Learning Lately: Spring 2018
I like to share a bit of what I've been learning lately with you all, as a form of reflection and intention on my part so I remember to focus on learning new things through my experiences, but also as a reminder to you all that things we go through can prove to be wonderful teachers!
TRUST THE PROCESS
In this season, I've been learning to lean into trust instead of fear. I can't control everything, especially the outcome of anything. All I can do is move forward in faith and obedience, doing what I've been called to do in this place and in this season.
I have to believe that I'm headed in the right direction, even when the end result isn't always clear. I was led to where I am right now, and as long as I keep asking for directions and following where God leads me, that's all I can do.
Whether in my business or in my personal life, I'm trying to trust the process. I'm focusing on a smaller portion, keeping my eyes on the present instead of letting them wander so often to the distant future and wondering what it looks like and how I'll ever get there.
I'm cherishing this season and everything within it, knowing full well that some things might not be right decisions or relationships or ventures forever, but they are right now, and that's enough for me today. I'm trusting that God has me here and involved in these things for a reason, no matter how they end.
Anyone who has known me for long knows how much I like to control things, or at least how very much I used to. I'm not cured by any means, but I have been getting better!
I had coffee with my pastor this week, and he said he's been noticing that change in me. When he asked when I was available for coffee, I told him I was free all week, and that response took him by surprise and made him question whether he was even talking to the same person! I never used to have so much time for people or be willing to work my life around community, but I'm working to be more flexible.
I'm growing to be more willing to change plans, to go with the flow, to hold plans loosely, to not need to know all the details in order to move forward. It's not easy, and it's a regular choice, but it's been growing me and challenging me to be more of the person I want to be.
JUST KEEP MOVING
When I feel stressed or stuck, I sometimes want to curl up in a ball and make myself feel comforted and safe. Or I might want to escape with a good book. But I'm learning more and more that I just have to keep moving forward, even if it's by a single baby step.
Practically, this means taking just one step toward my goals even if that's all I can see. That can be incredibly frustrating sometimes. I want to see more, but I know that's not how it typically works. So I take things just one step at a time, in faith.
On another note, it means physically moving. I've been going for more walks, and in more ways than one, they've been my saving grace. My walks are my time to think, process, reflect, learn, and grow. I like to listen to podcasts or audiobooks while I walk, and I've learned so much from them, had my perspective stretched, been convicted, and been encouraged by them.
Taking walks also gives me a much-needed break in the middle of my day-- both from sitting in a chair at a computer and from the stress of my to-do list and confines of my home. Stepping outside and taking a break from the computer makes my creativity resurface, and I can then return to my work with greater inspiration and refreshed energy.
BE THE ONE TO REACH OUT
I'm pretty introverted, and that usually manifests itself as initial shyness. I've never really been one to like parties or social situations in which I know I'll have to mingle or initiate conversations. I hate being the center of attention. I don't like conflict or confrontation, and that even includes positive or neutral things, like asking my grandma if I could change the outfit on her American Girl doll when I was little. I seriously was too afraid to ask most of the time, even though every time I did ask, she said yes cheerfully.
But I'm learning there is so much power in being willing to be the one to reach out to connect, being willing to risk. It's actually not even as risky as I used to think; the worst they can say is "no, thanks," and that's not really so bad in the grand scheme of things.
But when I reach out, I'm communicating that I care about investing in conversation and relationship with someone. I'm opening the door, and I'm making it easier for the other person to engage by lowering the barrier to entry. By being the first, I'm giving the other person a gift: an easy way in, an invitation that they merely have to accept. It removes some of their fear and hesitation, and knowing that I can do that is a good feeling!
If I don't reach out, I miss out on connections. I might miss out on some amazing friendships, business relationships or opportunities, or experiences. All because I was too afraid to be turned down. I don't want to live like that!
What have you been learning in this season? I'd love to hear from you in the comments or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org!