Last Spring I cancelled a trip with my husband to Vegas on a whim, a feeling rather, that I should point myself in a different direction. We were to attend a fitness conference that I had been looking forward to forever (OK, not forever, but long enough). One day I called and told him the trip had to be changed due to a tugging at my heart. This is where it ALL began.
Instead of high rise hotels and cocktails all night, we found ourselves driving through several states with our children in tow. We were able to visit family and take in some scenic hiking. A seemingly small part of me began to open up a bit more with each part of the journey. At our journey's end, we were in the Great Wolf Lodge (HIGHLY recommended!) in Concord, North Carolina. My husband and kids would play while I attended the annual She Speaks Conference. I went with one goal: a book deal. I left with much more.
The conference was not truly the highlight of my trip, as I gave in to fear and actually spent the majority of the time with my family at the fun hotel :). There was one session I was determined to attend though: Writing Out of Your Passion, lead by Tom Davis. I figured if I were to give this writing thing a chance, that class looked like a good place to start. I still have the handout and I did email friends and family to ask what my gifts and talents were....very eye opening indeed, but that is for another time.
As I sat in the back of the room, a video began to play about Children's Hope Chest Ministries. My chest grew heavy, as if weighted by an invisible anchor. Although the class itself was wonderful (that class alone was worth the cost of the conference), I left only thinking of this ministry. We made a mad dash home in a straight 17 hour drive. I'm pretty sure nearly 15 hours of it were me bringing Children's Hope Chest up to my husband until he finally said, "Why don't you look into it when we get home?" Well, we came home to a crazy flea infestation, but once that was clear I did look into it.
Thus began a new life. As you may know, I signed on for my first mission to Chisinau, Moldova and left the soil of the United States with a group of ladies I barely knew. I am now glad to call all of these women dear friends and sisters in Christ. This mission has been followed and my next large trip is to Ethiopia. So, what does ANY of this have to do with fear and focus?
As I tell my story to friends and family, I feel alive. I am more alive now than I have ever allowed myself to be. As far back as I can remember, I've always wanted to travel. I had stuffed this far down due to one tiny little thing: I was scared to death to fly. Well, that and I just don't travel well. I tend to get very sick and have trouble eating....all the fun stuff. So I thought that yearning was silly. The funny thing that happened was with each plane I boarded (I flew on more planes in 24 hours than I had my whole life!), that fear began to dissipate as I became focused on what I was called to accomplish.
Focus drives out fear. When focus is present, we have no time for the fearful thoughts to bark up things that simply aren't true. Focus, as it is intended to be, keeps our minds fixed on the priority. My mind stays fixed on the reason behind the flight and the rest of my body can simply relax. Now, I see my life unfolding as I envisioned as a young girl. I travel with more ease, and quite a bit more than expected honestly. I've been able to see things and experience things that my fear had always kept me from. There is great power in learning to focus.
So, what fears do you hold on to that are allowed to hold you back from your calling? Is it scary to give in to a calling? Yes it is! My whole life is going topsy-turvy, but I love it. I'm having to let go of something I have been comfortable with for a decade and learn new skills. This is far more exciting than simply existing day to day. Immersing yourself in something challenging is the best opportunity to stoke change in a stale life. That whisper of a dream you have held back for so long, perhaps it has roots you cannot see yet. Maybe it's more than simply a dream....maybe it is where your focus should be. Challenge yourself to shut out the fear and focus on the call of your heart to fulfill your unique calling...even if it seems a little scary.