Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Do vs. Who: Part 2

There are a lot of communities forming for women to be encouraged, challenged and equipped.

These make me so excited. Women being encouraged to pursue their dreams, take charge of what they want, make things happen, be a part of something significant.. all great things! And I do love all of this. However, I do think there is a downside..

Please don't read that as me thinking any of these are bad.. But I do think that despite all of those great things, there can be discouragement too. I see a push for women to do something big, create something new/successful and maximize themselves to do good. Again, all good things.
But here are some potential downsides I see:
  • Women feeling that they need to desire launching something new to be valuable
  • Women feeling that unless they launch something new and successful, they don't have anything special to offer or be known for
  • Women feeling that the role they find joy and satisfaction in isn't enough if it doesn't fit the above
  • Women feeling that being a part of something they are passionate about isn't as significant as being the creator of something.

I had a few conversations along those lines with friends this week.. One dear friend was speaking into some of the above and had to remind herself that her role helping homeless transition well is indeed so significant. Another friend is moving into foster care after both her and her husband felt called to serve as a loving and safe place for a child for whatever period of time. She was feeling unsure about quitting her job to fully invest in her new role as mom. Sometimes people don't communicate the value in the choices we make. I've attended some events with a great community of women and have been so encouraged but there are moments when I explain that I am currently a barista and investing in ministry with my husband that the margin I have created to be present in my life doesn't seem good.

So, here are a few pieces of encouragement I've been leaning into:
  • Whether you are in a season of rest or pursuing your dreams big time, if you are where you want to be, that is great
  • There is value in being present in your current role, relationships and daily opportunities
  • Being a part of an existing organization and furthering the success is much needed and a great way to use your gifting
  • Being committed to your workplace and allowing God to use you is significant
  • Being a wife or mom and investing in your family is extremely significant. We all know more healthy families would be a great thing
  • You don't have to start something, have your own non-profit or business cards to state your value 
So, pursue your dreams, even if they don't involve having an instagram account for your new organization with a ton of followers. Pursue being a healthy, content, joy filled you. Pursue joy that comes from being you, not competing with what looks most valuable. Invest in those around you, care for a hurting friend, notice where you can invest (little or big).

Friday, January 16, 2015

Do vs. Who: Part 1

I've been trying to do a lot of resting, reflecting and processing in this season of my life. I think some of that involves writing stuff down. One avenue for that is blogging. So while you are reading this, it's mostly just my processing. But I figure if I am processing _________, I am sure someone else is as well. Or has. Or will. So do with it what you will.

These almost empty cups are from a coffee date with a new friend. I know it's not pretty, but sometimes you gotta post the real sides, not just the prettiest sides. Anyway, much of our conversation brought moments of relating on this topic.. 

I don't know about you but I've spent a lot of time and energy bettering who I am through what I do. Am I moving up? Am I accomplishing things? What title do I get to tell new people I meet? "Hi, I'm Phylicia, I'm a ___________" (best way to say whatever I am to sound impressive). Because, ya know, what you do is who you are. OR so I have believed. Not that I would say I believe that but I feel it and that thought has fueled much effort.

I am not saying there is anything wrong with success, importance, moving up in a career or pouring yourself into a field. However, it does not define WHO you are. It does define a lot of what you do and probably what you pour your heart into. But it does not define you. It does not define me. I am learning that as I've entered a new (well, old) field. I was a barista 10 years ago as my first real job, and here I am again. Part Time Barista. Don't get me wrong, I chose this and I am grateful for it. And there is nothing wrong with it. But do you know what happens when you quit your full time salary job of 5+ years? People ask, "Oh, what are you moving on to?" or "What are you doing now?". And then when you tell them, "Part Time Barista" you have to quickly explain why that makes sense. Some people get it. Some people don't. Either way, I am where I need to be and very grateful for this season. Of course, there's challenges and discouragement... But I am trying to not let other people's questions, responses or opinions define how I feel about where I am.

I was stressed from a stressful job that was outside of my desire/gifting.
I was burnt out by the schedule our family kept.
I was longing for less office/more people.
I was longing for a time of rest.

I have all of that. All of that is so valuable to me. All of that is a much needed blessing.

I don't know what happens next. Or when. And sometimes I feel like I better get on it. But then I ask myself why? Yea, things tug at me and I get excited about potential opportunities. But I've also longed for a time where regardless of money, I could invest my time as I desire. And I have that! And my husband is so supportive. And we're finding such rich connection and foundation of "us" in this time.

So some days I am going to do nothing (and try to be ok with it).
Some days I am going to clean the whole house, grocery shop, make a yummy dinner and cross things off my to do list.
Some days I am going to do yoga, do something creative and binge watch netflix.
Some days I am going to have coffee/lunch/quality time with a friend or two and plan a date night.
Some days I am going to invest my time in a new opportunity and serve in ministry with my husband.
Or any mix of those things.

Maybe what I "do" in this time isn't much. But maybe what I "do" is say yes to great opportunity and people, explore my passions, use my time for what matters to me. And maybe what I get paid to do isn't the only thing I "do". I think I will let what I "do" become living out who I am/want to "be". And in that process trust what God has for me. I want to explore big things I can do with the gifts and passions He has given me. But I also want to be present in who He has created me to be and allow the little or big things in each day to serve a big purpose.