Be a Beginner

So often, I want to rush ahead, rather than taking things slow. Do you do this, too?

While I know that good things take time, and that, by going slowly, what we’re working on is more likely to last, I also get sucked in by our “instant gratification” culture, and want to have the results — right now!

Be a Beginner | Life, Unleashed

I have been in business for myself (working from home) since late 2013. So, you might think that I am seeing good success now, four-and-a-half years later (I am still working from home, after all!). But, no. I’m not yet successful — or not according to the generally accepted standards of “success”, anyway.

However, I also have not failed.

These past four years have been full of twists and turns, trying things and rejecting things, then trying something else. I had to learn a few things through the process:

(1) I had to learn how to actually do business, online, as an entrepreneur (learning the techy bits, sales & marketing, and all of the rest). 

(2) I had to discover what does, and does not, work for me — which business model, and which products or services, were the best fit. In other words, what I am good at that also meets others’ needs.

Finally, sometime last year (2017), I was able to get to that “Aha!” point, and know with almost pure certainty what I am meant to be doing, and who I am meant to serve. It has taken a lot of tears, frustration, and journaling, as well as many random coaching sessions with other entrepreneurs. Yet, through it all, I finally feel confident that I am on the path that was meant for me.

But, here’s where it gets tricky.

Now that I have that knowledge of what I’m to do, and who I’m to help — coupled with the fact that I have been at this for four years — I sometimes fall into the trap of expecting everything to just easily work out, from here on forward. I forget that, really, I’m only just beginning in this newfound role.

Because I’ve had so many stops and starts, I don’t feel like a “beginner” any more… I feel like I should be succeeding by now.

Yet, as I was journaling, the other morning, getting all frustrated over the fact that I am having to start my email list over from scratch (among other things), I was reminded that, in this particular business model, I am only just starting out. As such, it’s going to take time — and patience — to build things up to the point where I do have a following, and I do have products to offer.

Right now, as a beginner, I need to go about patiently laying the foundations — creating content, building relationships with people, etc. And as I do these things consistently (which is key), I will see my business continue to grow. For now, however, slow and steady progress is the goal.

{For those who are wondering, my newfound role is as an Infopreneur and healthy living trainer. I create information products that help women design a life that sets them free; and I also train women to remember who they are, and then get their minds & bodies strong & fit for fulfilling their kingdom purposes}.

Sneak Peek: A Look Into My Journal (05/01/2017)

Here’s another look inside my journal… so you can learn what I’m learning, alongside me!

sneak peek

Lord, my problem isn’t trusting You that you CAN do things — I believe You are fully capable. My problem is that I always have a hard time believing in Your WILLINGNESS to help me, or to do anything for me.

I guess it’s because I view You as a parent… with human parents, I’ve been taught that I will be “rewarded” for doing things correctly; for obeying.

And while -yes- You bless my obedience… it’s what that obedience CONSISTS of that is different, right? Instead of me striving to earn “rewards” by doing things right, obedience (in Your eyes) consists of SURRENDERING to Your Spirit — correct? No more striving or doing… just releasing control to Your Holy Spirit (within me), trusting Him to handle things… Seeking You is the most important thing!

Have I got it, Lord? Is this the answer?

“Seek ye FIRST the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness,
and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33)

( ^^ this verse came to my mind ^^)

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean 
not on your OWN understanding; in all your ways
acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths
straight.” (Proverbs 3:5,6)

“A mind set on the Spirit is LIFE and peace…”
(Romans 8:6)

So, if I stop worrying about ___, and instead just trust You, Lord, that You will provide what I need in Your timing… and I instead focus on both seeking You, and serving those I come into contact with, You will help me succeed? Is that what You’re telling me, Lord?

“Commit to the Lord whatever you do,
and all your plans will succeed.”
(Proverbs 16:3)

….Aha! Seeing this verse with “new eyes”, right now! Instead of it meaning “ask God to bless what you’re going to do“, that word, “COMMIT” means GIVE IT OVER TO THE (SPIRIT) — in other words, SURRENDER — and then, of course, “your” plans will succeed, because they’re really God’s plans FOR you, and He is the one accomplishing them … not me! Wow.

Thanks for these insights, Lord!

 

Lessons From a Sea Sponge

I’ve always referred to myself as a “sponge” when it comes to learning things. Reason being, I tend to soak up a lot of information on an almost constant basis.

sponge lessons | Life, Unleashed

I love to learn! In fact, while researching some things for this post, I also learned some things about sponges that I didn’t know before! For example:

  • Once cut, a sea sponge will re-grow within a few years, often to become bigger & healthier than it was originally.
  • Sea sponges have a life span of a few months to 20+ years.
  • Even the tiniest fragments of the original sponge can be used to regenerate & grow new sponges.
  • Sea Sponges are capable of regulating the amount of water that flows through their bodies by the constriction of various openings.
  • Sea Sponges are capable of drawing in and out 20,000 times their own volume of water in a single 24-hour period.
  • Sponges survive by anchoring themselves permanently to other solid objects on the ocean floor (eg. coral, rocks, shell beds, etc).
  • Sea Sponges are composed perfectly for their environment by means of the hole-ridden structures, and could not survive without their unique design.
  • While sea sponges are technically “animals,” for all practical purposes, they grow, reproduce, and survive as plants

And, also…

sea-sponges | Life, Unleashed

Fascinating, right? At least, I thought so.

