It’s Time to Deliver!

For so many of us, 2019 is the start of a season of fruitfulness and productivity, bringing to life the hopes and dreams that have been incubating for days, months, and even years in some cases. Yet so often, our delivery is delayed because we refuse to be real, transparent, or vulnerable.

When I was in labor with each of our sons, ready to give birth and experiencing some of the greatest pain and discomfort I’ve ever felt, I was keenly aware of the need to be honest about what I was experiencing and what I needed to get my babies here safely. If I wasn’t quick to let my husband know that my water broke or my contractions were coming much closer together, it would have delayed my access to the help I needed at the hospital. If I wasn’t honest about the pain I felt during the different tests and overall labor process, my doctors would have been unable to adequately manage that pain.

As it turned out, both of my sons needed to be delivered by c-section – despite my sincere desire, and for the first birth, my body’s long, labored efforts, to bring the baby into this world on its own. For me to have remained at home, silent, wanting to be the “perfect” laboring mother, would have been a decision that endangered my own life, and that of both of my children.

Unfortunately, we sometimes push ourselves to the point of loss of the promise, project, program or plan that would have changed the trajectory of our future because we are so stuck on “being perfect” rather than “productive” and improving the process along the way.

We refuse to ask for help, because somehow we’ve concluded that successful people “figure it out” on their own. We allow our pride, bolstered by our degrees, experience, accolades, to keep us from connecting with others, who may not be as credentialed as we are, but are divinely designated resources to help us move forward.

I’m here to encourage someone who has been silently struggling to move towards your goals – stop allowing fear, facades, pride, or perfectionism to keep you from the future God has ordained for you!

You don’t have to be perfect. Just get it done. And then make it better.

You don’t have to pretend. Be honest about where you are, what you have, and what you still need to get where you are going. And then make use of the resources you have around you. You might be surprised just how much support you have if you just say those words three little words: “I need help!”

You don’t have room for pride if you ever want to grow. Be humble enough to learn from anyone, at any level. Be a life-long learner. Have a growth mindset.

It’s time to deliver. You can do this!

~ Andrea ~

Need help getting moving with your goals? Send me an email at info@stepin2purpose.com and let’s discuss strategies to help you step into purpose!

Exposing Shame

Exposing Shame

Shame became my companion…

So secretly and subtily that I didn’t even see him coming. Like that acquaintance that kind of tags along quietly with a group of friends, whose presence goes almost unnoticed until everyone else has left the party.

And in this case, it was in the moment that I had lost hold of my joy, misplaced my peace, had a falling out with both logic and reason, couldn’t find self esteem, value or self worth, and beauty simply refused to be my friend, that I saw him. Sitting there, as smug as can be, waiting to “console” me.

I knew that I should have dismissed him right then and there, because once he wraps his arms around you, it can be so hard to make him let go. But I ignored the knowing, and as he leaned close, I could smell his stale, stagnant breath, laden with the missteps and mistakes of so many years of my life. He parted his lips and began to speak, spewing out accusatory and condemning thoughts and ideas, that he then worked tirelessly to make me believe were my own.

The thing about shame is that he attempts to secure a permanent place with you by introducing you to his best friend – Fear of Exposure. He keeps you feeling vulnerable and naked by threatening to reveal all of your hidden faults and failures to anyone who will listen. He intimidates you into allowing him to remain your companion by convincing you that if the rest of the world knew the truth about you, he is the only one who would still want you.

But today I am exposing Shame. I am calling him out as the fraud he attempts to make me believe that I am.

Shame’s agenda is to alienate and assassinate your most productive, meaningful and wholesome relationships in the present by keeping you handcuffed, as long as possible, to your past, no matter how long ago it was. He steals opportunities before they even materialize. He locks doors before you even arrive. He works overtime to make sure that you Never. Even. Try.

You can recognize his voice because he always lies to you, tells you the opposite of the Word of God:

“Hey, you know all of that nonsense about being a new creature, that song you love to sing about all things being made new?? Yup, not true – You’re still that same person that messed up all those years ago.”

“And you know how you love to throw around this idea that God has forgiven and forgotten – Yeah, He still sees you the same way, and He’s just waiting for you to fail…again.”

