Commuting? Busy hands? This post has an audio version! (If you're a sound engineer, sorry, its my first recording!)
"You're not listening to me!”
“No, you don’t understand.”
“Can you put yourself in my shoes for just three [Un-Christian word] seconds?!”
“Ah! Never mind! I don’t even know why I try explaining to you, it’s useless!”
These are the things I find myself saying to my husband over and over again. As he fumbles and bumbles and tries to understand my range of complex emotions stemming from childhood wounds to the scars from our relationship to our present situation. He doesn’t know what to say and I know it. He doesn’t understand and I see it. He feels helpless to fix it. While there are practical things he could do (Should do and sometimes does do) to address the issues we keep fighting about, he will never fix my deep-seeded feeling that at the end of the day, I’m just not enough.
“You’re a highly intelligent girl who wasted her time in school and didn’t learn enough.”
“You’re a college dropout turned single-mom who ruined her life in promiscuity.”
“You don’t work well for others but you keep failing as an entrepreneur.”
“You’re far from independent, you’re just living off other people. You’ll never be successful.”
The same lies come at me over and over again. I push them away and remind myself I'm supposed to be living "victoriously", not defeated, as my lack of success is certainly not from lack of trying.
For example, I recently worked at a struggling hair salon for a little over a year. When I went into the salon, I knew it wasn’t going to be a financial goldmine. The owner was a bit quirky, in her mid to late sixties and the salon was purple. Really purple. She had no other stylists, only an esthetician. Something about the salon sparked my entrepreneurial spirit and I felt compassion for the owner. I thought, “This is a place I could put love and effort into and maybe one day, own my own salon”.
So, I loved it like it was my own. Paid commission only, I would show up day after day and work for free. I helped her redesign the salon’s logo, redid the price list, made marketing material, helped throw a Christmas party, grew the salon’s Facebook page by well over 100%, started a Twitter account, put time and effort into an Instagram account, made monthly promotions and advertised them to clients, did contests, made the salon a website, tried to make professional relationships with other local businesses, made a referral program and personally wrote thank you cards to every client who had chemical services… I worked really hard. For free.
You may be reading this thinking, "Geez, why wouldn’t you just go work somewhere else?"
Well, because I'm not afraid of hard work and that's what it takes to build a hairstyling business. Hairstylists work evenings, weekends, holidays, early mornings, we’re on our feet all day and usually don’t get a lunch break. It’s very hard work for very little pay. At best, I would have gotten minimum wage somewhere else. Thinking about the situation long-term, though it was a risk, working off commission had more financial opportunity because my income would be based off how much I worked and like I said, I'm not afraid of a challenge. I had just moved, my husband was in treatment and our disability insurance was supposed to run out in the next two months. I knew I needed to find a way to generate a larger income than minimum wage would afford.
As one often does with risky ventures, I hit roadblocks. The owner wouldn’t let me book clients in the evenings because she wanted to go home. No evening appointments? That wasn’t going to work. Then, I wasn’t able to book anyone Saturday afternoons. No weekend appointments? That wasn’t going to work. She also had me charging more than she charged her clients. That wasn't right. Without culturing, the small buds of success I worked so hard to grow began to shrivel.
“I love how you do my hair but I just can’t come 9-5 during the week, I have to work."
“I know… I’m so sorry… ” I’d say.
I couldn't throw the owner under the bus by blaming her so I would say nothing. Nothing! Obviously, that doesn't work. A good, committed hairstylist does what she can to convenience her clients for appointments. I would have easily worked until 10pm had the owner allowed it but my hands were tied. Day after day, I became less and less busy until eventually, the clients stopped calling.
“You’re just not good enough” the enemy whispered.
Do You Really Believe, You're Not Worth Anything?
I'm on a new kick right now where I'm thinking just because the enemy plants a thought in your mind, doesn't mean you believe it. But that's how he gets you. You keep thinking the same thing over and over again until eventually, you start to believe it could be true because you're always thinking it.
For example, let's say you look in the mirror and Satan plants the thought in your mind, "I'm not pretty enough".
You look at yourself and think, "No, I'm pretty. Maybe not the most beautiful and my nose is a little big but I think I'm pretty" (Yes, talking to myself here. I have the kind of nose that keeps one humble).
Every day you wake up, look in the mirror, notice your humble nose and Satan whispers, "You're not pretty enough".
Though you know in your heart it isn't true, you might start to think, "I'm always beating myself up, I just want to look in the mirror and feel pretty. I'm so insecure!".
You start to spend more time on putting on makeup and doing your hair each day. Surely today, you look pretty. You feel pretty.
