First I was the gifted student-athlete.
Then I was the teen mom that earned her MBA at 21.
Then I was the CPA turned community activist.
Then I was the multi-preneur.
Then I was the high-flying executive.
Then I was the health-focused writer, consultant, and business builder.
Then I accepted another executive job and the leadership of 93 year-old non-profit.
At every transition point, I had a crisis of identity – some minor, some major. This last one, in particular, challenged me to my core.
I had embraced the “unconventional” and “entrepreneur” labels deeply, yet I found myself in the thick of tradition and authority. Even worse, I realized I was enjoying it.
I couldn’t find a label that fit anymore. I felt very conflicted and compartmentalized. It was frustrating and exhausting.
In the past, this is where I would have quit. I would have forced another transition. But I didn’t.
This time, I had faith that I was right where I was supposed to be, and that I had the strength to endure the discomfort.
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men. – Colossians 3:23
It was painful and hard, but I just kept my head down and took the next step along the path. For nine months, I struggled.
Then one day in April, I awoke with a startling realization: I lived in constant fear. It was so ingrained in who I was, I didn’t even recognize it.
Now, I could see my fears vividly. I could name them and understand them. I could feel their influence. And I could reject it and move forward anyway.
It wasn’t any less hard, but I knew I was getting somewhere.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. – James 1:2
I kept at it every day, with a little more enthusiasm and excitement. I could feel the progress within.
I realized that I was rewriting my own story. I was sifting through my memories and experiences, looking at them with new eyes, seeking a different interpretation.
Instead of stopping at the label-layer, I was digging deeper to see what was underneath. What aspects did I enjoy? What had I learned? Where else could that be applied?
For nearly 100 days, I filled pages of notebooks and shared some of that journey on this blog.
Then, at 32,000 feet, somewhere above the pacific northwest, I met myself – my whole self. All of me made sense to the rest of me.
I know my own story.
I know the “one sentence” of my life.
I know what I am called to do, and I know that I am uniquely qualified to do it.
For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. – Ephesians 2:10
It feels amazing.
My workload is incomprehensible, but I’m finding time for everything. With only one day of rest per week, I have the energy to sustain six 16 hour days without sickness or lethargy. I accept massive responsibility in several areas, but I feel little stress. I allow myself to be more vulnerable than ever, but I don’t feel unsafe.
I didn’t know a life like this was possible, and I’m enjoying every minute of it.
I want you to have a life like this too.
So, I have to ask, do you know your own story?
If not, I challenge you to find it and write it down. If you already have, I’d be honored if you’d share it in the comments below. (Links are welcomed.)