ENCOURAGEMENT

A Thousand Things

That’s what I keep trying to do. A thousand and one, maybe. I’ve been doing it all my life and if I know me, I’m not gonna stop any time soon.

I’m gifted, and I know it. I’ve always known it. God’s given me a little bit of a whole lot of different talents. Not so much that I excel at very many of them, but just enough to be pretty good at a bunch of stuff. So…I keep going in this direction or that direction, trying to figure out where I’m supposed to end up.

I wonder if I’m the only person who does this? There are a probably a lot of creative people who are just like me, and can’t quite wrap their heads around just what it is that they should be doing!

That’s probably why it all came down to one moment of clarity.

Maybe everything in my life was leading up to this point. All the experiences, good and bad, that have made me who I am also lead me to a place of super weird reality. You’d think when you get the big moments of your life you’d at least have the decency to be dressed for the occasion. Not me.

I was wearing Minnie Mouse pajama bottoms and a semicolon tank top. That’s pretty significant in itself! I usually at least take the time to match my clothes, even if no one will see them but me.

Choose to keep going!

Back to the semicolon tank top–if you don’t know what that means, look it up. Semicolons matter, and I feel pretty sure I will be talking about those again soon. Anyway, I had all that on along with my poop boots (these are the ones that I wade through the dog pen in) with no socks and a black jacket. The jacket was something I threw on just to go outside to get Jaxson (my sweet Great Pyrenees) to bring him in for the night.

And suddenly, it hits me like a bolt of lightning! Well, not really because I already know it, and I always have. So I rush over to my computer and turn it on to see some new pink flamingos on my cover screen (it changes every day) and type in my pass code just to find out that the internet is iffy (as usual)!

Revelations should not be this complicated!

Anyway, I did all that because for some reason I feel compelled to pass this astonishing new (but not really) knowledge on to you, so I wait it out. And here we are.

I’m a writer.

That’s my big news! It’s what I am, what I have always been, and what I always will be. It’s my most treasured God-given talent.

I started writing about as soon as I started talking. I can remember making up poems in the bathtub (I can’t help it if the bathroom is where I do my best work) when I was as young as five years old, and I started writing them down at around seven or so. I’ve spent a lifetime writing different things, like stories and plays and songs and poetry.

“I coulda’ been a contender!”

I don’t think I’m washed up and out of the game now like Brando was in On the Waterfront. I didn’t intentionally throw the fight, but let me tell you what did happen.

I was hired to work for a newspaper fresh out of high school, but I let someone who didn’t even matter tell me that I would never amount to anything. That wouldn’t make any difference to some people, but I was unsure of myself and I believed her. Add that to extreme social anxiety, and you get me–someone who didn’t show up for my first day of work or any other day after.

I quit before I started.

That’s a confession that I’m embarrassed to make, but I’m glad I finally had the courage to tell. I don’t know where I’d be today if I had swallowed my fear and done it anyway! It’s not the only time I’ve let fear beat me out of something I really wanted.

So if you know me at all, you know that I can draw, paint, and create some pretty cool stuff. I’m pretty good at building and coming up with awesome solutions for my house. I’m a merchandiser and an idea person.

I can DIY with the best of them, and I’m very handy with power tools. I can speak in public and teach and do workshops and lead and sing karaoke (I don’t do that one too well, but it’s still fun). God has gifted me in wonderful ways, but when it comes down to it, those are things that I do.

What I AM is a writer. All that other stuff is just extra.

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It's Your Turn to Shine
ENCOURAGEMENT

When You Can’t Find Your Motivation (and How I Don’t Have the Answers)

It's Your Turn to Shine
Get Your Shine On

I absolutely get discouraged. Looking back over this journey we’ve taken over the last year, it would be easy to overlook all of our accomplishments and just focus on the failures. Today has been one of those days when it has been hard to stay on the positive side of things.

Yep, it’s more than discouraging sometimes. Looking back can be downright debilitating. If you focus on your missteps, or what you perceive them to be, you may find yourself motionless–staring at the wall in kind of a blurred-out unresponsive daze. Letting go of where you thought you were going to end up is so hard! Giving over to what is real rather than what you were expecting can break your heart if you let it. I can’t fix any of that.

What I can do, is look at the big picture. I know that each attempt to do something new comes with mistakes, if that’s what you want to call them. What I have learned is that a lot can be gained in finding out what not to do! Somewhere along the way, if you are paying attention, you can get some doses of clarity and start to put together a plan that is different than the original, but not lesser than. You may find that it was the plan you should have had all along!

