Gulp! Today’s blog is a reminder that in order to grow, we have to step out of our comfort zone!
Unexpected Wisdom and Temper Tantrums
I have spent the past two years sitting at the crossroads of my own life, wondering now what? What do I need to do to take my ministry to the next level….AND…make a living wage (preferably better than just a living wage) doing so – or do I need to scrap it all and find a “real” job? Major life changes (like a divorce) tend to bring about these kinds of soul-searching question, often out of a place of necessity. (I have to pay my bills and put food on the table afterall!) The most recent answer to this on-going quandary came in the first four pages of a novel gifted to me by a friend. Aleph by Paulo Coelho is the story of a man who is at the crossroads of his own life. He had found that his vocation as a writer and his personal life had gone stale. When he consulted his teacher “J” about this stagnancy, “J”‘s answer was “Get out of your comfort zone.” For Paulo, that meant taking his show on the road and going on a cross-continent book tour. As I read those words, I felt the earth beneath me quake, stars began falling from the sky and a lightning bolt came straight out of the heavens and struck me between the eyes. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO God was asking the same of me. “Lauri, get out of your comfort zone. Do the ONE THING you have avoided all these years….get your ass in front of people!” (Sorry, my God likes to swear.) Boy was I mad. “No God, I do not want to get in front of people. I’m an introvert. I hate public speaking. I’m not good at it. It scares me. People scare me. Travel scares me. I don’t like traveling. What if they don’t like me? What if I fail? Can’t I just stay in my house and write blogs, books and crappy poetry?” Then I had an all-out Veruca Salt temper tantrum, “No No No. I won’t do it! I won’t! And you can’t make me!”
After the Fire
After I expelled my initial shock and anger at God and after the debris began to settle, a strange sense of calm began to come over me. I began to see the truth in God’s invitation, but more importantly, I saw how right God was. If I want the message that God has given me to reach a wider audience, I need to go to them. So I began to imagine what this might look like and a flood of ideas, inspirations, connections came to my mind. And I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that this was what I needed to do…..and I might even enjoy it. Afterall, my introvert does enjoy a little extroverted playtime from time to time. 🙂 But then the real confirmation of my discernment came. Sitting in a strategic planning session with my newly self-appointed Board of Directors, “taking my show on the road,” came forth as a strategic directive from the Board, naturally, effortlessly and organically with almost no input on my part. When the idea comes forth from outside of me and isn’t just a figment of my overactive imagination, I know that God’s hand is steering the ship!
Things are never that easy though, are they? Just when I think I’m ready to package myself as the next Marianne Williamson, the grumbling Israelites in my brain start complaining. “Why did you lead us away from the comfort of our home to wander for two years in the desert? Where are you taking us? Do we even have a map? What are we going to eat? How will we survive?” Before the grumbling Israelites got the best of me, Oprah came to the rescue. Who should Oprah have on her Soulful Sunday show, but Marianne Williamson herself! I couldn’t not watch. So I tuned in and a miracle happened. As Marianne began to speak I realized, “Hey…..I teach that….and that….and that….and that.” Every single word that came out of her mouth I have shared with students, clients, family and friends – anyone who will listen in fact. AND…I didn’t get these teachings from Marianne Williamson or the Course in Miracles. (I have never read the Course in Miracles and I read my first Marianne Williamson book last month!) I came to these thoughts, perceptions, ideas, beliefs through my own journey of meditation and contemplation first with Hebrew and Christian scripture and informed through the 800 books on spirituality and religion that I have read across 800 cultures and beliefs. If Marianne Williamson can be on Oprah, become a best-selling author and sought-after spiritual teacher, then SO CAN I!
One of my spiritual teachers, Julie Tallard Johnson, is a huge proponent in the value and importance of creating affirmations as a source of support and direction in our lives. Julie suggests that the strength of an affirmation (as opposed to an intention) is that it is a statement of something that we affirm to already be true. An intention, on the other hand, suggests that something is not yet true and that we are yet to attain it. So…..here is my affirmation and I’m sticking with it!
I am a successful author, writer and teacher.
And, I get to define success: well-known and respected in my field, enjoying financial prosperity and fulfilled in my work. And now, if any of you know how I can get ahold of Oprah, let me know because I plan to be the next author whose work she enthusiastically endorses!
What is the comfort zone you are being invited to step out of?
Authentic Freedom Ministries