Where Are You Going?

It happened again. I was asked the question, “Where are you going in life?” The answer always seems to make sense in my head, but never out loud. Maybe if I write what I am thinking out, receive feedback, and take action than maybe it can become clearer where I am going.

I am investing my time part-time at a retail job I have been loyal to for nine years. Nine years. This was my “first” real job that saw potential in me before I saw it in myself. This brings in a steady paycheck when I need it. Some people don’t make it past 4.4 years.

I am building a business that allows me to have freedom. This freedom comes at a price. My effort, work, and time come at a price that does not always equal a paycheck. My résumé is full of experience and growth that words cannot describe until you hear about my journey.

I am growing and developing relationships. No, I won’t work on your marketing for free. I do want to learn from you and hope you can learn from me. You can define this as a friendship or working relationships because I saw value in you and like being around you. Don’t take advantage of me for telling you that.

I am paying bills that don’t seem to end. I have 13 more car payments until my car is mine. There is no co-signer on my loan, it is just me. My 2006 Honda Pilot was my first investment toward my future and it isn’t going to be the last. Sallie Mae is flooding my e-mails, so she will be the next investment to pay off after my car.

I am saving for a better future. I heard about an opportunity to rent a place near the area I have always wanted to live. The truth is, I don’t know if I can afford it long-term. I could make it work, but not knowing for sure is what worries me. The reality is my savings is scarce to support my business and it hasn’t paid me back, yet. I don’t have a nest egg from my parents like other people I know.

I am trying not to be negative. I see other people putting down payments on houses, moving in the next stages of their lives, and yet I am still in this season. The season of not knowing where this road will lead but it is the road I have traveled on for some time.

So, where am I going? The truth is, the road ahead of this one isn’t clear enough for me to know. For once I have peace knowing it’s all going to work out. I have my dreams that remind me of a vision I have for myself. When I move into the next chapter of my life, I can look back and see when and where I took the jump. Until then, I am growing and finding inspiration to keep moving toward my dreams.

Thank you, mom, Thelma and Jason for not making me feeling alone. And for everyone else, thank you for reading this and may we help one another find out where we are going together.

Everything is a Test of Faith

As I write this out, I glance at the top of my screen and see the clock. It’s going to be another late night, but how many times does I stay up late doing other unproductive things? Always. I promise you everything is a test of faith as I tell you a story.

I am not perfect. I don’t have three months of bills saved up in my savings account for a “rainy day.” I saved up enough money for a computer program instead of saving for my future. I’m 24 years young and sometimes I am naive. Should I be more proactive about saving? Yes. Am I worried about where the money is going to come from? No. I have put one of the hardest staples in my life up to God. Money. I don’t fear losing it or not having enough. I have been tested in the past to choose between buying myself lunch or giving money to a mother who was short money for a child’s birthday cake. Guess what? I felt compelled to give her half my money, but not all because I thought I needed half for lunch. No more than 15 minutes later, my boss tells me I have a check from a claim for a lost dividend from two years ago came in. I was given a check amount about three times as much as I could have given the mother! Coincidence? Hardly!  Through this experience and wisdom from God, I have learned I failed this test. I failed by putting my trust in my own hands instead of his.

Monday.

I was driving home from college to go to work when my car started to overheat. I pulled over and popped the trunk (to get the gallon of water I keep for reasons like this) and the hood. I could have been worried, but I felt calm. I got the water out and closed the trunk to check my radiator coolant level. It was moderate, so I added more water. I got back inside and waited for my car to cool down. Soon a Road Ranger pulled up beside me and I told the nice man what had happened. He was a sweet, older man who asked me to pop the hood so he could do what I had just done. He said there wasn’t much I could do but carefully drive it home and do what we had just done. I figured as much and carefully got back on the highway. I didn’t make it two miles and my car started to overheat again. I forced myself to go to the next exit to park in a public parking lot and call my parents. After about three hours of waiting to coordinate schedules, I was back home as my car stayed where in a public parking lot.

Was I upset? Sure. Was I worried. Honestly, not as much as I thought I would be. I realize this was a way the devil could keep me back from doing the things that make me who I am. I am not a missionary knocking on doors or traveling the world, but I am making a difference in my small world. When I am in my car, I am free to go where I am led to go. Without a car, I am stuck at home and at the mercy of fate. Fate knows I believe in something deeper, more meaningful so it can be pushed aside.

Tuesday.

I tried arranging a car situation to get a ride to where I needed to be today and guess what? It didn’t work out. Was I upset? It goes without saying I was, but there was nothing I could do. I didn’t fret or worry myself with the weight of fear or doubt. I told who I had to about the situation and left it in God’s hands. I worked from home and got assignments done. In the middle of working from home, I felt sick. I started to feel cold chills and my feet felt started to feel heavy. I must have eaten something awful because I was starting to feel really weak. If I was at the office of where I should have been today, I would have been uncomfortable. At least I was at home in pajamas enduring the nauseated experience. After eating something solid and medicine, I started to feel a bit better.

I ended up visiting my car with my mom to diagnose the damage. I was hopeful, but sadly my motor is shot. There was a rattle noise when we tried driving it around the parking lot. Obviously, driving it to next exit was dangerous to my car’s health, but smart because we were in the parking lot long after the sun had went down. On the way home, I was given options of what I can do with Betsy the Boat:  sell it to a junk yard, keep it for parts, sell it to someone looking for parts, and more. It was overwhelming, but my heart and mind were calm. Again. The rush of “it’s going to be ok” feelings filled me up with hope. Do I know where my next car is going to be? No. Am I going to have to work to produce a car fund? Yes. Does this scare me? Not really.

Wednesday morning.

I know when it comes to my faith, I am a warrior who has wisdom beyond her years. I have the gift to help others through prayer and words of encouragement. Sometimes those words are something so specific, it is much appreciative by the person I am helping that I had said something. Without my faith telling me to open my mouth and allow the spirit to speak through me, I would not have brought joy into people’s lives. Living by faith is not only following God’s word, acting in obedience, sharing his love but it’s a matter of trusting in God’s plan more than your own. All this is who I am and why the devil tries to attack me when life gets me down. Do you ever feel that way? It’s a downward spiral of doubt to more doubt until it’s a weight of an ugly slump. I know if I am down and shaken, I am not standing firm in God’s will. For the first time in years, I am certain the future is bright because I passed this test and know more will be coming behind it. Am I ready? More than I will ever be with God near my side.

Do you have a test of faith you passed or failed? Maybe we can learn something from one another.