Last year I trained for a marathon, I spent twelve grueling months practicing, lifting weights, going on test runs, 365 days of decision making that I was going to keep my eyes on the prize and I was going to cross that finish line.
And I did it. On December 2nd, 2019 I crossed the finish line and my business was launched into the stratosphere.
Wait, weren’t you just talking about training for a marathon? Why yes, I was.
Oh you thought I meant like actual physical human activity, the sort that combines running, sweating, chaffing in ill fitted yoga pants while my muffin top fights its way out for a breath of fresh air? Ha, yeah, heck no, running is not for me friend. I am not a runner. Well at least not in the traditional sense.
But I did run a marathon of sorts and I did cross the finish line, or so I thought.
The entirety of 2019 was spent in pre-launch mode as I started vision casting and building my own business Good Intentions Co. I spent countless hours filing legal paperwork, paying trademark fees, and strategizing the launch and product line up for the business. Google and YouTube became my best-friends, my husband cheered me on, my parents invested, and slowly but surely I got strong enough to see the finish line and cross it when we officially launched. I’ll never forget the day I held my flagship product in my hand for the first time.
It was exhilarating, disappointing, exciting, scary, it was all the things. But it was all mine, I did it and I could tangibly hold and see the fruit of my hard work sitting in the palm of my own two hands.
It was a long year, with ups and downs, and unexpected twists and turns. Actually, I don’t think any year of my adult life hasn’t encompassed those various elements throughout its spanse. But 2019 was a training year, it was the year that I the dreamer who never saw anything through finally saw a promise and project through till the end. So I pushed through the fear and rallied around the excitement and anticipation of how good it was going to feel when the company launched to the public and that feeling kept me moving towards my goal going day after day. It was my marathon year and on launch day when the website went live and social media was buzzing my baby and I crossed the proverbial finish line.
I did it, thank you Jesus I saw this promise through. I can rest easy tonight I thought. I relished the feeling of pride and mulled over the comments and messages of praise from friends and family. I celebrated those 100 new followers I gained that week. I earned my medal and I wasn’t going to miss out on wearing it.
And I felt great for about two days. And then the realization set in, the commitment to customers ringing in my ear, the expectations and work that started to mountain before me was getting bigger by the second.
Crap, did I just finish a 5k only to be tricked into a full on 26 mile marathon. What on earth have I done?
Now my more level headed, realist readers,you guys are already saying to yourself “well duh. What did you think starting a business would be like?” and the many many business podcasters I listened to all assured me that entrepreneurship was going to be one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I was prepared for this, but mentally preparing for something and then facing it in real time are two completely different things and in that sense I was unprepared for what came next.
As the work continued to grow, and I settled into my new life as a business owner, while maintaining my regular life of motherhood, job working that actually pays the bill, wife life and well simply keeping all the plates spinning at once. Something much bigger than all those things started to grow within me.
I wanted success, I wanted money, I wanted a million followers and a million dollars and I wanted it now. Where was the fruit of my labor? I’ve been muddling through the hard stuff day in and day out and where was the hard earned reward I deserve. Where’s the winner circle, when’s my turn? What am I missing?
When the world around me was screaming overnight success stories, influencers making money by sharing the clothes they bought at target and celebrities keynote speaking on their business success journeys, there I was sitting in my pajamas, unwashed hair, bags under my eyes confused at why following a dream felt so unimportant and insignificant in light of the successes I saw online and all around me.
I found myself questioning God, and asking why he would lead me to a place only to let me find nothing but hardship, doubt, confusion and frustration. I prayed so much during the pre-launch year. I surrendered the dream to him, and then I’d ask him to help me surrender it more, I’d bring every tiny decision that needed to be made before him, I prayed for sign after sign for assurance that pursuing this dream was the right and wise thing to do. And every time I asked I felt peace and clarity to just keep going and to see the promise through. And so that’s exactly what I did.
The real hard work, the real doubt and fear started creeping in after I saw the promise through. It happened on the other side of the dream. It happened in the daily living out of the dream. That’s where it got really hard, when I had to keep taking steps forward unsure and unknowingly of if and when the next wave would break, when success would come, and any physical signs that I had in fact heard God say see this through.
And it’s been a daily battle within myself. The realist in me knows it can take years and years of hard work to see any rewards, the Christ follower in me knows that you must work hard in the vineyard to reap the harvest, and well just general common sense tell me nothing worth doing comes all that easy. (although side note, making a baby can be very easy and I’d say it’s very worthwhile so take that mantra with a grain of salt)
As I’ve wrestled through the hard work, and the difficulty this new season on the other side of a dream has been, I’m learning far more inwardly then I did in my marathon year of preparation.
I’m starting to see my life as a tightrope that I’m walking on and on one end is my birth and earlier years on the journey and on the far end is the right side of Heaven where Jesus is waiting for me. And every day I take a few steps forward—and yet there a whole seasons of my life where I’ve felt paralyzed and like forward momentum would never come but I inched closer even in those times nonetheless, often unbeknownst to me my Jesus, my father was holding the tightrope steady when I felt like at any moment I might fall right off the edge.
So I continue to walk the tightrope, I yearn to find steady footing when life gets in the way, when my desire for success, or wealth, or comfort becomes the point on which I try to fixate at the end of the rope. And there are weeks I get blinded by this false point of direction and Jesus lovingly sways the rope back in his direction. He speaks to me through his voice, the wisdom of trusted community around me, and through the very words of scripture he proclaimed.
But don’t get it wrong, that rope ain’t ever staying steady for long because we are on the wrong side of heaven right now. And it’s messy, and hard, and it was never ever promised to be a curated feed of highlights. In fact hardship was the promise, dying to your own self was the purpose on this side, and it’s so easy to warp what your life should look and feel like when the point on the end of the tight rope is fixated on personal reward and satisfaction.
And don’t get me wrong, I don’t want you to be miserable, I don’t want to be miserable, and I fully and wholeheartedly know God doesn’t want you to be miserable. But don’t decide to trade in that tight rope for another risky circus act, you may just find yourself flying from one trapeze to the next trying to find something on this earth to cling to, to hold you steady and make you feel like you’re flying high the whole time, but eventually you will fall, eventually you’ll need a net to catch you and Jesus, he’s the greatest net you could find.
So stay the course on your tightrope, stay fixated on Jesus, and stop telling yourself you deserve more and more, and that the things you want are what will bring you ultimate satisfaction. Maybe your gratitude should be founded in more than the things he’s given and blessed you with, maybe just maybe we should start looking at the very gift of eternity with Jesus as the most extravagant gift we could get and think of the rest of the good stuff as the cherry on top while we wait to be on the right side of heaven and step off this crazy tightrope called life.
Stay the course friends, fixate your eyes on Jesus every single day and just put one foot in front of the other.
He’s got you and He is enough.