What if I Fail?

Have you ever made up your mind that you were going to do something, only to get halfway there and lose all motivation? I would guess we’ve all been there. And if you’re anything like me, you’ve been there MANY times.  So, what in the world should we do with that sense of failure?

Get up! Dust yourself off. And try again.

Here’s what I mean. At the beginning of January, I made 2 goals for myself. Both goals related to my word of the year INTENTIONAL. I wrote down the goals, asked friends to help me stay accountable to them. Then, two weeks into the month, life happened and I fell off the wagon. I allowed myself to take a day off from the goals. Then, one day turned into two. Two days turned into a week. The next thing I knew, it was the end of January and I had failed.

But guess what…my friends didn’t fail me. My God didn’t fail me. I failed. I can’t blame anyone else. Sure, I want to blame it on the 2 year molars causing my son to wake super early several mornings, throwing me off my routine. Or on the fact that the exercises HURT and I was in pain and needed a break. Or on all those names in the geneological listings of the Old Testament…those are hard to read! But the blame doesn’t fall on any of those things. The blame falls on me.

So, what am I going to do? I’m going to get up, dust myself off, and try again! Tomorrow is a new day. It is a new opportunity to be intentional with my time. And God promises me in His word that every morning, His mercies are renewed.

But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
His mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is Your faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:21-23 (ESV)

Every day, no matter what yesterday held, His mercies are new. No. Matter. What. He is faithful, even when I am not. He loves me, even when I am unlovely. He is merciful, even when I am undeserving of His mercy.

If you’ve failed at your January goals, don’t give up on your 2015 goals. Remember, tomorrow is a new day. You have a fresh, new slate to start over, to try again. Grab hold of that chance, and embrace it. Pray for wisdom, ask your friends to help you, and start anew. Will you fail again? Probably. I will too. And that’s OK. Every time we fail, we have a chance to try again, to learn something, to grow. The only time we truly fail is when we give up.

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A Year in Review: Intentional

Photo Credit: marianna armata (Creative Commons)

Photo Credit: marianna armata (Creative Commons)

 

Way back in January, I decided that my word for 2014 would be intentional. I listed several areas in which I wanted to be more intentional with the way I spent my time. So…how did I do?

Before I get to the specific areas, I want to just come right out and say, I started the year strong, but really fizzled out pretty quickly. I still spent way too much time on unimportant things, or just not being intentional about my time.

Here are the areas I wanted to be intentional in:

  1. My relationship with my husband – This year turned out a LOT different that I planned, in a lot of ways.  But I do believe that my husband and I have a stronger relationship today than we did a year ago. We are talking more, not just sitting next to each other (though, that happens too!), we are learning to depend on each other more, and more importantly, to depend on God more. What could we have done differently to make this year better? More intentional time together away from the kids…date nights, maybe even a weekend away here and there.
  2. My relationship with my children – Wow…this one is hard for me. There are days that I feel I did REALLY well here, and there are days that I feel I failed miserably. Don’t we all feel that way sometimes though, mamas? I do think I’m still learning and growing here, though. I think I’ve become a more observant, attentive parent this year, I’ve learned things about my kids, and I’m enjoying them more. I still need to work on this area, and one way I know I can do that is by spending more focused time with each of them individually.
  3. My relationship with God – I started out so strong here, and fizzled so quickly. I’ve let the demands of my day, the busy-ness of my life, the exhaustion of mommyhood fill me…instead of seeking to allow God to fill me. Sure…I have days (even weeks) where I truly seek Him…and then I have days/weeks/months at a time when I barely crack open my bible (electronic or actual pages). I do believe that my prayer life is stronger, as I find myself praying regularly throughout the day…whether a praise, prayer of thanks, or call of “HELP ME!!!”
  4. Reading/completing books – I’ve actually done OK here. No, I’m not reading every day…but so far, I’ve finished all but one book this year (the one I’m reading now…I have 4 days, maybe I’ll actually finish it before year-end?). I’ve read a mix of fiction and non-fiction books…books that have challenged me, encouraged me, and even some that simply entertained me. I look forward to reading more in the new year.
  5. Making my house a home – I started out the year printing a cleaning schedule. I knew I’d have to slowly work my way up to completely every task every day…but I was doing a decent job of doing a few cleaning tasks each day. Then, we decided to put our house on the market, and the cleaning got intense. I really felt like all I did was clean for a couple of months. We moved in August, and I’ve made it a goal to try to keep up with laundry and dishes…but there is SO MUCH more I could do every single day. I could do a much better job of cleaning up after my kids (and getting them to clean up after themselves), as well as general pick-up/cleaning throughout the day. But…I don’t want cleaning to be the only thing I do all day. So, I’m still working on finding the balance.

