Dear American Hero,
Words are completely inadequate, yet my soul is stirring to address you this day. Perhaps these thoughts will make their way to heaven or perhaps you’ll read the words with eyes yet gleaming. My prayer is simply that they will reach you.
You served our country, not knowing what lay ahead. You did the unthinkable. For me. You took up the arms and obeyed the orders. You faced those who threatened our precious freedoms. I imagine you were scared, but of course I don’t really know. I wasn’t there. I don’t have those images forever etched upon my soul.
But you do.
And perhaps you wonder if anyone cares? If it was worth it? If you made a difference? If you are remembered?
I wish I could tell you in person.
But I suppose these words will have to do. Your sacrifice is deeply person to me, a gal you’ve never met and will likely never know. I hold you in my heart, in my mind, and in my soul.
I remember. I treasure. I offer this prayer for you…
Dear Heavenly Father,
I do not understand your ways. I don’t pretend to know your thoughts.
But I know that you work through people.
Everyday, ordinary people who surrender to your will and do extraordinary things in your name.
On this day of remembrance (and all days in between),
I give thanks for the men and women who serve the United States of America.
They are the best of us, Lord.
For you tell us…
Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.
And these amazing American heroes do more than listen.
They obey. They act. They protect. And they serve.
Help me to remember them, Lord.
Help me to see them and thank them.
Help me to support their families and preserve their memories.
May I teach my children and grandchildren that freedom is not free.
Open my eyes, Lord, to the sacrifice and bravery of those who give the greatest gift.
May it not be in vain, but may it inspire us to come together.
To serve the least among us.
To love You and each other well.
May their legacy of life begin with me.
L A U R A F L E E T W O O D
Seeking the still in the chaos of life.
Podcast host. National faith speaker. Published author. Anxiety warrior. Spiritual mentor. Champion of Messy Miracles.
Access your free meditation from Laura here.
When my life crumbled, I learned what “Be Still” really means.
And I want you to know, too.
She wasn’t laughing or joking when she said it.
We were at a staff lunch when my friend and co-worker snarkily shared that she’d no longer be inviting “those neighbors” to her home. “Those neighbors” were people who had political signs in their yard for the presidential candidate I planned to vote for.
That was 16 years ago. I still remember the pit in my gut when she so easily dismissed people who didn’t see the world as she did. And in doing so, she essentially dismissed me.
Messy Miracle, it doesn’t need to be this way.
What if we decided to promote unity instead of adding to division? What if we saw each other as individuals whose unique life experience influenced their ballot choices? What if the next time someone important in your life pitches a yard sign or posts on social media for a candidate other than yours, you make a deliberate decision to look beyond the politics to the soul of the person sharing it?
We can do this! We can love a person even when we can’t stand their politics. It’s not always easy, but it’s worth it.
People are more important than politics.
I wanted to test this statement, so I asked my Instagram followers if they believed it to be true. Most of them did. And while my Instagram community doesn’t perfectly represent our entire country, they confirmed what I had suspected. We BELIEVE people are more important than politics, so why don’t we BEHAVE like they’re more important? I think we want to, but end up getting in our own way. The good news is that we can get ourselves out of the way!
I’m not suggested you subject yourself to unhealthy people or be best friends with everyone on the other side of the political aisle. Boundaries are important and unhealthy people need not consume your energy. However, I do believe we should avoid burning a relational bridge with someone in our life S I M P LY because they vote differently than we do. Are you with me? Let’s go…
Here’s how you can practice loving people who have different political views without giving up your own.
1. Recognize the Wall and Push It Down
Unless you’re Jesus, Mr. Rogers or Pollyanna, your first inclination when you see or hear a view that’s different from yours is to put up a wall in your heart and mind. I actually feel my wall go up in my body too. It’s an innate defense mechanism that launches you into fight, flight or freeze mode. Most of us stay there with our wall up and begin to defend our point of view. This is REACTION mode. You want to stay out of that place. Nothing good happens there. Instead, notice when your wall goes up and make a decision to RESPOND instead of REACT. You do this by pushing down the wall. Take a deep breath and tell your internal wall that you are perfectly fine and don’t need it to defend you. This is not an emergency. After you push it down, it will probably keep trying to come up. That’s ok. Just keep knocking it down. Again. And again. And again.
