Moving from Scaredy Cat to Too Darn Happy

Folks tend to be curious about how I came to be here as a helper and encourager, so today I’m sharing my story.

It’s not nice and neat, and parts are kind of embarrassing, probably much like yours and anyone else’s. My hope is that you draw encouragement to step out to follow your dreams, and realize that although the path may not always be clear and simple, it will be rewarding.

 

Like many folks, I have never felt a deep satisfaction with my work. While I was very good at what I did wherever I was employed, that general dissatisfaction would eventually roll over me like the rising tide, leaving me gasping for air, and I would wonder again why I just couldn’t be happy at my work.

I just figured it was me wanting more than a job could possibly offer.

That I was ungrateful.

That I just needed to put up and shut up.

Then, something happened.

Well, more like a series of somethings that flowed into my life.

 

Some years ago, we found ourselves on the edge of a financial cliff

We walked away from the edge into a Financial Peace University class and wrestled, roped and tied our financial lives into submission.

We learned to love budgets, worked our way out of debt, and began to help others do the same.

Other than not liking my job, life was really good.

 

Then the whispering started

Not the gossipy behind my back kind. That was already there and I was doing my best to tune that out.

No, this was something different.

I ignored it. I assumed it was the long cold days of January making me restless.

Nope.

I would sit in the quiet of my morning prayers, and His voice would come, gently inviting me to entertain the possibility of something better if I was just willing to let go of what I had.

My inner doubting Thomas refused to consider the idea, instead conjuring up all the reasons it would be sheer folly.

Are you kidding? We just got out of debt. We have a long-term emergency fund.

We. Have. A. Plan.

If I leave, what will happen to all of that?

One night, though, I remembered learning in FPU about Dan Miller’s book, 48 Days to the Work You Loveand the success others had experienced.

I got the book, and started to get excited about what Miller said was within reach: “meaningful, purposeful and profitable work”. He had a step-by-step process, and I would see my dreams come to life and experience the exhilarating joy of doing work that releases my passions and strongest abilities.”

Wow.

Exhilarating joy.

How often do we get to experience that with our jobs?

I joined his online community of fellow seekers, and began to work his 48 day plan.

 

Then I hit the wall

I couldn’t find a business with a position that blended my skills, abilities and passion.

I just couldn’t find a fit. Anywhere.

I. Was. Crushed.

I was completely defeated and hopeless, and went to bed, in full fetal position, crying myself to sleep.

Still, being the eternal optimist, I continued to pray, and His soothing voice continued to invite me to something better if I would only trust.

And then…Plip. The sound of another ripple in my pond and a small wave upon my shore.

I had heard a podcast between Dan Miller and a life and career coach named Joel Boggess, and later sent Joel a question via email. One message led to another, and I found myself agreeing to chat with him.

 

Oh, that call

I paced. And paced. Back and forth, in our small space.

Because it helps me think. Because it helps me release stress. Because it helps me get to the kleenex when I get emotional.

Joel skillfully and carefully asked questions, gradually zeroing in on that very tender spot, asking what I might find if I really searched inside myself.

With much trepidation, I mentally opened those doors to rummage around to see what was in that cupboard.

And fear put its steely fingers around my chest and squeezed until I couldn’t breathe, because I imagined that there was really nothing there.

Just dusty dreams, worn out hopes and unrealized goals.

Possibilities that had lost their potential to ever be launched by me.

No real skills, nothing of any lasting value, much like the stuff we dump into our kitchen’s junk drawers.

 

Run! The floodgates had been thrown open!

Run for kleenex. Lots and lots of kleenex. And try to sound normal in between the sobs.

Joel suggested a different perspective, that, perhaps, there was indeed lots to be found there, and I just needed a little assistance in learning how to see it.

I became a client, and spent many exciting and demanding weeks excavating my strengths and building a vision.

I continued to pray for grace, for being joyful at and thankful for my day job, at which I could continue until I was doing something profitable, working in my strengths, building the life I want around the work I love and am designed to do. Only then would I leave, moving purposely towards my dream.

