The Beauty in Music – @JoshGarrels

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This is a bit of a hike of a story, but I went to my first Josh Garrels concert last night, and I had such an immense amount of emotion throughout the evening that needed to get processed. So, here is the quite long process…

Some back story first.
Several years ago, I was introduced to Josh Garrels Music. I heard a couple of songs, loved it, then realized, I listened to his music all the time and became slightly obsessed.

His music was the perfect easy listening music that I could tap into or out of throughout my day as I worked. His music is soothing and comforting, sharing emotions that I felt or understood with unique sounds and amazing vocals. I have always said, his style is the perfect blend of life, theology and literature with music.

So, I bought every album he had off of Noisetrade. I listened to his music virtually every day for a solid year.

During that year, life was hard, life was good, and life was busy. I felt an immense burden to keep carrying on, pushing through difficulties and making it through my journey well, no matter what I faced.

Then, I had about $9,000 worth of stuff stolen from my apartment from someone I was helping, while I was on mission out of the country. It was just stuff, I could handle this, and I’ve never particularly been attached to my things… But, let me tell you, police reports, insurance, detailed lists.. Who steals 3 bottles of shampoo but neatly lines up the expensive weapons you had stashed around the house?!

Then, in the midst of dealing with the insurance company, I was let go from my job. Thankfully, I was given a stipend that would get me through the end of my lease in a couple of months.

I felt crushed, like my life was literally crumbling before my eyes and I was too weak and small to stop it from happening.

I went home after finding out, and despite putting on a brave face for everyone else.. I sat on my couch with my puppy wanting to play, and I just sat. Feeling no emotions except disbelief… How had I gotten here?

How do I follow God halfway across the country, only to a year later be sitting in my apartment with so many things that were just stuff to me missing? What do I do now?

The job I thought was pursuing Him now gone. And in its place, just nothing.

No direction, no peace, no confidence.

So, in Krista fashion, I got up from that place, I had stuff to do, no one was going to help me. I went to my newly replaced computer, re-downloaded my iTunes music, surfed for Josh Garrels and almost cried when I realized none of his music was bought through iTunes. I uttered a little “Come ON God” prayer and went to Noisetrade again silently pleading that I would find something.

All of Josh Garrels’ music was free.

Every. Last. Song.

I could replace every album without having to pay a for it second time. I had one of those huge sighs that gets stuttered when you’re about to cry. So, I once again downloaded his albums, put them on blast and proceeded to start cleaning and packing.

Fast forward several months.
I had applied for several hundred jobs around the country, I no longer lived in my own home, but instead stored my stuff with one aunt and uncle and moved in with another aunt and uncle. I knew how blessed I was because I was being so amazingly taken care of by people who made me feel like it was the simplest thing in the world and that I belonged. I knew I was given precious time with my parents, siblings, nieces and nephews that all lived close by.

Yet, I had been told by God that life would get worse… and worse it got.

Months went by and I spent every day all day applying for jobs and doing freelance work to pay my monthly bills.
Winter was the worst one in MI, with snow storms every three days for months, no sunshine, and I was alone all day long trying to force movement in my life that simply wasn’t budging.

And, every day, Josh Garrels music played in the background.

I often would crawl into bed at night, and my heart would be aching, feeling abandoned by God, fearful of tomorrow, stressing about every dollar I had to spend, trying to rationalize the season I found myself in, and feeling nothing but pain. So, I created a sleeping playlist hoping that the music would wash over me, and usher in peace as I slept. The playlist had everything from Hillsong and Enter the Worship Circle, to Brooke Fraser and Josh Garrels. Anything that said something to my heart softly was played.

For months this went on; my head knowledge was full on at war with my heart knowledge.
My head knew full well that my savior is always faithful, always has been, and always will be; but, my heart-felt none of that. I struggled to understand, but always came up short.

