Your Spouse Is Not the Enemy of Your Dream

This is a guest post by my friend Jeff Goins. For a limited time you can get his new book, The Art of Work, for free (just pay shipping). Find out more at http://artofworkbook.com. Enjoy!

When my wife and I first got married as a couple of kids who moved to Nashville to chase our dreams, she vowed to be my biggest fan. At the time I thought it was nothing more than a sentimental idea.  But it was much more than that.

Years later, when I was in the midst of trying to become a full-time writer, I forgot that promise. I shouldn’t have, but I did.

It was at a conference about chasing your dream that I started to wake up. One of the speakers asked us to raise our hands if we didn’t know what our dream was. So I did.  Then he said, “I believe you do know what your dream is. You’re just scared to admit it.”

I immediately put my hand down. It was trembling. And with it, I wrote one word in my notebook: “writer.”

That night I rushed home to my wife, Ashley, to share with her my dream. “Jeff,” She sighed. “I’ve been telling you that for years.” I admitted she was right and went to sleep.

Shortly after that, a friend asked what my dream was.

“Well,” I said, “I guess it’s to be a writer.”

He just looked at me and said, “Jeff, you don’t have to want to be a writer. You are a writer. You just need to write.”

Maybe he was right. Maybe faith really is the substance of things not seen. Maybe you have to believe something before you can become it.

Maybe activity follows identity.

I shared this profound truth I had stumbled upon with Ashley. And once again she sighed. “Are you kidding me?!” She asked. “I’ve been asking when you’re going to write a book. Why does it take someone else telling you something for you to listen?”

I kissed her, opened my laptop, and began writing.

For the following year, I woke up at five a.m. almost every day and wrote for 365 days straight. I started a blog, got a book contract, and began making a living off my passion. It was an incredible year, one I will never forget.

But it was also a year of frustration. Every night I’d stay up late to work on the next day’s blog post. And some time after midnight, my wife would call from our bedroom for me to come upstairs. 

And I would ignore her. 

Because secretly I was believing a lie that holds you back from fulfilling your calling.

I thought my wife was the enemy of my dream. 

We all do this sometimes, I think. We believe those closest to us don’t want us to succeed. And this attitude can corrupt the best of intentions.

Why do we this? I think it’s fear. Fear of vulnerability. Of being known. Those closest to us have the greatest potential to wound us. They can discourage us, and shoot our dreams down because they know what wounds us. This is the cost of being known, of being loved.

In my case, I wanted to write and inspire people and support my family, but the thing I was trying to protect — my family — was the very thing I was destroying. And I almost missed it. 

The day my first book was published, my wife threw a surprise party for me. I came home after work to a house full of people. And on the table next to a pile of cupcakes with my book cover in decorative frosting was a card. I opened it. Inside, it said: “it was never a question of if but always a matter of when.”

That’s when I got it.

I always thought your dream was something private, something you didn’t dare tell somebody else about. I was wrong. A dream doesn’t belong to you. Your calling isn’t about it. You are a caretaker of the dream, a steward of the calling you’ve received. And it’s up to you to live a life worthy of it. Which includes loving well those around you.

Don’t make the same mistake I made. Don’t make your greatest supporters into your worst enemies. Your spouse is not the enemy of your dream.

Was there ever a time when you chased a dream at the cost of a relationship? I’d love to hear about it. Leave a comment below.

And be sure to pick up your free copy of my book (just pay shipping) here: http://artofworkbook.com.

artofwork

This post contains affiliate links. You can read my disclosure policy here

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Day 22 (Which was supposed to be 21) – SORTING DAY! #31DaysToClean

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I literally swooshed everything from my kitchen counter (that wasn’t dish-related) into this trash bag…a month ago.

Sorting day!

Remember how you stuffed all those papers and miscellaneous items from your kitchen counters and drawers into a bag or bin? Well friend, today is the day you are going to sort through all of that stuff. Yep, so settle in with some good tunes and get to it!

In fact, if you’re in the east, today is a PERFECT day to sort because of ALL THE PRETTY SNOW outside! I love it. My kids will frolic in it and I will make hot chocolate. Cozy.

And I will sort!

After Pics!

I just can’t resist…

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Snow day!

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Okay, digging in to the trash bag…

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All the stuff!

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The Desperate Audio Book! Don’t have time to read it? Listen to it! Sadly, Sally and I aren’t the ones who read the book.

cds

Some favorites! Songs for Saplings and Classical Kids!

malcolm

We LOVE Sir Malcolm and the Prince!!!! Such a great story!

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Pretty earrings. The ones on the left were my grandmother’s and the ones on the right were from my dear friend Logan.

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Blue Ridge Black Bean Salsa! SO good!

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Oh, it’s a talk I gave. :)

lionbook

My son wrote a book. The Lion Eats Tonight. Get it. Ha!

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This was not on the counter, but since there were so many recipes in that trash bag, I brought this out to finally give those recipes a home!

