Start where you are, with what you have
It’s so easy to look at what other people are doing and feel like you are falling behind, or not doing enough. It’s even easier to have big things swirling around in your head, and then discount them as foolish things, because they could never be meant for you, that those lives are lived by someone else. You will never know unless you start where you are.
I’ve been thinking about writing this for a really long time now, and one of my reader’s made a comment about it recently, and I decided it was time to share some of my story with you about starting. Starting even when your scared and unsure, because you think you’re not good enough, or not ready.Because you don’t know if you don’t try. I want to share a turning point with you in my life.
All of us are born with these incredible things inside of us, that are meant to be shared. Growing up, I was pretty solitary. I realize now that I was what’s known as an extroverted introvert. I was fine in a group of people, but never liked parties very much, and very happy spending time alone. I always thought it was because I was shy, or awkward. I was bullied in school, and sometimes made to feel less than. My grades were never very good, so I didn’t feel very smart, and home was hard sometimes (as many home are). I just never felt like I fit in, and kind of blended in while the world went on around me. Because of that, I had a hard time socializing (you would never know that now!). I tended to sink into myself when I was at home, hide in my room, and dive into reading, art, music, and creative play. In my own world, I was happy and unencumbered. I was a singing star on Star Search, I was a famous artist, and an Oscar winning actress. I was all those things put in my heart, with all of the gifts of who I was meant to be, with out judgement. I didn’t realize then they were gifts, I just thought they were things I liked to do, and was good at, in my own mind.
It took until my Junior year of high school, when something pulled at my heart so hard, I decided to take a chance. I could say it was me, finally tired of keeping those gifts silent, but most likely it was God finally saying “For flip-sake, I have given you all of these freaking gifts to share, use them!” So, I did.
On a whim, I auditioned for the musical Annie. I was kind of in drama club (I went to the meetings) but hadn’t been in chorus since 8th grade. I knew I was probably going to look stupid, but something inside of me was pulling and pushing me to try. I had always felt so awkward and out of place in high school. I am pretty sure I was looked at as a bit of a geek in the “unpopular crowd”. But, I did it, the pull was so strong. In the audition, I remember finishing the scene where Annie is telling Daddy Warbucks about her real parents.The room was full of about 50 high school students waiting their turn. I finished, and the room was so quiet I could hear a pin drop. My heart dropped, and I thought I was going to throw up, everyone was staring at me. Was I that bad? I looked at a teacher nearby and she had tears in her eyes, and everyone did a slow clap. I am telling you, at that minute I realized I had something inside of me.
Three weeks later, I had the lead roll as Annie. The Chorus teacher asked me why I had never joined chorus, or tried out for anything before. My answer to him:
“I thought I wasn’t good enough.”
It made me realize something about myself, and all of the thing that weren’t going right in my life had a new light. Who are we, to tell ourselves, we aren’t good enough? I realized my grades were bad, probably because of me. I started putting the effort in and seeing the benefits of effort, and I went from D’s to A’s and B’s. I had been lost for a college major,started thinking about majoring in theatre. All of these doors opened, and paths started being made for life experiences to make me who I am today. All because of listening to that push inside of me. All because I started and I didn’t waffle out of even trying. Because believe me, I am a great waffler.
There have also been many things I have tried, or started that haven’t worked out., with lots of set backs. Life has not always been an easy path since that moment, and it’s been full of really high high’s and rick-bottom lows, but the thing is, I started, right where I was, and it gave me the understanding to keep doing that. To keep starting. That’s what happened with Annie. I didn’t take voice lessons, or acting lessons. I used what was in my heart and what I had, with the tools and skills I had already been given. I might have tried out and I might have bombed. It could have turned into a bad 80’s movie.But it didn’t, and I found, that goes for a lot of other things in my life, including blogging 9 + years ago. I didn’t have a fancy camera, a high-end computer or even any previous experience with computers beyond Word. But, I started. And in fact, almost 10 years later, am still figuring it out as I go. But, with a few hard knocks, it has also brought me a lot of opportunities I never thought I would have, and actually made a few dreams come true,while allowing me to share my gifts with other people, as they were meant to be shared. None of us know where we are going, or what lies ahead, but if we don’t just start, we’ll never know what could be.
So, if you are waiting to use your gifts, to use that gift that is hidden deep inside waiting to come out, please stop waiting. Whether it’s write a novel,starting a blog, painting, organizing the laundry room, having a clean closet, starting that business,or just making your home a place you want to be every day. Don’t spend a lot of money, or go into debt,or take a big risk to quit your job and leave everything else behind. Just have to start where you are, with what you have.
I thought I came by here “by accident”. But now I think I did not.
Your words touched me very deeply. They are a part of me now.
Thank you, dear Jennifer. <3
Thank you for such a heart felt post. It brought tears to my eyes as it was exactly what I needed to hear. I was laid off in July 2015 and have applied for countless jobs along with hundreds of other people. My passion is home decor and being creative. I have a blog that will celebrate it’s third birthday this May. Not really sure what I am doing…just keep putting one foot in front of the other. I have come to realize that I am not in control God is. Things will happen in their own time. In the meantime, I am going to start right where I am and I am good enough. Thank you!
I needed that today…
As I sought the Lord on what my focus should be this year, I kept coming back to quieting my anxiety (rooted in fear). Fear has held me captive for so long…including sharing my gifts (particularly on my blog)
I am determined to “just start” this year. Thanks for the encouragement!
Love this post! Important stuff and good to share with our kids–thanks.
Jennifer…i love you!!! From Italy ..with my heart …
Wow, Jen!! You have spoken right to my heart! I have been pondering this for a while! But like you, I’m thinking oh my house isn’t like theirs or I don’t have a great camera. Thank you for writing this!!! Just the boost I need!! I love your style and even though I don’t always comment I think your blog is beautiful!
Love this. Such empowerment from a kindred spirit. I am not sure what it is that holds some back, but pushes others forward in pursuing that internal “let’s do it!” button, but I get closer to pushing it when I read posts like this 🙂 About 3 years ago, blogging seemed to take a turn and many either abandoned the platform for other social media, or changed their content to be more…..”advertisey (my word).”
So glad you kept going; I think we are all beginning to realize the power of sharing.
I can so identify with this. The best thing is as we reach different phases of our life we have new mountains to climb and we shouldn’t let fear hold us back. I guess as we get older we realize we can do it. Thank you for this wonderful postl
LOVED this post…so heartfelt. You have done a great job on your blog and I love your style!
Jen it was nice to hear a more in depth version – thanks for sharing! And also thanks for coming again to speak at our library, so great to meet you and get to know you – Happy New Years!
I know it took a lot of courage to share this and I hope it helps others find confidence in themselves and take a leap of faith as you did!
I do not come over to your blog very often, and don’t know want prompted me to wander over here today. But now I know. Your words went straight to my heart. I spent nearly half my week-end wrapped and dithered up in fear and anxiety about the months ahead where I will be taking on a new challenge. It nearly knocked me off my game, but your words have only reinforced my resolve to keep moving forward, even though the words “”I can’t…. I’m not…I don’t have….”” are banging loud as drums in my head. Thank you for saying this and sharing this.
I needed to hear this today………
Thank you. Best advice i’ve heard in a very long time. I get myself riled up at “not starting” for no real reason, and end up not starting. It really doesn’t need to be as hard as I make it, thanks again!
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