You meet another pretty girl and start to compare yourself to her, not because you think there's something wrong with you but because you don't think there's anything wrong with you and you're trying to figure out what made you so insecure.
"Are we not equally pretty? Doesn't everyone have something beautiful about them? Now I'm comparing myself to others. Why am I so insecure?!" you think to yourself, confused.
I’ve always felt like I’m good at everything but great at nothing. It’s a terrible label to give yourself but it’s just that thing that always goes through my head. I learn things really fast. Like, really fast. I learnt how to make this website off of YouTube and coding forums. I’ve never made a website before. I didn’t know what Google Analytics was. I didn’t even know what SEO was! I’d heard the word but what is it? Tech stuff, that’s what it is. I had no idea what I was doing. Did I crash the site a few times? You bet it did. But I fixed it (I'm not tooting my own horn here, I have a point).
My secret dream right now is to be good at construction. My husband and I just bought a house and though I'm aware I'm way out of my league, I have this dream of renovating it myself and saving oodles of dollars in the process. I loved working on home improvement with my Dad growing up and like other things, I picked it up quickly. Am I particularly strong? Not really. I'm strong for my size but I'm pint-sized! Do I like to get dirty? Not really. Spiders? Oh no! But having creative freedom to build the vision in my head is so attractive. It's like being able to sing and play piano at the same time. When you sing and can't play, your creativity is always limited to someone else's ability. Plus, I feel like my husband will like me working in my daisy dukes (Except in reality, I'll be in jeans or sweatpants but you know, potatoes... potatoes.... how do you write that? You know what I mean!).
My colourful past is full of career dreams: Lead Singer (Yes, that was a personal example above lol I'm a singer who can't play an instrument), Interior Designer, Hairstylist, Make-Up Artist, Funeral Memorialist (What?!), Shoe Store Buyer/Merchandiser, Professional Cheerleader, Professional Writer and now, Ministry Founder. And those are just the ones I’ve pursued! Never mind all the careers I thought I wasn’t "smart enough" to bother trying but secretly wanted to do: Architect, Engineer, Psychiatrist, Lawyer (This would be my redo career), Magazine Art Director, Advertising Executive, Web Developer…
Can you relate? Do you ever feel like you were beat down before you tried?
My point to all that was this: I have no reason to feel like I can't do something. None. The only reason I have is because I keep believing I can't and to be totally honest, I don't really feel that way! If there's a dream on your heart I encourage you to take a step back and consider if you actually believe you can't do it or if you're being told a million reasons why you can't.
"I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well."
What to Do When You're Feeling Defeated
I’ve been thinking a lot about fear and insecurity lately and I’ve come to the conclusion they're brilliant illusions from the enemy. Have you ever watched the illusionist, David Blaine? Honestly, I think he has a deal with the devil. I don't understand how he can do all those things. Stick a knife in his hand and pull it out without blood? That's not human. Anyway, he's an illusionist and wherever he's getting his tricks from, they're nothing compared to how Satan deceives us. Because we can be so easily deceived we must remember the truth of who are, God created us to have a spirit of power, love and sound mind.
Power. Love. Sound mind. The total opposite of fearful. Self-deprecating. Anxious. Insecure.
Which means, thinking we can't do something is a lie. It's an illusion designed to keep us from seeing what we're really capable of. If you’re feeling frustrated in your lack of personal success dig deep, down in your spirit and I'll bet there's a place there where you know it's all a lie. You weren't made to be a defeatist. That frustration comes from a place of struggling with who you feel you are and who you want to be (Or think you're supposed to be).
With success, I'm not only talking about career success (Though that was the example I used) I’m talking about victory in every area of your life. #Winning! You can be successful in your career and crappy in other areas of life. The people you see who are all around, “Winning” are doing so by either the right attitude or they're putting up a front. That’s it. It’s one or the other. They’re faking it until they make it or they win no matter what happens because they have the right attitude. True success doesn't have immediate results, it takes time and has longevity.
On the hardest of days, your "freak outs" won't look like mine (For example, insecurity might not be your battle) because we're different and each person has their own stuff to deal with but the idea is the same. Choosing to see the good in your failures will silence the voice whispering, "You're not enough" because you'll know, down to the depths of your soul, the lie has no power over you. It's an illusion.
Remember, God gave you a spirit of power, love and sound mind. And that person He gave that spirit to isn't the perfect person you've been told you're supposed to be. It's you, in all your messy, quirky, imperfect, misunderstood glory. [Read: Your Mess is Going to Make an Awesome Ministry].
Even if no one hears your song, sing the melody of who you are and let the light of God’s creation into every crack of darkness trying to devour your light.