I did not understand why a person would NOT want their peaks to be high. I mean come on, valleys suck and peaks rock right?! Why not celebrate the heck out of the peaks?
I just did not get it. But, with more life experience, I now understand what this quote is saying.
Yesterday was a peak...a very high peak. Kind of like one of those Mt. Everest peaks where you are soaring above the clouds!
It all started in the morning when I was feeling pretty discouraged.
You see, I have this BIG dream of opening up a face and body painting studio in the East Bay of San Francisco. This is a dream I have had for a very long time. It's fun to think about and envision what it will be like when I can finally open the doors to this colorful, unique and fun shop. Oh, I can just see the day!
BUT, here's the thing! I am SO FAR from this vision that it is almost comical and ridiculous to even think about.
What do I mean by far from this vision? Well, I mean, my life RIGHT NOW compared to my vision seems more than fourteen light years away. There is an overwhelming amount of seemingly impossible things that would have to happen in order for this dream of mine to come true.
In a nutshelll what I am saying is given my present circumstances seeing this dream come to fruition is no less than freaking impossible!
So, even though this dream will NOT GO AWAY, I get very discouraged sometimes because I cannot seem to figure out how in the world I could ever get there.
But with God ALL things are possible.
Yesterday morning I was feeling particularly discouraged about my dream. It wasn't that I did not SEE the vision SO CLEARLY and believe it could come true. Something else was wrong and I knew I needed to take it all to God.
So, I spent some alone time with him.
I love spending time with the Lord and it has taken MANY years to be at this place in my relationship with him. It is personal and intimate and I KNOW without a shadow of a doubt that he listens, cares and is the most loving Father you could ever ask for.
So, I just started journaling and talking to him. I knew there were some things that were blocking me from my dream.
You see, it is not that the dream cannot come true. It can and it will. In fact, it is already done. This is why I can see it so clearly. The problem is that I knew there was some sort of spiritual block and something wrong in my thinking.
Therefore, because I knew this and knew I needed God to both unearth this for me AND heal it, I went to him in prayer and supplication.
Wow! It was one of the best journaling times with him and, trust me, I have had MANY! He brought me to places in my soul and cut straight to the root of the problem revealing things about my past. Things like, I have been afraid my whole life to really and truly TRUST myself and to be TRULY and COMPLETELY MANDY.
Now, this may sound trite but it is true and it was not until I was able, with God's help to unpack the fear underneath it all that I was able to experience the deep healing and what was about to happen a few hours later.
You see, the fear was that I thought people would not like me if I really went for my dreams AND especially if they came true. However, the biggest fear was that I thought God would reject me and damn me to hell if I chose to follow my dreams.
Sound strange to you? Do you relate on some level?
Somewhere along the way I thought I SHOULD do something more noble and Godly than to follow something I REALLY wanted. I thought I would be more apt to be in God's good graces if I were a caretaker of the elderly or a special education teacher when HONESTLY, I really just wanted to face and body paint people.
I knew I needed peace in my heart around this issue if I were to really go forward in my career and I knew that THIS was the very thing that was blocking me from getting to that next level. You see, I had hit a standstill, a plateau, my fears, were blocking me from going any further and I was self-sabotaging without knowing the way to break free.
So, I prayed for God to give me the peace I needed. I prayed for Him to speak to me, in the way he intimately speaks to me, and show me what he really thought about me wanting to follow my dreams.
I was willing to hear whatever he wanted to tell me and despite how strong the desire was to do what I wanted I wanted his peace and blessing more and I was willing to do whatever he wanted.
Thankfully, I know Jesus is the way, the truth and the life and he is in the business of breaking us free of our bondage and making us new and he did NO LESS THAN THIS FOR ME YESTERDAY!
You may have noticed that there are a number of pictures on this blog post. They are of photos taken by people from all over the world that spent their day re-creating my artwork. They were all posted yesterday on Facebook...hundreds of them!
In the middle of the afternoon, a number of hours after I had my prayer time with God, I began to see that I was getting a lot of friend requests on Facebook. "Hmmm, that is strange." I thought to myself, "Why am I getting so many requests today?" At the time, I didn't think this could have anything to do with what I had prayed earlier.
Then, about a half hour later I received a message on Instagram from a lady saying that my artwork was the Inspiration of the Day on a page on Facebook called Inspiration to Paint.
"WOW!" I thought. "Are you kidding me? My artwork?"
Very curious, I logged onto Facebook and checked out the page and there it was, a page created to inspire face and body painters and MY ARTWORK was the Inspiration of the Day.
I began to scroll through the page and was overwhelmed as I saw post after post of people, from all over the world, saying amazingly encouraging things about me and my work. Over and over and over, I saw my artwork being recreated by other talented artists all over the world. I was flabbergasted. I was stunned. Heck, I still am.
I was so overwhelmed that I stayed up past my bed time (which is normally really early) and could not seem to stop browsing through and commenting on everybody's posts. I was just so excited and wanted to both encourage and thank each and every person.
My body was raging with adrenaline and I felt like I could have floated up to the moon. In fact, as I type this blog post this morning I am a bit more tired than normal and feeling like I just ran a marathon.
This is what I think they are talking about when they say to not let your peaks get too high.
At some point as I was browsing through all the posts, I realized this was God talking to me and confirming that it was not only OK for me to follow my dream but because I have been, I got to see how much it was impacting people, in a postive way, all over the world. I was beside myself and thankfully, I did what I always do. I asked God for help to keep me right sized and thanked him for all the blessings in my life. ALL OF THEM. Even the valleys.
