The Difference

Folgers Stable

Folgers Stable (Photo credit: anthony_goto)

What may appear to be a small difference between two things can often result in a significant difference in the outcome or ultimate enjoyment of something.

Examples that immediately come to mind include:

  • While a cup of coffee from Starbucks and a cup of Folgers are both coffee, there is a distinct difference between the two.
  • Nikon and Canon cameras both have obvious similarities, yet each has characteristics unique to each.
  • A Kindle and a Nook are both e-readers, but each has their distinct differences.
  • Liking what you choose to do vs. choosing to do what you like.

When I was a new mom I signed up to take an online journalism/short story writing course. I absolutely loved every moment of that course and should have considered that fact as I traveled blindly on the highway of life over the next couple of decades. However, since I already had my cosmetology license, it was more practical to find work and make instant money as I raised my children. Since money is an obvious necessity, especially while raising children, making instant money made sense and was the responsible thing to do.

However, as life passed by and the needs of my family changed, my boys’ dad worked, earning enough money to support our family.  I was able to stay home with my boys and provided daycare for a few children to supplement that income. While the children napped or during quiet times, when I could have been writing, I found myself whiling away the time by doing other things like cleaning up after a house full of children. Necessary? Yes. But I could have squeezed in a few minutes of writing throughout the day or after my children were tucked in for the night. Instead, I thought about the time I would be able to squeeze in some writing minutes.

As my children grew, I changed jobs to best accommodate their schedules. Never did I think to practice my writing skills by actually writing. Rather, I spent that time with even more dreaming of the day that I could write again.

As my children continued to grow, I survived through a divorce by working where I needed to in order to best accommodate my children’s schedules and to make instant money. It never occurred to me to actually write simply because I enjoyed it. Once again, I pushed that dream to the back of my mind for a later date when I would have the time.

That “time” never appeared as I continued my education for things that would be practical at that time of my life. Things I had a tendency at which to excel.  I took a medical transcription class not because I  loved to transcribe medical terminology, but because my typing skills were fast and accurate and because I wanted to work out of my home. That worked until life circumstances pushed me to get a job outside of my home.

When I landed a job in the legal profession and learned I had the capacity to do well at that, I decided to go back to school to receive my Associates of Applied Science in Paralegal Studies. It was a wonderful opportunity that made sense, because my job provided a  tuition reimbursement program, which meant as long as I maintained a 4.0 GPA the entire program was paid for with the exception of books. So essentially I received a free degree. It was something I did because I could. Not because it was my dream. And while that education is something no one will ever be able to take away from me and something I can always use, it wasn’t what I loved. I liked what I did, but I didn’t choose to do what I liked.

Read that sentence again: I liked what I did, but I didn’t choose to do what I liked.

Since I got my degree, I’m working at a job that does not require that degree. A job however, that I truly like. It’s a job that I chose, not a job that chose me.

While I still have my paying job that I need to have at this time to pay the bills, I now choose to write, the one thing that truly brings me joy. It’s something I’ve done–or dreamed of doing–throughout my entire life. Something that breathes air into my lungs and gives me life. Not something that takes my energy away, but something that gives me energy.

It’s important to like what you do, but it’s critical to do what you like.

Fearful Living or Faithful Living

faith

faith (Photo credit: williamaturner)

I think I can safely assume I’m not alone when I say I’m often my own worst enemy. Maybe it’s partially due to being a type A personality. And then again, maybe that’s just something on which to place blame.

I’m do know, however, that I’m harder on myself than anyone else could ever come close to being. If someone would expect me to be good at something, I would expect from myself nothing less than perfection. And that achieves nothing except what can be summed up into one word–FEAR.  That four-letter “F” word that prevents joyful living.

  • Fear of failure.
  • Fear of trying something new in case I fail.
  • Fear at beginning a project in case I cannot finish.
  • Fear of making a commitment in case I can’t follow through.
  • Fear of doing anything at all in case I can’t do it perfectly.
  • Fear of doing something that would cause anything other than positive attention.
  • Fear of saying something that may make me look unintelligent.
  • Fear of what people are thinking–or not thinking.
  • Fear of being ‘less-than’ what is expected of me.
  • Fear of what happened–or what almost happened–yesterday.

I tend to expect more from myself than I would ever expect from others, which can be viewed in two ways – lack of self confidence or thinking I’m more competent than others. And I have to admit, neither is an attractive character trait.

The common denominator of all  these fears is that it robs me of what is here and now. It prevents me from the peace of living in the moment, truly experiencing life. Fear is nothing more than lack of faith. And lack of faith separates us from God. And that is perhaps the only thing to truly fear. Separation from the only One who can truly protect us.

So while fearful living isn’t healthy, robbing us of life one painful moment at a time, the blessing is the problem lies in, and within, each one of us who has made fear a part of our daily lives. Because if the problem lies with others or with circumstances that we cannot change, we’re sunk. What is within our own lives, our own heart, our own mind, is the only thing we have the power to change. And we get that power through faith in God. And while fear is lack of faith, faith is lack of fear. Several times every day we can choose fear or we can choose faith. I think I’ll make it my priority to choose faith.

Grace to you.