I’m excited to share with you the first “feature post” on Devotional Diva! FAITH Christian Jewelry is a family-owned and operated business that sells faith-promoting jewelry and gifts including Spirit and Truth, Bob Siemon, and many more. Since we’re all about sharing your story …
[Guest Post by Joanna Hyatt – Thanks to my other site, Quarter Life Conference, I got to know Joanna. She said she would be glad to share about it on her site, and one thing lead to another, and now she’s sharing an encouraging piece on when dreams becoming reality for you all!]
This time a year ago, I was the Director of an established Non-Profit program with a growing national presence.
The job could have been mine for as long as I wanted it, bringing the opportunity for broader influence. Yet by May of 2012, I had walked away from that to pursue a different dream.
As great as that job was, it wasn’t quite where I envisioned my life going, where I felt I could be best used, what I thought was my calling. I felt so sure that I knew what this next chapter would look like, certain that the dreams I had been harboring in my heart were God’s dreams for me and would therefore happen as soon I had the faith to step out.
“Calling” is a word we throw around a lot in Christian circles.
What is your calling in life?
What has God created you to do?
We then spend our lives searching for that perfect fit of job/family/life experiences, slightly in fear that we’ll miss it and therefore miss our purpose on this earth. As though we’ll get to heaven and God will say,
“You tried really hard and did some great work, but that’s not exactly what I had planned for you.”
It’s a fear I regularly have to battle and call out as a lie.
In this season where my reality hasn’t quite matched up with where I thought I would be at this point, Abba has been gently teaching me two very hard and yet freeing truths about dreams and calling:
1) What you do matters less than how you do it.
When I look in scripture, I don’t see God picking the CEO of the Fortune 500 companies for His big works. He tends to go for those who are doing the jobs the world would call lowly, socially insignificant, or common.
A young sheepherder and the youngest brother becomes a King, a teen mom the avenue for the world’s salvation, a tent maker the greatest evangelist ever, and a loud-mouthed fisherman the rock of His church.
What they all had in common was the attitude with which they did their work.
They were faithful in the small things, the mundane day-to-day tasks. They sought to serve God with their whole heart wherever He placed them, giving thanks for whatever their present circumstances might be. Most of our heroes in scripture never even saw their dreams realized, trusting only that their faithfulness today would bear fruit in the future.
In his devotional, My Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers writes,
“A Christian worker has to learn how to be God’s man or woman of great worth and excellence in the midst of a multitude of meager and worthless things. Never protest by saying, “If only I were somewhere else!” We have to be exceptional in the ordinary things of life, and holy on the ordinary streets, among ordinary people.”
Whether we are waiting tables or dining with presidents and rulers, our attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus who, “…made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant…he humbled himself and became obedient to death.”
2) Love the Dream-Giver more than the dream.
Dreams are a good thing. Dreams are a God thing. I believe God has more planned for our lives than any of us could ever imagine, and He wants to continually surprise and delight us.
But those dreams are given as a way to experience Him, not as a replacement for Him.
When my focus becomes the dream, rather than the Dream-Giver, I risk becoming so intent on doing great things for Christ that I neglect to spent time with Christ.
Where I think I’m sacrificing so much through my time, energy, or resources, it may be that my greatest sacrifice at that moment is actually the surrendering of those dreams I believe God has given me.
The dearer the dream, the harder that is to do.
But as Jaimie Bowman put it so beautifully in her post When Dreams Die,
“Every great dream has to die at least once, for that is when the dream becomes less about us and more about Him.”
Success is not measured in numbers or accolades but in the quite and humble, “Yes,” to whatever God might ask of us today.
By letting go of my expectations and giving back the very gifts and dreams He has given me, I’m learning that’s really when dreams become reality. I’m also learning to live each day with purpose and joy. Whether I’m speaking to thousands or doing laundry and sweeping the floors, I can rest in knowing this is exactly where God would have me today.
