How Are You Preparing?

How many of you have one of these?  What are they for?  Obviously to create excitement around Christmas and extend the holiday beyond a single morning. For tradition's sake and for fun.  And sadly it took me until, well, today to realize that Advent is about more than countdowns and chocolates.   It's a time to prepare.  A time to prepare for this significant spiritual event and reflect on the year we leave behind.

Today I started my own Advent calendar - a virtual video one - and it's freaking phenomenal so far as I play catch up through the first 12 days.  But before I even got to the real content, it asked me a question...

What was the biggest thing that happened to you this year and how did you prepare for it?  

Stopped me dead in my tracks.  Without a shadow of a doubt my answer has got to be starting my new business, and now I need to tell you why.

See, this isn't the first time I had tried something like this.  This wasn't my first job, my first venture, or even my first social marketing partnership.  And because of this I was surely scared of failure and scared that I wouldn't be taken seriously in this pursuit.  I knew I had the ability, I just doubted my timing.  But I knew that I wanted this, so I continued to walk where my heart was leading me.

Things started slow, but then progressed.  My workload is busy.  My soul is bursting with passion.  And when I try to reflect back on the difference between this venture and past ones, I could never really pinpoint a major factor of difference.  Sure I had questions about the products of other companies.  Sure I'm more knowledgeable and seasoned this time around.  But I still couldn't really determine what made this so RIGHT and so ME... but this question made it so clear why.

Throughout my entire life, I have been an approval seeker.  I am legit the most indecisive person you will ever meet and I would never make a single move in my entire life without first consulting with other sources... namely my mother.  I called her multiple times a day.  For 35 years I don't believe I ever went a day without talking to her.  I'm an only child and it has always been the two of us so she's also my best friend and well, she knows what's best for me, right?  If I didn't like her opinion, I'd consult my Dad, my husband, my friends... I always needed that second and third opinion.  I was responsible after all and I wanted those close to me to know that I cared.

But here's the problem... I was putting all of these people, these loving caring and wonderful people who wanted the best for me in a very difficult spot.  I was expecting them to confirm the things that only God could ordain for me, and expecting them to be all knowing.  See people are only human.  They have opinions based on past experience and learned beliefs.  Yes, even your own mother can love you and protect you with all she has and still not REALLY know what is best for you.  Only God knows what is best for us, and that is the FIRST person we should be consulting in times like these.

Exactly a year ago I was in a low, low place.  I was crying nonstop.  My face was breaking out with terrible acne.  I had multiple styes in my eyes and could barely open them.  I was sleeping every chance I could get and the only people I wanted to hang out with were my kids.  I remember going to urgent care in the middle of the night because I felt like I couldn't breathe.  My once successful business was now floundering and I had no idea how I was going to pay my bills.  I imagined us foreclosing on the house and moving the girls into a homeless shelter.  And now I'm crying even writing this...  but I just want to give you an honest glimpse of where I was.

Despite this low, I was still in the midst of a spiritual journey.  I was so convinced that God had brought me down this path for a reason and I was bound and determined to find out what it was.  I prayed for a sign to tell me what to do.  I held steady even though I was depressed and crying, trusting that the right thing would come to me.  I'll admit I did have a brief lapse in faith where I decided to try tutoring Chinese kids in the middle of the night for minimum wage, but that was short lived... for in my heart I knew that God did not bring me this far for that.  And then it happened.  God put it like a boulder on my heart to do something that had been in front of me all along.  He told me that my best friend and I weren't just introduced to be chummy, but because we were about to do His work in big ways.

For once in my life, I let God lead me.  I intentionally blocked my urges to call my Mom to commiserate or ask my friends if I was doing the right thing.  I let God lead me clear as day, and gained a confidence that only He can give.  THAT is the difference between this chapter in my life and all the rest.  THAT is the preparation that made sh*t happen.

Yesterday I made a post on Instagram where I said that "This business is for anyone who feels called to it" and I want you to know that I did that very intentionally.  It's not for everyone.  It's not for a certain demographic or type.  It's for those who feel called to it by Him... because you know in your soul that you would enjoy it and that it's something that you could make a difference with in this world.

So after all of that, I'm dying to know now... what was the biggest thing that happened to you and how did you prepare for it?  Share in comments to let me know!

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