live a page-turner;
leave a legacy.
It's the last day of April and the last day of my month long birthday "celebration/experiment." If you new here, you can read about how I decided to give myself a month-long gift of "permissions" HERE.
Here is how the month panned out:
I woke up on April 1st at a writers' conference in Kansas. It was a last-minute decision to just go rather than "think" about going. At 44 years of age, I've got plenty of experience "just thinking" about things that I would like to do. I started my birthday month out "just doing it."
And it paid off. I had the company of my oldest daughter. We spent some quality travel time singing along to broadway musical soundtracks, eating junk food late at night, and connecting with each other as women. I love my kids. And I love who they are growing up to become.
At this writers' conference, my daughter got to see a little more about the person I hope to become. She got to see connections made in a world that I have spent the last dozen years just sort of sticking my toe in the water. She is now able to hold me accountable for actually stepping into the water. Maybe two or three. Perhaps even learn how to swim.
It also paid off in the connections made. There is a new hope that I won't just be attending more of these writers' conferences; I'll be on the faculty. But it will require stepping out of my comfort zone.
Fortunately, that is what this whole birthday month has been about for me. Stepping out of my comfort zone, stepping into fear, living fully in each moment, putting hands and feet to my faith, and following through with the dreams on my heart.
How'd I do?
Did I chase after my dreams?
Did my life dramatically change?
Sort of. I mean yes. Well, maybe. No, definitely yes.
Well, here's what I learned, anyway:
Just deciding to do all of these things doesn't magically change anything.
Saying I'm going to do things even if I'm afraid doesn't take away the fear.
Saying that I'm giving myself permission to fail when I try something new doesn't take away the anxiety associated with trying.
Saying that I am going to chase after my dreams doesn't mean that life is a big dream.
Actually, all of this life-changing-dream-chasing stuff really is a lot of work.
So this big, birthday gift I've given myself has been quite the job. As God would currently have it, I have the time to put the hours and sweat into this get-out-of-my-comfort-zone business.
And guess what. My life looks different than it did a month ago.
In the area of putting hands and feet to my faith: Brian and I are making plans for future work in missions and ministry. We don't know exactly what that will look like, but we know some of the foundational things we need to do so we are ready when the time comes. In the meantime, we are serving where we are.
In the area of fulfilling work: I'm writing. Specifically, I am completing the messages placed on my heart to write.
Fear: I'm speaking. I'm not just thinking about it, not just acknowledging that God has placed it on my heart, but I'm doing it. I'm booking workshops. God is opening doors. And I'm even getting brave enough to knock on a few.
As far as my comfort zone goes: Well, it's still my comfortable place. It's where I feel safe. And I have days where I need to feel safe. But this last month has shown me that I can trust God to keep me safe when I take the steps that he leads. Putting one foot in front of the other when stepping outside of my comfort zone, when I don't know where it will lead, is a daily decision. In my natural state, it's a scary decision.
But I made myself do it for one month. Guess what. I'm still afraid. But I'm not a slave to it.
My comfort zone is still comfortable. But it isn't where things happen. It isn't where I'm supposed to stay.
Someday when I look back on my 44th year, I'm hoping that I'll be able to see it as the turning point when I stepped out of my comfort zone and into the full life. Into my dreams.
Here's a song that keeps popping up and resonating with me. I hope you enjoy.
Tomorrow is May 1st. I won't be waking up in a different place like I did one month ago.
Except that I will.
That's My Story.