Overall, I actually feel that I did better than I originally thought. However, I still see room for improvement in all 5 areas, and that’s why I’ve decided that intentional will once again be my word for 2015. I’m going to do things a little differently this time around. For starters, I have 2 sweet friends who will be praying for me, checking in, and holding me accountable, and I will be doing the same for them.  Also, I will be making my relationship with God the most important priority. I know that none of the other items on my list will work if He is not first in my life.

What was your word for 2014? How did you do?

Something More

Recently, I’ve been doing a lot of reading. I’ve always loved reading, but have let that love fall to the wayside as I’ve allowed the demands of motherhood take over. I just kept thinking “I don’t have time to read,” when in reality, I wasn’t MAKING time to read. So, this year, I’ve made a little more of an effort to not just START a book, but to finish it. And as a result, I’ve finished more books this year than I can remember reading over the course of any year since my daughter was born (and maybe in all the years combined since then…).

Have all of the books I’ve read been inspirational? Entertaining? Fun? The answer to all of those is No! I’ve tried to read a mix of fiction and nonfiction. To be honest, I LOVE a good fiction book. I can get lost in a novel and tune out the world around me…just ask my husband. But, I know that in order to be well-rounded, I NEED to read nonfiction as well. So I have made that a goal this year, and I feel like I’ve been at least somewhat successful. I have read books that have challenged my thinking, opened my eyes, and made me long for more.

All of that to say, the last 2 nonfiction books that I’ve read (one I’m still reading), have challenged me, quite literally, to dig deeper and stop hiding from the calling God has placed on my life. In one book, Let’s All Be Brave: Living Life With Everything You Have by Annie F. Downs, I was challenged to face my fears – fears of failure, of the unknown, of saying yes (and saying no)…and to do the brave thing–to follow the passion God has placed in my heart.

The second book, The Best Yes: Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands by Lysa TerKeurst, has challenged me so much already…I’m only on chapter 3! One quote that has stuck with me is: “A woman who lives with the stress of an overwhelmed schedule will often ache with the sadness of an underwhelmed soul.”

Is my schedule so overwhelmed with stuff that my soul is underwhelmed? Have I put so much on my plate that my soul isn’t fully connected to God, listening for His direction? Have I blocked out His voice so much that I no longer hear His prompting? 

Oh, I pray that the answer to these questions is a resounding “NO!!” Yet, I know, many days/weeks/months/years, my honest answer would have to be “Yes.” 

These books have really gotten me thinking…what IS the thing that God has called me to? Being a wife and mom are definitely top of my list…but is there something more? My soul tells me there is. What is my something more?

While discussing this with my husband tonight, he said something that really resonated. He told me that sometimes you have to experiment. You have to try new things to see if you really enjoy them. Have you always wanted to learn to knit? Buy some yarn and watch some youtube videos. Ask a friend who knows what they’re doing to teach you. Give it a shot. Hate it? No one said you had to keep doing it!

Then, he told me that he thought I would thrive on mentoring new and expectant moms. Ummmm…wow! When I look back over the dreams that I’ve suppressed over the years, helping families/women has always been at the center of them. But, I’ve never allowed myself to fully experiment with those ideas. Sure, I’ve participated in women’s mentoring programs, I’ve joined mom’s groups, led Bible studies, etc…but every time, I’ve held a piece of myself back. I don’t think it’s been a conscious decision, to be honest, but I do think that I’ve always been afraid to give 100%–afraid that I would fail, that I would lead someone down the wrong path, that I wasn’t good enough. But isn’t that the point…I’m NOT good enough. But God, who places those dreams in our hearts, IS good enough. He uses imperfect people every single day to accomplish His perfect plan. The only thing He requires is that we’re willing to go where He leads, making ourselves available, and listening to His prompting.