Based out of Los Angeles, Joanna Hyatt is a national speaker on dating, relationships and sex, and the author of The Sex Talk: A Survival Guide for Parents. She blogs at www.joannahyatt.com and tweets @JoannaHyatt.
[Photo: Angélica Vis, Flickr]
[Guest post by Catherine Hawkins. I just met Catherine, and I am already glad we met. After submitting her first piece, I read it and thought how much I still feel this way. Maybe you or I will never quite feel like a grown up, but that’s okay too. Enjoy her piece!]
When I was little, I pictured my future self as a fully functioning adult.
I thought there would be one defining moment when I would suddenly say, Yes, I have become a woman, and the road after that would be solid and straight–no more of this winding uncertainty that seemed to be the mark of growing up.
I sometimes call myself a “recent college graduate,” although that seems misleading now that it’s been almost two years.
I still wrestle with what it means to be a “grownup.”
Does it mean moving out of your parents’ house?
Having a full-time job with benefits?
Owning a car, being married, having babies, having a mortgage?
If those are the marks of adulthood, I am failing miserably.
In one of many conversations with my father about this nagging fear that I wasn’t “measuring up,” my father said:
“That’s the big secret, Catherine. No one feels like an adult.”
It was strange to hear him, the man who raised me, say that he still does not feel like a grownup. If this 6’2″, bearded, hard-working man doesn’t feel like an adult, there is no hope for this girl.
I have always been a passionate person, so I was shocked at the heaviness graduation presented.
I loved so many things, yet I felt paralyzed.
I couldn’t commit and I couldn’t decide, and all these dreams that had seemed so beautiful – so attainable –now seemed far from possible. I felt my passion seeping away, and the fear that I have always tried to suppress came roaring out of me, immobilizing me with its strength.
For a year, I juggled part-time jobs, searched the internet for The Perfect Job, and struggled to name the growing anxiety I felt. Trusting God is difficult, and it gets even harder when you can’t envision the next week, let alone the next year.
In late August, I was thrown into a job that I never dreamed I would have.
A friend from college recommended me to a Latin teaching job at a Christian school. I think my response was:
“Oh my gosh, are you serious?”
She was serious and I was intrigued, and I knew as soon as I walked in for the interview that this was where I was supposed to be.
Since then, I have been stretched and challenged, and every day I wake up and think:
“Wow, so I do it again? I go to the same place again? I teach Latin again?”
This will be a lifelong struggle, I think, becoming okay with repetition, with rhythms.
It seems God doesn’t wait for us to grow up. He pushes us along and says,
The other day, I watched the kids gather their backpacks and head for home.
The hall was full, the kids were happy, and I watched, smiling. One of my sixth grade girls saw me through the window. Her eyes lit up, and she waved excitedly.
“Hi, Miss Hawkins!” she said.
I waved back. And then I thought,
“Oh my gosh, I have become Miss Hawkins.”
I am becoming my best self.
I thought I would be so different by this point, that I would have everything figured out. I thought I would have settled down into a calmer, more thoughtful, more loving me.
It should be noted that the very same evening after I was joyously called “Miss Hawkins” and admired for my “pretty outfits,” I got in a fight with my sister over the silliest thing. My life is a constant foil of itself.
Becoming Miss Hawkins has taken less time than I thought.
At the same time, the result is very different, too. I am still, in a lot of ways, the same girl I was when I was seven, planning Laura Ingalls Wilder Club meetings, writing stories, and wishing someday to be a beautiful, smart, kind writer-woman who surrounds herself with lovely people and good books.
I have ninety-nine children who call me Miss Hawkins. Ninety-nine people who will always think of me as their Latin teacher, their Magistra, the one who sang all the time and laughed too much at Latin jokes.
I have officially become Miss Hawkins.
Catherine Hawkins is a lover of words, music, coffee, and sunlight. She recently found herself teaching Latin, and she hopes to keep doing so for a good long time. She writes about these and other things at http://catherineannehawkins.com.