Done!

The Online Friends Who Clean Together, Stay Together

Or something like that.

If you want to join the challenge using your social media channels, use the hashtag #31DaysToClean. I’ll be posting updates on my Facebook page, Instagram account, and Twitter account! Also, if you are blogging through the challenge, feel free to leave the direct link to your blog post in the comments!

Love, SM

Click HERE to see all the posts in this series!

Would you like to receive my posts to your email? Just click here.

Want to join in the 31 Days to Clean challenge?

Just follow along and get your copy of 31 Days to Clean, the REVISED version on Kindle or as a PDF!

The book includes daily readings to motivate and inspire you, Mary challenges to engage your heart, and Martha challenge to get you cleaning!

31 Days to Clean, the REVISED version is available now for only .99 cents!

This post contains affiliate links. You can read my disclosure policy here

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I Have Bad Thoughts About My Husband (and not the dirty kind)

I have bad thoughts about my husband (and not the dirty kind)

I don’t remember who I was telling (maybe my editor?) that I would never write a book on marriage because I stink at it. Marriage is not my forte. I got nothin’. Except, you know, a marriage. BUT IT’S HARD AND I’M NO GOOD AT IT. I will be winning no good wife awards. In fact, I told an audience this past weekend that I had bad thoughts about my husband, and not the dirty kind. Just the bad kind.

I struggle with marriage.

I struggle with the idea that I have to try in my marriage. I don’t want to try, I want to just be. When I try, I get mad that he’s not trying. Again, this is why I will not be writing any books on marriage. BUT I have learned a few things in my almost 12 years of marriage. A tiny few that might, maybe be helpful to someone out there. So here they are…

Be Sickeningly Honest

There was a time that I flirted with a guy online and it could have gone farther. I was frustrated in my marriage and I was acting carelessly and I just thought, “I’ll know when to stop.” Incredibly, as the Lord does I believe always providing a way out at some point, my husband got his hands on the book, “Beyond Ordinary: When a Good Marriage Just Isn’t Good Enough”. He was reading it, and he said to me, “Have you ever wanted to cheat on me?”

“Yes.” I said.

Remember, I was in a don’t care stage and I got all honest. It was the best thing ever.

He called me over to him and I sat on his lap and I told him all about the flirting and the guy and that I was struggling. I can’t believe I told him, but I did. And he listened, which is crazy because my guy is the kind of guy that would FLIP OUT if I ever cheated on him. Like, out the door. But he listened, and we had the best conversation about our marriage. The best part? The power of the sin was broken. I didn’t even want to talk to that guy anymore. There is power in the light, and when I told the truth, light came in and the darkness vanished.

Side-note: If you ever think about having an affair, think of the after. Picture yourself telling your husband and children. Yea, not fun. I learned in counseling in college that a great way to learn from our sin is to face the consequences of our decisions (ask me how painful that is). Instead of facing them, how about just picturing them and not doing them. You’re welcome.

The Dark Thoughts Want to Keep You Locked Up

One of the things I’ve struggled with the most in my marriage is intimacy.

I’m this complicated mess and it’s been a tough road for my husband and I. One of the things I’ve felt so ashamed of is my thoughts. I felt so awful and I didn’t know how to deal with them. I couldn’t tell anyone because they would think terrible things about me. Shame. That’s what it does, it locks you up and keeps you in bondage. Eventually, I just wanted to be free and I wanted to deal with my intimacy junk because I hated it. I went to a prayer counselor and we talked and prayed and I shared a little bit. Then I was with some friends at a bible study and I, with fear and trembling, shared my deepest secret thoughts. And you know what? They said things like, “Me too.”

Their thoughts weren’t the same as mine, but they struggled with shame and sinful things just as I had. That’s the thing about shame, it makes you think you’re alone. But you’re not. And when you confess, and there is “me too” there is freedom. Again, when you confess and share the things you are afraid to share, and someone receives you, the power of the darkness is broken. I finally shared my secret thoughts with my husband, and you know what he said? “That’s it?” I mean FOR REAL. I couldn’t believe it. Shame had so locked me up and kept me in the dark that I thought I was disgusting. The thing is, sin infests all of us, I think that’s why confessing is so powerful; we learn we aren’t alone as sinful humans.

It turns out, when you turn the light on, there really are no monsters under the bed. (Tweet that)

With this new freedom and a massive gratefulness for grace, I decided to be a receiver of people. I would be a “me too” person. With my husband, this was the most important thing I could do as a wife. I don’t know what it means to be a “good wife” and whatever it is I’m probably not it, but I do know about grace and freedom and shame, and so with my husband I receive him and all his mess. When he confesses to me, I say, “me too”. When he is stuck in shame, I tell him, “I love you and I’m with you and for you.” Because I am. Even when I’m so mad at him I can’t stand him, I’m for him. Because I am him. I am human and sinful and in desperate need of love and grace.