Originally, this post was going to be about using what you’ve learned. I tend to consume so much information in one sitting, sometimes, that it’s almost impossible to put any of it into practice {Input is one of my StrengthsFinder “top 5”, after all}. For example, I can get on a site like JamesClear.com (which I absolutely LOVE), and follow the links, reading article, after article, after article — because it’s all so good! But, even though I agree with what he’s written, and think, “Man, these are amazing & simple ideas — I should implement this stuff!“, I have already consumed so much that I get overwhelmed with where to start, and then choose what is easiest… which is doing nothing at all; meaning all of the information I consumed is practically useless. After all, if we don’t practice what we learn, then what’s the point?

But, in researching sponges, I couldn’t help but notice the similarities to our Christian walk. So, here are a few lessons I believe we can learn from the Sea Sponge:

PERMANENTLY ANCHORED

The Sea Sponges permanently anchor themselves to the ocean floor by attaching to something that doesn’t move. This is how they survive. Likewise, God is our unmoving and unchanging “anchor”. When we attach ourselves to Him, He becomes our unshakeable hope, and the way that we can stay grounded, despite the turmoil in our lives.

We have this hope as an anchor for our souls, firm & secure.
 — Hebrews 6:19 

 

SELF-REGULATING

Sea Sponges regulate the amount of water that moves in and out of their bodies. In similar fashion, we need to monitor what we put into us, whether that’s food, or information. Too much of anything is not good for us. As evidenced by my own information overload, it’s more helpful to consume things in moderate or bite-sized amounts, and then use that up, or practice it for a while, first, before taking in more. That way, our intake is actually useful and doesn’t go to waste (or to waist!).

BETTER THAN BEFORE

God likes to prune us, removing anything that doesn’t help us live the life He has planned for us. This pruning can often be painful. But, like the Sea Sponge after being harvested, we, too, can then grow to be “bigger” (with a deeper, stronger faith and character) and healthier than before.

UNIQUELY DESIGNED

The Sea Sponge’s unique design — with all of its pores and adjoining channels — helps it to be able to survive and grow.

For example, look at its hard outer layer and soft interior. We, God’s children, aren’t called to be timid, but to be strong & courageous, bold, shrewd, and discerning! This is our “outer layer”. At the same time, we are called to be quiet & gentle, kind and compassionate, and innocent as doves … our hearts are to be soft, and not “hardened” with unbelief.

But, the most important aspect of the Sponge’s design is its ability to let massive amounts of water flow through its body. This makes me think of Jesus, and how He describes Himself as “Living Water“. When we have this –when we have Him– we have everything we need.

:: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::

So, there you have it. Lessons from the Sea Sponge. Bet you didn’t realize you could learn something about God from something you use when you take a bath! Ha!

BOOK REVIEW: “The Renaissance Soul” by Margaret Lobenstine

This was a re-read for me, but it’s one of my favorite books. And, since I was in a slump — and, since this book was calling to me, loudly, from my bookshelf — I had to give it another go. And, sure enough, it did the trick.

I first read this book back in late 2010, and it really got me excited. I shared it with my sister, and she, too, got really excited about the book — after purchasing a copy and reading it.

Renaissance Soul Review Margaret writes about people who fit the following profile:

  • prefer variety over repetition
  • illogical and seemingly chaotic
  • don’t like to stick to schedules & to-do lists
  • impulsive
  • flexible
  • prefer many options, rather than one clear choice (hate having to choose just one)
  • easily bored after having mastered something
  • most alive and engaged when learning something new
  • unpredictable
  • respond eagerly to new possibilities
  • constantly chasing new hobbies and interests
  • naturally curious
  • thrives on wearing many ‘hats’
  • enjoys learning new languages & exploring new cultures
  • at peak performance, can be very detail-oriented & focused
  • creative
  • somewhat indulgent
  • passionate and inspired
  • chafe at limits
  • need constant new motivation
  • opt for change over continuation in the face of success
  • don’t like rigid long-term goals, or action plans
  • love to learn
  • interact and evolve with their surroundings

This is very much me. I have always thought I just lacked the perseverance to stick with things, or that I was lazy, or that I was too fickle. Family constantly tell me that I shouldn’t be so “picky”. But, apparently, this is all just a part of my nature! Not to be lazy, fickle, or lack perseverance — but to want to move on as soon as I’ve mastered something, or as soon as my interests change.

This also explains why I frequently change the layout and theme of my blog. 😉

And, I realized that it also explains my crazy desire to pack up and move house every 5 years or so! LOL. Mind you, we’ve been at this house for 10 years now, because we haven’t been able to afford to move. But, I’ve been itching to go for about 5 years now.

For a great review that gives a bit more detail about this book, click {here} to visit The Clear Minded Creative’s blog.

Also, find out if you, too, are a Renaissance Soul, by taking the quiz at the author’s blog!