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Stepping Out…

The past seven months have been filled with transitions, and so I thought, “Why not one more step toward change? Why not shoot for the stars?”

So here goes—for the longest time, I’ve wanted to write and share with others. I see it as a way to share a journey of self-discovery and vulnerability. Not sure who would want to read what I have to offer, but the way I see it, I’d much rather know I pursued a dream than go day after day, dreaming, but not even trying to take a tiny step of faith.

But here’s the thing—over the years, I’ve learned a few things about pursuing dreams:

they take time

they take hard work

they take patience

they take perseverance

they take strength

they take discipline

they take FAITH.

I saw a quote recently about over-romanticizing our dreams. I’ve been there, oh! how I’ve been there. My fear is not only to fail, but to commit time and effort to my dreams. Yikes! The good news is that I can name my fears and be transparent with myself about the obstacles, and now the time has come to overcome the fears by taking the leap—afraid and all. Why? Because I won’t learn until I try it. Because, why not? 

You see, the phrases that have ruined my contentment with life and my drive to get out of my comfort zone have started with the word “IF”:

If I worked from home, then I would…

If I had more time with my girls, then I would…

If I had more time, then I would…

Can I share something with you? If all those IFs would become a reality, and they have for me in many ways, I’m finding out that I may still not pursue all I dreamed about. But the IFs were not the only obstacles.

Here’s another confession: I would have been the first one to tell you I didn’t believe what I just told you. I always thought the reasons for my dissatisfaction, and my failed dreams, had to do with everything and everyone but myself. I blamed it on my circumstances; I blamed it on my husband; I blamed it on my upbringing; I blamed it on my lack of time. Then, here recently, a lot of those circumstances or people have been changing, and the way to the mirror was cleared out, and the only one to point the finger to was myself. Ouch!

It hurts when you realize that there’s more work to do inside yourself than you wanted to admit. BUT, after the heartbreak, and with the right perspective, this juicy piece of insight can set you free for more! Did you get that? It can set you free!  And set others free, for that matter. I’m honestly still on that journey.

So here I stand, on the other side of newly acquired knowledge—I survived the truth, go figure. You see, to look in the mirror and be honest with ourselves doesn’t have to be defeating. To the contrary; it’s exciting, or at least, it should be. I’m not saying it’s not disappointing at first, but the more you get to know yourself, the better you get at handling the truth about yourself. Note…I didn’t say it is easier, but one can become better at receiving it and digesting it.

But here’s another key piece of info—it will require Grace. Grace that we as women can many times give so freely to those around us, or so we think. Is it Grace or pity?  Because Grace, it seems to me, can be given when we empathize and can see ourselves walking through that same struggle and realize that, dang it, I would need Grace myself if I walked that same path. Pity, to me, is given when we just feel sorry for that poor soul who doesn’t know any better, but can we find it in our hearts to relate? Can we see ourselves in that situation? Can we lend a hand, give genuine encouragement and compassion? Can we acknowledge that life can be challenging, but that we are human; therefore, we are a work-in-progress?

Isn’t that the kind of Grace Jesus gave to us all? One of the sweetest revelations I’ve received about Jesus is that He knows. He walked on this earth. He experienced the temptations. He experienced the pain. He knows what it’s like to be human. See, if you give that kind of Grace, wouldn’t it be easier to give yourself Grace? If you made a mistake or discover something not-so-pretty about your character, you would be able to tell yourself, “It’s ok, I am a work in progress. I’m learning. I’m growing. I’m human. I have hope for change and improvement because of Jesus.”

But, if you’re used to giving a lot of pity, and may I dare add, judgment, then receiving the revelation that you have areas to work on would be devastating. I can only tell you this because I’ve lived it. I didn’t think I saw myself as this goody-two-shoes, but I was. So, when I realized I wasn’t that good, it hit me hard. It was like a bucket full of cold water was just poured over my head—and I am thankful for that. It was time to wake up!

Getting back to my point about dreams, it takes work to maintain the dream. There is so much excitement when the dream is accomplished, but what happens from that point on? One realizes that the dream required you to go through trials and obstacles to prepare you for what it would take to live out the dream and keep it alive. Now, if there’s anyone else out there like me, you’ll realize that as much as you’ve daydreamed, you didn’t realize the fears that would come knocking at the door when you decided to say “Yes’” to the dream. Then suddenly, you appreciate even more those people who have dreamed big and gone full-force after the dream. It takes guts!

So, what’s my dream? Ha! Good question. For now, my dream is to step out of my comfort zone and dare to dream. Dare to try. Dare to step into a journey of self-discovery with the hope to discover those gifts I keep hearing we all have, and somehow, this is my way to commence the journey.

You see, I’ve never ever, ever, ever liked writing. However, after many years, I’ve grown to appreciate writing in my journal. Yeah! I said journal. From a journal to a blog—ha! I know, it sounds insane! But hey! It’s my journey, and you are just being invited to witness it. Not to judge it. My point is, I like to choose what I write. But that whole self-discovery thing sounds a tiny bit self-centered. “Hey, look at me, I have a blog!” Well, here is the “Big” part of my dream. I want to encourage and inspire. Who? Women all around! All colors, all backgrounds, all ages. All women! Women who may not feel represented. Women who may doubt themselves and wonder if there’s anyone else going through the same thing as them.

In order to do this, I’m choosing to lean into a character trait I have—well, it’s a trait to me, but others may call it a big mouth, haha! I recognize that, and I’m cool with it. But back to the trait—it’s called vulnerability. It hasn’t always been that way, and I’ve gotten burnt by it, but I chose it, even after a huge vulnerability hangover. Thanks, Brene Brown! I’m that person you meet who talks fast and can go into a deep conversation in a heartbeat. I am passionate. And although it hurts at times, and not everyone may like it, I don’t want to live any other way. Can’t explain it any better than that.  

I’m not a writer—but I’m writing a blog—ha! Brilliant! Actually, I love it! How neat is it to finally just dare to try something you’ve dreamed about even when you know that the qualifications are not there! That’s what I call freedom! Freedom to love, to try, to dream, to fail, and to succeed, but all of it, part of freedom!

Something so simple as writing, but can you imagine if each of us could try something we’ve dreamed about for a while just to see where it may take us? As my mom has taught me, what’s the worst thing that can happen? It doesn’t work! So what? I mean, I’m not talking about open heart surgery here—I’m talking about the little things that can make life fuller and a lot sweeter. It may be some Big Dream, or maybe a little dream. The point here is that it is still beating in your heart—dormant, waiting for you to say: YES, LET’S DO IT.

So hopefully, this little article impacts whoever reads it, and it encourages you to make the call, write the thing, pay for the class, sign up for the hobby, whatever it is. What’s the worst thing that can happen? You realize you don’t like it that much, or maybe you need to learn a little more, or maybe it’s a complete flop, or maybe you absolutely adore it and your heart feels alive again. Whatever the result, you’ll learn something about someone very special, someone who needs attention and who you could get to know better—YOURSELF. YOU are worth knowing.

 Blessings,

Luisa

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