Sunday, January 5, 2014

A Tender Mercy

With it now being 2014, I was reflecting on my life over the past year. I realized that this was the first year I did not make any new goals. How strange for me. 

If you've read my book Successful Failures, then you know the kind of goals I set, how hard I work to achieve them and how close I get to reaching them. For me setting goals has always been very addicting. I enjoy the fulfilling satisfaction of seeing a small dream come true and watching it lead to more open doors. For some reason when fall rolled around last year, I had reached a point where it truly felt like no matter how hard I tried to make something happen, it just wouldn't happen. 

I don't know if it's the pregnancy (don't think so) or just the way life goes (more likely) but I felt beaten down and exhausted. How I wished I had a personal secretary or an agent of some sort that could share some of the workload. The harder I pushed the thicker that wall in front of me became. The more I believed the more I watched my dreams crumble. The more money I put into my projects the more it became evident I wasn't going to earn any return on those investments. I was soon out of money, out of ideas and out of energy. It seemed that over working myself on my goals was leading to nothing and if I was going to get "nothing" and nowhere anyways, then it just made sense to sit back and "do nothing". So that's what I did. 

True, I enjoyed putting all my time and effort into my role as a mom and wife. That was fulfilling. But there was a part of me that felt lacking. I had lost my passion and I felt a little hollow. I missed those days of feeling connected to my dreams and making a difference with my talents. I missed that passion and that drive that I used to have. But part of me worried that if I opened that door again, I would again feel quickly beaten down and not have the strength or energy to persevere. Clearly someone had been trying to tell me that I needed to point my time and energy in a different direction which is why I abandoned all of my goals last fall. But still I felt a little lacking.

Soon it was obvious that I had fallen off my horse and had just been looking for ways to justify staying off it. I knew that I was feeling a little empty for a reason and I needed to make the choice to do something about it. Yes, that's right - it was a choice. 

So, I began with some long prayers to the Lord - asking for guidance and direction. I explained how frustrated I had been last year and how it led to my lack of confidence and motivation. I further explained that I felt like all my hard work had made the slightest difference and if working that hard couldn't even make a dent in the universe then why bother? I wanted to feel like my talents were needed and I had made a difference. I asked the Lord if he had any instruction for me at this time in my life and that I was listening and willing to obey. I asked if he could speak to me.

Well, let me just say that it hadn't even been 24 hours before he responded. I'm pretty sure he was waiting for this moment - waiting for me to just ask for his help. He was eager to do his part, I just needed to ask. Why I had felt like my desires were frivolous and better to be forgotten about, I'm not sure but I'm glad I changed my mind. I heard the Lord speak to me through an alert I received on my phone telling me that I had a facebook message. I went into my facebook page and found this sweet tender mercy.

Hey Lindsey - Just wanted to send a quick Thanks. I'm working on some new projects this year and have been feeling discouraged and impatient without anyone who's entrepreneurial to chat with about it and today I picked up Successful Failures again and read a section that spoke to my heart and refreshed my determination to press forward despite my inadequacies. Just wanted you to know that you are making a real difference and that your words are helping. 

As warm little goosebumps showered me from head to toe, I could feel God's love for me and I knew that I had been making a difference even when I couldn't see it. He was speaking directly to me through those around me. I knew it was time to get back on my horse and keep going onward. 

At this point I'm not quite sure what the next steps are other than building my hope again and exercising faith. I do know that by at least "doing something" that's all it takes for me to move forward. I trust that I will be led in the right direction and that I will soon get back my passion.

Shortly after writing this post I received a phone call from a counselor in the Stake Relief Society Presidency. She asked if I'd be willing to speak at the annual Stake Relief Society Women's Conference on the topic of having a positive attitude. She said that my name came to mind as someone who is always very positive. How humbled I was that that again, the Lord had answered my prayer. I felt needed and that I was making a difference. 

I hope my experience helps everyone to see that discouragement happens to all of us and it's how we deal with it that makes all the difference in the outcome. Anytime you lose your faith and allow doubt to take over - happiness, confidence and motivation goes right out the window. You allow Satan to have power over you. It's so easy to lose your vision and lose sight of the bigger picture. However when you are doing good things and you have good desires - all you need to do is exercise patience. Don't forget to ask (pray) for help along the way. There is a plan for your amazing talents and a place for you in this crazy world where you and only YOU along with your unique abilities can make a difference.

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