Then, in a horrible series of events, a friend needed help, and I had the availability to go. So, we spent months together in both of our utter brokenness trying to help the other in different ways, while leaning on the support we offered each other. But, for the first time in almost a year, I had purpose, I was needed, I finally was capable to do something productive. I still spent hours every day applying for jobs and seeking out freelance work, and never quite let go of the deepening feeling that despite how I looked on paper, I was not enough.

All the while, Josh Garrels music played in my headphones. Other music was certainly a part of my life, For King and Country was played often, as was Brooke Fraser’s music. But, the constant that I returned to was Josh Garrels.

Then, last fall, I got an interview, then a second, then a job, moved, and began slowly rebuilding my broken life in DC again.

Still feeling as though I was building a house of cards that would come down, surely life was not yet good. I enjoyed my new life, friends and job, but I was confident deep down that the other shoe would fall and I would be once again useless. Fear began seeping into every small facet of my life. Not once before would I have described myself as a fearful person, I have always loved to dance in the unknown and “see what happens” because after all, what is the worst that could happen? Yet, here I was trying to push through, hoping deep down that eventually I would feel safe again.

Josh Garrels released his new album Home a couple months ago, and it is perfect. It reflects such a peace, joy and comfort that home has. That safe feeling that you belong, are known, and that it’s ok to mess up because that doesn’t change who you are or how much you are loved.

I’m fairly confident I have listened to the album every day since it’s release.

Last night at Josh Garrels’ concert in VA, he talked about the emotions of Home. He described the season of life he was in, and how on paper it was good, yet he was struggling through these feelings of fear but needing to know things were going to be alright. I could have spoken every single one of those words (except for being married and having three children haha).

I love his new album immensely, but his old work carries deep inside of me cause it was the backdrop of so much pain, life, wrestling, and working through who I was and my worth when all else was stripped away.

My Abba Father and I have been sifting through where my identity rests. What worth do I have when I am incapable of helping someone else? How do I accept my good when I mess up so often, handling things so poorly more often than I ever care to admit.

Throughout the concert, Josh Garrels played some of his new music, but also much to my delight, some of his old music as well. So, in the course of an hour and a half, I felt all the feels of the old life of the last few years, and the hope that is slowly seeping into my new life.

So, today, I find myself feeling an immense amount of thankfulness.
Thankful to my friend who gifted me with tickets to the concert.

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Thankful for Josh Garrels, his wife, his music, and how he shares his journey towards Christ.

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Thankful that God is working, and moving, and creating something new in me.

Thank you for letting me share my story and unpack another layer and element of what is happening inside of me.

Looking Ahead: 2015

So, I do a year in review every year, and it is my favorite blog post to do annually because it forces me to pause and reflect on where I have been, what I have done, and the people and things that have changed me. I also have found that taking time to remember tends to cause and overwhelming feeling of gratitude to God for all the things He has done and ways that He has once again proven his faithfulness. You can read about the 2014 review here, 2013 here, and 2012 here.. Beyond that, if you’re still interested you can look in my December archives for each year 🙂

My second favorite post of the year is the one where I look ahead, make goals, resolutions, plans, and share the things I can see (or not see) coming, as well as any thoughts or insights into what it feels like God is up to in my life.

This year I turn 30!

I am stoked.

It may seem odd that I am so excited, but for some reason I am.
I am looking forward to starting a new decade of my life.
I am looking forward to feeling like there is less pressure at 30 to prove yourself.
I am looking forward to enjoying life in a new way.

