What do you do when you’ve tried everything?

Have you ever had a dream that you try to make happen on your own but it just won’t work? You try everything you know to do: you apply, you work-work-work, you pray, you talk to people who have done it, you cry yourself to sleep and shout at the ceiling, you give up and try to stop caring.

But no matter what you try or don’t try, the dream feels impossible, elusive, and sometimes, it even feels like it’s taunting you.

What do you do when that happens? Most of us shift between working really hard to make a dream happen and then giving up and getting apathetic and cynical. But there’s a better – more challenging but also more honest – way to handle these dreams that are beyond our control.

Here’s the thing: the dreams that are beyond our control are usually connected to our deepest longings and our truest selves. This is why we work so hard and feel so much pain when they don’t happen. We need to pay attention to these big desires because they are telling you about WHO you are and WHY you are here on the earth. It’s a Big Deal.


I did a short video training on how to respond to these dreams that are so core to who we are, and yet no matter what we do, we can’t seem to get them to materialize. It’s a painful moment, but it’s almost universal to us as humans. You catch my training here.

Are you stuck in this work hard – give up – work hard – give up cycle? I’m offering my community the opportunity to get unstuck and shift into a more peaceful and liberated state of mind and heart with the freedom to desire without . It’s a short-term coaching package called The Breakthrough Sessions, which is 3 coaching sessions PLUS one strategy sessions for only $217, normally $450. I LOVE being part of someone’s breakthrough, and I’d love to do this with you. I only have three packages available because my schedule is almost full so message me at sarahsidersconsulting(at)gmail.com or comment below to get started.

I also want to share this with you, a poem I wrote 8 years ago when we were trying to conceive our first child. I was exhausted from holding the dream out and “trying” to have a baby when there was almost nothing – aside from the obvious 😉 – that I could do to make it happen. This poem has encouraged others who have felt the tension of longing, and I hope it encourages you too.


Hope, the Foolish Child

The child, Hope, is unrelenting in optimism;

Wakes up and says, “Today’s the day”, every day,

Even though It hasn’t happened yet.

With odds against the whole thing,

Hope seems blind to reality.

A starving Pollyanna,

Hope is a survivalist.

In a concentration camp of pain,

Hope is a finger of grass, poking through the asphalt.

Sometimes you want to strangle her neck,

Silence this thing that seems only to bring disappointment.

But she walks blindly, dodging death and famine,

Evading what seems to be true,

Believing in something that is nowhere in sight.

What shall I do with Hope, this child I can’t stop feeding?

I want to kill her, but she says the sweetest things.

She knows my desire,

Keeps telling me it’s coming, it’s coming.

I start to think she might be a liar.

And just when I’m about to stop standing there like a fool,

Hand over my eyes,

Staring into that thin horizon line,

Just then she points, shouts,

“Here It comes!”

I squint into the light and sure enough,

Here comes my Longing.

I reach over to hug Hope, that bouncing child.

But she’s gone,

Gone to lay claim to a new desire.

I wonder,

What if I’d given her up?

What if I’d sold her for a clever book title,

Something for the cynics’ best seller list?
What if I’d held her down and shut her up,

Put my hand over her mouth and made her quiet for good?

Disappointment would have moved in.

Skepticism would have been my neighbor,

Resentment shacked up on the couch.

I wouldn’t have been at the end of the drive that day.

I would have missed my Longing as It rode by.

My Cynicism proven right,

I would have looked haughtily from my balcony,

Confident my Self-Righteousness saved me much wasted time.

I would never have known.

I would’ve been right, sort of, but I would have never held Joy.

I thought of all these things.

And then I stood there one more day,

Stood waiting with Hope, holding her tiny hand.

I was there when the Longing came by.

I welcomed the Longing, gladly,

Snatched It up and planted It in the yard:

A Tree of Life for all to see.

A Tree of Life to remind me.

For those who will wait,

Who believe enough to stand out in all that weather:

She does not lie.

No, and Hope does not disappoint.

[by Sarah Siders. Written August 2009]

What Your Self Talk Says About You? 

More than your job, your fashion or your friends, your self talk says a lot about you. Your self talk is the secret to your standards, your expectations, dreams and hopes. Your self talk is the expression of your emotional experience. Your self talk is constantly narrating, interpreting and creating your world.