 So, where does that leave me tonight? Honestly, I’m not really sure. I know that I need to dig into this…maybe even get a mentor of my own. I need to pray, HARD. I need to spend time, daily, reading and studying and allowing God’s word to transform my life. And, I need to open my eyes, ears, & heart, to the promptings of the Holy Spirit…and when He leads me to action, I need to be obedient. Isn’t that what we all need? 

 

Intentional – My Word for 2014

As I sat Tuesday night reflecting on the amazing year that 2013 was for my family and me, I also had to think about the things I wish I had done differently. Sure, I could have changed things at any point throughout the year, but as I thought about all the good and bad of last year, I knew I had to make some changes this year. When I wrote out my goals, I noticed a common theme – being intentional.
I’ve decided I’m done just floating through my days, feeling frustrated at my lack of accomplishment or just being in the room with someone, but not really being WITH them. So, my goals for this year are to be more intentional about the ways I spend my time.

I want to be INTENTIONAL about spending quality time with my husband. Not just sitting next to him on the couch while we both play on our phones or watch a movie together…but talking to him, loving him the way he deserves…being the wife God designed me to be (and yes, I’m sure that means submitting more).

I want to be INTENTIONAL about the time I spend with my children. I spend so many precious moments with them, sitting in the same room, but not really doing anything WITH them. I want to show them how much they mean to me by playing with them, reading to them, teaching them.

I want to be INTENTIONAL about growing my relationship with God. Spending time in prayer and reading the Bible. Studying His word – on my own and with others. Diving deeper in my commitment and surrender to His will.

I want to be INTENTIONAL about reading. I once set a goal to read 2 books every month – 1 fiction and 1 nonfiction. I think I made it 2 months before I gave up. This year, I just want to finish every book that I start. I haven’t set a certain number of books because I know that life with little ones sometimes gets in the way…but I love to read and I want to get back into the habit of readin often.

I want to be INTENTIONAL about making my house a home. I HATE to clean…actually, hate may not even be a strong enough word. I’ve never understood people who say that cleaning their house is a stress relieving activity. However, having a dirty, messy, cluttered house is definitely NOT stress relieving! No…I don’t want my house to be spotless, model-home clean. But I do want it to be clean enough that I am not embarrassed to invite people over. I want to keep up with the dishes in the sink, to spend a little time each day picking up the messes.

I’m going to pick 1-2 of these goals to really focus on each month this year. I’m going to make living my life – participating, not just watching – a priority this year.

What are you being intentional about this year? What is your word for the 2014?

Pondering…

So, I’m sitting here tonight thinking about so many things. After spending time with a group of dreamers over the weekend, hearing stories of people who are working hard to make their dreams a reality – whether it be jobs, hobbies, or something else. And I’m beginning to wonder if I’ve lost touch with my own dreams. You see, about 10 years ago, while working as an elementary teacher, God began to break my heart for the broken, hurting families in my world. I saw children who had parents who loved them, but didn’t know the right ways to show their love. Parents who were so emotionally and mentally hurt by the people in their lives that they took it out on their children or spouse. I saw parents who could never find the good things about their children. And I saw parents who could never see things about their children that needed to be corrected. To be honest, I really didn’t see a lot of healthy, happy families. Sure – there were a few in each class…but the vast majority of families that I saw were dealing with some major hurts.

It was at that time that God began to put a dream in my heart. A dream to help families. To help children. Parents. Spouses. How was I, a single, broke elementary teacher, supposed to help these people?? I knew I didn’t have the right resources. I didn’t have the money. I didn’t have experience as a parent or in a marriage. But what I did have was Jesus…and this dream to help.

Fast forward a couple of years…I quit my teaching job, got married, and kind of forgot about my dream in the process. Then, we started our own family, and I became engrossed in all things Stay-at-Home-Mom. And, I grew further away from my dream.

Then, about 2 1/2 years ago, my husband rediscovered his own dreams. He began writing, encouraging others, and finding the things that truly fulfilled him. He started introducing me to other dreamers…and little flickers of my own dream started to resurface. And that’s where I am tonight. Really starting to look at my dream. Trying to figure out what exactly it is that I want to do with my life. Love my family? YES! Be an awesome wife and mom? Absolutely. But lose myself in the process? No way!! I know God is calling me to help others…but what, exactly, does that mean? Am I to go back to school for a Master’s degree? Start a counseling business? Or am I supposed to write? Simply be a friend to a woman in need of encouragement? Or something totally different?