  1. The year I was 29 was incredibly difficult, but it has only caused me to resolve to create healthy habits across every aspect of my life.
  2. This year I am excited about starting a new job and continuing my consulting work, learning, growing, experiencing, helping others, and leading well.
  3. I want to read like crazy this year. I want to learn from other people’s experiences and then figure out how to apply them to what I am doing.
  4. I need to get new running shoes (my other one’s are broken), but, as soon as I do I want to get back to running and weight lifting.
  5. I want to eat healthy and properly hydrate myself. I feel like I made significant progress over the last six months, but I still need make better choices moving forward, so I plan on it.
  6. I am looking forward to walking. I am within walking distance of work, have a dog who needs exercise, and live in a highly active city.. I want to experience and take full advantage.
  7. I want to dance often. I miss Salsa dancing (or latin dancing in general) immensely whenever I do not get to do it regularly… So, now that I have returned to a city that has a great dancing scene, I plan on jumping back in regularly!
  8. I want to be better at mailing letters and cards. I plan on making it a weekly habit to mail at least one letter or card, whether long or short… (That being said.. send me your address if you would like to get added to my list!)
  9. I need to get back in the habit of praying regularly and for extended periods of time for friends, family, and situations of others… So, my mirror 3×5 cards are going back up!
  10. I took a significant break from blogging many times throughout last year. I just felt like I had nothing of value to share, so I said nothing at all. But, I missed it, a lot. So, regularly weekly blogs are getting put back into the rotation of schedule.
  11. I want so badly to travel internationally this year!
  12. I have 5 years to pay off a stupid ridiculous amount of debt, but I am determined to keep my focus there. Even if I do not attain my goal (which, at this stage, I’m not sure how I would) focusing on it will ensure that I am being diligent and making wise choices.
  13. I want to put money in savings!
  14. I want to add to and cross things off my before I die bucket list year!
  15. I need to carve out space in my schedule to read and actually study scripture.
  16. I am going to keep a jar full of daily things that were blessings, positives, good moments, things I was thankful for that day. — I did this for about 5 months of last year, this year I aim for the whole year.

I think this year is going to be jam-packed and I am so excited about it. I cannot wait to look back at the year and marvel at how many things I crammed into each week.
I feel as though this year I am going to be trying to drink out of a firehose all year. I am looking forward to the laughter and ridiculousness of things that are surely going to happen in the process of trying to absorb it all.
I have a feeling that I will get really good this year at owning up to mistakes and apologizing for the things I dropped the ball on.

As I start 2015, I am at a place of marvel and wonder. I am totally amazed at where I find myself after having moments of wondering if the difficult and painful things would ever end.

I have a sneaking suspicion that the marvel and wonder won’t go away for a while, and I’m totally ok with that.

 

2014 in Review

I love reviewing my year and looking forward to the next one to come. Each year the review looks different and takes on a vast array of feel and styles. But, I love taking the time to pause and really look at how the year went, what I did, learned, went through.. friends I made, experiences I had, but mostly the growth that happened.

I think this year was one of the most difficult, different, and unique years I have had to date. So, to prevent a bit of rambling, here are 29 things from the year I was 29:

1. I was unemployed or not full-time employed for 50 of the 52 weeks this year. – I applied for more than 400 jobs, got rejected from almost 100 of them, didn’t hear back from 200 something of them, and finally got a job!

2. I started pursuing consulting work in February, and made the transition to doing it full-time in August. I discovered that I absolutely love consulting work. So much so, that I plan on continuing it part-time on the side even with a full-time job.

3. I made a list of 29 things I wanted to do this year, I accomplished maybe half of those things.. Some of them were hopeful, some are sad that I was unable to do them just because of my financial situation, and others I am surprised and pleased that I was able to do them.

4. I had three late payments this year, but didn’t miss a single bill all year. I actually have no idea how this happened. Knowing my lack of money all year, I am totally and completely blown away by this fact. Astonished.

5. So. So. So. many people literally stepped in and prevented me from:
being homeless,
starving,
without a car (three times),
pursued for the money I owed the IRS,
in severe neck/back pain,
and a plethora of other things.
I am so shocked and amazed at how so many people stepped in and helped me with so much love and support that came out in so many ways.

6. I was able to have so much fun this year despite lacking finances to have any fun. I played for my birthday, went to New Orleans with some of my favorite people in the world, visited friends, grilled out, game nights, long talks, surprised friends for their birthday, and I got to hang out and watch movies and tv shows with family and friends.. Just so many fun things.