A lot of the ideas that we had in the beginning were great, and we will save them to use them again later. Some of them will go in the trash can. I am glad to be done with them. Here are some bits and pieces that I have gathered along the way:

I’ve learned that I love taking broken things and showing other people how they are actually beautiful. I realize that I really want to spend time writing my book, designing and promoting my encouragement cards, making random things, painting lighthouses, and helping other people like me figure out exactly what they are meant to do so they can do it too! God gave each one of us a certain set of gifts and talents, and I believe that He gave us a love to do whatever it is we are called to do…..You can tell what your calling is by the way time passes for you. If you are working on something without noticing that 8 hours have gone by, that’s a good indicator that you are on the right track! Constantly watching the clock means that you probably need to find something new to do with your time.

I know that I have a lot to give and teach other people. I’m excited about getting the chance to do that. I’m eager to finish my book, if only for the ones who know about it now and are waiting to see how it all turns out! Oh and the cards are such an amazing blessing! I am so super-excited about having the time to develop and market these! They are turning out so wonderfully and they say things that people so badly need to hear. Things like, “Man, today sucked but we got through it,” and stuff like that. I don’t know about you, but I need to know that other people feel that same way sometimes. Like maybe today.

ENCOURAGEMENT

Go Buy Yourself a Shovel

shovel
It may be time to start digging up the real you!

https://images.pexels.com/photos/296230/pexels-photo-296230.jpeg?cs=srgb&dl=backyard-blur-close-up-296230.jpg&fm=jpg

So much pressure. This world comes full of it. Pressure to conform, pressure to excel, pressure to be different. Trying to wade through all of that can be overwhelming to say the least, especially when your life seems to depend on it.

At least your financial life.

What I’ve learned since I started writing is that I don’t really care if it brings me money. Well, let me clarify that! Making money is great, and I’m not going to ever turn it down. But it’s not the be all and end all of this writing thing.

Photo by Julia Joppien on Unsplash

I write because it’s in me to write. Does that make sense? I was born to write–to dig down deep and get my feelings on paper. For years I thought that my ability was a gift that I was supposed to hoard for myself. I didn’t realize that the only real way to keep something is to give it away. Then I thought–well, I’m too old to start now!

You Probably Don’t know Everything You Need to Know

It’s a learning process. And at my age I should know everything already (right?), but for 30 years I’ve just been sitting on all these words. I never made a real effort to share them with anyone else. My story needed to be shared. My words may help someone else through the darkness, or encourage someone who struggles.

Photo by Ayo Ogunseinde on Unsplash

Now I don’t expect that I will normally dump my business on you this way, but I decided to go ahead and let you know that technology also sometimes mystifies me. Maybe that’s an age thing? I think sometimes that my four year old grandbaby can do more with it than I can. There’s always more to learn!

The Best Rewards are Not FINANCIAL

Having the wrong motivation was frustrating the creative process until I realized I wasn’t writing for money, but for the pure joy of giving something of myself for the benefit of others. It seems crazy, but it’s the absolute truth. I don’t write for financial gain. I write to share hope, insight, humor, and joy with others.

So, tonight I’m making changes and eating dark chocolate. I’m finding peace and comfort in helping other people. Money will never satisfy the need I have to make a difference. Here’s what else I’ve learned as I’ve been digging through this process:

It’s NOT About AGE

It doesn’t matter how old you are. If God’s given you a vision for your life AND the ability to pursue that vision, you don’t have the right to throw it in His face and say, “I’m afraid, so I’m just going to bury this over here until You come back.”

We aren’t “fine” accepting a mediocre life just because it’s easier than stepping out of our comfort zone! We aren’t “okay” if we’re making excuses or creating chaos to avoid taking charge of the situations we find ourselves miserable in. It isn’t our best life if it’s one someone else has created for us!

Your SHIP Hasn’t SAILED!

Photo by Larisa Birta on Unsplash

At my age, it would be easy (and expected) for me to say, “Oh well, I could’ve been more,” or “I could’ve…but that ship has sailed now!” Well, it HASN’T sailed for me! I still have dreams, and I believe I can make those dreams come true.

Are you going to let fear stop you? In the words of a person who I once knew, “YOU CAN’T BE SCARED ALL YOUR LIFE!” The only way to know if you can do something is to try!

It’s YOUR life and YOUR dream!

