We all watch people in our lives make bad decisions. Sometimes it’s as simple as them getting a speeding ticket on the way to work. Sometimes it’s watching them stay in an abusive relationship. Sometimes it’s them settling for less than when they could have the life they have always dreamed.
Watching someone we love struggle isn’t easy. Especially when it’s from a distance. Hearing from other people that your friend is known as one of the “druggies” in town doesn’t help either.
I wish I could convince her that she has so much potential! Why does she keep throwing her life away? Why is she hanging around with people that are no good for her? Why won’t she listen to me?
I wish I could sit here and say I’ve been able to say all of that to my friend, but the truth is I haven’t talked to her since May. She won’t call me back. Whether she’s decided I don’t belong in her new life or she truly is busy with other things, I’m scared for my friend.
What I really need is an Al-Anon meeting.
Her decisions are completely out of my control. But still, that’s incredibly hard to accept when you love someone and want to see them happy.
Maybe she’ll wake up one day soon and realize she’s living in a toxic environment. Or maybe she won’t. All I can do is continue to call and check on her, even when those calls are never answered and voicemails never returned.
One day at a time…
Sometimes we have to motivate ourselves to simply get out of bed. Sometimes we spring right up with no hesitation. Why is that? Maybe you are excited about something fun you are doing or you are going to have lunch with someone special you haven’t seen in a while. Maybe you are motivated and inspired to get to work because you absolutely love what you do! (That’s the dream for everyone, right?)
Hopefully you have found some sort of motivation in your life where you can turn to when things start getting tough. Maybe it’s a friend. Maybe it’s a sponsor. Maybe it’s a family member who has loved you through all of your life’s ups and downs. Maybe it’s an internal motivation you find when you take better care of yourself. Whatever the case may be, please continue to look for new ways of motivation each and every single day.
With all of that being said, I believe it’s perfectly normal to be motivated and encouraged with all of your life’s endeavors and still have a little fear. I’m not talking about the crippling fear that controls your life and keeps you trapped in a deep, dark hole. I’m talking about the kind that makes you question your own motives. The kind of fear that for a split second makes you wonder if you are making the right decision.
This kind of fear is more of a pass-through tool. It’s not meant to come in and set up shop in our lives. It’s meant to enter our consciousness, make sure we are paying attention, and then say adios before we’ve finished our next thought. It is just the right amount of fear. It’ll keep us on our toes, but also keep us aware of the decisions we are making.
Over the past few years, I’ve turned into a vivacious reader. I didn’t care at all about reading growing up. Just enough to get me by in school and in college. Only required reading was on my list to study. But lately, I’ve been devouring everything from audio-books to eBooks, books borrowed from the library, books given to me by friends and family, and everything in between. I just can’t get enough.
This morning, as I was reading from a prayer book I’ve already completed at least 3 times, I stumbled across a passage about being ready. The writer can be paraphrased as saying, “If you’re looking for excuses, you’ll always find one…You’ll never be ready for anything God calls you to do…he doesn’t call the qualified…he qualifies the called.” – (Mark Batterson, Draw the Circle)
The reason why I bring this up today is that I never feel like I’m ready for anything of significance I’ve done in my life. Ready to have kids? Nope. Ready to get married? Not 100%. Ready to own a home? Uh…. Ready to quit your job and be a stay-at-home mom? What? Now? Ready to be a writer? Okay now, I think you’ve taken things a little too far here. A writer? I was terrible in English and I have a Marketing degree.
I wasn’t ready for anything of these things and I’m still not ready for things that I’m currently working on, but if I waited until I was legitimately ready things would never happen in my life.
Don’t wait until all of the pieces fall magically into place. You’ll be waiting a lifetime for that to happen. Keep doing life and listening to that small voice inside of you saying, “I know it’s scary, but you’re not alone. You can do this. It’s time for you to believe in yourself as much as I do.”
There seems to be a tendency to quit pretty easily these days. Maybe it’s no more common than it was 50 years ago, but now we have social media to thank for the widespread admission of our failures. “I quit this diet. I never finished that book I was reading. I had to stop working out because it got too hard. I’m never going to lose weight. I’m never going to stop drinking. I’m desperate and pitiful. But look how many likes that comment got me on Facebook.”
Thank goodness I’m just exaggerating and don’t really know someone personally who has written all of that in one sentence on social media, though collectively I’m sure I have more than enough evidence to support these claims through acquaintances online.