These are the questions that I’m pondering tonight as I start to look at what I want to do once I’m able to leave my baby at home for more than a couple of hours before he needs fed.

My Three Most Important Things

I’ve been thinking a lot about the ending to my post about awkward sales pitches. In the last paragraph of that post, I said:

“I want the women I approach to see passion, hope, and joy in my eyes. I want them to see a woman who, even if she’s running errands with her  two year old, is composed, confident, and approachable.”

Followed shortly by:

“It is an experience that has given me confidence and has helped me to grow as a wife and mom. I’ve gained friendships and been pushed out of my comfort zones. I’ve learned to think positively about life, and to laugh off some of the stressful days (OK, so I’m not always laughing in the midst of the stress, but usually a day or two later, I can look back and laugh about how stressed I was over something so minor). Because of those things, I don’t want to be a walking sales pitch. I want to share the joy I’ve found with other women!”

I’ve realized that I said these things about my Mary Kay business, but am I able to say the same things about my relationship with Christ? You see, even before Mary Kay became a part of my life, Jesus came into my life. And my relationship with Him should be so much more important to me than anything else. In fact, I’m even encouraged to run my business with the mindset of God first, Family second, and Career third. The strong Christian values are one of the things that drew me to Mary Kay when I began looking for a small work-from-home business. However, as I sit here typing this today, reflecting on my life and priorities, I have to wonder…am I really living out God first, Family second, Career third? I’ll be honest, I think I tend to put my Family first, and then let God and Career flip-flop for second and third position.

So, today, I’m making a commitment. I am going to spend time every. single. day reading Scripture, praying, and listening to what God has for me. Even if it’s just 15 minutes, that’s more than I’m doing every day right now. Then, I’ll keep my Family in second place, and focus on my Career last.

Question: How do you keep your priorities in the proper order?

You Can Do It!

I had an AMAZING weekend! It was full of encouragement, friends, business ideas, and so much more. Friday night and Saturday, I went to my first ever Mary Kay Career Conference in Knoxville.  I am SO glad that I decided to go!

The theme of the weekend was “You Can Do It”, which is exactly what I need to be my focus. As I’ve shared in my posts on Doubt, I so often allow the fears in my heart (fear of the unknown, fear of rejection, fear of saying the wrong thing) to stop me in my business. What I heard this weekend was that these fears are common, almost everyone has them, or has dealt with them! Sales Directors and National Sales Directors (the top women in Mary Kay) talked about how they dealt with these fears, and what they did to overcome them. One of them even talked about many of the mistakes she had made in her career, and followed each one with “you, too, can be a National Sales Director.”

Here are some of the main points that I brought home this weekend:

  • Get out of your own way – STOP making excuses! Excuses are lies only you believe.
  • Do something TODAY that will move you forward
  • Step out of your comfort zone, do what others are unwilling to do
  • You’ll never get anywhere if you wait for all the lights to turn green before you leave.
  • I have everything to gain and nothing to lose by taking the next step
  • Make the choice that your dream is bigger than your challenges
  • You don’t have the right to give up on the dream that God has put in your heart
  • Never give up on your dream
  • Enjoy the journey you are on
  • Do the work!

As I’m sure you’ve noticed, those points aren’t just great for a Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultant, but they apply to anyone and everyone who has a dream. We are each designed with specific strengths and weaknesses, and God has given each of us a dream. Does that mean that our dream will always be easy? No way! Achieving a dream or goal takes work…and sometimes that work is hard! Sometimes it requires doing things we’re not comfortable doing because we’re not very good at them. Sometimes we have to do things that are scary. However, if we keep making excuses, we’ll never get anywhere! We’ll never reach our goals when we aren’t willing to take the first step toward our goals.

What is a goal or dream you have in your life? Are you allowing fear or doubt to stop you from achieving that goal? Do any of the points above resonate with you? Which one? What are you going to do about it? (OK, I know, that’s a lot of questions. Feel free to answer the first two or three to yourself and the last two in the comments.)