2. Find Perspective
With open space between you and the person you disagree with, give yourself some perspective. In politically charged seasons, every disagreement feels amplified. It can FEEL like our future happiness, success, even life itself depends on putting this stake in the ground. Voting is important, yes. Your viewpoints are important, yes. However, there is a much bigger story taking place that is way more important than this election. Call it the universe. Call it destiny. I know it to be God. And God is truly in control. I think He looks at our obsession with politics much like a parent views their child’s obsession with the latest toy. It’s a phase. And it’s a phase that changes like the wind. I’m not belittling the impact of your vote. I’m only saying that God is greater and can handle whatever outcome occurs. He works the good in everything and one day when you are on your death-bed, I don’t think you’ll be thinking about who won in 2020. I do think, however, that you’ll be reflecting on the people who came in and out of your life. When my life on this side of heaven ends, I want to know that I loved them well.
3. Engage Your Curiosity
People who are different from you are actually very interesting. What a boring place it would be if we all looked, acted and thought the same way. So, why do we try to force people into a boring black and white box? I’ll be honest here. I used to feel uncomfortable when talking or listening to someone who didn’t see the world the same way I do. In fact, I would start to make counter-arguments in my mind and often tune them out completely. Then I stopped trying to defend my point of view and started practicing RADICAL CURIOSITY. Instead of issuing counter-arguments, I started asking questions. Instead of defending, I started engaging. And what I found is that the more curious I became, the less frustrated I was at our differences and the more encouraged I became about the values we all share.
- Curiosity does not equal agreement. You don’t have to agree with someone in order to listen and love them.
- Here are some great questions/phrases to foster curiosity in your relationships with people who think differently than you.
- Your viewpoint is so interesting. How did you come to that conclusion?
What experiences from your past shaped the way you look at this issue now?
I know we disagree on this subject, but I really want to understand more about your views. Do you mind helping me understand how you landed on this perspective?
4. Agree to Disagree and Move On
After you’ve listened and learned, you can acknowledge your differences and move on. Remember, the point isn’t to change anyone’s mind. The point is to understand where they are coming from. Often, after I’ve engaged with someone in this way, I no longer feel annoyed or resentful of their opinion. And even if they don’t reciprocate the understanding or ask me about my views on the subject, the relationship just feels improved, overall. Taking the high road is a lesson worth learning. If more people did, there would be so much more room to breathe.
Remember my friend who hurt me without even realizing it? I hadn’t yet learned these tips back then. Instead, I allowed hurt and bitterness to grow in my heart, much like many of us do today. Just like every vote matters, so does every person. Will you join me letting the world know there is hope for love to win, even when we disagree? Save the image below and post on your social media feeds. Let’s cut through the chaos today and light up the digital landscape with love.
Enter Below for a FREE Energy Edit Session with Laura!
Winners will be notified on October 15, 2020
In this episode of the Two Kids and a Career podcast, host Jill Devine interviews Laura about why she created Seeking The Still after she was taken down by depression and anxiety at the age of 37. Jill and Laura talked about Laura’s journey and the process towards healing.
In the episode, Jill also asked Laura a lot questions about Christianity/Faith and why Jill would even think Christians would frown upon visible tattoos. Laura reminded Jill that Jesus is for everyone … no matter what you look like, no matter what music you like, no matter what! Laura said she has noticed the church has been typically known for what the church is against and not what the church is for. Laura would like to spread more awareness about what the church is for so more people know they are welcome, no matter what.
I kissed my girls goodbye and stoically rode shotgun with my husband to a treatment center for anxiety, insomnia, and emotional and physical exhaustion.
A life can be so full that it’s actually empty.
I see you there. The lovely one who volunteers for PTO, class parties, and church boards.
Yes, you, who not only chauffeurs your own kids to volleyball, dance and soccer, but also the neighbor kids and the straggler whose father frantically texts you that he is stuck at work and would you please…?
Yes, you, the employee who wins teamwork awards and gets promoted for achievements (which may mean more money, but always means more work).
Yes, you, the one who looks at her calendar every night and feels her chest constricting at the rainbow blocks of commitments on deck for tomorrow.
