I have been struggling with this article.
Putting words to the spiderweb of thoughts in my head has felt as frustrating as untangling my iPhone headphones when I take them out of my pocket.
Every year around New Year’s Eve I begin to pray and journal about the year ahead. In order to know where I’m going it’s important for me to know where I’ve been. I reflect on the previous year and allow myself to celebrate the things that happened, the dreams fulfilled, the prayers answered, the movement made, the goals accomplished.
And I ask questions like:
What didn’t work and why? (Saying yes to almost everything coming my way; my travel schedule).
Where did I get distracted and lose sight?
What do I need to let go of? (Running my businesses on my own. In order to grow I need to delegate some projects and tasks to an assistant).
What do I need to hone in on?
I also pray for a word or phrase to be a theme for the year, and then I begin to consider my dreams and goals for relationships, family, career, and health.
On the morning of New Years Eve the phrase came to me: Be ready.
Be ready? For what? What does that even mean? It felt so elusive. The next day during my workout, the same phrase kept coming to mind, and it soon became clear that whatever this year holds there is an invitation for me to be ready.
There are so many facets of this theme for me. Some are too personal to share, and others have yet to be fully processed. But I want to be prepared when the opportunities I’ve been praying and fighting for start to come to fruition.
I don’t think I’ve ever had a small dream. When I was little I wanted to be either Gloria Estefan or a professional tennis player. When my mom asked if I had a back-up plan I blinked confusedly back at her. I never wanted to play small.
There’s this other part of me, though, that feels insecure, and thinks maybe I should have a back-up plan.
My doubts whisper that what I hope for is completely out of my reach. I don’t have what it takes. I can’t do it. I can’t accomplish the things I want to with my photography and with the Refined Woman. What if I fail?
My fears tell me to brace myself for disappointment and stop before I get too far along. Play it safe. Fly under the radar. Stay with what’s familiar.
Sometimes I want to throw in the towel. It’d be so much easier than to hope and pray and move ahead!
But I want to fight against that and say that dreams matter. I want to give myself and those around me permission to play big. To create beauty, to facilitate conversations about real life, and encourage and empower others along the way.
We all have dreams, and it’s easy to get discouraged, especially when it takes longer than we thought. But leaving a legacy comes with a cost. If you want to make a difference in our world it takes time, commitment, focus, and faithfulness.
A runner would never show up to run a marathon without putting in months of physical training, eating healthy, or having the proper gear. She’s able to do the marathon because she’s ready for it. Because she spent her Saturday mornings training while everyone else was asleep. She drank water and ate clean while everyone else had burgers and fries.
Those same principles are true for other parts of our lives. In order to be ready when the opportunity arises we have to be willing to make both big and small decisions each day that will lead us to the places we long to be.
Maybe it feels like you’re barely inching forward when you have a mountain to climb. But those small steps matter. They prepare you for each next step. The process can’t be skipped or shortened, and by going through it you will be ready for the next part of the journey.
Being faithful to your dreams isn’t pretty; it doesn’t look sexy or feel glamorous. And a lot of times there are a thousand things I’d rather do (like reorganizing my dresser drawers and dusting underneath my bed — both of which I did while avoiding writing this article)! But I’m here now, and ready to be ready.
I hope you’ll join me on the journey, and step into the invitation to be ready.