For many years, I was stuck. But I only vaguely understood that I wasn’t reaching my potential.
Sure, there were great things going on with my family, my work, my town, etc. But I wanted to accomplish more, give more, make more of a difference.
Sometimes, I felt like a victim of circumstances. I believed that I could do more, live more, and be more with the right support system. Circumstances seemed to constrain me. Though I never articulated my feelings then, basically I thought:
- If my circumstances were different, I’d be different.
- My friends and family are fabulous, but they’re complacent. If they were different, I’d be different.
- My town is a great place to work, raise a family, and grow old gracefully, but not to start a movement. If my town was different, I’d be different.
- The people I interact with at work and in the community are fine people, but they don’t have much imagination. If they were different, I’d be different.
What I learned is that circumstances do matter. But I can learn to change them and you can learn to change even if your daily surroundings are pretty much the same.
Several years ago, a major shift in my perspective happened. I was studying The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren with a group at church. I knew what purpose was and how it applied to my life.
But a simple question stirred me. That question was: “what drives your life?” or put more simply, “what drives your decisions?”
I realized instantly that my faith, my love of God, and my desire to fulfill a purpose weren’t (sadly) my greatest influences. My decisions were dictated by whatever kept me safe, protected, away from danger. Sure, I was a mom with young children. And one of my greatest responsibilities was to protect them as I nurtured them in childhood to adolescence to young adulthood. But instead of my love of God motivating me, the desire to keep what I had guided me.
What drives my decisions is what I worship. So, while fear can be a warning guide, it’s a lousy captain.
So I started to change. It took a while to begin to make different decisions. It took even longer NOT to feel incredible angst as I acted, thought, and lived differently. But a process of transformation began and I couldn’t stop it.
To be clear, I wanted a better life, not necessarily a bigger house, greater social prestige, or more impressive professional credentials. Plus, I wanted to make a greater difference.
If you are anything like me, you also want to live more meaningfully and make a difference in the lives of those around you.
Depending on your interests, you might want to become more creative with food so you can teach healthy, inexpensive cooking to families with limited resources; get better at camping so you can lead wilderness treks with kids from the inner city; or just become more confident so you can start something new, whether it’s a neighborhood book club or a small group at your church.
And you want to enjoy the ride, the work, the expending of thought and energy.
But to achieve your goals plus become the person who is both contented, driven, and accomplished in your own unique way, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual shifts need to happen.
Interestingly, as a result of these shifts, some subtle, others dramatic, you’ll start to act, think, and live differently. You will appreciate your friends and family, and even your coworkers more. You will value a new experience much more than you’ll fear the risk. You will see new possibilities everywhere. You may even act more patient and kind…without lowering your standards or ditching your self-respect.
At Working To Live Differently, you will find my honest reflections on transformation, how it feels, and what it looks like. You’ll read about my Christian faith through my lens of experience, study, and a-ha moments. You’ll find practical tips on leading small groups, connecting with people, and facilitating authentic discussions. You’ll learn how community can be shaped and nurtured.
Hopefully, you will also learn to have greater courage, trust more in God, and be more daring in the things that matter. Plus, you will launch that thing you’ve been dreaming about.
Join me as I share what has worked for me…as I search to get better at what I do, try not to flinch when I fail, and become a different person.