 

I prayed. Lots.

Still, though, God was being more assertive, driving me forward, encouraging me to walk in faith, reminding me He had big plans for me, and that I needed to leave my job now, not later. I actually felt that I had been fighting His wishes for a long time, knowing I was fearful about money. I felt like I was battling for my very soul, but in reality all that was being asked of me was to trust and follow.

Finally, I threw up my hands during prayer, in surrender and angry defiance.

I saw myself standing stony-faced and trembling, arms crossed tightly across my chest, and churlishly demanding—yes, demanding—God prove to me that it was really him behind this desire, and not my own selfish wishes.

“Show me” I demanded, tears sliding down my face. “Show me it’s not me just wanting to run away again. Show me it’s you moving me towards something better.”

He answered. That. Very. Day.

Several times. In a big way. With grace and mercy. Through my husband, Keith, and a few other folks. In a no-nonsense, take-my-breath-away, here-is my-plan-for-you way.

I gave my notice that week, and have never looked back.

Although we’ve had to really work our ninja budgeting skills, we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Different? You bet.

Scary? Oh, yeah.

Difficult to understand sometimes? Absolutely.

My husband says he can’t remember ever seeing me so happy.

That, my dear friends, is priceless, especially since I agree: I have never felt so fulfilled, joyful, and grateful for my work.

The simple truth was that I did have skills and abilities, and there are ways to use them I haven’t even begun to see yet. I just needed to trust that God did weave some wonderfulness into my being.

I love helping moms with the encouragement of faith, the practice of gratitude and the discovery of joy. Through my writing, I am also helping to connect them with resources and information to help them build stronger and more satisfying relationships in their lives.

What will this look like when it comes to fruition? To be perfectly honest, I’m not sure. Even though I’ve been at this for a while, I still feel like I’m on the beginning stages of a pretty big project, with God showing me just a teensy piece of the blueprints at a time. Consequently, the journey involves taking time for prayer and listening, and especially being faith-full, as in Hebrews 11:1: Faith is being sure of what we hope for, and certain of what we do not see, and then committing to taking action.

I encourage you to do something different and stretch your boundaries. You just never know where it will lead!

 

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  —Jeremiah 29:11

 

Question: What is one baby step you can take today towards your dreams? If you need more encouragement, join all of us over at Holley Gerth’s for some God-sized dreaming!

 

Sharing at NOBH, Finding Heaven, Holley Gerth

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Comments

  1. You have no idea how this post spoke to me this morning. This was exactly what I needed to read. I am on this path too and this post gave me some faith this morning that I needed. Love to you, Kim!
    ilene recently posted…Suddenly SarahMy Profile

    • So glad to open my heart and my door to you, Ilene. We are stronger when we make these journeys together, don’t you think? We can help each other along when we grow weak, or cease to believe in ourselves and our dreams. Thank you for your words, presence, and encouragement!

  2. Thank you for sharing your story! That Leap of Faith was the hardest part for me. Actually leaving a stable job and everyone thinking you are crazy. :-) I am so happy to be on this journey with you. Praying for you my sweet friend!
    Melissa recently posted…Brick by BrickMy Profile

    • Ditto that, Melissa! I know there are still folks who can’t figure out why in the world I left a “real job” to do this! Glad to have gotten to know you-how funny we have similar stories and ended up being buddies!

  3. I resonated with much of what you said here, Kim. I think God is doing some great things through the faithful bloggers I meet every week here in this cyberspace. I’m praying God will continue to provide for you and guide you as you move closer to His purposes for your life. I know you encourage me each and every week. Thanks for all you do! It truly makes a difference!

    • I see that too, Beth. I appreciate your prayers, and send them your way as well. Thank you for your encouragement-it means a great deal!

  4. Love love love this Kim. And can so relate to so much of this. Especialy the demanding God answer – sometimes I think He just knows we are human and can’t help but panic and throws our first leg up over that horse. So glad you shared!

