This week is bittersweet, Y’all. For the past two years, on the week of my birthday, I have hopped on a plane and flown across the country to stand on the Impact Women stage in Minden, Nevada beside so many of my most favorite friends, heroes, and mentors. This year, I’ll be staying home. And although I am so saddened to not be able to witness the very first conference as we stand as a movement on our own two feet- as opposed to under the umbrella of a church- I am so very humbled to know that I played any kind of small role in propelling this movement forward into the force that it is today.
If you’ve ever been to an Impact Women conference or participated in our online huddles or Facebook groups, you know that this is a place where lives begin to change. This group is a safe place for women to come and to be open, stumble forward, and move into their purpose and their calling. As many of you know, this very blog was born after I attended the first conference in 2015, and it was this blog that led our founder to ask me to be a speaker at the conference in 2017 and then a permanent teacher in the huddles after that. It’s this movement- Impact Women- that reminds me of my potential, my value, my why, and my capacity to make an impact in the lives of my family and even people I don’t yet know.
Ironically, it’s also this movement that revealed to me that I have a tendency to people please- up to and including the very women who I have shared the Impact Women stage with in the past.
Earlier this year, when I got the call to come and join the team again in 2019 for conference- my third year- I said yes without a second thought. OF COURSE I felt honored and blessed to be included. What’s funny is Nicole asked me if I wanted to pray on it before I said yes, and I quickly said, “No way! I’m a for sure!”
I have learned this lesson the hard way more than once this year, but please let my hindsight on this one be your foresight: Just because it’s good for God doesn’t mean it’s what He’s calling you to.
A few weeks later I realized that I had overbooked myself this fall. Well, that’s putting it mildly. In the months of September and October together, I will sleep in my own bed fewer than 30 nights. And that’s AFTER I took two major trips off my calendar! (Before that adjustment, it was fewer than 20 nights). Now, you guys know that I love traveling more than anything else in the world, but that is a little much even for me.
So I had to evaluate- what had to stay, and what could go. Here is where the people pleasing comes into play. I would sooner criss cross this country seven times over and never sleep before I’d choose to let someone down. So sliming down my calendar and backing out of things I had already said yes to was going to be terribly painful for me.
As God would have it, I was doing one of the Impact Women ACT sheets (kind of like a monthly worksheet to help you process certain life lessons), which was all about people pleasing, when I realized that that is exactly what I was doing by staying committed to Impact Women. Don’t mishear me, I wanted to stay committed to Impact Women! It was a desire in my heart and a complete joy to be included in this conference, but this year it was just going to stretch me financially, time wise, health wise, spiritually, and it was absolutely the only thing that could really budge on my schedule. Trust me, when God showed me that I needed to back out of this, I was more surprised than anyone. Like I said, I had convinced myself that anything I did to help further His kingdom was absolutely something that He wanted me doing. But again, there are a lot of things that are good for God and they do not all belong on my plate.
My dear friend Tori, who shared my house this summer as you know, helped me process this as a friend and as a fellow Impact Woman who will be gracing that stage again this year. She asked me fantastic questions that all began with…
“What is the story you’re telling yourself about…”
She prompted me with, “What is the story you’re telling yourself about how Sunny is going to feel if you back out?”
“I’m telling myself that she’s going to be angry, and disappointed, and that she won’t ever invite me to speak again,” I answered.
“What other stories are you telling yourself?”
“I’m telling myself that she’s going to think that I don’t want to be a part of this, or that I don’t think my role at conference is good enough or big enough, or that I don’t want to spend the money to come out,” I answered.
“So you’re really just worried about pleasing Sunny?” Tori asked.
“I also don’t want to put the burden of what I already said yes to on anyone else’s shoulders to either have to figure out or do themselves,” I answered.
“So you’re really worried about pleasing everyone involved… except yourself.”
I laughed. That’s exactly what had already been revealed to me through the Impact Woman ACT sheet I was working on. I was stuck in people pleasing mode, and as a result, I was willing to sacrifice my best self so that I would’t have to let anyone else down.
Tori told me that I needed to call Sunny and tell her all the stories I was telling myself. This is actually fantastic advice, Readers. If you’re struggling with people pleasing and you’re worried about what people will think if you say no, back out, or have a change of plans, I fully recommending using the exact verbiage listed above.
And that’s exactly what I did. I called Sunny and I told her all the stories I was telling myself about what I feared she, and the other women would be thinking and feeling as a result of my having to change my course of action. It was very helpful to dialog this because she was able to speak to my specific concerns and insecurities. Sunny was able to help me re-write the stories that I was playing in my mind about this whole thing. This is not surprising, if you know Sunny, because she’s kind of one of the more remarkable women I’ve ever met (which makes it so much harder to say no to her)!
So when I say that this week is bittersweet, I mean exactly that. I am so sad to not be there this year. I am sick with FOMO knowing I won’t be there to witness all the life change that I know will be taking place. But I’m also so grateful for this moment to breathe this week and have my cup filled. As God would have it, I actually have been quite sick the past few days and the thought of having to travel is completely overwhelming knowing how very much traveling still lies in front of me, so I am confident that I made the right choice as hard as it was to make. The sweetness of this week comes from that peace of knowing I did what was right for me and my family, but it also comes from the lessons I learned through this process of breaking my people pleasing habits. Like I’ve been harping on a lot recently, God is really stretching and teaching me these last few months, and although it’s not always easy to learn all this, I know I’m the better for it.
Hopefully, these lessons I’m learning are serving you. And maybe in some small way, this lesson I learned in this experience will be my contribution to the conference this year- by way of the blog that came to be because of it.
Keep your head up, Readers, and find solace in the truth that nothing is wasted. Everything has purpose and meaning. Everything is happening by divine orchestration and it’s all coming together for your good, even the hard stuff.