7. I had my sense of self and identity destroyed by being incapable of taking care of myself. It literally shattered my understanding of who I was, and what I had to offer the world to not be capable.

8. God strategically placed old and new friends in my life this year to slowly speak life back into my heart and soul. And, with their voices over the course of many many months, he slowly began telling me and showing me who I am and what my identity is once again.

9. I got more family time in the course of the last year than I have in probably the last ten years combined. Just so many fun memories, long conversations, laughter, joking, annoyances, tv shows, movies, date nights (with various family members), good food.. Literally so much wonderful quality time.

10. I have watched more tv in the last year than I have in probably the last ten years combined.

11. Last year, I had someone give what I have come to describe as a prophecy over me.. It was the awful hope that I clung to throughout the year.. Things were going to get so much worse, and I was going to look dead, and then I would grow back more fruitful and with more blessings than I would have otherwise been capable of beforehand.

12. I gained weight and was incredibly unhappy with my body.. Then I made some changes to my lifestyle and lost weight, and became much more content with how I look.

13. For the first time in my life I decided to be intentional about properly rehydrating myself. It was one of the best decision I made this year.. That is until the days I forget or am unable to consume the water my body needs/is used to.. those days I now feel awful.

14. I drove hundreds upon hundreds of miles this year. I loved every mile, and the time I got to catch up with friends or pray or contemplate and mull over things going on in my life.

15. I was able to see and re-connect with several old friends, and make a bunch of new friends.

16. I didn’t dye my hair for TEN MONTHS. Ten whole months I went (mostly cause I was poor) without dying my hair.. I spent the whole time telling myself I was giving it time to “heal” haha

17. Vormund and I spent so much time walking and traveling throughout the year. I am amazed at how much a dog can become such a place of comfort and stability.

18. I was able to spend quite a bit of time dancing this year! It had been more than a year since I was able to dance consistently so it was so nice to finally get to dust off my shoes and practice!

19. I got some pretty cool clients that are super fun to work with/for… Plus, it’s given me such great insight and knowledge into so many other industries.

20. I was reviewing my Facebook timeline for this blog post, and kept laughing at things people posted on my wall that were funny, insightful, interesting, and just overall engaging. I love the things that make my friends and family think of me, and how much they go out of their way to share those things with me! So much fun.

21. I got to take my two nephews out for birthday adventures. We had so much fun. I think I am going to try to make that a new tradition whenever possible!

22. Vormund put on around 30lbs this year, and turned two at the end of August.

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8.5 weeks old

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Just over 1 year old.

 

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Just over 2 years old.

23. I feel like this year was a year of pain and hurt.. but with a purpose at the end (that I do not currently entirely understand). Throughout the course of even just this year I have been able to encourage someone and completely understood what they were going through. It was weirdly encouraging for me as well to find people who we had struggling in common, as if not being the only one experiencing the issues helped.

24. My faith and relationship with God has been dramatically different in 2014 than it has ever been previously. We did very little actual talking, but a whole heck of a lot of sitting in silence together experiencing pain and just being in each other’s presence. I did a lot of sharing my heart, but more just pushing my heart towards Him and with a distinct lack of words to describe how I was feeling. My comprehension of who He is, and my faith in His unfailing love has grown into an unmoving solid understanding

25. I have never in my entire life stressed and worried or stayed up at night with straight up fear as much as I have this year. I spent countless nights just laying in bed physically stressing over money… I hope to never repeat those feelings or nights.

26. I gained a greater understanding of how frustrating cliché answers can be to someone truly going through a season or situation. There were days that cliché answers just made me see red and want to punch someone in the throat. When something is so profoundly emotion, cliché answers are not encouraging, but rather frustrating.

27. I learned so much about hope, hopelessness, strength, faith, pain, joy, anxiousness, stress, peace, and patience even without understanding. I would never choose to repeat this year, but I also am very thankful for how I have grown because of it.