    • You made me laugh! Panic-absolutely! You forgot the part where we first run away from the horse. :-) Thanks for taking the time to comment, Gindi!

  5. Hi Kim,

    Thank you for your kind words and for your patience with me through the process.

    Although you might have felt like yelling at me once or twice, you passed on that, :-)

    To play a part in the rebirth and growth of a mom’s hopes, dreams, and potential, is why I show up every day.
    Joel Boggess recently posted…FYV 187 Surrendering to her own needsMy Profile

    • You are so very welcome, Joel! The thanks for patience goes to you, too, as well as holding back from hollering at me. ;-D

      I am glad you have followed your dreams to help women like me!

  6. Kim,
    It feels like every post on fear I’ve read today speaks directly to me (does that mean I’m askaird of everything? LOL). Thank you for putting your story, your vulnerability AND your lessons learned out there-your transparency is a blessing, a balm, and a roadmap for anyone who has ever felt a call to jump off a cliff.
    Thank you, sweet sister.
    Peace and good to you.
    Chelle recently posted…Surrendering to Sabbath, finding ways to serve (a series about growth) …My Profile

    • Oh, Chelle, there was a time I think I wrote of nothing else. Fear truly was around every corner. :-0
      Gosh, you gals are making me smile today. There was a time I actually would have thought it was nuts to jump off a cliff without a safety net, because I, too, was askaird.
      Thanks for stopping by and sharing!

  7. wow this was a beautiful post. I loved loved going on what felt like a journey with you. I am going to immediatly share this with my friend who is just now finding the strength to step out and follow some of her God sized dreams. Thank you for sharing this.. Wow..

    • I am so glad this resonated with you, and especially that you are sharing it with a friend. The road to change is rarely easy, but nothing worth having generally is. I am humbled by your words-thank you!

  8. Kim, wow. This is just amazing and beautiful. It is just so courageous! I love it! I love your faith! Thank you so, so much for sharing this. What a powerful encouragement.
    Jennifer recently posted…How we all need, desperately, to be seenMy Profile

  9. Kim, what a great story of faith, trust and God’s goodness. He is so amazing. Thank you for sharing your encouraging story.
    Kristen recently posted…Boiled Down HospitalityMy Profile

  10. Kim – My path and heart’s desires mirror your. However, I have yet to take that scary leap away from the days, hours, and years spent working someone else’s goals instead of my own. — someday…

    • So many reasons we follow someone else’s path…
      How is your children’s book coming? I just loved the idea and the illustrations! I’m glad you took that leap-it is one I have not yet taken.

  11. I love knowing this story. Oh, Kim, what faith has done! Not only for you but for us. I love your encouragement and I love seeing this story unfold, each week.
    Jen Ferguson recently posted…Around the Kitchen Table, First Edition and the Soli Deo Gloria PartyMy Profile

    • Yes, indeed. I wouldn’t have guessed in a million years that I would be writing that story, on a blog, I couldn’t have imagined it just a few short years ago, and yet, here all of us are, encouraging one another. I just love it, as scary as it sometimes is!

  12. Kim: I loved hearing your journey and how open and transparent you were in telling it. And, of course, I know you are still on a trip with God, and I can’t wait to see where He leads you. Blessings this day, Friend!
    Elizabeth Anne May ( recently posted…The God-Shaped HoleMy Profile

  13. I am so excited and grateful to be one of your buddies for GSD…Thanks for your merciful heart and not leaving me “hanging” out there on FB…Praying God blesses you with His peace and joy and provision as you seek His dream for your life, Kim :)
    Dolly recently posted…When fear meets the truth…My Profile

    • Aww, no problems or worries, Dolly. apparently we were meant to be buddies. :-) I have no doubt you would have thrown me a rope as well if our positions were reversed. Thanks for your blessings and prayers!