Your self talk is your life.

The crazy thing is, your self talk doesn’t only come from you. It is often a combination of how parents, teachers and coaches have talked to you throughout your life. Your inner self talk may also reflect how friends and peers have talked to you.

For most of us, our self talk is predominately negative. We have this impression that if we are hard on ourselves, it will help us to grow and change that bad habit we’ve been stuck in for years. But if that were true, wouldn’t you have stopped doing that habit and started doing something else instead? Hmmmm.

Sadly, as many of us have discovered, negative self talk is more destructive than constructive. We may think that we deserve to be talked to in this way after we screw up or fail or disappoint ourselves or others. So in that case, the goal of your self talk is punishment, not motivation.

In fact, much of our self talk is not designed to change us at all but to keep us exactly how we been acting, thinking and behaving our whole lives.

Intentional behavior change starts with intentional self talk change. Because we can’t shame someone, even ourselves, into greatness.

Self talk that promotes fear, guilt or shame will never help you make a long-term change. Negative self talk is typically an assessment of you at your worst, not a reflection of your true self, the person you are when you were at your best. So even though negative self talk might be telling the truth at times, it is only a small part of the whole story.

In order to change our lives, we need to change our self talk by identifying where we are stuck and what our unconscious narration has been saying about this area of our lives, and then identify how we need to talk to ourselves in order to actually change. Usually we need to be encouraging, balanced and positive, noticing where we have made progress and celebrating our forward motion. When we give ourselves this credit, we are more likely to feel rewarded for our progress and we will keep moving forward toward our goal.

I’ll be live in The Leap Year Community Monday night, 6 February, at 730pm CST. Join me there for a live chat, or catch the replay any time. Just click here to request access to our private coaching community, where we have daily challenges and inspiration, plus regular how-to videos and trainings for achieving our goals and living our dreams.

Two Quick Ways To Derail Your Destiny

Most of us lack balance in our pursuit of goals and dreams. We tend toward one side of the work spectrum, either as a do-it-myself laborer or a hands-off fatalist.

The first person takes too much responsibility. She sees her goal or dream as her own responsibility. She believes God gave her the job, and she’d better get to work.

It’s difficult for this type of worker to surrender and relinquish control in situations of uncertainty or delegation because if she doesn’t do the work, it may not get done. She easily feels neglected and unsupported. She feels the job is all up to her, and she doesn’t trust others, including God, to pull it off.

Sometimes she’s scrappy as an alley cat, fighting for what she feels is rightfully hers. A do-it-myself-er may also have a hard time with generosity, believing what she gives away may not come back to her.

Her biggest problem is that she forgets the dream came from God anyway, and He is far more invested than she is in seeing it come to pass.


The second person takes too little responsibility. He figures, if God wants me to have it, he will give it to me. I am not going to work too hard for my dream because it’s a destiny. My life is unalterably headed in a direction I really can’t control.

Christians are terribly guilty of this approach, over-spiritualizing this perspective as “waiting on God”, which sounds holy but often comes from laziness or hopelessness. They stay indoors, checking their watch while futily believing God to bring them what they want or desire. Inevitably, they find themselves unsure of what to make of God and life when the longings in their bellies sit empty and unfulfilled.

[click photo for credit]
[click photo for credit]

Labor toward a dream is strange act of balance. A dream coming tangible is neither all up to you, nor is it merely a wave of the hand of the Fates.

Instead, we have to walk the tightrope of doing the work but knowing our part in it all is still small. With this in mind, we must continually practice surrender. We do our part, we show up, even when we don’t feel like it, even when it takes all our energy, and that meets the DIY requirement. But the work will kill us unless we hand our efforts back to God for the resources we need, the right timing, and all the other variables we can’t possibly plan for.

Don’t derail your dreams with doing too much or too little. Instead do this:

  1. Set your vision clearly in front of you. Know exactly what you are aiming for.
  2. Set achievable and measurable goals and steps that let you know you’re getting closer.
  3. Celebrate your wins, however small or large.
  4. Hand the big dream and all the little steps back to God. The dream came from him anyway so stop trying to make it about you.

