These past few weeks at my local church, we’ve been in the midst of a series entitled, ‘Real’. It resonates loudly with me because the essence of the message is the story of my own journey.
It is about making the shift from living a life defined by the world’s values, to living and leading from within…or in the case of my own faith, living from a God and heart-centered place. It is about finding alignment of outer and inner; of shifting from self-centered to service-centered; of getting the ego out-of-the-way in order to really work, live, love and lead – from a place of courage instead of fear; love instead of hate; humility instead of pride.
Getting ‘real’, in my book, is also about living authentically; recognizing and honoring the gifts we bring to the world – to our families, our community and our profession. Far too often, we sell ourselves short and/or sell ourselves out before we’ve ever even gotten out of the gate. We act from a place of fear. We act from a place of pride. Or sometimes, we fail to act at all.
Recently I met with a girlfriend of mine over a great meal and glass of wine. All sense of time lost to us, we talked for hours about our dreams, both big and small. We shared the heart, soul and life lessons of each of our own journeys – the heartaches, the triumphs, the struggles, and the victories. We talked about what it means to be ‘real’, too. Not just what it means, but the courage required to live the life of our convictions, and the short-term sacrifices we must sometimes endure to honor our core selves and to ultimately reach our dreams.
I adore my friend. She is a kindred spirit and kind soul, who much like me, is learning to find her own way and to honor her core self, too. I also respect my friend.
In recent weeks, she was offered an opportunity that would enable her to realize one of her long-term dreams…to move to New York. The only problem is that the offer came in a form that left her feeling disrespected, discouraged, and devalued. She had been sure for so long that this was the path, and yet when the time came to make a decision, it didn’t feel right. Not at all. Faced with the temptation of settling for something far less than her value; of settling for something she intuitively knew wasn’t right but would nevertheless enable her move, she took a deep breath, said a prayer, and turned down the offer.
It was a gutsy move, and I pause to wonder…
Would you have done the same? Would you have had the courage to honor your core sense of worth and values at the potential expense of realizing a dream? Is a dream really worth pursuing if you must devalue or lose your self and/or soul in the process? Do you have the faith and resolve to delay gratification of a dream to do the right thing, whether in honoring the self or others?
When we courageously close the door to what we know is not right, another door almost always opens, though quite often, the pause between one door closing and another one opening requires a tenacious resolve and commitment to our dreams. It is a test of our courage and conviction; and for those of us who are spiritually inclined, it’s an important test of our Faith.
Yesterday my girlfriend called to share recent news. In the wake of a door she closed on her self; in the aftermath of her courageous decision to honor her own worth above the temptation that ‘settling’ promised her, a new door opened. The right door. The door that whispered,
Come. Here. Now.
You are valued. You are worthy. You are wanted.
In New York…