28. It is hard to explain the level of relief I felt when I got the job in DC… To be moving back to a city I love, and to have a job, to work for a place I have loved for so long, and to finally feel like I have direction.. Huge amounts of relief… Followed by the stress of trying to figure it all out. I have been cycling through relief and stress on a regular basis for about a month now. Repeating to myself, God has carried me this far, He cannot let me go now.

29. Despite everything, love has been overwhelming this year. Friends loving me. Family stepping in and loving me, even when I was about as interesting as a little blank grey piece of paper. Loved when I couldn’t love well in return or had nothing to offer.

As I reflect on 2014, I am amazed. So many things went wrong, yet I am in a state of awe for the way that God has done things this year. Thank you to those of you who reached out and loved me, supported me, encouraged me, gave me money, did fun things with me, talked to me for hours, told me how much I mean to you, prayed for me, hugged me, took care of me and/or my dog.. Thank you for loving me strongly, gently, fiercely, and when I did not deserve the love. You all made this year possible (as in actually made it possible). I do not deserve the love and I am humbled knowing how little I had to give in return.

Thank you.

 

All of The Emotions in a Rainbow…

Sometimes, I find myself with (lots of) things to say, but a lack of desire to dig deep and flesh out the thoughts and feelings. I think that has been my biggest reason behind the almost two month absence from blogging. I have so many things I want to say and share, but a pretty distinct lack of willingness to dig it out for others to partake in. Despite the fact that I truly enjoy blogging and allowing others to see things that I am working through in my life, sometimes I want to avoid it in order to not actually have to work through them myself.

Then, a person particularly close to my heart, mentioned that they were journaling, and I was reminded of how much I do actually love blogging and sharing my thoughts.

So, here I am, blogging again.
Unfortunately, there is a swirling chaos of thoughts and emotions, so this post is a smattering of it all:

I got a full-time job!
It will take me back to DC soon, and I am stoked. As in, beyond excited because I absolutely love the place I will be working. I am so excited to get started, and to move back, but I am working not to be frustrated at the slower pace of the hiring process… Especially due to the holidays. (For those that have been asking, no, I do not have an official start date yet.)

Also, people have been asking about my consulting work. I still love consulting work! I will continue to do it even after I start my full-time job. I weighed it all out, and realized that I truly love consulting work, and I enjoy working with the clients I have right now. Plus, what I am doing now is entirely manageable with a full-time job. So, true to form, I am doing both.. And, could not be more excited about it!

I am however pretty stressed because of money and figuring out how to make the move work… Going for little or no income for a year and a half to moving is a pretty big feat. But, I find myself constantly pushing back to focusing on how God has carried me through, and is taking me back to a place I love.. How could He abandon me now? He will not.. It will however add to my crazy story thus far.

Whenever I find myself faced with some exciting possibility, I also have to struggle to not temper my feelings “just in case it all falls through.” I hate it, but I do not want to let myself be too disappointed, so I find it safer to reserve some of my excitement… While at the same time trying to seem appropriately excited. I have had to take control of my wandering mind and re-orient it, reminding myself that God has carried me through, and despite the feeling that “things could always go wrong”, the risk is worth it all. I know that on the other side, I will feel the familiar rush of relief that everything went through and it all happened exactly as it was supposed to… But, until then, prayer is where I am turning for relief.

I find myself really struggling to restrain the antsy feelings. It is a bit like trying to control muscle spasms.. I want to be done with the holding pattern that has been the last year and a half. I want to be busy, because I flourish most when I have more things to accomplish than I have time for… The less I have to do, the more I slip into laziness and apathy; I despise those two things about myself.

My sister and I are writing a book series together, and I am really enjoying the whole process with her. She is so much fun and we find ourselves laughing all the time! Talking through the various aspects of our story, the characters, progression, writing scenes, brainstorming, adding random hints and bits of humor… The whole process has been so much fun!

IMG_0502Also, on an entirely different note, I colored my hair for the first time since my birthday (10 months ago). I am back to red/fuchsia, and I love it, feels like me to have ridiculous hair again.

His Beloved…

“How are you?”