  14. Kim, you are delightful and I loved reading your story. Thank you for sharing it with us!
    Holley Gerth recently posted…When the Road to Your Dream Holds Unwelcome ViewsMy Profile

    • I really enjoyed the post you linked about our road holding unwelcome views. That has been so true for me, as well as too often feeling like I am driving completely in the dark. Thanks for your kind words and the encouraging group of dreamers you have brought together-I am so honored to be a part, Holley!

  15. Hi Kim,
    So grateful for your post today. I have had similar cliff experiences as God has led me to this time in my life.
    Thank you for listening to God and for saying yes when He said “JUMP”.
    Asking the Lord to bless you and the entire (in)Courage community as well as Holley for increasing the reach to as many women who feel God tugging at their hearts!
    Keep writing dear one……God IS using you.
    Bless you, Judy
    Judy Layton recently posted…But, LordMy Profile

    • “Cliff experiences.” Heh. That really says it all, doesn’t it? Your words have really touched my heart, Judy. I just never dreamt all those years I was so unhappy and unfulfilled that there was something that I could be really good at, that fed my long unrecognized desire to help other moms. I want other moms to know there is something better, that God has given them gifts that they may not yet have seen, or may be still “under construction” to be unwrapped at a later time. Thanks so much for dropping by today and sharing your thoughts!

  16. Oh, Kim! What a great post! I loved reading your story…your faith, determination and openness to God’s plan…so inspirational!
    Thank you for sharing!!

  17. Thank you for this post. Isn’t God amazing?! Joining you from No Ordinary Blog Hop, glad I did!!

  18. What an amazing testimony! I can relate to so many parts of your story. Such an encouragement.
    Kacey recently posted…101 Black FirstsMy Profile

    • I think we ladies have so much more in common than we realize, or that meets the eye, Kacey. I am glad you were encouraged, and thanks so much for commenting!

  19. Love that you talk about Financial Peace Univ like my husband and I talk about Ramsey’s other book, Total Money Makeover (exact same principles). We love telling as many people about that as possible because financial freedom brings about many other freedoms. The one step I can take toward my dream began when we completed Total Money Makeover because it freed me up to pursue my dreams and I’ve not looked back.
    Fawn Weaver recently posted…Dinner + Movie Giveaway {& Link Up Thursdays}My Profile

    • Hi Fawn! it’s so nice to see you. We started with Total Money Makeover and realized we needed the extra help that FPU offered. I am grateful you followed your dream to financial freedom, especially so that you could offer such tremendous encouragement to women with your Happy Wives Club! Thanks so much for dropping by!

  20. Kim… I just stumbled across your blog from Hearts Undaunted, and I am so glad I did. I believe that this desire inside you is real, and I’m not going to lie… I’m a little jealous of your bravery in following it! I am many steps behind you, struggling with the same feelings you describe, knowing what He’s calling me to do, and wondering if I’m just being crazy even though I KNOW now in 2013 that this is real and it’s not me making it up. I pray your journey takes your deeper and deeper into the joy and peace only He provides, and I hope that I can grow in faith and hope and courage to step out as well.
    Kim recently posted…Why I Have More in Common with Jonah Than I ThoughtMy Profile

    • Welcome, Kim! Ah, no need for jealousy. Let’s just start from where we are today, and remember that there are women looking at where you are, envious of your bravery on your blog. Loved your post on Jonah, by the way. Be sure to join all of us dreamers over at Holley Gerth’s on Tuesdays, where we link up loads of encouragement for baby steps forward. You can follow the links in my post to get there.

  21. This gave me chills…”In a no-nonsense, take-my-breath-away, here-is my-plan-for-you way.” So beautiful!! When we feel God’s presence at a time we need it most, there is nothing sweeter. I’m so happy that you are SO DARN HAPPY!
    adrienne recently posted…Featured Blogger-JDaniel4′s MomMy Profile

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Trackbacks

  1. […] struggled with Fear off and on for too long, and still get distracted by […]

  2. […] will travel joyfully and expectantly forward, from Scaredy Cat to something […]

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  4. […] I met Joel when I was as unhappy as I had ever been in a job. […]

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