If you have followed this blog for any amount of time, you have probably heard me mention the ladies I do Bible Study with at my church. Our group is called GIFT (Growing In Faith Together) which is very apropos because this group has certainly been a gift to me. The women are some of my best friends. Our studies and discussions are inspiring.
Currently we are reading "7" by Jen Hatmaker. Have you read it?? Basically, she becomes overwhelmed by the excess in her life. She decides to focus on one area per month and pare down to 7 items - and only 7 items - in the monthly category. For example, the first month she focuses on food and allows herself on 7 different single ingredient foods (chicken, sweet potatoes, avocados, eggs, whole wheat bread, spinach, and apples). Her other months are spent focusing on clothes, possessions, media, waste, spending, and stress. the idea behind the whole "experiment" is that getting rid of the excess opens room for other things - primarily God.
Even if you are not religious, I think there is an idea here that we can all use. You see, Hatmaker is OPEN to the possibilities that making changes can create. She is open to seeing opportunities to try doing something differently.
I'm a lot like my grandmother and my dad - I am uncomfortable with change. I like things the way I like them and, as the old saying goes, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" right??? But, that's not being OPEN.
A few weeks ago, I wrote this post about my blogging goals for 2014. I admitted that I'm not really sure what my goals are exactly. Although I have had this blog for over three years, I threw myself into it last spring because I was searching for something - an opportunity, perhaps - to do something more; something bigger. I'm glad I did because I love writing and I have made some wonderful connections with other women. However, I have been so incredibly focused on it that I haven't been OPEN to other opportunities.
Just last week, though, not ONE, but THREE opportunities practically fell into my lap. I decide to be OPEN - to accept them and the possibilities they present.
First of all, I had heard of a thing called Listen To Your Mother. It's a "show" in which writers (or non-writers) submit pieces they have written. A certain number are selected and the authors read them aloud during the "show." Kind of like a poetry reading, I suppose, except they are not necessarily poems. I was contemplating submitting, but hesitating. Then, some other women shared some very encouraging words through a Facebook group I'm in and gave me the confidence to be OPEN to the opportunity. I just hit "send" on my submission. I don't know if they will like it or accept it, but I'm glad I was OPEN to the possibilities.
Secondly, I went to a parent meeting at my daughter's middle school. At her school, the students participate in clubs once a week, but she had complained that there weren't many clubs from which to choose and she had not gotten the assignment she wanted this past quarter. On a whim, I mentioned to the principal that I would be willing to lead a club if they needed some additional offerings. "What kind of club did you have in mind?" she asked. "Creative Writing," was my answer. Maybe this doesn't seem like a huge deal, but I still hesitate to call myself a writer (even though I've been published in an actual book!). The idea that I could teach writing to someone else - CrAzY!! Especially middle schoolers - a far cry from the preschoolers I taught so long ago (or maybe not!). Still, I sent an email and got an enthusiastic response from the staff member who coordinates the clubs. Maybe no students will sign up for my club (except my daughter, bless her). Maybe they will hate the activities I plan. OR, maybe they will enjoy it and develop a love of writing, too. Maybe I will get to spend some time with my daughter and maybe I will get to know some of her friends a little better. I'm nervous and excited and OPEN to the chance that it might be great!
Finally, I was offered another opportunity to work for just a couple months in an interim position at my church. I will be working to coordinate Sunday School for the preschoolers, chapel for the preschool, nursery workers, and a few other things. When I was first approached, I hesitated. I haven't earned an actual paycheck in 11 years, y'all!!! Eleven years!!! I'm not doing it for the paycheck, but the idea that I am responsible for things other than my family, my house, and my blog is a little scary. What if I don't do things the right way? What if I don't have time to blog?? What if?? What if?? OR What if it's great? What if I realize that I enjoy having a job outside of being a SAHM?? What if I find new talents I didn't know I have?? After the initial hesitation, I was overwhelmed with a feeling of "Yes!" and I decided to be OPEN to trying something new. I start soon and I think it's going to be fun.
All of these things happened in the same week. At the same time, I'm reading this book. Also this week, I read this awesome post from my bloggy friend and Tuesday Ten co-host Rabia. It was like everything was saying "Just Do It! Be OPEN!"
So, I'm stepping out of my comfort zone just a little, trying some new things that I am really excited about, and hoping it all goes well. What if it all goes wrong?? But, what if it all goes right?? I'm OPEN to finding out and that is a good feeling!
When is the last time you were OPEN or do you prefer to maintain your comfortable routines??