Joy in the Journey

The past few weeks I’ve been questioning my ability to lead and my ability to make decisions, which I’m realizing is all part of my journey.

I thought I was doing exactly what I was meant to be doing. I thought it was what I would be doing the rest of my life. And then it ended. And I felt lost for a time. And I began to question everything I had felt that lead me to the decisions I made that got me to the point I was at.

Has that ever happened to you? You work hard to achieve something, you pray about it and think about it and plan and plan and plan and work and work and work. It’s not too long before your plan is in place, you’re flying high, feeling like you are making a difference in your life and possibly in the lives of others….and then….you hit rock bottom?

Have you got something you worked hard for and really wanted, then you didn’t want it anymore?

Have you ever created something that took over your life? And not in the best way?

Have you ever gone down a path you thought you were meant to go down, and then found out it wasn’t the right path anymore? Or that is WAS the right path, but the path needed to come to an end?

I know without a doubt: I did not make a mistake in going down the path I have journeyed the past 5 years. Oh no, there were no mistakes. {I mean, of course I MADE mistakes along that path, but the path itself? Not a mistake}

What I’m TRYING to say here is that there are many paths we go down in our lives. Some paths are connected or inter-related. Some paths are long. Some paths are shorter. Some paths have many many rocks, bumps, or divots where you twist your ankle. Some paths have less of those.

But ALL paths, regardless of the length or the terrain, are there for a reason.

ALL of them.

Every.single.one.

So what is your path at the moment? Is it totally awesome? Are you living the life you’ve always wanted? THAT IS AWESOME!! GOOD FOR YOU! I’M STOKED FOR YOU! (you’re still supposed to be learning something by the way….so look for the lessons, even in the good times)

Or maybe…..your life is less than awesome.

Please know, this is not permanent. I can promise you that. And I never break a promise. Ever.

And the more rocks you kick, the more toes you stub, the more times you fall and skin your knee, the more you learn. The more you recognize the lessons. The more you realize the path has a purpose.

The more you realize the lessons are learned through the suffering and pain. The knowledge we need to grow is learned through the hard times.

So what have I learned from this path I’ve been on the past 5 years? The path I started walking down in December of 2012 as I set out to open a charter public school?

So far, this is what I have come up with (it takes time to process all of the lessons…you’re not required to figure it all out quickly, so this list is likely to change)

    1. Patience: I learned that I am not in control of everything, that some things have to happen on their own timeline, not mine. That being patient in the process make the process much easier.
    2. Trust: I learned to trust in and lean on others, but especially my Father in Heaven. I learned that I cannot do anything on my own, that I shouldn’t want to and I don’t have to.
    3. Strength: I learned that I am strong. So strong. I can withstand people spreading untruths about me. I can withstand making hard choices. I can withstand threats and fears that all will be lost or taken away from me. I can do hard things. I am strong.
    4. Love: I have learned that there is no room for hate in my heart or mind. That those feelings are ugly and they spread ugliness throughout my body like a plague. Loving others, even the ones who are hard to love (especially the ones who are hard to love) is vital to a happy life.
    5. Empathy: I have learned understanding where other people are coming from, why they feel the way they do, trying to put myself in their position, is a skill I possess. I am constantly seeking to understand other people and have learned that conversations (especially hard conversations) go so much easier when I show I am interested in what the person speaking thinks and feels.
    6. Family is important: This is a given right? I mean, anyone who has grown up in a family has heard the term “family comes first” at least a dozen times. And I started the school for my children. But in doing so, I saw my children less. I spent time away from them at board meetings and conferences. When I was home, I was working. My husband and I only ever talked about work. My life was consumed with work and my family took a back seat. When I finally realized this was happening in my life, I took proactive steps to get back to having my family in the number 1 spot in my life.
    7. The way others view you is none of your business: Being concerned about what other people think is a waste of time and energy. Seriously, who cares. I can tell you this with certainty, if you are being a good, honest, caring person….what others think about you is not worth your time and energy. So stop worrying about it.
    8. Creativity: “If you can dream it you can do it” Walt Disney said that. I have learned this to be true. You want something? Work your buns off and get it. Why not? Go for it. I have learned I can do whatever I want to do, no matter how big and ridiculous it sounds.

 

 

 

This leads me to what we are planning for our not-too-distant-future.

We’re taking a gap year.

We will be spending the next year planning and saving to spend a year traveling with our children and dogs. In an RV. Across the North American continent.

People thought I was crazy when I said I was going to open a school. People smiled and nodded and said “that sounds great! Good for you Em!” and they never really thought I’d go through with it (which, I mean, I don’t hold it against them. Who says they’re going to do something pretty crazy like open a school and then actually does it? Well…I do). I’m getting those same smiles and nods and “go get em girlfriend” looks and comments that I did 5 years ago. And I’m fine with that. But mark my words: my family and I will be spending at least a year traveling not too long from now. And I can’t wait for the lessons we will learn along the way.

So what about you? What lessons are you learning on your journey? Not sure??? Then look a bit deeper, spend some quiet time thinking about the qualities you are having to develop to make it through your days.

Spend some time thinking about the conversations you have, the people you meet…what are some common threads that keep popping up? Maybe you’re supposed to learn how to be more patient. How to relinquish control. How to rely on other people. How to show gratitude. How to serve. How to accept service. How to lead. How to follow.

 

  Whatever it is, you’re learning something you’re meant to learn. I guarantee it.

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