[Picture: Danikapierce, Creative Commons]
[Guest Post by Sonny Lemmons. One of the most humble and equally funny writers I’ve (never) met. Can’t wait to meet Sonny, an amazing stay at home dad/writer at Story Chicago Conference this Fall. I hope more people stop judging SAHD’s after reading this article.] …
[Guest post by Diana Palka] – There’s really no glamorous way to come to terms with moving back home with parents. It’s not that it’s a wretchedly horrific concept–in fact, I didn’t think much of it until I was here. But once the excitement of graduation fizzled …
A day or so after I decided on the theme for March–I read an article in the February 2013 issue of Marie Claire that caught my attention.
It was written by a young and witty woman named Lauren Mechling. In her article House Mate, she says,
“At 26, I moved into a typical Brooklyn apartment–two bedrooms connected by a windowless living room–with a good friend…When we signed the lease, my roommate was nursing a broken heart and wanted a fresh start. But a few months later, her ex started to appear with increasing frequency, lounging on the sofa and strumming a guitar in his pajamas. One afternoon, a month before our lease was up for renewal, she emailed me: ‘Will you be home tonight? I need to talk to you.'”
I’m pretty sure I know why the article caught my attention.
Maybe it’s because the same thing happened to me.
“By the sixth roommate talk, I started to wonder if there was something wrong with me” she continues.
Been there. Done that.
How many roommates did I lose because I was the last one to find a man?
Maybe you’re reading this and you’re tired of feeling lonely.
Tired of looking for yet another roommate.
Here’s my favorite quote from the article:
“This time, the idea of renting the room to another slew of female drifters seemed too bleak to bear. I’d wake up and the walls would seem to be falling in on me. I needed to move out in order to move on. After years of living with women on their way to committing, it was time for me to commit–to myself, and an apartment that I could call my own.”
I was so inspired by her article that I asked Lauren for an interview–and she said yes!
Below are three tips on moving out and living on your own!
“Was there a particular moment of epiphany or thought where you felt you needed to move out in order to move on?” I asked.
“I’d been happily living in the apartment for years. It wasn’t until after a very difficult break-up that I needed a change of scenery. I recall lying on top of my corduroy duvet cover, trying to concentrate on my novel while the sound of my roommate and her boyfriend’s voices filtered into the room. They were debating over what neighborhood to move to. Meanwhile, my bedroom light was all flickery and the closet door would no longer slide all the way shut. It seemed like a sign.”
“There are many girls, including myself, who have been the roommate left behind. What word of advice or encouragement would you give to the woman who feels alone?” I asked.
“First off, I’m sorry to hear that! Being left behind is doubly hard because a) you feel lousy about yourself, as if you lost some game you didn’t even realize that you were playing and b) you feel another layer of terrible for finding it hard to be doing jumping jacks of joy over somebody else’s good news. Yet it’s forgivable to be grumpy. Somebody close to you is moving on–quite literally. My advice to the woman who feels alone? Nurture your non-romantic relationships. Society places so much value on pairing off, but as I get older and now know what the inside of a marriage looks like, I realize what short shrift friendships get. They can be so complex, satisfying and life-enhancing. And the happier and sillier and richer your life is, the likelier you are to stumble upon the unexpected–be it a new-found passion for Norwegian indie rock or, um, other stuff. . .”
“For those who cannot afford to buy their own apartment, is there a next-best advice you can give to those who need help moving on with life?” I asked.
“Yeah–buying a place is SO NOT the solution (I didn’t get enough space in the article to get into what a financial disaster it all was). What really helped me feel better was to take ownership of my space and to be good to myself. So I’d say don’t be passive and let your surroundings get you down. A friend of mine is in a similar situation (living with a roommate, finding dating to be the pits) and said after reading my story she wants to get her own apartment. We talked about how she doesn’t have to go into debt. She can paint her room and treat herself to a few cute pieces of furniture. I’m also encouraging her to buy a puppy. But that might be because I wouldn’t mind having one to borrow.”
QUESTION: Whether you’re moving out of your parents home for the first or twentieth time, what scares you the most about living on your own?
[Photo: pixieclipx, Creative Commons]