My life is bigger than it has ever been. It feels as if all the small paths I have walked are conjoining into a large open road that is full and busy and bustling with dreams realized. My life feels overflowing with relationships and new roles and exciting opportunities.
But most of the time I feel quite small.
Let me explain.
Our kids are big. They are in college and final years of high school. In many ways I feel like my husband and I have “accomplished” raising children…they are healthy, smart, kind and pretty amazing people.
I feel small in my parenting…teenagers come with all sorts of challenges. They are becoming real life people with real life minds and thoughts. Their problems are bigger, their feelings are bigger, and their needs are bigger. Most of the time my husband and I hope and pray every day we are making the right parenting decisions with each new turn in the road.
In the last couple of years I have been invited into some significant leadership and speaking roles in our church that are amazing–and scary big. I am incredibly grateful and excited about the opportunities. It is a exponential time of learning and growth for me, and the opportunity for influence and responsibility fits right in with what I feel called to do in this season.
I often feel unequipped and unqualified…the bigger the role, the more I sit in this place. This past year I have dealt with more insecurity and self-doubt and kicking myself after meetings for saying too much, or not saying enough, or saying the wrong thing…I think? I have questioned my wisdom, my intelligence, my ability to express coherent ideas. I have wrestled to find my voice–only to find it and then spend the next week analyzing what I said and how I could have said it differently or better.
Our marriage is big. We are just a few months shy of twenty-five years, and I can’t believe how much life Jon and I have shared together. I am so proud of the intentionality and work we have invested over the years, resulting in a strong and loving marriage at this significant milestone.
I often feel small in my marriage that I cherish so dearly. I worry that I am not showing up well, that I am not present like I want to be, that my dear husband and I are not spending as much quality time together that we could be. Marriage is a consistent practice in selflessness, service, and grace.
My opportunities for community are big. Not just in the church, but in our home. Starting in a couple of weeks our weekly neighborhood bible study resumes in our basement for its ninth year. It is a small group of women who carry in big suitcases of life’s challenges…and we unpack them together each Monday night in the light of God’s goodness and grace. And then on Wednesday morning, another group of women shed shoes at the front door and grab a steaming mug of coffee and sit through a class that is scary big for all of us, because we are looking deeply at our flaws and working hard at evolving into our better selves to carry into our spheres of influence.
I sometimes struggle in living up to these roles. Because leading assumes one knows how to guide others in whatever endeavor is present. It assumes the leader has figured “it” out, has perfected whatever they are leading in. But mostly I feel like I am trying to figure out my own messy life along with everyone else. And that doesn’t always make me feel confident or skilled at bringing others along the path we are on.
And my work life is big. This summer my design and painting company has grown to six employees not counting myself, full time work and referrals that book us out months at a time. I have never experienced this kind of role that is really about fourteen roles in one-accountant, customer service, marketing, CEO, fellow paint pusher, boss, scheduler, payroll manager, H.R., trainer and quality control. (I’m making the oval teeth emoji face right now.)
BUT I do not feel CEO big…
Just the opposite… because I know the responsibility I carry for my business name and reputation is one bad review away. I feel small under the weight of needing to train the amazing women that work for me well enough so that I don’t need to always be present–because my sanity lies in finding margin. I feel small knowing that we are being paid thousands of dollars to produce a near perfect product, and all the cogs in the wheel need to turn just right to make that happen.
So…my life feels pretty big at the moment. And REALLY small.
For me, this season is a juxtaposition of calling and fear and one more thing…PEACE.
In the midst of all the insecurity, I hold strongly and confidently to the fact that I am where I am supposed to be, at this perfect time, in this right season. I know this because I have spent too many years of my life pushing my own agenda, striving after dreams with self-propelled will.
This season is different. Each part of my life is present because a few years ago I surrendered my agenda to God. I decided that I was going nowhere without his plan being first, and that he couldn’t fulfill his plan for my life unless I got out of the way. And the opportunities began to literally fall in my lap, one after another.
So the peace I feel comes from this bigger plan out there. If I stumble or trip along the way, it’s okay. God is walking beside me in all of it, and heck, if he wants all this to be in my life than he can certainly manage my weaknesses.
God’s way is not our own. In our weakness, He is strong. In our insecurity, he is secure. IN OUR SMALLNESS, HE IS BIG.
And I can take a deep exhaling breath and rest in all of that.
How about you? What is BIG in your life? What makes you question your abilities, your strength, your wisdom? It may not be something good…it may be something very, very difficult. Health, marriage, parenting, work.
From my story, I would encourage you to turn it all over to God. Lay it in his large, capable hands. There you and I can stop striving.
What is God calling you to give to him today? Do you trust he has a better plan for your hours and days (even better than your own?), for your pain (he can bring great peace in the midst of it), and for your relationship with Him (he is ALL about relationship)?
I am the Lord, and there is no other, besides me there is no God;
I equip you, though you do not know me, that people may know,
from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none
besides me; I am the Lord, and there is no other. I form light and
create darkness; I make well-being and create calamity; I am the
Lord, who does all these things. Isaiah 45:5-7
Friends, rest with me in the smallness. It means God is doing big thing around us…and more importantly…IN us. And he will equip us with all that we need for this season, right now.
Also…I created these prayer journals for the Fall. I will be creating a new version for each season of the year. If you are like me and need some structure during your prayer time to keep you focused, you might love one of these. They are a perfect size, to sit on your nightstand, on the table by your favorite chair in the morning, or to drop in your purse. $15, including shipping. Just click here to purchase now!