I recently turned 35.
While it’s officially the oldest I’ve ever been, I decided to do something that felt admittedly…childish? No, that’s not it.
No. Thats not it either.
I don’t know.
Let’s just say it felt wonky, but in the good kind of way.
Even though it was freezing cold I went outside to sit on my back porch (because being outdoors helps me think) and I brought my favorite spiral notebook- the one that reads “Be So Good They Can’t Ignore You” in shiny metallic gold lettering across the front.
It’s the notebook that currently holds all my most important words.
My inner monologue.
It’s all there.
But I realized there was something MISSING from the book. Something so important that I can’t believe I’ve never bothered to write down.
As I sat on my porch casting vision for the year ahead and reflecting on the year behind, I realized that 2016 was full of surprises. As I’ve told you here before, my “One Word” for the year was “Yes” and God certainly wasted no time using it to draw me directly outside of the comfort zone that I’d carefully created for myself.
Remember on Inside Out when Joy draws a circle for Sadness and tells her that her only job is to STAY INSIDE THE CIRCLE? It was kind of like that except I’d drawn my own circle, labeled it Comfort Zone, and planted myself there like a fool. We could really get deep here and talk about Joy and Sadness and how in reality, comfort zones are the easiest place to become miserable, but we honestly don’t have time for that today.
The point is, all of that changed the moment I began saying YES.
I started saying yes to God and waking up to parts of myself that I’d disregarded for too long.
I said yes to bigger than I’d imagined things, smaller than I’d imagined things, to new friends, to new opportunities, and to experiences that I couldn’t have made up if I tried.
At one point my yeses landed me on a red leather couch in the audio/visual room of Dutch Bros Headquarters, doing a freestyle RAP at the beginning of a podcast. IN FRONT OF OTHER HUMANS. Who were not deaf and could actually hear me.
What even is life?
I do not know.
But I do know that the more I said yes, the more I came alive. I began to wake up to my creative self and to my dreams.
So much so, that while my year of yes is technically over, I still find myself increasingly compelled to step further out of my comfy little circle in pursuit of those dreams.
Even when it seems foolish.
Even when each step feels more like a leap out of an airplane than forward motion.
☝?Which is basically always, in case you’re wondering. I keep thinking it’ll get easier. I’ll stop being nervous all the time. It’ll become like second nature at some point.
It hasn’t yet, so I’m also saying yes to telling the honest truth about all the wonky feelings that come along with saying yes.
Welcome to my blog. Nothing is sacred.
Every single step towards my dreams feels like a free fall into the unknown, or like a
swan dive cannonball into the deep end of the ocean.
But here’s the good news about the unknown: it is full of infinite possibility. I have no doubt that God hangs out in the deep end just waiting for us to jump in with him and discover the treasures hidden there.
(My feelings on this can best be expressed by the movie Moana, which had me ugly crying like a weirdo in the front row while my kids repeatedly asked for popcorn and Icy refills, rudely failing to notice their mother was busy having a major emotional and spiritual breakthrough. “Here. Take 5 dollars. Just whatever, man”).
So here I am. I surthrived my year of yes. And yah, I’m sticking with that made up word. Because while in some of my yeses I thrived and in others I merely survived, together they taught me to say yes to who I really am.
The ironic part is that I’m just beginning to realize that all this “saying yes to who God made me to be” business MIGHT ACTUALLY INCLUDE MY DREAMS.
Hi. ?? I’m Amber and I’m a little slow on the uptake.
For most of my life, I unwittingly believed that my dreams were somehow indulgent or silly and that they certainly had nothing to do with my spiritual life.
While I wouldn’t have said it out loud, deep down I suspected that God didn’t truly care about all of my interests, unless those interests involved like, moving to Africa and being a missionary or something.
I had subconsciously compartmentalized my life in such a way that I separated my “spiritual life” from my “regular life”.
*throws arms in the air in incredulity*
I just figured all my personality quirks, preferences, and tendencies fell somewhere in the fringe of Things That Actually Mattered.
So what if I never forget a good movie quote, that laughter is my love language, and that SNL references are one of the shortest and most direct paths to my heart (Taco Bell aside)?
So what if I love to read and write and connect with other women?
So what if I love interior design, homemaking, and organization literally makes my pulse quicken with delight?
What does all that have to do with anything?
What if the answer is EVERYTHING?
What if that stuff actually has everything to do with Things That Actually Matter?
What if it matters BECAUSE HE MADE ME THIS WAY?
I’m sorry about all the shouty capitals and italics here, but this information is completely revelatory to me and I’m having a hard time controlling THE VOLUME OF MY VOICE.
Guys, God is so into you.
He is into everything about you. It all matters to him.
Nothing is wasted in God’s economy.
None of those parts of yourself that you consider “inconsequential” or silly: your fears, your quirks, your tendencies, your passions, your skills, your aversions- none of it is wasted. It all matters. It all contributes to the unique art that you have to offer the world. (Ps. Your art might not look how you expect it to. You might not even realize it’s art. But we’ll talk more about that later.)
It wasn’t until my yeses drew me further towards the things I truly love, like writing, connecting with women, and house flipping, that I finally began to see that all those parts of myself that I’d compartmentalized, that I’d shoved into the drawer marked “inconsequential” actually had everything to do with how God wired me to process and contribute to the world around me.
Maybe, just maybe, God cares about all the silly dreams tucked away in our hearts even more than we do because HE put them there.
And for such a time as this.
What if he’s just waiting for us to wake up to our creative self and to pursue those very dreams with boldness and an unflagging joy?
Wouldn’t that be so wild?
Guess what. God is wild.
He is wildly creative, wildly attentive, wildly clever, wildly imaginative, and wildly in love with us.
So in 2017 I’m going to be Dreaming Big.