That has been the most difficult question to answer as of late. I am good because I can look around and see the great things, people, situations, etc.. that leave my heart to fill with hope. And yet, I am not so good at the same time. I find that my heart is really not ok at my core, but not because of any one thing in particular.

The best way I can describe how I feel is, it seems like God and I are working on and through things that are leaving my heart in a difficult and vulnerable place in order to truly heal and move forward from here.

I am not the biggest fan of feeling vulnerable in general, but this time I also am allowing myself to sit in the emotions that God is bringing up instead of just pushing them aside.

After a few conversations with my bff about how I am doing, she recommended that we should read Abba’s Child by Brennan Manning together. At just a few chapters in, Abba’s Child has been distinctly different from most books I have read (especially recently) in terms of the impact it is having on my heart. As I read, I feel my heart stirring, and at times, I find myself so overwhelmed with emotions that, I have to actually put the book (or computer since I’m reading it on my Kindle app) down and walk away to take a breather.

I am quickly accumulating a ridiculously large file of typed notes, and highlighting the book like crazy.

You see, most days, I feel confident, secure in who I am, whose I am, and I tend to be fully aware of my strengths, weaknesses, gifts, and flaws. Then there are other times where I just feel entirely insecure, inadequate, like I will never be enough, like I am or need too much, and as though I am pulled apart at the seams on the inside.

Lately, I have felt mostly the latter sense of self.

I believe there are a few key things playing into the state of my heart right now…
1. Satan loves to whisper into insecurities, and unfortunately, I think I have been giving him too much room to play.
B. Sometimes, timing for things can be awesome… Other times, it can be the absolute worst timing to have to deal with things and it just adds to the weight.
iii. God knows it is time to burn away the chaff and scars in order to heal and move forward more solidly in His grasp… But, that requires allowing my heart to be molded anew, and that is just not an easy place to be.

I am a little scared to say, that despite the state of my heart, I am actually looking forward to this growth process.. It will likely be fairly painful, but hopefully in the good sense of pain.

I am looking forward to finally having the refreshing feeling of being closer to my sweet savior once again. From the very center of my being, I desire to rediscover my identity in Christ. I hope that in this process I can re-find myself, my strengths, weaknesses, identity, and that both my hope and faith will come out on the other side remade.

Because maybe the best way to communicate the rest of what my heart is working through is to share some (only a select few) of the quotes I have kept.
I am only a few chapters in, but these quotes are a great reflection of my thoughts and feelings from Abba’s Child (not necessarily in order of placement in the book):

“It takes a profound conversion to accept that God is relentlessly tender and compassionate toward us just as we are— not in spite of our sins and faults (that would not be total acceptance), but with them… He anguishes over our self-absorption and self-sufficiency.”

“God loves who we really are— whether we like it or not.”

“We learn to be gentle with ourselves by experiencing the intimate, heartfelt compassion of Jesus.”

“‘Quit keeping score altogether and surrender yourself with all your sinfulness to God who sees neither the score nor the scorekeeper but only his child redeemed by Christ.’”

“We are made for God, and nothing less will really satisfy us.”

“As we come to grips with our own selfishness and stupidity, we make friends with the impostor and accept that we are impoverished and broken and realize that, if we were not, we would be God. The art of gentleness toward ourselves leads to being gentle with others— and is a natural prerequisite for our presence to God in prayer.”

“When we accept the truth of what we really are and surrender it to Jesus Christ, we are enveloped in peace, whether or not we feel ourselves to be at peace. By that I mean the peace that passes understanding is not a subjective sensation of peace; if we are in Christ, we are in peace even when we feel no peace.”

“I continually felt the need to apologize, to run from my weaknesses, to deny who I was and concentrate on what I should be. I was broken, yes, but I was continually trying never to be broken again— or at least to get to the place where I was very seldom broken
.”

“He is the Savior who saves us from ourselves.”