I tend toward being the DIY-er, and I really struggle to return to surrender. Which one are you?  Share with me in the comments below.

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Everyone Is Not A Winner

Everyone is not a winner. Sorry. I have no idea who made that up, but it is pure crazy.

That statement is based on the belief that trying is all that matters, but it sets us up for constant disappointment and confusion because it doesn’t answer the essential questions:

  1. What is my/our personal/corporate mission?
  2. Did I/we achieve it today, this week, this quarter, this year?

We absolutely must know why we are doing what we do every day (vision) and if we reached our goals or not (success). That’s part of staying alive as a human, feeling that what we are doing down here has meaning. 

Meaning is essential as air, and knowing whether or not we succeeded at something gives us meaning. If we didn’t succeed yet, we have a clear goal to shoot for.

Some days you know you won, you pulled the thing off. But some days you have that pit of loss or embarrassment sitting like lead in your gut. You didn’t get it done.

But how do you really know for sure? How do you measure success?

[click photo for credit]

Everyone’s version of success is different. What I need to make it in the career of communication is different than someone starting a non-profit, different than a full-time parent, different than someone taking over at a aging company or trying to breathe life back into a church.

The best part is that because what you need to succeed in your “thing” is different for each person, no one can judge you but you and those you’ve given permission to evaluate you.

The best part is that because what you need to succeed in your “thing” is different for each person, no one can judge you but you and those you’ve given permission to evaluate you. (Take that, judgers.) Anyone can criticize you, but only you and your family or team know what success looks like, and that’s all that matters.

You can celebrate wins however you want.

So what does success look like for you?

  • Is it a number of “likes” on a Facebook page?
  • Is it a certain number of new customers purchasing your product?
  • Is it several days in a row of feeling healthy when you’ve been sick a long time?
  • Is it a week of clear communication with your spouse?
  • Is it a certain amount of blog or site traffic?
  • Is it yelling less at your kids?
  • Is it three blog posts a week when you’ve only been getting out one?
  • Is it five new guests at your church or store tomorrow?

Trying is only part of it. But when you know your goal, you can end your day and evaluate what to do better tomorrow.

When you can answer based on your criteria, “Yes, today was a win”, you can go home, pour a glass of wine and feel awesome about yourself.

How do YOU define success in your relationships, work or personal life? Got any tips to share?

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Two Questions That Changed My Life In 2013

A year ago, I was starting over. Just like we all are this week. The gift of a new year.

I didn’t feel good about it though. I could feel the tension between the life I was living and the life I could live, although it wasn’t totally clear what I really wanted.

So I asked myself the first question that changed my life. Some people call it “The Miracle Question”:

 What if I woke up tomorrow, and a miracle happened? My life was exactly how I want it to be. What would it look like?

I went into detail about how I spent the hours of my day, what I was doing for a career, how I related to God, even my own individual impact and our church’s impact in the city. (The story of my perfect life is right here if you want to take a look.)

While writing down a vision is a good place to start, obviously following up on that vision is better. But that was the problem – I really didn’t do much with it. The story of my could-be life got stuck under obligations, excuses and drudgery, and I almost forgot about it. Until April.

In April, I had a painful conversation with myself. I asked myself another question:

If this life you are living is not what you want, why aren’t you doing anything about?

I hated that question. It stung like regret. Ouch.

I had to get real about what I was doing with my life, how my vision to write a book and do other big things in my heart were crowded out while I did other nice things with my life. Good things that made me look important and spiritual, but they were sucking the life right out of me.

I finally wrote down my three big life dreams that I hadn’t accomplished yet. And I was doing nothing, literally nothing, to move toward them.

[click photo for credit]
I had to admit it – I was a Big Dream Virgin. Instead of living a life I could be proud of, a life free of regret, I’d opted for comfortable mediocrity to avoid the challenges of hard work, potential rejection and failure.

But those tough two questions centered me each time I returned to them.

Two of my dreams I had less control over, but one, the dream to write, was fully within my ability to pursue. I grew uncomfortable and slowly committed to writing. Just a couple posts a week, and over time, I found my “voice”, that sweet spot you hit when you’re doing something you were made to do, and it finally feels like it fits.

