My Battle With Success

Haven’t been on here in awhile.  Apologies. My life has been quite full. Being a mom never stops, it just changes a bit as your children grow older. I’ve had some transition on my job. Social life …ahh, I make my own social life. If I didn’t, I’d just be sitting at home bored or depressed. So, I go and I do things ON PURPOSE. Sometimes it’s exhausting, but, it fills my need for social activity and includes some things I enjoy. Dating…ha! Next subject. And dreams… I’m working to fulfill some of them.

I didn’t grow up in the church, but, I have spent a fair amount of my adult life in church because I became serious about my faith as a young adult and I continue on my journey to this day. I used to be married to someone who was heavily involved in church life and I saw all kinds of inner workings that left me a bit jaded and I’ve been working on healing from that. That said, I did receive some good teaching (and some not-so-good). I have heard multiple preached messages on using your “gifts and talents” for God.  In the church world, the whole “gifts and talents” thing took on a life of its own, and for lack of a better term, was ‘trending’ heavily for a while. Everyone was trying to find out their “gifts” so they could be successful in church and in life in general.

But, what is success? I have had to grapple with my own definition of success over the years. Of course, I was taught, mostly subconsciously, that success equaled monetary wealth. That is what everyone seemed to be striving for. I remember feeling somehow “lower than” or “less than” when I would go over someone’s really nice and fancy house. They’d have all of the amenities anyone could dream of. They’d have all of the games and toys that my kids wanted, but, I couldn’t afford to buy them. I have lived in rental properties for the majority of my adult life. I sometimes still battle with this feeling of inadequacy to be completely honest. But, is “success” only comprised of monetary wealth and the acquiring of things?

Success can be other things as well. It means different things to different people. I have had to figure out what it means to me. And I am still figuring it out as I explore my gifts. It seems I am gifted in areas that don’t naturally or easily produce income. And it still seems that part of my definition of success is related to money.

Let me give you background.  Having become a single parent due to divorce was one of the most difficult things I have had to endure and push through and conquer. It has strengthened me in ways I didn’t realize. But, can I tell you?? It’s been excruciating at the same time. I have wanted to give my children so much that I could not afford. I have felt so guilty about that for so long. And I am still trying to figure out how to be financially successful (in addition to my full-time job) to provide the very best way I can. You don’t know how many tears I have shed over the years out of sheer frustration over money.  That brought me to a point where I wanted to figure out a successful “side hustle” (side job or business). A few years ago, I did manage to stumble upon a niche side business that was well received, but only brought in minimal (and sporadic) income. It was enough to reinvest back into the business. Or sometimes after a drought, a random sale would come through at just the right time when I needed a little extra cash. But, beyond this, it did not flourish, so, after a few years of trying, I shut it all down.

Recently, I’ve decided to pursue things I am actually passionate about. I thought to myself “THIS will surely bring about eventual success because these are things I love.”  I told myself that growth will be slow and it will take time, but, it will eventually reach and help others and eventually pay off. However, I find myself impatient with the process. I have been wanting some form of success for so long, that I feel burned out from continuous trying and little return on my efforts. When I do create what I believe is meaningful / useful / helpful content, I only receive minimal feedback and I become discouraged. Still, I press on. I remind myself that at least this  time I am doing it from my heart instead of out of desperation.  Still, the internal struggle remains. Still, I wonder when will I “break through” to a place of reaching many and not simply a few. I want to be wise. I want to help others. Yet, I also want to be able to use these gifts to make things better for my family and myself financially at some point.

I think along with this, I feel the frustration of yearssssss of waiting for some other things to come to fruition; waiting for years’ worth of prayers to be answered; waiting for long-nurtured dreams to come true. It’s an accumulated frustration which doesn’t pair well with the process of beginning new things.  New things take an enduring patience which is something I must continue to work on. New ventures take lots of tweaking and trial and error.  New things mean you may fail as much as you succeed.  I know I have to hang in there and diligently move forward. The temptation is to look at how far I have to go instead of how far I’ve already come.  I remind myself daily that I will get there. I have always had BIG dreams in my heart and want to reach many souls. Still, I remind myself to  be thankful for the souls I currently do reach; and for the things I do currently have; and for the success I have already obtained over the years, though not easily seen with the naked eye.  Lord, help me to focus on the positive as you continue to grow my patience.  Thank you for teaching me needed lessons along the way to my personal success…whatever that looks like.

Thanks for reading.
ALSO…please find & subscribe to my podcast called “Life Together with Kay Dee“.
‘We are not meant to do life alone. We are meant to do life together in community (even online ones).’
Blessings.

~ Kay Dee

Jesus, Friend of Sinners

There’s a song called “Jesus, Friend of Sinners” by a group called Casting Crowns. I really love this song because it calls the “Church” to the carpet. We, in our organized religion have sometimes – not always – but often enough to notice, gone about sharing our faith and beliefs in Christ in a way that does more harm than good. We’ve been judgemental, critical, mean, snobbish and self-righteous. Yet, would you believe that many people are really well-intentioned? Yes, it’s true. They just go about sharing their passion for their Christian faith in not-the-best way. I’ve been there, too. I’ve acted those ways. I’m not proud of it. But, when the “light bulb” went on, I was so happy.

You see, God, He’s really amazing. He doesn’t leave us like we are. If we are in relationship with him, He brings certain things to light in our lives that need changed, tweaked, adjusted or even added-to or cut-out of our lives, and He helps us with those things. He’s awesome.

All of this doesn’t mean that if you’re a Christian, you can’t be passionate about what you believe. On the contrary. Your heart can be full of vim and verve for sharing the message/gospel of Christ. Most definitely. But, when we share with others, I think we must always remember how Christ found us…what state we were in. And if we were resistant to the message of the gospel…what was it that reached through our shields and walls and connected with us?

I personally wasn’t resistant to the message of Christ. However, I was struggling with some things personally. And what touched me the most, was a couple of friends who consistently reached out to me. They were my friends and stuck by me through thick and thin. They listened to me without judging me and they shared the message of the Bible with me in a gentle and loving way, over a period of months and years. They never watered down God’s truth, but, always shared it with me in a loving manner and through a friendship. That was how they exemplified Christ’s love to me. It was through their example that I was able to see that even if I was struggling with some things that I knew were wrong or unhealthy, Christ loved/loves me and sticks with me through it all, and helps me eventually overcome whatever it is, if I let him.

If we look at Christ’s dealings with people who were ‘unbelievers’ (this does not include the religious leaders of the day, nor folks that were already following Christ), we see that He was kind, compassionate, caring, gentle, loving, patient. He still shared truth without compromising, but the WAY he did it was key. He did it with love and compassion.

I think that we, as Christians, on the whole, are learning to share Christ’s truth & love in a more loving way. We can choose to love people and befriend people and dialogue with people whose beliefs are different from ours without judging or condemning them. We can share the gospel message of Christ with people, just like my friends shared it with me so many years ago…through friendship and in a loving manner. And if/when we disagree with people or vice versa, it’s okay. One of my former pastors always used to say “Agree to disagree agreeably”. But, at least talk. At least share. It’s not our responsibility as Christians to MAKE people believe. But Jesus said “Go! And tell the world…” So it’s our duty to share the news/message of Christ and let GOD through his Holy Spirit, do the work of working in people’s hearts and minds. What will be, will be. Sometimes you’ll share the news once. Sometimes you’ll share the news over a period of days, months or years. But just share in love. God can surely handle the rest.