. Facebook gracefully reminded me that it's been two years since my first group coaching experience with One Foot Coaching. Two years since I chose to do the bravest thing I've ever done. It's been two years since I've been a business owner. It's been two years since my every provision has depended on God to give me wisdom in the business of owning a business.
As I reflect on this milestone, I wonder if you have any milestones of your own? You know, those things you've been doing for a while that you never thought you could do for 2 weeks - let alone, two years. Maybe it's parenting. Or that big promotion at work. Or leading that ministry at church. And as you probably know by now, I'm not above inserting giving up a little gluten and cheese into this mix.
Milestone are important. Our stories are important. And we step out and allow God to write in both of these, we find a place where courage meets influence. We find a place where faithfulness meets provision. We find that place where you and I meet God.
As I reflect on my own milestone, I realize I am not the same person who walked into my boss' office and quit my dream job. I am different. I have learned through my experience - just as you have learned through yours. And I realize that you and I learn from our stories when we embrace them. Here's how:
God Will Give You More Than You Can Handle
Like you, I sometimes have a hard time with this concept. I quote that verse about God not tempting us beyond what we can bear and assume that I can handle anything that God allows in my story. The reality is that sometimes God gives us things that only He can handle for and with us.
As I opened One Foot, I felt God's call and adopted the mantra "this is going to be fun" as I embarked on my adventure. After a few months, I was in over my head. I knew nothing about marketing. I knew nothing about building systems for a business. I had no idea what I was selling.
And I was tempted to give up. Get a job. Call it a day.
Fast forward two years later and I've realized this: God does His best work when you and I are in over our heads. When you and I can't handle our story, God can. Even if I don't have clarity on what I'm selling, God does.
And all of sudden, God giving me more than I can handle means that God is my business partner. And no matter what your circumstance, God is your partner too. In your parenting. In your job. In your neighborhood. In your leadership. Everywhere.
God Defines Your Success
One of the questions I've been tempted to run away from is, "How is your business going?" It's not really a hard question to answer with the facts. The business is okay. I have clients. I put on coaching experiences. But in my heart of hearts, I long to be able to say it's a SUCCESS.
You know, I want to tell you that thousands read this blog. That I'm booked with clients. I have a plan that's working.
The reality is I could use some more clients. I need to tweak my plan. I could use some sage wisdom on my next steps. I wouldn't mind making enough money to call it profit.
I cringe when I answer that "How's it going" question because according to the watching world, my business is not a huge success. I can't report on numbers or overwhelming financial gains.
What I can report on is that one step at a time, I'm following God's call for my life. I'm living the message I hope to inspire in others. God is worthy of our courage. Our faith can propel us to take risks for God. Living out your God-given purpose for God's kingdom is by far more important than the world's definition of success.
And in the end, I'm learning that the world doesn't define if One Foot is a success. God does. God gets to define you. Whether what you do matters. Whether what you do is successful. And how that helps build His kingdom.
Choosing To Not Quit
This summer, I read this book called Looking For Lovely. To be honest, It touched me in a way many books haven't in recent years. The author, Annie F. Downs, talks about Romans 5 and not quitting in her life.
I was inspired to not quit. Mostly because I'd rather quit on a lot. At the time, I was thinking of quitting the business and getting a job with insurance. I was thinking that I needed to quit giving up gluten and dairy (this was just too hard). I was thinking of quitting on diving deep inside on why food is such a big deal to me.
God's calling is more important than quitting. God's call is about His purposes, not ours. Have there been days that I have loved my new life and found joy in my work? YES. Have there been days when I wonder what I'm doing? YES Have there been moments when it would be easier to give up? YES
I went to the THRIVE Conference this weekend. The theme was titled "I Choose". Speaker after speaker came and presented something about God they were choosing. Choosing Faith. Choosing Hope. Choosing to Believe.
But the overwhelming theme I heard in each of their stories is that we encounter God more deeply when we choose to embrace hard as part of our story. For me, building a business day after day is hard. What was glamorous and exciting in the first few months had become mundane and hard in the everyday.
But through all of that, God has been with me. I've felt His presence when money has been tight. I've felt His presence when I'm embarking on something new. I've felt His presence when I have no idea what I'm selling. I've felt His presence because following Him is way more important than the actual things I am doing. Who I become in His presence is way more important than the things I get done.
Which brings me back to our stories. You see my story for many years has been about being brave with your steps. If you know me personally, you know I'm not naturally brave. I have fears about mice, walking into big parties, meeting new people, and disappointing the people I love. But I've learned along the way that courage is not about getting rid of our fear, but about learning to feel the fear and do it anyway.
As I look back on two years, I'm still finding clarity on what I sell, my business systems, and even how to be a business owner. The one thing I am sure about, however, is my calling and my message. That has stayed the same for years. My prayer has always been that you and I learn to be brave with our steps as we build God's kingdom. That, my friends, is living one foot faith.
I'd love to hear from you about your brave next steps. Where is God asking you to brave with your next steps lately? I'd love to pray for us to pray together about being brave for God and His kingdom.