Believe that God Knows What He’s Doing With Your Life

I have had the thought, “Did I marry the wrong person?” I have been hurt and angry and at my wits end in my marriage, and I have dreamed of ways out at times. But at the end of the day, I believe that God knows what He’s doing with my life, and that I’m supposed to be with my husband. He is a good man, even when he ticks me off. He’s a good man and God is doing a work with us as a couple and for His glory on this earth. Somehow, someway, us being together brings His Kingdom to bear on this earth, whether in our personal sanctification and/or with how we raise our children and/or what we do as a couple that affects this world. We are meant to be together, and God works it all out for our good and His purposes. I believe it.

Duh, It’s Hard

Our first year was terrible. Heck, we barely made it to our honeymoon. Seven years in, I was done. I actually cried on my Mother-in-Law’s laundry room floor telling her I couldn’t take it. You know what she did? She just listened to me and told me she understood. She didn’t try and give me advice or change my mind, she just felt with me. And I needed that. I needed to know I wasn’t alone or crazy, but that marriage is just hard. How can it not be? It’s two sinners living together! Marriage is a crazy thing, but it’s God’s thing. He made it; it means something. And it’s good. It’s hard, but it’s good. I remember back in high school hearing Dr. Laura (don’t laugh) say that coveting just made you miserable, and it’s true. The more I thought about not being married the more discontent I got. When I accepted my marriage, when I chose to believe God for it, I stopped being so discontent. And when I stopped being discontent, I started enjoying my marriage. My husband is my best friend. Do we fight? YES. Do I sometimes think bad things about him? YES. Do I drive him crazy and cause him to have non-dirty bad thoughts about me? I’M SURE OF IT. Because I’m a sinner too. But I love that man, and I’m glad he’s mine. For all the things I can’t stand, there are more good things. He is my biggest supporter and encourager. He lifts me up and he speaks truth into me when I believe lies. He makes me laugh, and he has the best laugh ever. I love watching Netflix with him while eating wings and drinking beer. He is my man, and he is a good man. When I think about that and the good things, when I turn my laments to thankfulness, I am a happier, more content woman. And maybe even a better wife.

Love, SM

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Two Books Our Family LOVES and Recommends!

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Bud, Not Buddy

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The Watsons go to Birmingham

On our trip to Ohio and on the trip back, we listened to these two FANTASTIC books by Christopher Curtis, who is now one of our favorite authors.

Bud, Not Buddy was the first book we listened to. It captivated my kiddos (6, 7, and 9) and me and my husband. It’s about a boy in the 1930′s who goes searching for who he believes is his father after his mother leaves a flyer about a man in a band. The story is told through the eyes of Bud, a 10 year old boy who has been living in an orphanage since he was six. He eventually ends up and then escapes from a foster home and sets off on an adventure to find his father. The story is both funny and touching and the writing is superb. We exuberantly recommend this book! 5 stars!

The second one we listened to was The Watsons go to Birmingham. We got this one because we loved Bud, Not Buddy so much. This story is hilarious from the get-go, but by the end it is profound and moving and we were all in tears. Set in the 1960′s, it’s a story about a family who eventually sets off to go to Birmingham to visit grandma, and all their adventures along the way. The story is told through a 9 year old boy, Kenny. Near the end of the book a church gets bombed and Kenny in particular is trying to make sense of why someone would want to kill children because of how they look. It is sad and heart-wrenching, but has a beautifully hope-filled ending. In the epilogue the author talks about that time in history and the brave people who were part of the civil rights movement. Excellent, excellent commentary. We also highly recommend this book! But just a note, there are a few swear words in it.

Enjoy!

Love, SM

This post contains affiliate links. You can read my disclosure policy here.

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Day 21 – Cleaning the Coat Closet (or Any Closet)! #31DaysToClean

coatcloset

This, dear readers, is my coat closet. Yes, it’s sparse, and yes, there are drawers in it. Also, my laminator. :) Most of the coats in our house are in the bedrooms or on this railroad spike coat rack my husband made for us (this is a promo pic; it’s actually overflowing with winter coats):

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Today, I’m going to clean up the coat closet! If you have a closet that needs cleaned out, GET TO IT SISTER! :)

After Pics!

Coming later!

The Online Friends Who Clean Together, Stay Together

Or something like that.

If you want to join the challenge using your social media channels, use the hashtag #31DaysToClean. I’ll be posting updates on my Facebook page, Instagram account, and Twitter account! Also, if you are blogging through the challenge, feel free to leave the direct link to your blog post in the comments!

Love, SM

Click HERE to see all the posts in this series!

Want to join in the 31 Days to Clean challenge?

Just follow along and get your copy of 31 Days to Clean, the REVISED version on Kindle or as a PDF!

The book includes daily readings to motivate and inspire you, Mary challenges to engage your heart, and Martha challenge to get you cleaning!

31 Days to Clean, the REVISED version is available now for only .99 cents!

Print this!