I don’t have to be stuck in someone else’s definition of what my life should be! I know what God has put on MY heart, and that is to pursue a ME that is better than the ME I used to be, so that’s what I am going to do.

My dream doesn’t diminish anyone else. In fact, the Bible says that no one lights a lamp to place it under a basket, but puts it on a stand so that it lights up the whole house (Matthew 5:15). The thing that light diminishes is darkness.

Some People Won’t Approve

If you’re doing what God has called you to do, it may scare some people. The closer you get to achieving your goals, the more they may think you don’t need them anymore. The ones closest to you may realize that in order to remain a part of your life, they’ll have to step up their own game!

If you’re being discouraged, consider that maybe the one who’s being negative has accepted the lies society and culture have thrown at them since they were old enough to catch! Remember that you can’t control other people. All you can do is work on you!

Photo by N. on Unsplash

It’s Not Too Late

It isn’t your job to try to convince anybody to get on board with your dreams and plans. NEWSFLASH! They don’t have to! You just use what God has given to you to do what He wants you to do. Live the life you were intended to live. If you’ve forgotten your vision, or if you’ve buried your dreams, go buy yourself a shovel and start digging. It’s not too late.

To read this story on Medium: https://medium.com/@allisondivinebridges/go-buy-yourself-a-shovel-33a461bb60c4

ENCOURAGEMENT

Why Other People Don’t Support You

So you finally did it! It took you all your life to start pursuing your dream with everything you’ve got, and naturally you thought the whole world would applaud your efforts from the sidelines–even go as far as to run beside you and help you along the way! Then you turn around to see, and instead of seeing everyone cheering you on, you find that they are angrily walking away. Or worse. Maybe someone you trusted is doing everything possible to stop you from achieving your goals. 

It happens. More often than we would like to think. Sadly, the biggest opposition to our dreams often comes from our families and closest friends! But why?

I’ve given this a lot of thought. I know that there are a lot of reasons, and I hope I haven’t simplified it too much, but here are a few that I’ve come up with. 

  1. They think they are protecting you. When you think that someone you love is setting themselves up for a failure or disappointment, it’s a natural instinct to want to step in and protect them from that! Maybe what seems like opposition is just your loved one’s way of trying to keep you safe. 
  2. They have seen you quit things before. It would be hard NOT to question the commitment level of someone who is a frequent quitter. Have you started and stopped several projects or dreams before? How many times have you quit on yourself? Maybe you weren’t really paying attention to this pattern, but someone else was. It’s time to prove to them that you DO have what it takes!
  3. They just don’t get you!  No matter how hard you try, there are some people who will never understand you or your dream. That’s okay. They don’t have to! God didn’t give that dream to them. He gave it to you. It’s your responsibility to honor Him with what He gave you. You were born to be you, and no one else was. 
  4. Your success puts the spotlight on their failures.  It’s not that they don’t have the ability to do something, it’s just that they didn’t do it. The fact that you are trying to live out your dream simply means that THEY could have done the same thing,  but they chose to quit on their own dream. 
  5. Envy. Even though they don’t want to put in the effort to have something better, they don’t want you to have it either. 
  6. They feel threatened. Fear is a strong motivator. It can propel you in either direction! Maybe the person thinks that your success means that you will have no more need for them and what is important to them, OR, maybe they think that because YOU are successful then they can’t be successful. This is a completely illogical line of reasoning that we have all been guilty of at least once in our lives. 
  7. They are just small-minded.  Some people just don’t have big dreams or the ability to dream big, and they don’t understand people who do. Dream anyway. Dream, and do.

Don’t stay in any unsafe situation! It’s one thing to not be supported–for someone not to agree with you. It’s something else for them to try to punish you because you have a mind of your own and hopes and plans for your life! Don’t be a victim of mental, emotional, spiritual, or physical abuse. No one has the right to put out the light that God lit in you. HE gave you those gifts and talents and dreams! The world and the haters don’t get to take them away. JUST BE YOU. Oh, and do it with EVERYTHING YOU’VE GOT!

Write the book, fly the plane, paint the picture, sing the song, dance the dance, climb the mountain–or do all of that stuff! You don’t have to limit yourself to ONE dream! You can do anything that God has equipped you to do. Believe the voice inside of you–not the ones telling you that you aren’t GOOD enough, STRONG enough, SMART enough, TALENTED enough, PRETTY enough….that’s ALL NONSENSE!!

 You are ENOUGH! You are YOU, and that’s exactly who you are supposed to be. 

BE YOU IN COLOR!

Kisses y’all! 

Allison