So why give up and quit trying? Why just wave the white flag and throw a pity party? Because it’s easier than trying.
I did this for several years. I wasn’t so much looking for outside attention as I was enjoying feeling sorry for myself. I don’t believe others even noticed because I didn’t have anything too terrible to be sorry about. I was simply complaining to complain. Most of the time these complaints were internal, though a few words slipped every now and then – revealing my true self.
But I never gave up. Why? Because I simply couldn’t. Not in a hero type fashion where I’m committed to persevering until justice has availed. No. I couldn’t quit because there was a voice inside of me speaking louder than that pitiful little girl sobbing in the corner who was terrified of everything (the other voice in my head). There was a force within me that said, “If you give up now, you’ll never get to meet your dreams.” I don’t know about you, but those words got my attention.
What dreams? All of my dreams? You mean, I won’t get to see any of them? I decided that although I wasn’t sure which dreams were stake, I wanted to see how the rest of my story played out. Was it a happy ending after all? Did I ever go on to make big changes in this world? Will I make a difference some day?
I’m still working on finding those answers…
Do you remember your first days of school? Maybe not all the way back to Kindergarten, but a few grades here and there were you were nervous and scared and excited all at the same time?
Personally, I always had the night before jitters. I wouldn’t be able to sleep well and then I’d wake up way before my alarm would go off in fear of oversleeping and missing everything. Even if I had already met the teacher and knew everything there was to know about the school, there was something about taking that first step into the classroom on the first day of school.
Today, my children go back to school and one of them is starting Kindergarten. I’m again excited, nervous, and scared all over again, but for him this time and not me. I’m excited that he gets to go on this journey and learn new things and meet new people. I’m nervous that he may not know his way around yet and will get a little lost. I’m scared that he won’t make any friends today or that, even worse, he’ll be made fun of.
Most of my fears are irrational, but some are completely warranted. But I have control over none of it! So, instead of whining about being scared for me kids or wondering if they’re going to have a terrible day, I’m choosing to take the high road. I’m going to say a little prayer for them, help them find their way this morning, and then release them into the world. I believe I should do it now when things are small and not so scary.
Let go and let God…
There are many signs that we need to make new, big life decisions every day. Signs to go back to college (a graduate application comes in the mail), get a new job (no longer feeling happy and fulfilled at work), move to a new city (the price was right, the neighborhood feels right, and the opportunities are greater), homeschool your kids (this isn’t for me, but I’ve heard other people say they knew it was time to homeschool), and many other subtle clues we receive almost daily for our next step.
For me, I’ve been wanting to step up my game in my online business venture. It’s something I’ve been researching for months, but not really aggressively. More like a passive perusing online to get information, but never really implementing anything.
Why? Why not execute the business plan or the strategies I’ve been working on for weeks on end?
Want to know the honest to God truth? I’m still a little scared. There I said it. Fear is still trying to control my life and the worst part about it is that I know that! I have a clear picture for my life, my goals, and my dreams, but I’m too chicken to execute those plans because I think they may fail.
Well, I’m here today to give a pep talk of sorts. (To you and myself because I think we all need it today!)
Don’t let fear win. Don’t let what might go wrong get in the way of all the amazing things that could go right! Don’t let doubt deter you from the life you want to live. Pull on your brave armor and head right down that scary path. Nobody ever said it’s going to be easy, but when it’s your dreams…it’s always worth it!
When I think about all of the worries or fears or doubts I have, almost every single one of them is in the future. It’s not even something right here in front of me. Worried about how my kids will turn out; worried if I’ll ever be able to earn more money to contribute to the family income; worried that none of us will make friends in our new little community. Worry. Worry. Worry. I understand that some/most of those are ridiculous things to worry about, but they do pop into my head…a lot actually!
But what happens if I focus on today? What if, instead of worrying about things that are completely out of my control, I solely focused on today? I mean this is after all the culmination of life, right? Focusing on today and not tomorrow’s worries. (Easier said than done on most days.)
Not today, though. I will focus on today as today is my only guarantee. I’m not guaranteed tomorrow or next month or even next year, but I am here today. I’m not trying to sound like a Debbie Downer here, but I just woke up this morning and realized I was bumming myself out worrying about freaking everything around me and that wasn’t helping one little bit! So it’s time to try something new!
I hope you are encouraged to focus on today. I hope we can encourage each other to stop worrying so damn much and enjoy the people and the relationships right here in front of us.