You can’t remember the last time you had no one to take care of except yourself. The last time you filled a day with only the things that fill you. The last time your mind felt happily still, your body rested and your soul satisfied. And let’s not even mention the ever-growing distance between you and your partner. When’s the last time you talked about the dreams you once shared?
New research published this year found a significant increase in stress among mid-life people compared to just a decade ago. When did it become normal to be burned-out, stress-out and checked-out? How do you change the course of your life to avoid a full-on breakdown and anxiety diagnosis like mine?
Contrary to popular belief, it’s not by committing to fewer things, it’s by committing to the right things for you and joyfully opening your hands to let the rest of it go.
It’s Time For An Energy Edit
I had an “ah-ha” moment yesterday as I binge-watched a new Netflix show called The Home Edit where organizing gurus Clea and Joanna tackle rooms in homes of celebrities like Reese Witherspoon alongside ordinary families like mine. There is a method to their magic, and I realized that the way they organize things is similar to the way I’m learning to organize energy and time. Here’s a quick overview of how I’m learning to stop living like life is an emergency and start being intentional about savoring moments of my life. You can do this too!
ASSESS your time
Ask these key questions about your current commitments.
– What on your list do you have to do?
– What on your list do you enjoy doing?
– What gives you energy?
– What steals your energy?
– What makes you feel lighter when you imagine not having to do it?
– What time of day do you feel most energized?
– What time of day do you crash?
– What tasks could you delegate to someone else?
what are your GOALS
It’s important to dig deep when thinking about the goals you have for your time and energy. Be specific. Consider all aspects of your life as well as your body, mind and spirit.
– What are your priorities? God? Family? Work? Hobbies?
– How much margin do you have? How much do you need?
– Are you scheduling every bit of your time, or do you have margin for when things go wrong (which they will)?
– Do you practice a Sabbath? One day a week when you practice downtime and delight. If not, it’s time to fix that.
– How are you prioritizing people over projects?
just say EDIT
When it comes time to edit your commitments to make your time and energy correspond with your goals, remember that “No” is a complete sentence. Feel free to consider me your official “Noach,” AKA No Coach. It is not selfish to protect your time! I remember when I was overwhelmed with three part-time jobs. I was literally sick to my stomach when I thought about resigning from one of them, but then I remembered that I work to live. I don’t live to work. I resigned and immediately felt the weight lift.
If you’re worried about hurting feelings of people who depend on you, here are some phrases I’ve learned to use when editing my time. You’ll be amazed at how you empower others when you model the wisdom of editing your schedule. And contrary to what you may believe, you are not the only one who can perform tasks well. Often stepping aside allows someone else to rise to the occasion.
Steal These Lines For Saying “No”
– Thank you for asking me, but I’m carefully protecting the margin of my schedule right now.
– I’ve really enjoyed serving with you, but I’m editing my time and need to step down from this volunteer position.
– I appreciate your faith in me, but adding another responsibility to my schedule will take away precious family time and I am prioritizing that in this season of my life.
– No, thank you!
ORGANIZE What’s Left
Look at the flow of your energy and schedule. Just like you organize objects in a closet to make it more efficient, you can organize your time. Right now I’m experimenting with “batching” my work schedule. Mondays are for my team and weekly planning. Tuesdays are for organizational meetings. Wednesdays are for tackling my to-do list, Thursday is my video day and Friday is Freedom Friday. When I work hard to get everything done throughout the week, I can use Fridays to do things I enjoy and work on Seeking The Still. By scheduling similar tasks together and theming my days, it makes sense in my head, which helps me stay on track. I try to do my creative work in the mornings when I have the most energy. I find that I can do writing projects in much less time because I’m focused (the coffee helps, too).
ENJOY THE FREEDOM
My default mode used to be pleasing everyone and saying “yes.” Kind of like my shopping habit and overflowing closet, my schedule was packed and my energy was tapped out. This was a big reason I broke down. I’m still learning and will continuously have to go through the Energy Edit process, but there is such freedom in knowing that I can choose to do what God created me to do and say no to the rest.