I still wanted to write a book, but ironically, I didn’t know what to write about. I told God if he gave me a book idea, I would write it. But nothing happened for the first two months.

Then one day while I was on vacation, minding my business, the book came to me, with a title and outline and everything. A download. My hands could barely keep up with the thoughts that rushed into my head.

A couple months later, after some hardcore procrastination, I started writing the book.

Then I announced the book, which increased the accountability level on my commitment.

I am here today, early in 2014, and I am still writing the book. It’s not going as fast as I want, mostly because of my own fears, but I am sticking with it.

On the one year anniversary of my vision, January 14, I will be able to say I am doing it. I am writing a book, just like I envisioned in my perfect life story.

I also mentioned kids plural in that story, and by this April, that will also be true.

There are many elements of that story missing from my present day reality. But I told God I was serious the day I sat down and wrote it out. And I told myself too.

If you’re starting your new year and your personal vision still feels blurry, I encourage you to ask yourself these get-to-the-heart questions. Then journal your answers so you can return to them.

1. “What if I woke up tomorrow, and a miracle happened? My life was exactly how I want it to be. What would it look like?”

2. “If this life you are living is not what you want, why aren’t you doing anything about?” 

I bet you will discover some eye-opening truth when you ask these questions. Keep referring back to these stories throughout the year. They aren’t just goals – they are dreams and visions, which will capture your imagination and your passion far better than a bullet list.

I will be taking more time to talk dreams, goals and vision here as the new year launches. Later this week, I’m going to post a few of my favorite resources for day, life and vision planning, as well as a few other favorites to help you move toward your personal and relational goals.

Be prepared to be motivated, but of course, the actual work is up to you.

So tell me this: what’s the one main thing keeping you from living the life you want? Write your one-word answer in the Comments below. 

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I am the opposite of me

I am a paradox. And so are you.

We are clean and shiny in some areas of ourselves, yet disheveled disasters in others. The real estate of our souls and our yards is impeccable from one angle, and painfully unkempt from another.

How is it that we can live with coexisting brilliance and ignorance, with generous nobility and glaring narcissism?

Sometimes, I feel I’m an imposter, like the real me is the messy version, and the times I act right are just glitches, some kind of cosmic error where the light fell just right, and now the world thinks good of me.

But it feels like a balancing act, until I wreck it again.

So who am I? Can I be the bad and the good, at the same time?

Am I summed up in my moments of fear, panic and rejection or in my faith and courage?

Am I a scared, helpless child, wordless with shame, or a ferociously brave teacher who lives to inspire?

Am I all the times I hate to be alone, or the times I am frantic to get away?

Am I the girl who can’t find her keys or the idea-generating leader bent on improving her environment?

Am I the friend you can count on for everything, or the friend who will let you down?

Am I the blessings and encouragement I bestow, or the curses I hiss beneath my breath?

Am I the rage and anger I release on my very last nerve with my child, or am I the patient nurturer, singing this same child to sleep?

Am I the forgiveness I extend or the grudges I feed?

Am I all the times I disappoint or the times I keep my word?

Am I the girl who finds showers annoying or the girl who can’t stand dirty feet?

Am I everything I do right or everything I do wrong?

Am I the desperate woman wanting children I don’t have yet or the grateful mother to the one I do have?

It doesn’t seem possible, but I am all these things. It’s the conundrum of me. I can stop covering it up now, stop holding my breath so people will think of me as cleaned up and together.

The truth is, I am holy and I am full of sin. I am a work in progress. But at this exact moment, I am the good and the bad. 

I am all the things I’ve screwed up irreparably, the words I want back, and the genius and generosity in between. I am everywhere I’ve been and everywhere I’m going. I am my failure and my success. I am what I know and what I don’t know. It’s part of me. 

I just need to hit “Accept” on all this stuff, on the easy to love and the impossible to love parts of me. Cause it’s all me, and I’m not going anywhere.

When in doubt

I’ve mentioned before I was quite neurotic as a child, nervous and over-analyzing. Afraid to be wrong.

That’s still me, but the stakes are higher. I’m not just deciding which clothes will make me popular. Now I’m choosing financial investments and career moves. Big stuff.

