Everyone loves to talk about success and the journey to obtain it. But what about the struggles of success?
The struggles of success are real and intense, but if you know what to look for…the struggles won’t rob your joy. You will feel the pull and weariness, but that darkness that tries to immobilize you with guilt will stay at bay. Let me paint a picture for you.
She started crying last night when I tucked her into bed. She asked me not to go to NY. Sadness. She was so excited last week to have four days with Grammie and Papa, but everyone wants their mama when their sick. I’ve only had four days at home since my last trip to NY, and my little girl has had a horrible head cold the whole time. Brian and I have been up until 2am, taking turns, as we tickle her back, pray with her, sing songs to her, hoping her sheer fatigue will outweigh the urge to cough.
I haven’t unpacked my suitcase. I haven’t done any dishes. I have emails coming at me from producers, publishers, readers, customers (some happy, some frustrated), and on and on. I’ve only found time for one walk, and I cried most the walk. Today is my third trip to NY in the last three weeks, and I feel just exhausted, sometimes I also get the occasional seasoned affective disorder, but I treat that with the best SAD Lamp on the market I got from SadLampsUSA.com.
My mom and I went to dinner two nights ago. We sat in a quiet booth, and I cried. “Can I do this mom? I know the vision that my heart carries is big, but when I’m this tired I can’t help but feel like I’m the wrong person. Were these visions meant for someone else, someone more qualified…” Everyone needs their mom’s knowing smile when the world is starting to spin too fast.
Our business is in one of the most amazing seasons ever. We had a goal to work toward a TV show, and even though I don’t have my own show yet…I never expected to be this close so soon. And a TV show is only the tip of the iceberg on what goals and visions I’m carrying. On one hand, you could look at us and think that we’ve got it all together. Everything is going our way. But when I kissed my sick baby goodbye in the dark, early morning hours this morning, I felt a lot of things and success wasn’t one of them.
No one ever likes to talk about the sacrifices we make for success. And even the very word “success” challenges some of us. Maybe we need to find a different word because achieved success makes me feel like it’s all happy roads and song singing—otherwise it isn’t success, right? And yet, the farther we go, the higher we reach, I find over and over again that new challenges wait. Maybe I assumed that success would mean I’d outgrow the need for a childlike faith—believing that what I cannot see being possible, is in fact possible. My need for faith only grows with each step forward these days.
There are moments when I’m singing songs of joy. But there are also moments when I’m crying from fatigue. But under all the tears (that go as quickly as they come), under all the weariness of repacking an unpacked suitcase, under the temptation to feel like I’m failing as a mom because we haven’t carved pumpkins yet…there is a deep peace that we are in the right place.
No one ever wants to talk about the struggles of success. No one ever wants to talk about the fact that when we experience breakthrough, things “break” around us. But someone has too because here is what I fear. I fear that when the going gets tough, when the fatigue sets into your heart, when the kids ask for more than you can give, when your tears are flowing more than normal…I fear that you will see all of the above as a sign to stop fighting for the vision you carry. I fear that you will see all the signs and not realize there is more than just one way to read them.
Everything good, rich and dear to me…every one of those things…I’ve had to work hard for; whether it’s my most precious relationship and marriage with Brian (oh, let me tell you the endless hours of marriage counseling!), or the gift of having kids, or the relationship I now have with my dad which many, even myself at times, thought was impossible…whether it was spending eight years learning how to write a book, or four weeks locked in a psych ward with no hope of ever being healed enough to get out. Every single one of those things that I value the most, that I carry the most pride in…has at some point demanded everything of me and even broke me. But the return, I never imagined a return like this.
I feel like I’m being broken again. The makeup of how to do life before doesn’t work for today and upcoming tomorrows. Can anyone relate?
You have a dream, a vision, a secret hope, and creation is on the edge of it’s chair in anticipation of you allowing this dream to unfold. And as the unfolding happens, can I encourage you? Expect the storms. Expect moments of terror. Expect the doubt and fears to be like ocean waves that are higher than you can see beyond. And instead of running the opposite direction or jumping ship, join me in surrendering.
Let the waves crash down. Surrender to the boat, the one thing that carries your vision, and let it be tossed to and fro. Sometimes I even curl up into a fetal position, close my eyes and listen to myself exhale. Yes, it’s okay to feel that week when you are building your dreams. Yes, it’s okay to feel that afraid. One day at a time. Sometimes, for me, three minutes at a time.
And you know that I’ll be smiling from my boat to yours.
p.s. Just landed and my first text “both kids woke up in a great mood, and Pascaline says she’s feeling better.” (God you are so good, so good.)