If you find yourself saying that you don’t have enough time in your day, it’s time to take a look at how you’re spending that time, where you can edit things out and how you can maximize your efforts. There is no reason you can’t have a weekly Sabbath day where you have downtime to only do things that connect you to others and delight you. In fact, that’s what God commands you to do! Free yourself from your overwhelmed life. It is possible and so worth it. I’m here to help.
P.S. I am sharing more Energy Edit hacks over in my Instagram stories this week and am also offering three free Energy Edit sessions where I’ll walk you through this process and help you implement it in your life. If you’d like to be considered, answer these three questions. The best is to come!
Enter Below for a FREE Energy Edit Session with Laura!
Winners will be notified on October 15, 2020
At this live speaking event for Fearless Women, Laura Fleetwood explains why she had a nervous breakdown and how Psalm 23 reduces anxiety, worry & fear to help you seek the still in the midst of your chaotic life.
To receive the free CHAOS KIT, text MessyMiracle to 444999.
For more anxiety tips and Messy Miracle messages, visit https://www.seekingthestill.com/blog-vlog/
To invite Laura to speak at your church, school or event, visit
To learn about Fearless Women, visit http://fearlesswomenstl.com/
Until we meet again…
In that moment when things don’t work out the way you planned, you have a choice.
Will you choose fear or faith?
In that moment when things don’t work out the way you planned, you have a choice. Will you choose fear or faith?
thatupcycledlife.com | SCROLL DOWN FOR SHOW NOTES & LINKS!
GIVE US A “THUMBS-UP” AND COMMENT IF YOU WERE ENCOURAGED BY THIS EPISODE!
In this episode, Laura Fleetwood reflects on episode 2 of That Upcycled Life with Christine Chappell and TUL Uncut Interview with Bobbie Schae and Niki Hardy. When something doesn’t go the way you planned, you can respond one of two ways. With faith. Or with fear. To learn more about Laura Fleetwood and her mission to help you seek the still in your chaotic life, visit seekingthestill.com.
———- Episode description: In episode 2 of “That Upcycled Life,” host Christine Chappell discovers familiarity with a project doesn’t mean it will be easy to complete. Watch as she pauses her vintage window rehab plans to upcycle an old thrift store glass container, and travels to Virginia to take another stab at completing her original window shelf project. This episode’s Upcycled Minute guest is Niki Hardy, writer/speaker and soon-to-be author. (nikihardy.com) In the minute, she shares encouragement about experiencing Jesus’ promise of “fullness of life,” even when current circumstances aren’t going our way.
———- Sign up to be notified about new TUL content weekly and receive 6 free phone lock screens as our gift to you! Join here: goo.gl/jB65pq
———- If you are a Christian author, writer, speaker, teacher, or conference/ministry leader whose passion is to encourage others through hard times, or to share your testimony of how God has “upcycled” pains from your past, we’d love to connect with you! Email us at email@example.com ———- Be sure to connect with TUL on social media for even more DIY, faith, & fun! Facebook: facebook.com/thatupcycledlife Instagram: instagram.com/thatupcycledlife
———- “That Upcycled Life” airs new show episodes every other Friday. Stay tuned for the next episode of “That Upcycled Life” to air Friday, March 23rd!
Niki reflects upon personal grief, tragedy, and a medical diagnosis that lead her to discover that thriving in the midst of life’s storms was not mere wishful thinking, but a difficult-to-grasp reality that God promises to those who belong to him. Through her story, we also get to see how the Lord has upcycled that difficult season in awe-inspiring ways. Even the most broken things can be upcycled in the right hands! TUL Uncut is an unedited, unscripted video interview series that digs deep into real life stories about real pain to share the redeeming hope of the gospel message. It airs on opposite Fridays of the TUL show. Set your calendar for Fridays at noon EST so you’re the first to see new episode content.
———- Sign up to be notified about new TUL content weekly and receive 6 free phone lock screens as our gift to you! Join here: eepurl.com/dgB7qj
———- Connect with Niki! Here are some helpful links to learn more about Niki’s writing & speaking ministry: Website–nikihardy.com Free resources mentioned in this episode–goo.gl/tKaWHv Connect with Niki on Facebook: www.facebook.com/NikiHardyaut… Connect with Niki on Instagram: www.instagram.com/niki.hardy/
———- If you are a Christian author, writer, speaker, teacher, or conference/ministry leader whose passion is to encourage others through hard times, or to share your testimony of how God has “upcycled” pains from your past, we’d love to connect with you! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Messy Miracle,
How do you know when “busy” becomes “too busy?” Where in the world is that magical line?
