life coaching

A Messy Process: Why I Stepped Away From My Business

Becoming new is a messy process.  Not only for your own heart and mind, but for those people around you who have become a part of your life.  When you change course- be it physically or emotionally- you’re going to leave some collateral damage in your wake.

Don’t let that unsettling reality stop you.

Authenticity is almost never safe.  It’s almost never easy.  And it’s almost never applauded in waves of appreciation.  Being real sometimes means not being liked or understood.  It makes you a target for disapproval, it’s hard to adhere to, and it is most unsafe in terms of popularity.

Don’t let that unwelcome fact hold you back.

Lately, I’ve been invited to self-reflect in a way that made me extremely uncomfortable, because it wasn’t on my terms or in my time.  I’ve been confronted about my choices in life, particularly in business, and I struggled with bouts of shame, guilt, remorse, and doubt.

Did I do the right thing?

Was I too hasty? 

Did I ruin it for other people?

Am I being selfish by releasing myself of obligation?

Was I wrong?

Did I hear God the way that I thought I heard Him?

The confrontation with my past prompted me to re-examine my motives, and I found myself eyeball deep in journals from my past year.  There’s nothing like truth to set you free.

It’s no secret that 2016 was a year of change and challenge, for my family, and nothing in those twelve months was left unscathed.  Miscarriages re-ignited depression, an unexpected family loss forced me to consider mortality, and alcohol became my nemesis.  Amongst all of this very real life stuff, I found myself face to face with God’s best intentions for my life.  As the veil lifted from my eyes, the bright light of Jesus’ love cast a shadow over every part of my life that did not line up with His truth.

Suddenly, I could no longer ignore the whisper in my heart.  The words that scared me were there, waiting for my attention, longing to set me free.  I fought them.  I pushed them down.  I was afraid to even speak them out loud lest they become real.  But there they sat; softly, barely audible and yet altogether too loud to ignore, “I’ve brought you here, now will you leave it all behind because I’ve asked you to?”

God.

Will you?

Me. 

Yes.

I’ve read about people stepping away from what was once familiar territory lined with the promise of fortune and fame to follow their real dreams, and how God blesses that sort of obedience.  It’s not why I said yes (you just don’t say no to the Creator), but that thought became my safety net.

Except… God didn’t bring me to a new place of immediate success.  He didn’t really assign me a new purpose.  He simply said, “that’s enough of that” without filling my idle passion with a clear mission.

That’s so like Him though, isn’t it?  To bring you to a place of complete humility, a place where your only real option is to lean on Him, put your faith in His plans, and trust Him with your life?  It’s the worst of the best places to be: surrendered to Him and watching everything you thought you knew about your life and your future crumble back into the dust from which it was built.

Matthew 16:24-26

“Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me.  If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it.  But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.  And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?”

At first there was relief.  I felt liberated from a crushing weight of the need to prove myself.  But then panic set in.  Who would I be if not the person I’d become over the last three years?  I was released and I was trapped in the same decision.

My soul was set free.  

My ego was paralyzed.

I had built a substantial business.  I was making money.  And I had a large team.  Looking back now, I can see how God blessed my business with exceptional coaches because He was setting me up for this very season.  He put the pieces into play that would enable me to follow Him… to risk fortune but not comfort.  To be obedient but not defeated.  To quickly agree to slowly say goodbye to the lifestyle I’d grown accustomed to in order to genuinely fall in love with the lifestyle He called me to.

Residual income is the shiny object dangled in front of every would be girl boss’s eyes.  Unfortunately, it’s only celebrated if it’s never truly utilized.  I was up against the scorn of more ambitious peoples, who often feel one is only entitled to residual income if one keeps striving to build it, if one is never satisfied with how much one is making, if one resists being content with what one already has, if one vows to never stop growing and seeking more and achieving greater.

But God sees it differently.  And He provided me that cushion.

I could feel the prompting in my heart, “Trust me.  Walk this path.  Make this change.  And everything you’ve ever dreamed will be made known to you.”

God.

Will you?

Me.

Yes.

Because you can control who you are, what you do, and who’s voice you listen to…but you’ll never be able to control who likes who you are, what you do, and who’s voice you listen to.

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Here’s the thing: I gained so many valuable insights, skills, and lessons as a coach.  I made irreplaceable friendships in that season, people God put into place for a specific purpose for that time.  I followed the call to do what was once uncomfortable and scary and God helped me to do it well.  Not because that was the final destination, but because that was the process.  Coaching was never meant to be my forever… it was the journey I needed to take to get where I’m going.

Unfortunately, my continuing on my own authentic path to purposeful fulfillment was seen as quitting and giving up to a lot of people who’s lives were intertwined with mine.  What felt like an undeniable truth to me came across as my selfishly denying them.

But I was denying myself, too.  I sacrificed tight knit relationships, a title, a rank, a status, a lucrative career because I heard God tell me that it was not for me.  I wanted to resist it.  Frantically, I looked around and I wondered over and over why other people were being allowed to continue, why I was called away.

John 21 18-22,

“{Jesus} “I tell you the truth, when you were young, you were able to do as you liked; you dressed yourself and went wherever you wanted to go.  But when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and others will dress and take you where you don’t want to go.”  Jesus said this to let him {Peter} know by what kind of death he would glorify God.  Then Jesus told him, “Follow me.”

Peter turned around and saw behind them the disciple Jesus loved {John}– the one who had leaned over to Jesus during supper and asked, “Lord, who will betray you?”  Peter asked Jesus, “What about Him, Lord?”

Jesus replied, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?  As for you, follow me.”  

Everyone’s call looks different.  God is teaching me to keep my eyes on my own paper.  This path to success was always a stepping stone to the next thing, even before I knew that that was what I was working towards.  And when I struggle, and stomp my feet, and pout my lips, I gently hear, “Will you walk away from your name to glorify mine?”

God.

Will you?

Me.

Yes.

And while I hate disappointing people who expected different from me, I ultimately hate disappointing God more.  Becoming new is a messy process, and darling, I know a heck of a lot about mess.

Has your decision to follow God’s prompts ever disappointed people in your life?  Let me know I’m not the only one in the comments! 

 

 

 

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