Courage Over Comfort

Last month I had the opportunity to speak on the importance of choosing Courage over Comfort, at the Empowered Women Empower event, presented by R. Riveter. During our breakout sessions we explored What it looks likes on an Individual basis to choose between comfort And courage in our personal, professional, and relational endeavors. 

Starting out in my vocation I felt a leading to one day combine my passions for intellect and creativity, and thought what better way to do that than with a magazine. But the vision for the magazine wasn’t always so clear, nor the community in which the magazine would support. In actuality, there was a time in 2009 that I would have happily supported my husband in letting his contract run out with the military so that he could pursue almost any other career. For some reason, retreating to a place that I found more more comfortable and accommodating of my personal desires, sounded far more enticing than choosing daily to be a vessel for the Change that I hoped to see in the world.

But in 2011 my husband and I declared together, “Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people, and your God my God”. So in 2012, when we felt a leading for my husband to reenlist, I felt inspired to pursue ways in which the experiences of service member families, couples, and spouses could be enriched. I had choice to make - did I choose what felt familiar and comfortable or did I pursue what the Lord was calling me too? While I wish I could say I instantly chose courage, it probably took a longer than it should, but when I did there was once again a peace that surpassed all my understanding. 

My journey began by pursuing graduate school in personal, professional, and relational counseling, with an emphasis on how these areas relate to military culture. It was in 2015, while working creatively alongside spouse owned organizations, that the idea of turning these collective experiences into a publication was first born. It's through the encouragement of these individuals and the grace of God, that the dream of Legacy Magazine is today becoming a reality. While stepping out in faith might feel uncomfortable, the more often we choose courage the more second-natured it can become. 

May we cultivate CURIOSITY while choosing CLARITY over chaos; celebrate CREATIVITY while choosing CONNECTEDNESS over comparison; And curate CONFIDENCE while choosing COURAGE over comfort. -Legacy Magazine

The Relationship Between Waiting, Grace, and Our Identity

Still Waiting couldn’t have come in a timelier manner. Ann Swindell's personal account reminded me that while waiting is uncomfortable, it can also be a gift, as it often brings us closer to the Father. Seeing how God intends to use authentic relationships as a vessel for healing and comfort when we are brave enough to risk sharing our trials with others, ministers to the soul chapter after chapter.

It's been such a blessing getting to know Ann as a writing instructor, mentor, and friend. I had the opportunity to first connect with Ann while attending an annual Influence Network conference, and later took one of her online writing courses titled Writing with Grace. What initially drew me to Ann 2-3 years ago was her attention to the Lord's completed work in her life and the lives of others. While many would say Ann has accomplished several great feats in her 10 years of writing, she is quick to give the glory to God.

In today's culture it is not uncommon to see individuals struggle with the relationship between Grace and Works, and Ann's words in Still Waiting unexpectedly helped bring clarity on why individuals often struggle with the two. As a counselor, I've seen firsthand how many are brought up to believe they must "perform" in order to gain approval of man or God, which can often take months to retrain the mind to believe otherwise. While others, who seem to be coming out of this works mentality, often get caught up in focusing on their weaknesses, struggles, and inadequacies. While I believe the latter group of individuals have good intentions, not wanting to come across as arrogant or self-rightous (something I've been guilty of as well), neither are how God intended us to live out the new covenant.

It was during the section of the book, when Ann discusses how waiting can often lead to identifying ourselves by what we lack, that the lightbulb turned on. When we spend most of our time focusing on what breaks us or another, we start to internalize that brokenness and we're only grasping half the Gospel. As Ann writes in her book, "God doesn't look at me and see what breaks me. He looks at me and sees a child who has been loved, accepted and redeemed...God comes at you through eyes of compassion and sees what he has already given to you: a new name, a new identity." What a beautiful reality to be celebrated!! While in our humanness we are most definitely bound to experience weakness and brokenness, God sent us his Son so that we might live abundantly in spite of earthly circumstances, equipping us to do great things. 

If you are someone that finds yourself in a season of waiting, or if you struggle with identifying yourself by what you lack, I encourage you to pick up a copy of Still Waiting, today.

Speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
— Eph. 4:15-16

My Year With Harley Davidson

This past November, while discussing the importance of living abundantly within one's calling, gathered with a group of Service Member spouses, I promised I would share an embarrassing photo from my former life :) And since I'm finally sharing the photo, I felt the need to share the short backstory...but apparently I've tried to erase this from my memory as I've yet to locate a "riding" photo. 

 Back in 2009, shortly after graduating undergrad,

I decided to spend a year back home before deciding if I wanted to find a job using my undergraduate degree or if I should pursue graduate school. Within a few weeks of being home I was offered a job with Harley Davidson.

Hearing about the woes of my peers struggling to find work in their area of study, or any area for that matter, I decided to accept the position.

 I started out in their Motor Clothes department, but within a few months was offered a position in the Sales & Insurance department. During our initial meetings, the CEO would talk about the potential of me quickly making a generous salary, while also offering to send me to Las Vegas for training.

Pretty exciting, right!? 

When I discussed it with my husband, who was a boyfriend at the time, we talked about the potential of me being able to transfer from Harley Davidson to Harley Davidson once we were married, as we were relocated by the military. This made the position even more enticing. All those factors along with the fear of nothing better coming along, I started training for the new position.

But the training and the start of the position proved to be anything but fulfilling.

As you can imagine, it wasn't the position that lacked excitement, but rather the position for me. So I started to ask myself, with all its promise, why it still felt so dissatisfying? What I eventually realized is that I was unhappy in the position because I was making the life decision from a place of scarcity, rather than from a place of abundance.

Scarcity is described as the “never again” or a “never enough” mentality.

It’s a place in which we become hyper aware of lack, often not trusting the Lord's perfect will for our lives. The issue of allowing scarcity to dictate our decisions is that we often say yes to too many things or to the wrong things, which can keep us from saying yes to the right things. So, after a little prayer and contemplation, I resigned the position and pursued graduate school. Even without the promise of a steady income for a few more years, I experienced a peace that surpassed all my understanding.

While I definitely don't believe we need any type of schooling to live abundantly within our calling, it proved to be an important  part of my journey, which I'll share more of later.

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work...All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.
— 1 Corinthians 12: 4-6, 11

Prayer & Counseling

Simply put, prayer and counseling are about honesty and admitting we have need. We weren’t designed to do life alone, but rather to live in relationships that point us to Jesus. Whether great or small, we sometimes need the hand of another to help us wade through our experiences and expectations, while they speak Truth into our lives. It’s such an honor when we are invited to sit with another who feels they are at the end of their rope, simply needing to be pointed to Hope.

Faith & Hope

While politicians, spiritual leaders, and loved ones differ in many regards, one commonality they cannot escape is their human nature. It is our humanness that will undoubtedly lead us to disappointing one another time to time again. But we have Hope, for our faith is not to be placed in man alone, but rather in the Lord.