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!
An interaction this weekend with an acquaintance gave me 2 insights, lessons that I really needed. Briefly, the situation entailed a heated conversation by which I was completely caught off guard. What I said came across in a way that I didn’t intend and it triggered a very explosive response from the other person. Wow! It wasn’t very fun, but I’m thankful for it nonetheless because I’ve really had some aha moments.
First, immediately pray when faced with a conflict. I had never experienced this quite in this way, but it was amazing. After a few minutes of conversation, I chose to step away and I instantly began to pray that Jesus would help me and be present in the situation. I didn’t know what to expect from that prayer, but the biggest answer to my request was my response. My normal reaction would be anger, hurt, and crying. Even though intellectually I knew that I had simply been misunderstood, my typical response would still have been to take it very personally and have an emotional scar from it. I was amazed by the sense of God putting a shield around my heart and emotions. I wasn’t upset, hurt, or angry. I was able to see things from her point of view and apologize for the part that I played in hurting her feelings, without taking blame on myself. This is huge for me, and completely God at work in me!
Second, give others the benefit of the doubt. Being on the receiving end of someone judging your intent as well as your actions, I was reminded that I too often do the same. I see the actions and results, but I get to choose how I judge someone’s character, personality, and heart. Think more highly of others than you think they deserve and cut people some slack!
Third (I know this was supposed to be 2 things, but I’m on a roll), when we are offended or our feelings are hurt it’s often because someone triggers what we already believe about ourselves, others, or the world. I heard this from a speaker this week and I immediately recognized ways in which I do this. Someone questions me and my self-doubt is triggered, for example. The solution? Allow God to refine, restore, and redeem those beliefs until they match His.
In what situations do you need to ask God to be present? Do you need to give someone the benefit of the doubt? What beliefs need to be redeemed by the truth of Jesus?
I am very spoiled. I have a husband who teaches for 9 months of the year and then has 11 weeks off during the summer. Yesterday was his first day of summer break, I took the afternoon off, and we just spent time as a family. Totally and completely spoiled. He also happens to wash the dishes, do the laundry, mow the lawn, take out the trash, and tell me on a regular basis how beautiful and amazing I am. He loves God, is a great dad, and has a wonderful relationship with his parents, as well as mine. I’m not making this up! Now that you are all insanely jealous, I’m going to move on to my happiness tidbit for today (since “marry Dennis Burkett” is not a practical happiness tidbit for anyone except me!): let the journey unfold.
Building on the tidbit from yesterday of rediscovering the joy in what you do, today I want to ask you, “does your dream have an expiration date?”. That was thought-provoking for me. Carol Stoops is the woman who shared this idea, as well as the one from yesterday about The Rookie. She also said that one of her greatest assets has always been her belief. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same about myself! I am constantly building and exercising my belief muscles because this is an area of challenge for me. Perhaps for you, too. If you are skilled at belief– belief in yourself, your abilities, your direction, your goals and dreams, your company– you have a leg up on the rest of us! Part of letting the journey unfold is believing that you’re on the right path, when there is evidence to the contrary. When it looks like nothing is happening, you continue pursuing the dream. When it doesn’t pan out or there are roadblocks or… you consider it part of the journey and you keep going. Who builds your belief?
Inquiring minds want to know: Does your dream have an expiration date?