I’ve been pondering that question a lot recently, because there is SO MUCH going on. When I cross the line between comfortably stretched and completely overwhelmed, the result is never pretty. Even though I know this, my tendency is to want to do ALL THE THINGS. Because they are all good things that help good people.
I’ve recently discovered something that truly helps me with this dilemma.
Have you seen the movie/musical The Greatest Showman? If you haven’t, you must! There is great music and several awesome messages about life hidden within the story and the songs. The soundtrack is now an anthem for my girls and me.
One of the songs at the end is titled, Come Alive and it repeats the phrase…I’M DREAMING WITH MY EYES WIDE OPEN.
The first time I heard those words in the the song, I wanted to sling my arms up in a perfect cheerleader pose and shout “YES!” That’s it! That’s the perfect phrase! I want to dream with my eyes WIDE OPEN.
You see, after my burnout & breakdown, I was afraid to dream at all. I was scared that I’d revert back to my perfectionist, too-much-activity ways. I was afraid I’d sink back into the darkness and the anxiety and the unrelenting overwhelm if I took on new projects, new commitments, and new dreams. And going back to the darkness was my greatest fear.
But God has been showing me that I’ve learned so much! I’m NOT the same Laura that achieved her way into an anxiety disorder. I’m different. Praise God! Because I’ve learned I’m not the One in the control. It is ok to dream and commit and do things I love because THIS TIME, I’m dreaming with my eyes wide open. I know I have a limit. I have a plan, and most importantly I am learning to live in God’s strength, not mine.
I hope this encourages you today as you face a new week ahead. There may, indeed, be some things on your schedule that need to go. There are some commitments on mine that I’m going to graciously surrender this week. And what’s left, I will give to God and ask Him how I should spend my days. With that attitude and by simply doing the next right thing, there is always more than enough time.
Thanks for reading & Be Still,
P.S. Here are a few things I shared over the past week. I pray they bless you!
- To The Gal Who “Has It All Together”: Recognizing These 7 Hidden Anxiety Symptoms Can Radically Improve Your Life
- Why it’s important to feel your days.
To The Gal Who “Has It All Together”: Recognizing These 7 Hidden Anxiety Symptoms Can Radically Improve Your Life
People expect everything you touch to turn to gold.
You’re an achiever who’s always prepared. The go-to girl. The person everyone wants on their team. You’re so good at hiding your anxiety that you may not even know it exists.
You appear to have it all together on the OUTSIDE.
But you are one mistake or unkind word away from falling apart on the INSIDE.
I know this woman well. She was me.
For more than 3 decades, I thought I was slaying life. I was a model student. The first born of four girls. After college, I was a corporate jet setter traveling the world. I married an amazing man and eventually left the corporate job to stay home with my beautiful girls. Then at age 37, I had an emotional and physical breakdown and discovered that while my external life was thriving, my internal life was slowly being eaten away by anxiety.
Looking back, all the signs were there from the time I was 7 years old.
I completely missed it. My family missed it. I was so capable. So smart. So headstrong. Sure, I was a perfectionist, but that earned me straight As and accolades. Sure, I worried all the time, but that meant I was prepared for any outcome. I was a problem solver. A dependable fixer. I stuffed my feelings, which meant I was pleasant and nice to be around. I was diplomatic, never making waves or causing pain.
My anxiety masqueraded in qualities that the world rewarded.
But make no mistake. I was suffering quietly even as I relished in the praise. All those years, the struggles remained hidden and dismissed where they grew and grew and grew, until my human mind and body could no longer contain them.
Please hear this. Anxiety is treatable. It is manageable. And there is great hope for those of us who struggle.
But FIRST we have to recognize anxiety for what it is.
7 Signs of Anxiety You Might Be Missing
It’s great to do your best, but NOBODY is perfect. Fretting over anything less than ideal, cringing about the smallest mistake or imperfection, thinking about what could have been over and over and over again are just a few ways perfectionism revealed itself in my life. These tendencies often mask an intense fear of failure, a hallmark sign of anxiety.