I do like the peaks but to be honest, they kind of overwhelm me sometimes. I am not saying I don't want them...I mean, seriously, bring them on. All I am saying is I just appreciate the normal flow of life and being even keeled. I have grown to LOVE the valleys. I really do LOVE them. The valleys are when I really grow and it's in these times that I am being molded and fashioned so I can withstand and steward the peaks with poise, grace and humility.
Yesterday was a peak. It was a really good peak. I need to come down off the high a bit and just plug away at the next right action toward my dream.
I am grateful. I am hopeful but most of all I want to praise our heavenly and amazing Father. He is far more gloroius, loving and wonderful than we could ever fathom and the fact that HE TALKS to us so personally blows me away every time.
This relationship is available to everyone. It takes time and it takes effort. Just like any relationship, we must sow into it and nurture it.
So, with that being said, here's to the peaks and valleys. May we trust and praise our Lord through them all.
Do you have a dream inside of you that just won't go away? Maybe your dream is to write a book, start your own business or buy a bigger home.
I believe we all have dreams on the inside of us and I believe these dreams were given to us for a reason.
I also believe we were given all the tools, resources and abilities to make these dreams come true. So, then the question might be, why don't we see more people living out their dreams these days?
Perhaps it is because we are scared to dream. I mean, think about it. What would happen to you, where would you be and how much would your present life change if your dream actually came true today?
Can you envision it? Close your eyes and really focus your heart and mind on your dream. Make it big. Really big. I mean like really big. How does it make you feel? Scared? Excited? Hopeless? Apathetic? Was that hard for you? Were you able to access your dream?
This is not a blog to make you feel bad. Wherever you are right now is perfect. Seriously! You are perfect.
Maybe you are pursuing your dreams like crazy right now. Good for you! Go for it. But maybe you are not.
I believe many people have given up dreaming because it seems too hard, too scary and just downright impossible.
And guess what?! It is hard, scary and most days it does feel downright freaking impossible!
But please lean in a bit closer to me right now because there is something I want to tell you...
Are you close?!
OK! Are you ready for it...
IT IS POSSIBLE!
It has taken me a very, very, very long time to feel the way I feel on the inside right now to be able to write this blog post. A LONG TIME but it is time and I am ready, more ready than I have ever been, to spread my wings and fly.
I have allowed God to work on me BIG TIME for a LONG TIME and although it has been so darn hard, it has all been worth it. Therefore, I finally feel, on the inside, that I am ready for the outside to start looking more like I have dreamed it would.
I am glad that I forged ahead to pursue my dream of creating art that would impact the world depsite all the fear, the anxiety, the doubt and the tormenting voices in my head.
You have no idea how hard this path has been since I decided to go forward in faith to pursue this dream of mine. The great news though is that nothing worthwhile is easy and it has been through the constant struggle, doubt and fear that I have actually found myself.
I have made a million mistakes and I have failed a bazillion times but I have also accomplished some major things like getting on the cover of a magazine and teaching at a body art convention. But I think the biggest accomplishment of all is the fact that I am still on the path, I have not lost faith in God and I never will.
I have not arrived. In fact, I am still a work in progress and will be for the rest of my life but I just have to tell you please believe in your dreams. Walt Disney, Steve Jobs and Micheal Jordan and are no different than you! Truly.
If I can come from the hell and bleak darkness of severe bulimia, alcoholism, drug addiction, intense self-doubt, chronic pain, migraines and anxiety and feel the way I do today, which is like a gorgeous colorful butterfly equipped with humility, wisdom, strength, poise, self-confidence and grace ready to spread her wings and paint this freaking world with her color, light and love then YOU, yes I mean YOU, the one reading this RIGHT NOW, YOU, can do anything too!
You did not just read this post for no reason. You read it because you were led to read it. This was a divine appointment led by something bigger.
So, be where you are right now because where you are right now is beautiful but at the same time, know that you have greatness in you that is more powerful than you could ever imagine. It is that greatness that scares us the most.
I can speak for myself. Not settling for anything other than greatness has not been easy. You would think it would be easier to be great but it's not. But going through the struggle to become great is part of the beauty in fighting for who you were meant to be.
So please start fighting for yourself today. You are worth it and the world needs you to be all you were meant to be. You have a little time here on earth. What are you going to do with it?
My suggestion to you today, if this post has touched you in any way, is to just start with saying this simple prayer below out loud. If you do not believe in God than just say what is comfortable for you.
God, I thank you for all the beautiful dreams you placed in me. I thank you for making just the way you have. I am sorry for not believing that I am totally and amazingly great but I know you are not mad at me or impatient with me at all. I ask you today to help me believe that you put those dreams there for a reason. I ask you to help me believe that I am reading this post for a reason. Not just to make me feel hopeless but to actually to ignite that spark inside of me that went out a bit. Thank you for all that you are and I pray that you help me spread my arms so I can fly too.
I pray all this in your Son's precious name, Jesus. Amen.
Please know that you are loved.
Spread your arms friend. It is time!
I love you!
Motivated by the radical love of Jesus, I create beautiful works of art and passionately share my testimony to free people all across the earth to also fully and completely live the life they were uniquely created for.
I blog about things that I experiene and hope will motivate, guide and inspire you toward greater creativity, fulfillment, peace, and joy in your everyday life.