Developing in the Dark Room
Two blooms for 2 YEARS of The Good Day!
BLOOM - it's the word that was pressed upon my heart the year before launching this thing - this thing that was soooo scary for me at the time
...yet what was even more terrifying what the thought of not doing it.
After all, choosing to forego God's will for your life is also choosing to forego His protection. Let that sink in for a moment...
I've always been a private person. I could count on one hand the people who reeeally knew me. Bloom, as optimistic as it seemed, I learned was not a happy, sunshine-only word. It was harrrrddd. It has become synonymous with COURAGE for me.
Watching a magnolia bloom allowed me to see: there's a ton of courage in a petal opening up and out, allowing the outside world into this vulnerable space. Yet, that is the petal's purpose. That is what it is MADE to do. To bloom.
Same for us. We were made to bloom, to live courageously, to live out our God-given purpose!
How did God make this clear for me? How did I know God's will for my life? It all started with a quiet heart and a mind aligned to His will.
Aligned to His Will
But, how do we know the will of God?
Going into college, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my life, but after walking and receiving my diploma, I now wondered with panicked eyes and a raised brow pressed against my hand, "What am I going to do with my life?" It was like the wooden dolls my parents brought home from a mission trip to Belarus when I younger - a question with deeper questions within.
"What am I going to do with my life?" was really another way of asking, where can I find fulfillment for the rest of my days?
At one time, I wanted to be an interior designer, which later shifted to being a special event designer. But, event design wasn't in high demand during the Great Depression and it sure wasn't in the Great Recession of the early 2000's either. How are people going to spend money on events with unemployment on the rise (peaking at 10.6% in January of 2010)?
Soon, it became less about finding "the" job and more about finding "a" job. Even still, a deeper question remained. In the same way a second question led to a third, twisting the second wooden doll open, revealed a third within: What is God's will for my life?
A weighted question no doubt. A question seemingly swimming with mystery.
It surfaced regularly with every job application. I'd apply for a position as a bank teller and wonder, "Is God's will for me to work in finance?"
But now I have more perspective and understand His will for our lives is much bigger than our professions and how we earn income. Sure, this can be part of it, but it's never all of it.
Here's why: God’s will for our lives doesn’t start when we have bills to pay. It starts when we’re young. While sometimes the will of God can feel overwhelming to understand as if it’s a mystery, a man named Paul knew Jesus and clarifies this for us. He tells us the will of God is not hard to know but hard to do. I believe to walk in the will of God, we must approach every decision with a question in mind.
(Indeed, there was a fourth question beneath the third question, a fourth doll - small as it was - inside the third wooden doll...)
What gives God joy?
If a choice would grieve the heart of God rather than give Him pleasure in us, it is not aligned to His will for us. So, we ask, what pleases God?
Aligning our hearts and our minds with what pleases and delights God is the first step. Our actions will follow suit, allowing us to walk confidently in His will for our lives.
Developing in the Dark Room
With The Good Day turning two, I can't help but think about my writing journey and how very A-typical it is, to say the least...
My career path on the surface looks like a zig-zag. Retail, medical sales, teaching, software. Reading that, you may think, "Did Candace have a quarter-life crisis along the way?" But I assure you, I didn't.
Now, I reflect over my life and see God's hand in it all. Each experience has taught me something I needed to prepare me for what God is now calling me to do.
It's interesting to see so clearly how God led me to the work I'm doing now. I believe there are many reasons for this but one of them is to simply practice being comfortable in uncomfortable situations. This may seem minute to some but I assure you this was paramount for my writing journey because like I mentioned earlier, starting a blog - well, that was wayyyyyyyyy out of my comfort zone! Someone asked me to share the scariest thing I’ve ever done - a few things came to mind -
Jumping out of an airplane...
Canoeing with alligators...
Skiing down a black diamond (by accident - when in doubt, revert to pizza!)...
But truth is, all of those were a cake walk compared to starting a blog.
It took every ounce of courage in me.
And then some.
To say it was out of my comfort zone is an understatement.
This time two years ago, I wondered if one person would read it. “Blogs… who even reads those??”
But I knew if it could lift the chin of even one person even just slightly, it would be worth it. The stories some of you have shared - how these whispers of my heart have encouraged you - I’m truly humbled. God is cool like that.
All of this to say, my experiences have all been very purposeful. God planted me in each to prepare me for what He needs me to do now - offer hope to a hurting world through the words He lays on my heart. And, He's doing the same for you.
The Dark Room
My journey to becoming a writer has been similar to how a photo is developed. Though now two years have been shared with you, all the years before have been in the dark room. Away from the spotlight, God has been teaching me and shaping me and preparing me for the calling He has placed on my life. Seeing glimpses of this when I take the time to reflect brings me abundant peace and confidence to take the next step forward, because I know I'm not stepping alone. He is with me always.
Though sometimes I wish the journey was more like a polaroid with instant results, I'm learning the dark room was and is intentional. God uses these dark rooms in our lives so we can be developed so the fullness of the photo He's taken can be shared and His glory can be revealed through it.
And joy, my friend, grows from surrender. When I let go of what I wanted my life to look like and trusted God and His will for my life, I was able to step into obedience. Said another way, the photo has been developed (though another is now in process) and the first is ready to be framed. God knows exactly where to hang it - exactly where to place us - so His light is reflected through us. When others pass by, they see - it's a photo that tells a story - His story.
So now, my focus is to be faithful today. One day at a time, I'm learning how to live The Good Day.
I think it but don't say it near enough, thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for joining me on this journey. I'm honored to spend time with you each week!
What is the thing on your heart - the thing that is out of your comfort zone that will require strength and courage not your own - the thing that can have an impact greater than yourself?
I think that’s where we’re meant to pour our energy and gifts.
Maybe it’s in your home.
Maybe it’s at your office.
Maybe it’s in the classroom, field or driving a bus.
Maybe it starts with a pencil and a piece of paper.
You see there’s no place too small or too ordinary for God to move. And He doesn’t need you to have it all together or have a specific title or background or platform or blue checkmark to use you to help someone else. He just needs you to be available and obedient to His nudge.
I encourage you to pull over to the wide shoulder on the side of the road and look back. How has God been with you in the dark room of your life? How has He been preparing you? When you think about the will of God for your life, simply ask, how can I bring God joy with the gifts and talents He's given me?
Let's find our strength, joy and peace renewed in His faithfulness as we remember what He has done in us and for us. Let's rest in His everlasting name as we take the next step - however small, however shaky, however reluctant - in obedience to the One who can always, always, always be trusted.
The good life, well it starts with a good day. Then another. Then another. Let's choose to live #TheGoodDay one day at a time.
I love hearing from you, so go ahead. Leave a comment. Be brave. Maybe your comment will speak life into someone else!
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