#2 DISLIKE OF ASKING FOR HELP
When life gets overwhelming, it makes sense to ask for help. But people who have anxiety can view it as weakness or failure. I took extreme measures like regularly sacrificing sleep, self care, and joy in order to get things done. I refused to ask for help. For someone with anxiety, asking for help feels a bit like crushing the soul.
#3 HIGH ACHIEVER
For some people, it’s difficult to be still. For most of my life, as soon as I completed one project or achieved one goal, I was immediately on to the next. This makes for an impressive resume and stellar accomplishments, but it’s exhausting and unsustainable. Individuals with anxiety often have a difficult time relaxing, so they fill their time with one achievement after another. It feels easier to chase self-worth through accomplishments rather than digging deep to see where the need to achieve is originating.
#4 REHASHING CONVERSATIONS
Overanalyzing conversations and outcomes can be a sign of anxiety. For some people, this presents as being off-the-chart diplomatic or a people-pleaser. An off-hand, flippant comment may mean absolutely nothing to one person, but someone with anxiety may obsess about that same comment for days.
It’s healthy to have boundaries for your time and schedule, but people with hidden anxiety have difficulty saying, “No.” They don’t want to risk disappointing someone or lose out on an opportunity. As a result, they are often frazzled and stressed by their busy schedules without recognizing that they have the power to make better choices about their commitments.
#6 IRRITABILITY (PARTICULARLY AT HOME) WITH UNEXPECTED OUTBURSTS
People with high-functioning anxiety tend to be on their best behavior around others. They do not want to cause waves or upset the status quo, but those pent up emotions eventually burst. Often family is the misdirected target of such feelings. (Ask my parents about the time I threw roller skates into a wall or my girls about how I used to go ballistic when they left tiny footprints on still-wet hardwood floors). Anxious people may blow up at their loved ones over something small, because they have suppressed frustrations with others.
#7 EXTREME PREPAREDNESS
Planning is good and valuable, but planning for worst-case scenarios over and over again is not healthy. There things we cannot control, which is difficult (but not impossible) for a person with anxiety to accept. Individuals who struggle with anxiety desperately want to control their life. Part of that control is doing everything possible to keep their true feelings a secret. They becom adept at hiding their anxiety and are often the ones you LEAST expect to struggle.
But here’s some good news … Whether you are seven or thirty seven, all of these habits can be addressed.
You can live free from anxiety. But contrary to what you might believe, it won’t happen by trying harder or doing more.
As I continue to share my story of burnout, breakdown and transformation, many find it difficult to believe that a “wonder woman” (their words, not mine) was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder at age 37. Sadly, I’ve learned that is more common than you’d think. If you (or someone you love) has a life that appears worthy of superpowers, try viewing their success and accomplishments in a new light. TRUE superpower is the bravery it takes to recognize underlying anxiety and reach out for help. Hopefully it doesn’t take a breakdown like mine to force you to do it.
You CAN have a successful life. You CAN accomplish great things. You CAN take pride in your efforts. And you CAN learn to do it without the enormous internal pressure constantly threatening to take you down.
I’m living proof that it is possible. That anxiety does not get the final word. Freedom is awaits. Claim it, my friend.
Did this resonate with you?
Perhaps today is the day you take a step toward freedom, Messy Miracle.
Here are a few steps to guide your way.
About The Author
Laura Fleetwood is a Freedom Guide for women and girls who look like they have it all together on the outside, but are falling apart on the inside. She is the creator of SeekingTheStill.com where you can read about her own journey through clinical anxiety, find inspirational stories, helpful videos and practical wisdom about trading anxiety, burnout & breakdown for freedom. There is hope and you are NOT alone.
“I asked God for $800…”
After those words left my mouth at dinner, I smirked and shrugged at my husband and two daughters.
“It’s so strange,” I continued. “This conference in New York called VoxCon keeps popping up in my path. I feel like I’m supposed to go, but we don’t have the money.
“So…I asked God to give me $800 if He wants me to go.”
The fact that I asked God for the money was a mini miracle in itself.
