All of us have a story. Sometimes, the only part of someone’s story that we see is the pretty part. That part where they are successful, happy, healed, and whole. We see the business owner who is making good money, vacationing and living the life they want; but we didn’t see the years of struggle or the 80 hour work weeks during the building phase. We see the author who breaks through and has a best seller; but we didn’t see the days when the words wouldn’t come, the rejection letters, the pages tossed in the trash. We see the happy mama with her kiddos all smiling and obedient; but we didn’t see the tears she shed at night or the hours spent on her knees in prayer.
I got my copy of the Money Making Mom book by Crystal Paine over the weekend. (If you don’t have your copy yet, you can get it on Amazon here) I had a huge Spreecast to prepare for and had to try to put away as many moving boxes as I could before the carpet cleaners came (yes, I am still not totally unpacked…I hope to be done by the end of the year…that’s my goal 🙂 ), so I didn’t have a chance to read it… and to be honest, I was kind of scared to read my part of the book. My friend, who did read it, told me not to be afraid. 🙂
Don’t get me wrong – Having part of my story published like this is a huge honor. It still amazes me that a simple comment left on a blog post turned into all of this. But it also puts some parts of my story that are not so pretty out there for the public to read. I have had a mixture of excitement and anxiety over it all since the beginning. In the end, it is my story. I can’t go back and change any of it, so I have to learn and grow from it, and hopefully, use it to help others.
As I was thinking about my story and the fact that everyone has one, I realized I can’t be the only person whose story is kind of rocky and not neatly packaged for public consumption. Actually, I’m sure that most all of us have some part of our stories that we’d like to keep hidden away. Maybe it’s in our past…or maybe it’s our present. No one gets through life unscathed. It’s how we learn and grow from those hard things that truly defines us.
I still have a long way to go in my journey, as a person and as a business owner (I hope I am never fully done growing as either one of those, really). This is not my beginning…but it’s also not my ending. Sometimes, it can be hard when we see people at the end of their stories (I’m not talking about the end of life, but rather the big triumph at the end of a particular journey or season in their lives). When we see the glorious end, it’s hard not to compare that to our beginning or our middle. We can see their successes and it can make our current situation look more like failure than victory. I think that’s why it’s so important to compare ourselves with ourselves, not with others. Our stories, our journeys, are not going to be the same anyway, so that’s really never a fair comparison.
I am definitely not at a place where I feel like I have it all together (does anyone ever feel that way??) so it can be hard for me to celebrate the things I’ve accomplished so far because I think “Yes, that is something to be happy about, but I still have such a long way to go here”. I would venture to say many of you have the same thoughts. But when we think that way, it steals our joy at making progress. We’ve all heard the saying, It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey. That is true (although the destination is pretty important 🙂 ). If we don’t take pride in the forward steps we make, and we don’t appreciate the small victories, then we may get to our destination, but we’ve been miserable along the way. We have to embrace the fact that we are good enough, smart enough, (fill in the blank) enough. We may not be to our finish line…to that victory we are working so hard for, but it’s ok to acknowledge the fact that we are making steps forward and to take pleasure in that, rather than feeling like, because it’s not the end of the story, it’s not worth celebrating.
So, whether your story is just beginning or you are in the middle of it, I encourage you to embrace your progress, no matter how small it might be. Find joy in the journey to your victory. Even if your story is ugly, it’s ok; the best makeovers always come from the worst starting places. Plus, if your story started out at the top, where could you go from there?? 🙂 Set some goals. Write them down. Celebrate each step forward. Soon, you’ll realize just how far you’ve come.
I’m praying for you this week, ladies, that you would give yourself permission to celebrate the progress you’re making, that you would be encouraged in your journey even when it’s hard, and that you would realize you are not defined by an ugly story. There will be a triumph at the end of this journey you’re on… There may be some twists and turns and unexpected potholes. Don’t give up! And don’t wait until the end to celebrate how awesome you are!
Keep Dreaming ~