“…we think there is just one right way…and we’re desperately afraid to trust ourselves and to move forward because…what if that’s not what God wants…”
Emily P. Freeman, as heard on this podcast episode
With Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday behind us, I can’t help but feel slightly envious of everyone who made a few sales. My inbox has been hopping with lowest prices of the season sale alerts, coupon codes, Christmas gift guides, advent resources, and the like.
At one point, (after about Friday!) I started to ignore, delete, or unsubscribe from the emails altogether. My actions were due in part to sheer overwhelm and the fact I’m weird and like to buy things when their not on sale, when I don’t feel pressured or coerced.
But it was also, and this is perhaps the biggest reason, because of the tender ache inside my heart.
You see, for so long now, and I’m talking years, I’ve wanted to be like her. The sweet gal showing off her small biz or sharing her creative endeavors with anyone who will listen, and I might add, being successful at it, or at least appearing to be.
I can easily lose myself along the winding roads of social media, gawking at all the work of fellow women seeking to make this world a more beautiful place.
It is no exaggeration to say I am absolutely in awe of the way people are able to give their time and talents to those in their midst.
Whether it’s setting up adorable brick and mortar shops, to designing unique planners and inspiring journals, to writing books and devotional guides, designing the sweetest homeschool spaces and resources for us mamas, to watercolor painting cards and calendars, to woodworking and quilt sewing, to decorating cozy farmhouses and giving us tips on how to do the same, all of it is stunning.
How is it then that my ideas never seemed to take off like I imagined they would?
Through the years, I tried tweaking things thinking maybe this will resonate more with me, with my audience. I changed up layouts and covers and concepts in my journals. I infused time and energy and originality into everything I created. I hired a kind and business-savvy soul to help me with branding and my website, but still nothing.
And by nothing I mean- no flow, no peace, no sense that this was where I was supposed to be and what I was supposed to be doing right now.
I threw marketing and business books into my always growing stack. Seth Godin being one of my favorites. I binge read his practical and wise tips regularly and did my best to apply them immediately. Then, I kept showing up and putting on my best I-know-what-I’m-doing face.
The question lingered. I lost many hours in worry over it.
When does one need to keep persevering and pressing through the muck and when should one stop and head a different direction?
Discerning the answer is nothing short of complicated, or is it?
For a year or more, I’ve been throwing around the idea of closing down my Art of Adventure shop as an experiment of sorts. Just to see what happens, I tell myself.
I share this because it scares me to death to give it up and because I know you too are contemplating a change of course, an exploration into the wild in one, or likely even more, areas of your life.
As a long-distance runner, perseverance runs thick through my veins. I can barely stand the thought of stopping before the finish line.
But maybe that’s just it.
Maybe I have, you have, reached the finish line of a particular race and it’s due time we lunge forward over that line.
We’ve given it our all. We’ve poured out our heart and soul. The sweat is seeping through our clothes. Our legs feel wobbly. Now it’s time to step over the line.
It’s right there in front of me, so why am I refusing to cross it, to start the cool down, grab a banana, and let the endorphins carry me home with a smile?
Why does it take so much courage to say, It’s been a good run and I’m glad it’s over too.
I think there are many seasons of our lives that come with a certain ending. A threshold we must move beyond if we are to continue running towards new adventures, gaining more experience, staying opening to fresh opportunities, and exploring the depths of our creativity.
However, when it comes to pursuits we enjoy and dreams we hold close to our heart, seeing these endpoints pop into our view are not always easy to acknowledge, primarily because we associate them with death, failure, the loss of our identity.
Must it be so?
I know from experience the finish line can be one of the most exciting places. The crowds are cheering, the music is blaring, the adrenaline is pumping, a good soreness is settling into your muscles, you have completed what you came to do!
For far too long I haven’t wanted to admit that I’ve reached my destination with my Art of Adventure Shop. I’ve been stalling, closing my eyes, and making up excuses for why I’m not putting my toe over the line just yet.
But today is the day I’m crossing over.
I’m (finally!) falling headlong through the end of this course, choosing to congratulate myself even if I feel a bit crushed, and jogging a few laps around the block to help myself recover.
You and I are free, and more importantly we are encouraged, to keep moving on in this adventure. The map of our lives bends and weaves. With the Wind as an ever present companion, we are constantly being blown across thresholds.
Don’t resist any longer and see what happens.
“…consider carefully anything in your life that is half-dead- existing on a ventilator. Not as an act of cowardice or an act of resignation, but as an act of bold, courageous faith…
What looks like resignation may be the ultimate act of faith, the supreme expression of trust. And what you are keeping on life support may be exactly the thing that is keeping you from the wonder and terror of new life.”
Jonathan Martin, How to Survive a Shipwreck