My mind swirls with great ideas and good intentions, things that could change the world – maybe – and I never seem to get around to them.

I am afraid to decide.

Me when forced to make a decision. Waaahhhh.

When I was in high school, I was delaying deciding about one thing or another. In his office one afternoon, my Dad said, “When in doubt, make a decision. If you make a wrong decision, make another decision.”

Classic Dad-style pithy wisdom – well said. But now, I have to do it.

As a 30-something adult, my indecisiveness is crippling. I am afraid of what will happen if I make a choice. I don’t want to face even the simplest consequences.

Therefore, making a decision about the smallest thing is hard. Recently, I had to decide between writing and planning out goals for the next few months. “What if I can’t get everything done?” Paralzyed. I read blogs instead, until I realized I distracted myself from my choice. At least I caught it.

But it gets worse: at Cold Stone the other day, I couldn’t decide which ice cream to eat. “What if I don’t like it?” I finally decided. I didn’t like my choice. This is why choosing sucks, I whined to myself.

But this is partly why choosing is so scary: the consequences. (Cue the Frankenstein soundtrack.)

“What if I don’t like it?

What if I’m committed and I just want to bail?

What if I don’t like the dinner I order or the man I date or the career I choose?

What if I hate it?

What if I’m trapped?


It’s my own personal horror film.

It’s funny because we’re afraid to be trapped in a choice we make, and yet indecisiveness is a trap all its own. It’s double-mindedness, an unsteady soul overflowing with fear. And who can change the world or live a life free of regret stuck in back-and-forth mode? No one.

I don’t want my life defined by fear, but an indecisive life is a fearful, sad life indeed.

So what to do? Well, in most every day situations, simple boldness and the power of choice will do. For big-huge life decisions, check out the link below for a great guide. So here I’m going to tell myself a few ways to make decisions, and if you’re in my category, then follow along. Maybe we can help each other.

1. Recognize when you’re feeling decisiveness-challenged. There is an old familiar feeling of waffling, back and forth swaying in your mind. Weighing options with lots of “what if” questions. The “what ifs” will kill you, man. But you have to recognize the signs before you can do something about it.

2. When in doubt, make a decision. Pick something. And then own it. Be an adult and take full responsibility for your choice. It’s what the big kids do. Because deciding not to decide is still a decision. It just leaves you regretful with nothing to show for your time.

3. Don’t get distracted from the choice you make. I decide to start writing or working on a project, and as soon as I do, suddenly there are emails to reply to, blogs to read, information to glean. And I’ve forgotten about my decision. Don’t get stuck in between your decision and doing it. That’s as bad as not deciding. Follow through is key.

4. If you don’t like your choice, you have another choice to make: bail or stick it out. There are lots of things you can bail on. Making a decision is safer than we think. And only you can know which choice is better, although getting counsel from others is always a good idea. But don’t be a pansy. Just because it’s hard doesn’t mean you shouldn’t stay. Marriage is a perfect example.

And for major life decisions, Michael Nichols offers a few solid suggestions on discovering what you really want and making choices you’ll be happy with. Check out his blog here, complete with a free downloadable, decision-making template. Cool, huh?

Okay, I feel sufficiently motivated by my pep talk to myself. Since I thought through this, I have been making quicker, more confident decisions without all the foot dragging from before. I hope you are empowered too.

Share your suggestions for making decisions below. I’d love to hear what you do.

Redefining the News

There’s a moment when we learn the news and disappointment sets in. Fear digs a hole and takes root. We wonder alone or aloud how we will make it work.

But this is also moment of great opportunity, a chance to give time to the things I’ve been neglecting: writing, family, God, new developments.


There is more than one definition for the season I will soon enter, along with thousands of other federal employees. I can choose to define this as “unpaid time off” or “forced leave”, or I can see it as “liberty”, and “rest and relaxation”.

I believe with great certainty and hope that this new season will be full, good, enriching. Not empty or full of fear. But I’m not waiting for the season to define itself. I’m going to write the story now and watch the details agree with me as I go.

Wherever you are now, when you look around at your circumstances, you can see they can be described and defined many ways. Fear is easy to see, I’ve learned.

