Preface: I have been wrestling with blogging from the title “This, That, or Both” for about the last 3 weeks. In standard Christen fashion, I talked myself out of it because, truthfully, I was talking myself out of everything (I’ll explain more later). Some time ago, my Pastor preached a sermon from that title and, because messages resonate and click with me long after I hear it, I have been thinking about his words. Just as I convinced myself that I was going to leave this blog topic alone, he went back to that scripture last Sunday. I knew what I needed to do…
| This or That, or Both |
“What do you want to be when you grow up?” I remember that question being asked about fifty/eleven times throughout my childhood. Oddly enough, my answer
changed…no grew every time. By the time I became an upperclassman in high school, my answer was a bit lengthy…
- a pediatrician
- an interior designer
- a cosmetologist
- a salon/barbershop and spa owner
- a professional jazz singer or at least a background singer for a jazz/neo-soul artist (don’t knock my dream)
- an entrepreneur
- a literature teacher
- a music teacher (elementary or secondary education)
- a counselor of some sort
As you can see, there wasn’t a lack of options only a lack of direction. Look at my list!! My biggest problem wasn’t that I wasn’t good at anything. I was interested in and gifted to do an array of things, and I often times found that to be overwhelming! I believed it was impossible for more than one thing to be done well.
Recently, I have been comparing my amended “What I want to Be When I Grow Up” list with what I am actively interested in, considering, and pursuing. My mind drifted back to a conversation that I had with an
ex friend about a year and a half ago. After passionately telling him about my hopes, dreams, and where I saw myself in the future, he said to me, “You need to narrow your list. You can’t do everything. You need to choose.” My silent offense was truthfully a mask for the sting of pain that was directly connected to fear. What he didn’t know was I was already wrestling with the insecurity that I couldn’t do all that I wanted. Surely, I couldn’t sing and act in stage plays, do hair and own a salon, write books and do public speaking, etc. all while striving to be a good wife and raise my kids (considering the future). So I did what he suggested… I went back to my list and started crossing dreams, passions, and giftings off…better to do that than try it all and fail, right? Because I’m in cosmetology school and my time is severely limited, I have used that as my blanket excuse for why I don’t have time or energy for many of my dreams. I have found ways to narrow and compress, but the nagging desires have not drifted away.
Then while in conversation with [an acquaintance morphing into] a new friend (I’m so extra) I was asked, “What if there is a way that you could do it all?”
In standard Christen fashion, I talked myself out of it because, truthfully, I was talking myself out of everything. <– As I progress through school, old dreams and visions are coming to mind again. As a matter of fact, I have been so inspired that I’ve began writing out short and long-term goals for my life as a stylist and for my future business endeavors. As you can see, I have become much more consistent as it relates to According to Chris; this has truly become a joy for me again. Now all of a sudden I can’t shake this annoying (but seemingly perfect) idea to write a book…as if I don’t have at least three unfinished manuscripts on my laptop and a gazillion unprocessed ideas. Oh, then out of the clear blue, I got a hair brain idea to start a small business…NOW! Uhhh, nah bruh! My plate is full and my wallet isn’t interested! Immediately, I started making excuses for why I shouldn’t write this book and why I can’t start this business, now or ever. Furthermore, I began compiling my list of reasons as to why I can’t do the host of other things that I have an interest in and true knack for. Funny thing, my excuses for why I can’t do don’t match the visions God showed of me doing.
Aha! I not only put limits on what God can do for, with, and through me, I have put limitations on myself and how much of my dreams I allow myself to believe.
Then came the sermon last Sunday: “Here I Sow Again.”
Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let your hands not be idle, for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well.
Ecclesiastes 11:6 [New International Version]
THE MORAL OF THE STORY
Okay, here goes… Chris, maybe all of the ideas are swelling in your heart and you’ve been blessed with all of these gifts because they are all supposed to become a reality. Maybe you aren’t supposed to choose.
I by profession am a secretary. I was going to dress it up and call it an Administrative Executive Assistant…I’m a secretary. This job, though it allows me to spread a little sunshine to the students, is my bridge that will carry me as I prepare for my passion…doing hair. It makes sense for me to sow a seed into my gift for hair, after all I’ve been a kitchen beautician since I was a preteen. I understand why I weekly choose writing as a hobby…I love writing, I’m pretty good at it, and I touch a few lives (I think). And that’s where the buck stopped: a bridge, a passion, and a hobby. And why would I fully invest into anything more than my passion, especially those dreams that seems a bit too fluffy?
The scripture instructs us to sow twice: once in the morning and once in the evening. To me that makes no sense. Why would I do extra work when I’ve already worked? Don’t you know that I’m tired from gathering enough faith to sow the first seed, and seeds aren’t so easy to come by these days? The answer is simple… You don’t know which seed will succeed.
I can remember in elementary school, when we were learning how seeds become plants, we did an experiment where we planted a seed in two different cups. One cup was placed in the windowsill to receive direct sunlight. The second cup was left on a shelf to only receive light when the classroom lights were on. The purpose of the experiment was to see which plant would actually grow (since seeds need light). My hypothesis was the plant in the windowsill would flourish while the plant on the shelf would barely bloom if it did at all. After a few days, both plants started to grow. Fine, they both got some light. To my elementary surprise, BOTH plants not only grew but FLOURISHED… But how is that possible?
Like this elementary school photosynthesis experiment, we often have low expectations for some of the seeds in our lives. We expect a harvest from our main gifts, main focuses, or if we are honest — the seed that makes the most sense. For me, I make all the sacrifices in the world for cosmetology school. My entire life has shifted to accommodate my press to #buildthedream, but I don’t take as much consideration for the other giftings or passions I have. If I’m transparent, some of those dreams haven’t had the luxury of being planted and even abandoned (as if abandonment is a luxury at all) on a shelf because I counted them out before I could even sow. But what if, like my plant that received less attention sitting up on a shelf, those seeds had potential to flourish? What if there is a purposeful harvest attached to every seed I’ve been given?
I must wrap this up…. I am so long-winded like a Rouson.
What’s your takeaway? (Thanks a lot, [acquaintance morphing into a] new friend. Now I’m considering that all the time.)
- There isn’t a perfect time to sow. The money, time, or conditions may never be right… Sow anyway!
- Sow often! Sowing in the morning is right…and predictable. Go the extra mile and release from your hand again in the evening. Yeah, it may require more of you that you may even feel like you can’t give. You may even have a little less hope for this seed… Sow again!
- Stop limiting your seeds! Literally anything can happen..you have (at least) two seeds! There is a 50/50 chance that either seed will germinate, and a 50/50 chance that they both will. Don’t just expect the expected.
The word to me from my pastor (paraphrased): Chris, write the book. Pursue the dreams. In the end people won’t know what to call you… a stylist, a writer, a business owner, or a singer.
Today I challenge you to take the limits off. Stop stopping yourself! It’s okay to dream it. It’s okay to want it. It’s okay to sow into it. Stop saying that you are just a _____________ (fill in the blank)…there’s more to you than just that. No, I’m not just a secretary. Shoot, I’m not just a stylist, a writer, a singer, an entrepreneur…I am all of that! You see what I just did there? I stopped viewing myself through the lens that made the most sense to me. Try it! You can do and be every single thing that God has purposed for you BUT you must sow your seed! And baby, we don’t know which once will succeed… Maybe this or that or both.
I hope this helps.
Go ahead… Say something!