“Don’t let me get started on this ridiculous notion of ‘no condemnation’ – You’re still guilty and still unworthy.”

Lies. Lies that directly oppose God’s Word and His promises to us.

In John 8:34-36, Jesus responds to the questioning of the Jews about what He meant by stating that the truth would make them free with the following:

“I assure you and most solemnly say to you, everyone who practices sin habitually is a slave of sin. Now the slave does not remain in a household forever; the son [of the master] does remain forever. So if the Son makes you free, then you are unquestionably free” (John 8:34-36 AMP).

Shame attempts to convince us that the freedom found in belief in the Son of God and repentance from sin, is merely a token an act designed to assuage our emotions, and quiet our conscience. But the freedom that Jesus gives, not only releases us from our past, and delivers us into righteous living in the present, but it also removes the hand, silences the voice, and reverses the impact of shame in our lives, from this very moment and into the future.

They say that in an argument, the person who is the most wrong is the one who yells the loudest. Shame screams our past and our faults and our failures at us because he has nothing new to say or do to us. If we successfully separate our hope for the future from the pain of our past, shame ultimately loses all power. And because he has no control over the future, he strives to keep us paralyzed in the only place that we have true power to make change – the present

So today, I’m exposing Shame. I’m calling him out, and I’m casting him out. Because my future is too bright, too important, too full of potential, to allow a mere shadow of the past to keep me from embracing the place that God has for me.

And yours is too!

This is Not a Museum

Have a Seat!

 

“Please do not touch the glass.”

“Remain behind the rope.”

“Eating and drinking not permitted inside exhibits.”

“No running.”

“No loud noises.”

These are rules that most of us have heard repeatedly over the course of our lives, particularly as a child on field trips. They were meant to keep us safe and respectable while out in public, and prevent us from embarrassing whichever adult was responsible for us at the time. In retrospect, this rigid litany of “Don’t…” was in complete opposition to everything we were as children – loud, inquisitive, hungry balls of energy who wanted to run and touch things. I was actually quite a well-behaved child, and those trips made me feel dignified and mature (though now I think I could have stood to let my hair down a bit)…but I digress.

Growing up, museums, theaters or other rule-ridden venues were not the only places where this long list of things we shouldn’t do was enforced. I can vividly remember being banned from the “special living room” at home with the white carpet and nice couches and breakable vases and figurines at every turn. We were only allowed in there when company came over, and even then, we always knew we were being closely watched.

Now that I am a parent myself, I’ve noticed the unfortunate desire to treat home in much the same way as the museum, buying in to the myth that we were meant to live in pristine castles, free from toys, and dishes, and the never-ending loads of laundry – what I now understand to be the many signs of life in a home. We put unnecessary and stress-inducing pressure on ourselves to make our homes look like nobody lives there. We attempt to meld the life activities of a family of four that includes a 4 year old boy who loves cars and trucks and miniature dinosaurs (and owns them in abundance), and a 6 month old baby learning to eat solid foods (need I say more?!) with the notion of a picture perfect palace, spotless, toy-less, and mess-less.

The reality is, the toys on the floor are a clear indication that happy little boys live and play here. The dishes in the sink mean that Daddy fed the kids while Mommy was away (and vice versa). Misplaced items in the cabinets and pantry, and cups not placed properly in the dishwasher are telltale signs that your loving spouse was just trying to be helpful so you don’t have to do everything when you get home. Now, I am by no means advocating living in chaos…after all, I do believe that the state of my home is often a reflection of the state of my mind. What I am asking us to consider is this:

Would I prefer a home where the joyful sounds of children laughing and playing are not heard?

Would I prefer a clean kitchen because our family is eating take out or a bit more clean up to do because we’ve made a healthy, home-cooked, love-filled meal together to enjoy?

Will I be painfully aware of the absence of the toys when my little boys grow up and no longer fill my home with life – leaving me with just the memories of their childhood?

Will my children miss out on memory-making moments with me, simply basking in each other’s company, as a result of my pursuit of perfection?

I realized that I spent so much time growing frustrated over what I now know are sure indications that our family is happy, healthy, and whole. And while I can’t make any promises about compromising on how to load the dishwasher, I will choose to cherish this life we live.

This is NOT a museum. This is our HOME.