I've been thinking it's been quite awhile since I've actually blogged. I seem to be doing a lot more book reviews than blogging. I had to ask myself why. If truth be told, I feel more comfortable blogging book reviews than I do blogging.
This never was the case though. As a matter of fact, my husband told me the other day how he used to enjoy reading my spin on devotionals. I would forward devotionals with my own thoughts at the end of them. The crazy thing is, I would receive more feedback from my notes than the actual devotional.
I caught myself thinking, why did I stop? I guess somewhere along the line, I began questioning myself and being less willing to be transparent. Perhaps a series of unfortunate events or circumstances lead me to this place.
However, when you are less willing to risk being vulnerable or transparent, it unfortunately effects every aspect of your life. Your marriage, friendships, interpersonal relationships and creativity too.
I've also discovered that the people you surround yourself with can either affect you negatively or positively. If you surround yourself with critical or judgmental people, you will eventually find yourself discouraged and hopeless. The outer critical voices start aligning themselves with your inner critical voices; of doubt, fear, criticism, judgment, insecurity, etc...and it's all downhill from there.
This has been one of my main struggles. I don't seem to do well under people's scrutiny and/or negative opinions, criticisms or judgments. I guess I personally got to a place in my life which lead me to no longer want to put myself out there. But, as safe as that might be or feel, it truly isn't living.
Which brings me to my next point. The other day I had an interesting conversation with my father in law. He happens to be a very creative and fun loving person. You can't feel bad around this man, he is always uplifting and encouraging. I feel so comfortable being around him as he exudes positivity and acceptance. He is of the school of thought that if you don't have something good to say, then don't say anything at all. I like that philosophy, don't you?
I admire my father in law's tenacity to dream big despite what other people might think or say. He is so passionate and focused on what he enjoys doing that it doesn't matter to him what others think. I believe that is the key to why he is so upbeat and positive. He never stops believing, hoping, dreaming and/or pressing forward on his journey.
In our brief conversation, he began sharing what he thinks of me and I recalled struggling internally. I thought to myself, why can't I really embrace my father in law's compliments? I just kept having the feeling of interjecting and explaining why he is wrong. Which really got me thinking... why is it such a struggle for me? I mean, people love compliments right? So what's the problem? I realized that I have gotten so accustomed to receiving criticism and judgment in my life that I can't handle receiving compliments.
Sad right? But guess what... I'm not alone. I know there are plenty of people walking around who struggle like me. They just don't say it. You once dreamed big dreams, but between one thing or the other, you gave up too. You surrendered to the thought of... what's the use... maybe they're right. You probably came up with a million and one excuses on why you can't or won't. But deep down, you feel the same way I do; that gnawing restlessness inside doesn't want to leave you alone.
I don't know about you, but I don't want people or their remarks stopping me from pursuing my dreams. I don't want to surrender to their (unsolicited) negative opinions, thoughts, criticisms or judgments of me. I don't want what they think or say to define who I am. Do you?
So I challenge you today (as I challenge myself) to take a baby step toward your dream. Yes, 'that' dream you secretly tucked away in your heart years ago. God put that dream in your heart for a reason. By His grace, let us begin to use the gifts and talents God has planted in us for His glory.
Let us continue to "press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:14