Life's Little Lessons

"If you ask me what I came into this life to do, I will tell you: I came to live out loud." – Emile Zola



Solid Footing

Last night I was talking with a friend about direction. I told them I saw myself in a stream and was trying to make my way in the flow of it. I realized sometimes I feel like I’m being carried by the current and other times, I’m fighting it, but I know the best course of action is to continue along by either swimming or stepping through.

And right now, I need to take a step.

The truth is, taking steps are hard. I’d say almost as hard as going with the currents flow and trusting it’s going to take you where you need to go. Stepping requires intentionality. It involves wisdom laced with cautious and slow moves. One wrong step when you think you’re securing your footing can take you under when you’re preparing yourself to stand.

So I told my friend that my left foot has found something sturdy to stand on, something I know is good and secure, however my right foot is still feeling it’s way along the bottom looking for something to rest itself upon; something that is solid and steady that will help me get where I need to go.

It’s the place in-between one step and the other and if I hurry it along, I’ll sink rather than swim.

And the great and wonderful thing about this process is that I’m learning to rest in the in-between places rather than stepping haphazardly because I want to rush the journey along. It’s a life lesson in building trust, listening to myself and most importantly, listening to what I feel I hear God saying in and around me.

I’m learning to trust His sound, not necessarily my feelings because when God tells me to step, my feet find security that wasn’t necessarily there before when I scoured the depths below in search of it.

So left foot, I’ll place my weight solely on you. You’ll bear the brunt of my incessant wondering when, not if, the right foot will find its next place to land. Timing is everything. Until then, I’m going to rest and trust that you’ll hold me up when the current gets too strong and tries to whisk me away.

And if you lose your footing oh-strong-and-brave-left-foot-of-mine, it’s ok. If you get tired or scared from holding me up and the right foot never finds a solid place to land to help even out the weight or if I’m not even sure which way to do something next, we’ll do it both ways and see which works best.  We can sink or swim or step because I’ve realized for the first time in my life, wherever the stream of life takes me, I’m going to be just fine. We will all be. We can start again tomorrow if we need to.

the one thing you don’t have time for

I love time with my kids, especially time that leads to moments where I’m as equally impacted by their influence as they may be mine. Case in point…

I was having lunch today with my oldest who is twenty-two and wise. Not pretty wise but plain, ole wise; she wreaks in wisdom most days. When she was growing up, she was more of an old soul though she did in fact set our field on fire when she was little with a set of conficasted matches. She was always mature. A level-headed, solid thinker who was rooted deep in what she was going to do and what she wasn’t so now as a young adult, I thoroughly enjoy having conversations with her because she makes me think and solidifies in me what I believe while opening me up to a new perspective. Most days, if I am honest, she is the influencer and I am the influencee.

I hope it remains that way.

Over our meal, she shared how she had an amazing opportunity come her way HOWEVER, that amazing opportunities timing was not quite right. WHAT TO DO? It sounded like she already knew the answer even though she was still mulling it around and it reminded me how sometimes even I turn the easiest decisions into the most grueling…WHY?

Besides thinking I can DO ALL THINGS, I also hate to DISAPPOINT. The two combined is not an attractive package. Oh, I am sure on the outside, it looks like the MOST ATTRACTIVE PACKAGE EVER; a get-er-done doer who will 9x’s out of 10 NEVER TELL YOU NO and who secretly is trying to figure out why in the hell she said yes and how she is going to make it all work.

Paul Coelho says it best, “Don’t say “maybe” if you want to say “no.”

Regret (wishing you hadn’t) and guilt (because you didn’t) serve no purpose but to WASTE YOUR TIME and ENERGY and as I sat across from my daughter as she talked her situation through, I understood…having the opportunity to choose will continue till the day I day die. At forty-three years old, I’m not exempt from feeling like I should say YES. That I should pile one more thing on my plate because it’s a really good opportunity or I’d really like to or maybe I just SHOULD be a helper becuase helpers are THE people!

A wise woman once told me, “I won’t SHOULD on you if you don’t SHOULD on me.” Now that makes sense, right? Should’s should not be allowed in our vocabulary except when it comes down to the fact that maybe we SHOULD feed our kids. THAT is about the only SHOULD exception to the rule. Because food = life.

So when presented with the question, what will your response be? I bet your knower knows the answer sooner than you think. If you need a lot of time to think or “pray” it through, perhaps you’re just trying to talk yourself into something that’s really not for YOU at the moment. At the end of the day, with only so many hours in it, do you really want your head and heart filled with worry, stress, regret and guilt? There’s too much living to do to make time for such waste and I don’t think we were created to house and entertin that sort of torment. So make your YES be YES and your NO be NO and tarry on.

You don’t have time for anything else.

You don’t have time to BE anyone else.

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