“‘
to make the Lord and his immense love for you constitutive of your personal worth. Define yourself radically as one beloved by God. God’s love for you and his choice of you constitute your worth. Accept that, and let it become the most important thing in your life.'”

“We give glory to God simply by being ourselves
. Living in awareness of our belovedness is the axis around which the Christian life revolves. Being the beloved is our identity, the core of our existence.”

“All I want to say to you is, ‘You are the Beloved,’ and
all I hope is that you can hear these words as spoken to you with all the tenderness and force that love can hold.
My only desire is to make these words reverberate in every corner of your being—
‘ You are the Beloved.
’”

Decisions to Be Made…

IMG_0624My heart has been anxious, scattered, and felt unnerved lately… And, unfortunately, this may be a little bit of a jumbled post as I try to iron out some of the scattered thoughts…

Last night while I slept, it felt as though instead of sleeping and dreaming, I wrestled with questions and struggled to find my footing again. I am not sure if God and I were wrestling, or if I was just stressing…

For the first time in a long time, I find myself struggling through a plethora of insecurities… Am I good enough, strong enough, pretty enough, smart enough, loving enough, caring enough?.. Basically my insecurities have boiled down to, “Am I enough?” Sometimes it feels as though my insecurities come in waves, disappearing entirely for a while, and then crashing down on me once again. I love the seasons when they are gone because I feel uninhibited and free to dance in who I am.

I am in this weird place where I have total peace and no doubts about moving forward with my consulting work… I am doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing. I mean, it is definitely hard work, and requiring a lot of hours from me, but I love watching it unfold, and I truly enjoy the consulting itself.. but mostly, I love the people who I get to help.

It seems interesting and quite frustrating to finally feel like I have direction in one area of my life, and feel as though satan is attacking (or maybe merely just whispering to) my doubts and insecurities.

The best way I can describe it is, my inner layers are growing weary; that I desire stability and certainty, but instead what I find is doubt and uncertainty… almost across the board too, which is just aggravating. When I stop and survey all the aspects of things in my life, all of the decisions to be made, the stressors and of course all the uncertainties, I find my heart just being tired… No overwhelming emotion, just fatigue. I know that while I have a huge support system, I am ultimately alone in making decisions, and just feel exhausted at my center for at having to make them all.

I also think some of the weariness is due to trying to work towards healing wounds and insecurities, and realizing that I am probably more fragile than I care to admit or show…

True to my nature though, I tend towards being an all or nothing type person. Now that I have financial and professional direction, I want to work as hard as I can to get the other areas of my life to fall together and heading in the same direction as well.

I mean, I am certain that Jesus is my provider, and I have no doubt that He is also my sustainer. But, I would like to also feel secure and safe for a little while. There is a huge difference between knowing and feeling.

I really am thankful and amazed at all of the ways God has taken care of me, over the last year especially. Words really do not accurately describe the emotions that I feel when I think of all of the people who have stood in the gap… Because, regardless of your view of me, I really am not worthy of the amount of love and support that I have received.

On the other hand, I have felt for years, and even more so over the last year that no matter how many people love and support me, I am ultimately responsible for taking care of myself. My sense of responsibility for taking care of myself does not come from a prideful place, and certainly not from the viewpoint of not needing help, and I have no desire to do this because of an “I am woman hear me roar” attitude. However, my feeling of responsibility is more from the practical sense that, if I do not do it, there is no one else walking this journey with me, so it must be me.

I think now is a good time to pause and say that this “by myself” perspective is not at all directed at my lack of need for Christ or the Holy Spirit’s guidance.. Nor is it directed at feeling as though I do not need help.. cause I without doubt do need help. But, I am certain that my need does not inherently mean it is anyone else’s obligation to step in and help.

There are days that I feel like maybe I seek out and rely on others too much because I definitely seek out other people to talk things over with (sometimes ad nauseam) to help me figure out what and how to do all of this well. I am so, so thankful for the friendship, patience, and support of my sounding boards. But, when I climb into bed at night thinking over my day, I mull over and pray for the things that I did not do so well, the choices that need to be made the following day, and the situations that I am uncertain about, and I am reminded that this journey is between God and I.

