Archive | May 2012

Better together

There have been many, many times in my life when I have been lonely.  This phase of my life is not one of them!  I am ridiculously, extravagantly rich in relationships right now and I’m finding more and more that it is what life is all about.

Nine years ago, God gave me the courage to try something new.  I was happy in my career as a personal chef, I owned my own business and was fairly successful.  I had a 6-month-old baby, my husband was working full-time and going to school full-time, so we were not looking for something to add to our schedule.  And yet, I decided to become a Mary Kay beauty consultant!  I was completely freaked out about the whole idea, but I also had a little spark of hope that maybe it would turn out to be something great.  That decision launched who I would become today, as a leader, as a parent, and as a follower of Jesus. 

I’ve always felt called to reach out to people who don’t yet know God or who are far from Him, but earlier in my life was frustrated by my seeming lack of tools and resources to do so.  It was difficult for me to talk to people and I often stumbled over my words or was too afraid to reach out.  This career that God chose for me has given me people skills and personal growth that are priceless and have had eternal impact in many lives.

The culture of Mary Kay is such that we don’t compete with one another, there are no cutthroat sales battles, we’re all cheering each other on.  When you truly spend time on a regular basis with others who are ambitious, yet generous; successful and willing to share their ideas with you; looking for ways to build you up and believe in you, it changes who you become!  Hearing “you’re amazing” and “I know you can do it” and “so you missed that goal?  Don’t worry– pick yourself back up and try again!” changes you!

More than anything, I love what I do because of the platform it gives me.  I get a window into so many people’s lives and stories.  I get to be on the journey with them, speak words of hope and encouragement, watch them grow into their potential.  I get to pray with and for them, love on them… we really are better together!

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Dream Big

I have a love/hate relationship with risk.  I used to be very cautious, responsible, and overthink everything.  Over the last few years, I’ve released a lot of my tight-fisted grasp and become much  more spontaneous.  These days I like to think that I’ve lightened up, grown up, and am not such a control freak!  I like to do adventurous things and face my fears.  Except when I don’t and the old me comes rushing back in!  Do you ever have Jekyll and Hyde moments/days/weeks?

I’ve…

  • learned to talk to people I don’t know on a regular basis
  • learned to love trying new things
  • decided to often say yes and then figure it out later
  • started 2 businesses and run them successfully
  • pierced my nose (not really that risky, but I do love it and it’s kind of different!)
  • become passionate about using my gift of evangelism to intentionally reach out to people who are seeking God

At the same time, when it comes to certain things, I want to shrink back and stick my head in the sand!  One of those things that creates that fear in me and brings the “hate” part into play with risk is dreaming big.  As soon as I start dreaming, it’s as if something comes over me that says, “no, we’re not going to get our hopes up here.  Don’t think too far ahead, just focus on today/this week/this month or you’ll get overwhelmed.” (yes, the voices in my head speak in plural!).   It’s even a physical reaction many times where my heart races and I feel anxious.  As I’m writing this, I’m experiencing those emotions!

In addition, I find myself thinking very narrowly when it comes to dreaming big.  I suppose that is somewhat of an oxymoron because I don’t think dreaming big and narrow thinking really go together!  Do you ever argue with yourself?  Here is an example:

–what if I could…?

–but you can’t!

–but God can!

–sure, He can, but what if He doesn’t?

…and on and on.  Does that happen to any of you?  Can I get a witness?  (where does that phrase come from?  I’m pretty sure I’m too white to use it, but it just felt like the right thing to insert there!)

I’m just about finished with a book called The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson.  The premise of the book (based on a Jewish legend) is that God wants us to pray circles around our dreams, fears, other people, His promises, etc.  He focuses on 3 aspects: dream big, pray hard, think long.  I would like to cover the other 2 in subsequent posts.

A few favorite quotes…

  • One litmus test of spiritual maturity is whether your dreams are getting bigger or smaller.  The older you get, the more faith you should have because you’ve experienced more of God’s faithfulness.
  • You cannot build God’s reputation if you’re not willing to risk yours.
  • If you put what little you have in your hand into the hand of God, it won’t just add up; God will make it multiply.
  • Too often we let how get in the way of what God wants us to do.  We can’t figure out how to do what God has called us to do, so we don’t do it at all.
  • We shouldn’t seek answers as much as we should seek God.
  • Prayer opens our spiritual eyes so we see sooner and further.
  • Our biggest problem is our small view of God
  • A big dream is simultaneously the best feeling and the worst feeling in the world.  It’s exhilarating because it’s beyond your ability; it’s frightening for the exact same reason.

What stands out to you?  Where is God calling you to dream big?  I’m planning a prayer/spiritual retreat for next month to allow God space and time to shape my dreams into something He is pleased with and to ask Him to stretch my faith and expand His purposes in my life.  Stay tuned!