But can you see the possibilities held inside the empty spaces in your life?

What are you being freed to do that you would never have taken the time to do, unless it was being forced on you?

What great good can become of a trying or troublesome thing in your life?

Share your thoughts below. I would love to hear your victories or struggles in this area.

New Year’s Vis-olutions: Learning to Dream Bigger

I know it’s already Wednesday, January 16. And you think I forgot to talk about vision, goals and resolutions for the New Year. But I did not. I was quietly refining my hopes and dreams in my head and in conversations with God and with Josh. Because this is scary, grand and wonderful stuff here. And I don’t take it lightly. 

I got nervous because resolutions always make me nervous. What do I want to change? Everything. I want so many areas of my life to improve. But that was the wrong place to start. And I always think too small that way. 

I decided to try something different this year, ask myself a new question. Below is an excerpt from my journal. his is basically a (clear) stream of consciousness on what I want my life to manifest, and what I hope for in this year, and in the next five years. As I wrote, my mind expanded. I let myself think bigger, dream wider. 

[photo cred: http://suhasagban.com/%5D
So for today, these are my goals, my vision and resolutions. I am going to be using Ron Edmonson’s Life Plan steps to work out the details, but here you have it. This journal excerpt reveals what I want to be when I grow up. 

“I’ve been trying to figure out what I want to change, what I would like to be different in this next year. It’s hard to start there. I guess I will start with the Miracle Question. 

What if I woke up in the morning and everything was perfect. What would it look like?

I would wake up in the morning EAGER to spend time with God. He would would meet me there. I would pray, worship, write, encounter him, and get great ideas.

I would not leave for work until 7:45 because I have a local office where I can go work on my book. I am writing a book and keeping my blog up to date. I have social media to manage part of the day. I have meetings. I have a trip to plan. 

My blog is successful. I find my niche and people are listening, getting impacted, lives changing, regularly having ah-ha moments. And they come to read because they know they will find hope and inspiration. They hear wisdom and get new insight. It’s easy to write because I know what God is saying people need to hear. It’s not a stretch anymore. 

And I dress like this. And look like this. [www.vi.sualize.us]

I would return home for lunch where I would have time with my family. 
I would hunker down in theWELL prayer room and spend an hour with God.

I would come home between 3 and 4 to play with my kids – because my work day is done – and get caught up on their day. We would do basic life things: laundry, play and get ready for dinner. 

I have a meeting that night, but it is energizing: a conversation with pastors, an outreach to the poor, an art showing or concert. But God is present, always present, and I never want to miss it.

In the evening, I have quiet time with Josh and more time in the IHOP prayer room web stream. I end the day with the peace and presence of God, just like I started it. 

Our money is not tied up in debt (school loans or credit cards) so we can do awesome things with it: we buy wells for villages around the world, we send children to school, we back missions and justice movements around the world that we want to see thrive. We support the ending of abortion and the ending of human slavery. We sense the power of our finances and instead of choosing to eat out often or do frivolous things, we see that our money can purchase the freedom of a 10 year old girl in Cambodia. Our priorities are right on. 

Trips to the grocery store or restaurant are consistently intriguing. God shows up because I bring him with me. It’s fun to see what he does. He heals, he speaks prophetically, people give their lives to Jesus.

theWELL is a fun place to be because the Spirit of God is evident. There is a thriving Prayer Room working towards 24/7 impact, with multiple ministries springing up from the burdens on people’s hearts: partnering with other churches to reach out to the poor, single parents, family ministry, powerful counseling ministry, children who come Sundays and get powerfully impacted by the Word, by the Spirit and meet God. People who come to theWELL regularly encounter the presence and the Word. They are prophetically ministered to. Healings happen often. We staff the Prayer Room with little difficulty. 

theWELL is responsible for the development of the arts in the city. First Fridays is well attended with a good reputation and extends to the secular world as a ministry. People come because they know they will meet God, and the artistry is second to none. Amazing artists, musicians and writers spring up in the community and come to be near the creative God who is the source for all the best ideas. Some of them hear crazy stories of what goes on and they come. They are changed, and they stay, or are launched intentionally into their callings around the world.