Cast your burden upon the Lord and He will sustain you;
He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.” – Psalm 55:22

Excitement and Nervousness…

It has been 51 weeks since I have had full-time job. For the last year, I have put almost all of my effort towards finding a new job and moving forward. In the course of the last year I have dabbled in my consulting work, and really just used it to help cover the basic financial needs that I had.

Throughout the course of job-hunting, I have been struggling with frustration, timing, and desperately trying to hold onto any bits of hope I could find. And then, recently I have started to realize that maybe God is just telling me “no”… But, then what if he was saying “wait” instead.. And then, concern and frustrating would grow deeper because I could not get a clear grasp of the situation or direction.

Within the last few weeks, three more job possibilities fell through, and at the same time I had several people (separately) start encouraging me to really think about and pursue my consulting work… After all, I was already building a client list that includes people in several states, another country, and a vast array of industries… Technically, I was already “succeeding” even though I had not stopped to look at it in that way.

Initially, I dismissed the notion of working to survive off of my consulting work. After all, the level of income I would need means my number of clients would be absolutely ridiculous.. and, I was fairly confident I would not be able to pull it off without killing myself.

Yet, after a couple of weeks of someone mentioning it almost daily, I began to really consider the possibility, but found myself truly struggling with fear of failing. –Which was a unique experience since fear is not often a factor that inhibits my decision-making.

I was plagued with hundreds of “what ifs” and overwhelmed with the possibility of trying and failing, then frustrated all over again that those two things were impacting me to such a degree that I was refusing to move.

So, several weeks later, dozens of conversations with a whole lot of different people, thinking, praying, and really processing what would need to happen in order for me to survive off of my consulting work.. All of which I am fairly confident drove my friends and family crazy (thanks for the patience), I have finally settled with some excitement and trepidation on a decision:

I am going to pursue consulting as a full-time/main source of income.

I may upon occasion still apply to full-time jobs that strike me as particularly exciting or interesting, however, I am no longer going to mainly focus on applying for jobs. If God opens a door for me to walk through that seems right, then I will, but until then, consulting work seems to be the only door open.

Which of course leaves the question, what am I consulting on?

Marketing,
Communications,
Advertising,
Social and Digital Media,
Content and Copy Writing,
Branding,
Strategic Planning,
Business Development,
Leadership Training,
Change Management,
Among a few other closely related items…

I mean after all, I already have a large portion of the up front work done:
www.backinconsulting.com
Facebook

I have been slowly gaining clients through freelance sites online, but I have been amazed by the word of mouth clients that have come along unexpectedly. I am also excited that I have found an interesting niche in consulting for smaller churches.

I really do love and enjoy both the field of marketing and when I get to do consulting work, I like getting to know new people and researching their industries. However, I think what I enjoy the most is using something that is relatively “useless” in the grand scheme of things, and getting to impact people’s lives in a significant and meaningful to them way.

Along the way, some of my biggest hold ups have been that it was not in my plan to switch to consulting work as my main career focus… My plan was to do consulting work if I ever got married and needed to follow my husband, and/or needed to stay at home with kids… But, as a single woman, I never really considered it to be a real possibility… Yet here I am not only considering it, but working towards it diligently every day. Yikes!

A small part of me almost expects a full-time job to come around now that I have shifted my focus, but I am building my clientele slowly enough that I would be able to have both a full-time job and maintain my clients. Plus, I am trusting that God is using this change in direction to restore, rebuild me, and shape my future entirely differently than I had anticipated and planned for.

It is all both exciting and makes me really nervous.

Please pray for me and that I am able to build my clients to a decent level, but also, that I can move forward without fear motivating me one way or another.

Also, I would appreciate you keeping me in mind as you hear of people/companies/churches that may need help!

I think it is finally time to start regrowing.

IMG_1699“My Tree”, you can read more about the story behind this tree here.