I have a spending dragon. Clothes. Home decor. Make-up. Trips. My nature is to buy now, regret later.
But I’ve been working on it. REALLY working on it. Mostly because my spending dragon was driving a wedge between me and Justin. He stresses about money. A lot. And we (mostly me) had built up a hefty balance on our credit card.
So at the advice of dear friend, I completely turned my spending over to Justin a few months ago. He took my credit card. He gave me cash to spend each week. And it was hard. I had to say no, turn the other way, and keep my spending dragon at bay.
But it worked. We paid off our credit card in December. For real.
So…the fact that this VoxCon conference kept appearing in front of me truly intrigued me and bothered me. I was obeying God in this aspect of my marriage, so why did He keep putting this conference in my path that I couldn’t afford?
The thing is…
I have learned that there is so much more to life than what we see.
And the intuition God gifted me was sizzling. It was just two weeks before the conference date, but I prayed something a little like this…
Dear Jesus – There’s this amazing conference in NYC that has captivated me. I don’t know why. And I definitely don’t know HOW it would even work for me to go. It will cost $800, and I can’t spend the money unless we have it. If you really want me to go, will you please give me $800?
Truthfully, I felt guilty even asking.
A trip to NYC was a luxury, not a need. And so many people have such bigger problems. My shame dragon kept trying to suck me down. But each time, a new email appeared in my inbox or a Facebook ad popped up, I prayed the same prayer.
Please give me $800 if I’m supposed to go.
Just a few days after I shared my prayer with Justin and the girls, I had a massive panic attack. The kind that leaves me in bed and quaking with uncertainty about the future. On the first day I made it back to work, I received this text from Justin.
Allow me to explain.
Due to hail damage, we needed to replace our roof. For a variety of reasons, it was a 5 month long saga. The one thing we knew for sure was that we’d have to pay AT LEAST our $1500 deductible and likely more. So we had that money socked away.
Do you see what I’m showing you here?!?
We were told we HAD to pay $1500. But when we got the bill it was only $700. A difference of $800.
Mind blown…but wait. Remember that I was now in the throes of an anxiety rebound. What recently sounded like a fun adventure, now seemed like a death trap and the worst idea in the world. Thanks, anxiety.
So what’s a girl to do?
Let’s take stock, shall we?
- The Spirit had been stirring me up about this conference.
- I didn’t have the money.
- I asked God for $800 if He wanted me to go.
- He gave me exactly $800.
- I had a panic attack out of nowhere.
- Now I didn’t want to go.
- But God clearly showed me He wants me to go.
In all situations, we have a choice Messy Miracle.
We can listen to the Voice of Faith or we can listen to the voice of fear. If my journey has shown me anything, it’s that the voice of fear is a liar and the Voice of Faith is freedom. Every. Single. Time.
So…I told my team. I sought wise advice. I asked my Dad if he wanted to take a trip to NYC with me, and I booked our flights.
As I type these words, I’m sitting at the St. Louis airport waiting for our delayed flight to Manhattan. I still don’t know why this conference is calling me, but I am obeying that call.
I could feel guilty that my prayer was answered when so many aren’t.
But that’s the voice of fear. That voice WANTS ME to minimize this blessing. That voice IS DESPERATE for me to keep my answered prayer silent. That voice DOESN’T WANT us to share any hope or help or healing.
So to combat that vicious voice of fear, I choose to CELEBRATE the God who loves us so much that He answers us so specifically, right down to dollar amount.
There’s so much WE DON’T KNOW. And will never know this side of heaven. That’s the whole point. To ask. And go. And praise. And simply do the next right thing, trusting the outcome to God.
If you are in a place of doubt or fear or questioning right now, may I suggest one thing? Ask yourself…
What would happen if I stop TRYING to make this thing happen and PRAY for The Hero to show me IF and HOW.
I promise you this. No matter the outcome, the pressure you feel will be lifted.
And that thing will be in the only place it belongs…the Hands of God.
P.S. If you’d like to see how this trip unfolds, follow #SeekingTheStilNYC on Facebook and Instagram. I’ll be sharing my fears and my fun and the ever-unfolding path of seeking the still amid the chaos of life.