Transformational art. [Work by Jazzy Chun Earl]

The Army of God’s people volunteer in this day. Our church is well pastored, well cared-for, and volunteers are easy to come by. There is a strong purity and holiness among God’s people. They know truth and easily identify deception. Division has no hold and leaves easily. Same with witchcraft, manipulation and control: out before they even get a hold. And bitterness, hatred and murder will all bow in the presence of Jesus, never taking root or causing trouble.

Missions is active and strong. The church does not know how to keep quiet. Stories of God’s movement open doors. Everyone who is part of theWELL has a story to tell, and everyone wants to serve, innovate, be on adventure. It’s easy to organize mission trips locally and across the globe. Prayer and missions are intrinsically tied and everyone in theWELL knows it and serves the cause.”

Coming soon
Developing your vision: If you’re stuck and don’t know how to create a life vision, or you don’t even know why you’re here on this planet, try these tips on for size. Check back later for more on this.

How Does She (Not) Do It?

I’m not going to lie. Sometimes when I’m in self-pity mode, I wonder why more people don’t ask me how I do it. 

I am a hundred things to many people, or at least six things to hundreds of people. My weeks are planned before I even get to them. I don’t really do spontaneous anymore. Or I shouldn’t.

Me and then some. [Photo cred: http://www.heddalettuce.com]
At home, I am mom and wife. Which means I cook, clean, encourage, teach, shout, whisper, laugh, snuggle, tickle, entertain, chase, battle and bathe. 

At work, I am a calming voice in crisis. I am the motivator, the creative brain, the journalist. I am the fixer, the one with ideas, the marketing girl and flyer designer, the sleep expert, the one of loves moms and babies.

At church, I recruit, schedule, prop up and cheer on our Children’s Ministry and Women’s Leadership Programs, which developed frantically and messily out of my brain from sheer necessity. And sometimes I get to preach too while I’m on my way to getting my pastoral license.

At night, I am a writer, a blogger, an aspiring author and big-thinker. I am only in the beginning of finding my voice and learning what I am all about, but I’m traipsing down the path, discovering things. Learning to like myself. 

Maybe I’m just like any working mom, but it feels like I’m doing a lot. Like there is always so much going on. 

But no one asks how I do it. No one wonders how I balance it all.

I wonder if it’s because I’m kind of an obvious mess. When I talk to people after church, I’m in a hurry. And I’m chasing my son out of the corner of my eye. Maybe everyone can see that all the stuff that gets done is smashed together with as love and limited time. 

The anxiety of life has been getting to me lately. It’s like I used to be able to outrun the “too much” factor, but I am definitely slowing down. Or it’s speeding up. 

I want to be better, grow, stretch, expand. I want my writing to improve. I want to know God more, read more, fit back into my size 4s, get more time alone, get more time with friends, figure out how to teach and nourish my child’s mind and soul, have another child biologically and adopt, encourage my husband, write a book, be brave and pray for more sick people for healing, finally get to India and power up some rockstar kids and women’s programs at church. 

But I only have 168 hours a week. 

I’m trying to do it all, and I’m not doing any of it that well. I have great intentions. I really do care about people. I crawl into their shoes fast. 

But sometimes I care too much. And my priorities tilt against my sanity. I forget how to take care of myself, to value the voice of God and quiet with my family, to stop the spinning and sit in the silence for a few minutes. I lose sight of what I want on my tombstone: “She loved well”. 

I just want to put it out there that I’m doing a lot, but at the end of the day, what I really want is to love. To love God, my family and the people I’m with. So when I’m talking really fast and when I tell you have a new idea for a website or a new book idea, just know I’m on my way over here, learning to love. 

You can remind me of what really matters if you want, but I promise my soul will bring me back to it. Remember to love. Love is the point.

And this is how I’m doing it, in this messy, “me” way. 

If you’re feeling sloppy and slow, like you know where you want to go but you’re so far away, there’s grace for you too. God’s not in a hurry so let’s not be either. 

Let’s just keep looking at Jesus, talking to him, and getting his feedback on this life. He’s so kind, encouraging and gentle. He’s not going to rub your nose in your failure. And neither will I. 

Let’s be nice to each other as we figure it out.