How often does the refrain “not enough” go through your brain? Not enough hours in the day, not enough money in the bank, not enough talent to do what I’m longing to do.
Do you know what these messages are? Flat out bald-faced lies. Not because we have it all together (because we don’t) but because we know who owns it all. All the time, money and talent to do what He has called us to do.
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I went to an awesome blogging conference recently in Portland, Oregon, and learned a lot that I believe will help me improve my blog. But the bigger lessons came from how God gave me verses and messages that speak more to improving my life far beyond blogging.
The day after the conference ended, I went on a hair-raising hike on the rainy Oregon coast that reminded me that pursuing big goals involves big challenges. I’ll write more about my hike in my newsletter. If you haven’t yet subscribed, will you take a minute and sign up? I’d love to have another friend along on this journey.
Here’s how to fight the “not enough” lies that keep you from pursuing your God-given dreams:
The lie of scarcity
I’ve been reading through the Bible on biblegateway.com. That Saturday, I read 2 Corinthians 9, which includes the well-known passage “God loves a cheerful giver.”
I’d always associated that verse with money and thought if I cheerfully tithe, I’m good. But on this day, I realized it means so much more. You can apply it to your time, your attention, your encouragement, your insights, your love… The list goes on.
“Remember this – a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. ‘For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.’” – 2 Corinthians 9:6-7
Later at the conference, much of the focus was on helping others. Readers want content that helps them address real problems in their lives and inspires them to take positive steps.
I also saw generosity in action. The way other more experienced bloggers encouraged newcomers like myself reminded me that instead of treating one another as competitors, we should look for ways to build each other up. The world of e-commerce continues to expand with opportunity, so there’s plenty to go around.
While many resources are abundant and in fact grow as we care for them, time is limited. I’m gonna be honest here, I struggle with procrastination. We only have 24 hours a day. How am I using those hours?
I aim to encourage others around me through this blog and in person. How can I be more intentional with my encouragement, whether I’m talking to my daughter or to the check-out clerk at Krogers?
I want to keep my eyes open as I go through my day. Where can I give an encouraging word or a positive message? As an introvert, I often get quiet when I’m tired or thinking about a problem. But if instead I take an interest in someone else and look to bless them, I find a new spring in my step.
One of the speakers, Jessica Bowman who is the director of growth for Living Well Spending Less, talked about the keys for success in social media.
“The secret sauce is to serve your reader,” Jessica said.
Isn’t that true in having a fulfilling life, too? The secret sauce to having more joy is to serve other people.
The lie of the wrong indulgences
Now before you get all stressed out about serving others, I don’t want you to completely forget about your own needs for rest and rejuvenation. You can’t serve others 24 hours a day, seven days a week, or you’ll burn out faster than a Roman candle on the Fourth of July.
We need to make sure that we’re getting adequate sleep and that we plan some activities that feed joy and spark energy in our lives.
I like to read, so I usually have several books going at a time. I try to read something fun before bed. Rather than ending the day on a down note by scrolling through the news on my Twitter feed, I’ll read a chapter of a mystery novel or a book that promotes positive growth.
One book I’m reading right now is “The Fringe Hours: Making Time for You” by Jessica N. Turner.
Jessica encourages us to find those pockets of time in our day where we can pursue our passions and practice self-care to help us find more fulfillment and energy to live life.
She talks about that legendary Proverbs 31 woman (that woman gets on my nerves sometimes) and how she manages her home, her work and life. Verse 18 says. “her lamp does not go out at night.”
While some interpret that to mean she works at night, too, Jessica writes, “But what if in those fringe hours of her day, with her work completed, she uses the quiet time to do something she enjoys like sewing, dreaming up business plans, or praying? And because she spends time doing those things in her fringe hours, she is more fulfilled emotionally, which in turn makes her more productive, resourceful, and helpful during the day.”
One thing I need to do with my “fringe hours” is pursue my blogging because my passion is to help others through the medium of writing.
When I’m tired out from a busy day, it’s easy to turn to mindless pursuits to “numb out” as Jennie Allen says in her book Nothing to Prove: Why We Can Stop Trying So Hard and her study on the book of John, Proven – Bible Study Book: Where Christ’s Abundance Meets Our Great Need, which we’re studying at the Ladies Bible Study I attend.
I’m not against watching a favorite show or two, but watching several hours every night of the week is not feeding my soul or helping me achieve my dreams. This is a place where I need to better manage my time.
Jennie writes that our striving leads to fatigue, which leads to numbing out. “But numb is not living. Numb is sleepwalking through our one gift of a life.”
At my conference, speaker and blogger Ruth Soukup, who started the blog Living Well, Spending Less, told us that success doesn’t come easy. “You have to put your head down and get work done.”
For at least a season, I’m going to have to sacrifice some free time to work on my blog. What dream do you want to pursue?
I know life gets crazy. At least mine is right now. We’re aiming for progress, not perfection. Why not take a positive step toward your goal today?
The lie of limiting beliefs
Ruth, the organizer and primary speaker at my conference, talked extensively about limiting beliefs.
A limiting belief is a belief or thought we have about ourselves that holds us back from reaching our potential.
She talked about focusing on positive messages because of the “Law of Attraction.” We want to train ourselves to think about the possibilities and the ways to overcome challenges, rather than get mired in the muck of negative thinking.
Ruth said, “You have a choice of what you look at.”
As I wrote down that note, I remembered what I had read that morning in my biblegateway.com daily reading. Again, God used the snippet I read that day to remind me what I should do with my thoughts:
“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” – 2 Corinthians 10:5
Asking God to help me with my thought life is so much better than striving to tame it myself! By reading His Word often, I can learn to think His thoughts. I’ll never be perfect, but I can spend less time worrying and more time experiencing His freedom and joy if I ask Him to guide my thoughts.
The lie of the fear of failure
All too often, I hesitate when trying something new. Why do I do that? It probably has something to do with a fear of failure.
What if I try this new business venture or ministry opportunity and fall flat on my face?
Now that could totally happen. But faith kicks into gear when we choose to trust God and take a step forward.
Failing is part of the growth process. Seek to learn from the experience and move on. When God has called us to do something, success may look different from our expectations. What may be failing by the world’s perspective may include special ingredients to mold our character or bring us into new relationships.
Jennie Allen says in “Nothing to Prove” that safety is not our goal. She reminds us that Jesus called Peter out of the boat to walk on the water, despite the wind and the waves. Jesus was there for Peter when he began to panic.
“We will never kill our fears, though we tend to spend a lot of time trying to do so; we are called to walk on water – and to do so boldly despite our fears. Jesus isn’t scolding us for being afraid; He is calling us out of our comfortable boats to do something that is possible only with His power.”
At the blogging conference, there were t-shirts, mugs and bumper stickers all with one message:
“Do it scared.”
This slogan could be applied to launching a blog, writing a book, creating a video or a course. Just taking steps forward to turn dreams into businesses.
It could also come in handy whenever we fear answering Jesus’ call to get out of the boat.
When we’re stepping outside our comfort zones, fear is natural. Step out of the boat anyway or miss out on learning more about God and His plan for us.
“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.” – Ephesians 2:10
What lie trips you up the most? Do you have a favorite verse that helps you take steps of faith?