Do you feel a call to a self-starter initiative- a creative passion or an entrepreneurial venture. As a speaker, mom-preneur, and former professional touring Broadway performer I am all too familiar with the infinity of little hours that can be frittered away doing anything but that creative calling. Fortunately, you don't have to stay stuck. Read on!
Getting out the door with two kids is always a struggle. As I rifled through my drawer last Autumn looking for a pair of socks to go under my boots, I heard the familiar “DAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaAAA!” of my two-year-old having a front door meltdown wondering what was taking mama so long. Intermingled with his yelling were the escalating protests of my one-year-old as my husband valiantly fought the Battle of Donning the Coat. Wearing multiple layers was not going well for any of the Sumereaus. My search for socks became more desperate. I dug all the way to the back of the drawer before unearthing a black and a purple sock.
I sighed in frustration. Gone were the days of looking put-together. I rarely wore makeup any more or coordinated a cute outfit, and I hated feeling sloppy all the time. My inner critic started chanting “You’re THAT mom….the one whose kids rule her life, who can’t even find matching socks!” I searched harder.
Then a thought dawned on me: People who are cool enough not to care can pull off mismatched socks. I donned the purple and black socks with a smile. And we got out the door.
I am uber-familiar with the voice of my inner critic threatening to paralyze me. That inner critic is powerful, man. He can make himself sound like God. “The world doesn’t need another blogger or speaker or singer. What have you got that’s so special anyway?” (pro tip: God doesn’t talk to us like this.) In the past this self-doubt paralyzed me so that my creative output was practically nil. When life got busy, I would just throw up my hands and spend whatever free time I had obsessively following the bloggers, speakers, podcasters and singers I longed to be like.
I’ve learned to put on the mismatched socks and get out the door. Just make it happen.
Perhaps a dream is calling to you that feels far out of reach. It often feels uncomfortable and scary to respond to something we're called to. Maybe a lot of things would need to change for you to achieve it. Maybe you feel overwhelmed and compare yourself to others. I’ve been there. I’m still there, sometimes. I often feel like I get nowhere at home, inching along in the stolen moments of babies’ naps.
I’ve finally gotten wise enough to know that I need to always first surrender my roadblocks and pent-up creative passions to God, and ask him what he wants me to do with them. I tell him to please redirect the desire if I'm not meant to follow that passion. If he is calling you to it, he will keep knocking on the door of your heart. When he does, you go for it baby! (Future soccer mama Stacey coming out to cheer you on here. She means biz. ness.)
I seriously doubt that God wants you to suffer in endless unfulfilled desire. He probably wants you to make the brave choice, which is to struggle against that inner critic and fight to make time for your creative calling.
The creative world is already over-saturated with people competing for the attention of an audience. Sometimes the sheer number of creatives makes me scared to put anything out there. The oft-quoted phrase “beauty will save the world” points to a deep reality of the power of art to change hearts and minds for the good. If we allow our self-doubt and competitive spirit to dictate whether or not we contribute beauty to the world, we are abdicating our power and giving it to the devil. We are silencing the voice that could most help a lost soul find its way home.
In 2017, despite having a six-month-old and another baby on the way, I committed to writing just one blog post a month and sending one email blast per month to my nine subscribers. Some months I had overloads of inspiration, and others I was so sleep-deprived that I had almost nothing, but I kept my promise to myself and made it happen. Putting something rather than nothing out there started a building momentum. Each new blog post brought with it a bump of inspiration, feedback from a growing audience, and a trickle of new subscribers. I know when Holy Spirit hits me up with an idea that I need to just let it flow onto a Word doc. Best of all, I’ve begun to see the fruits of my ministry, which is hearing from my growing audience that my voice, especially being vulnerable about my struggles, is helping them in their walk with God.
As I have slowly plodded along inch by inch, I finally have the confidence to keep writing and speaking when my self-doubt threatens to overpower me. I have built a reputation with myself that am THAT girl who gets things done.
It no longer feels like plodding. A year after starting my teeny blog, while still trying to learn how to parent an 18-month-old and a 6-month-old, I upped my blogs to every two weeks and added the Called and Caffeinated Podcast. It’s exciting to feel inspiration bubbling up inside me! I understand now that following my vocation as a mother while simultaneously following my creative calling is the life that God dreamed for me. I do it all…with and despite banana and snot stains on my pants. I give my full attention to my babies when they are awake, and I pour out the creativity of my ministry when they sleep. The hours of doing housework improve my blog and podcast because I have time to muse on them rather than churning out posts with little thought. I finally realize this IS, as the kids say on Instagram, #livingmybestlife. And I’m blessed to connect with hundreds of subscribers with every email blast now.
One of my creative cheerleaders Marie Forleo says: “Start before you’re ready.” (note: I am a big fan of Marie as an entrepreneur but I don’t ascribe to some of her views in other arenas.)
It doesn’t have to be perfect. It doesn’t have to be the best. It just has to happen because God called you to it and you have a unique voice to add to the symphony of creation.
If you’ve been waiting for a sign to get your God-given calling started, this is it! I totally get that everything other than following your call becomes attractive when you sit down to do it. The more power our voice has for good, the stronger the devil will push back with everything he’s got to discourage you from taking action. Let’s not let him win the battle of the little moments. Hail Mary full of grace, punch the devil in the face.
So what if your socks don’t match? Get out the door and make it happen.
Stacey has skills that have her singing and speaking at national conferences including the National Catholic Youth Conference and the LA Religious Education Congress, as well as dioceses and parishes around the Country. She hosts the Called and Caffeinated podcast and blog to serve those discerning their vocations and other life choices, and is a contributing author to Liturgy Training Publications' The Living Word and The Holy Ruckus Blog. She hails from upstate NY, and she is never bored.