Just Believe..

So, just when your mountain seems too high

And your valley falls too low

Just when your tears, they come so fast,

You can’t tell which way to go

Just when your heart’s about to break

From the pain that’s deep inside

That is the time when you just believe…

                                     ~ LaShanna R. Tripp, Just Believe. Wordz & Rhythmz Publishing, 2007.

 

I originally wrote the song, “Just Believe,” in 2007 for the one and only American Idol Songwriting Competition that took place that season. It didn’t win, but this season, those lyrics are speaking to me.

When God told me to “launch into the deep” in the Spring of 2019,

I knew then that I was about to be swimming for my life.

Literally.

My older siblings will tell you that I had a time battling water as a toddler, so any references to swimming around in deep waters instigate fear. I prefer to feel my feet touch bottom.

But we know that sometimes, the only way to overcome that fear is to jump in head first, right? Well, I seem to have that part down pretty good!

At the age of three, I saw all of my older siblings splashing around in the cool, aqua waters of our backyard pool in Yorba Linda, California. I saw their heads above the water so all was safe, right? I gleefully called out their names, waving wildly. Then, I launched my little brown body into that pool,  nearly drowning.

If it weren’t for my oldest brother, Lou Price, I wouldn’t be here writing this.

43 years later, I am drowning again, but God warned me and promised a safety net. But that didn’t mean I wasn’t apprehensive. The last time I left the comfort of a full-time job to pursue passion, I lost everything and ended up homeless.

I just couldn’t go back to that. As I prayed for a new response, all He said to me was, “This time won’t be like last time,” then sent me to Isaiah 54.

When you want to succeed as badly as you want to breathe, then you’ll be successful!

~Eric Thomas, The Hip Hop Preacher

If this season has proved anything to those of us who believe in Him, it’s that God says what He means, and He means what He says. As I see so many of my friends, family and entrepreneurial cohorts succeed and make huge moves to shift their lives to greater during this pandemic, I am excited for them, and celebrate with them, but I myself am encountering some extremely dire circumstances that threaten to take me out completely.

WHAT. IS. THIS?!?

Ever feel like all you did was wake up to conquer the day and all you continue to hit are brick walls? I mean, how many meetings can you take and be told no? How many calls, how many emails, how many grants, how many auditions, how many opportunities can you apply for, and be told no, and keep moving? How many, how many, HOW MANY?

Yep. That’s me right now.

I can’t make sense of anything right now, and it’s so frustrating! And I can’t help but wonder, am I the only one willing to verbalize how low I feel? I have never been great at covering up how I feel. What you see is what you get, and my face will tell you everything. Want to win at poker? Play me. Worst poker face EVER. Heck, I don’t even know how to play poker, so there you go!

But this lets me know, more than anything, that there is something big brewing with every step I make. With every call, I am closer. With every email, I am closer. With every no, there’s a yes building somewhere. I just have to keep striking the rock, place my hope in God, and trust I will strike gold soon.

Every delay, every denial, every choice, every thing God has allowed to be placed on hold and blocked is leading me on a journey to something greater that must be completed in order for His will to manifest in my life. I will continue to work, I will continue to keep the faith, and I will continue to confess His Word.

I am in spiritual labor,

and these pains are something serious.

Lord, help thou my unbelief…

 

 

 

When It’s Time to Let It Go…

LRT Headshot

I woke up full of anxiety.

Tell me you know what that feels like?

The anxiety of leaving a job that is literally killing you or the anxiety of not knowing exactly where your rent is coming from.

Are you bursting so much at the seams with a dream, that you are ready to explode in a pointless panic?

No?

OK. Maybe it’s just me.

So, now I stand here, completely consumed with the failures of my past. I am overwhelmed by the expectations of my future, that I seem to be frozen in time. In a cold, solid and unproductive standstill.

It was easy for Elsa to tell others to ‘let it go’ when she was the one doing all of the freezing!

HA! That girl was in control!

Maybe that is what I need. Not absolute power, but control over my runaway thoughts and aimless actions. And a ton, not a dash, of discipline and commitment…

Hmm… Can I commit to staying in bed all day watching the Hallmark Channel?

Well, yeah, that type of commitment would plummet me into a sad and sorry state of an empty bank account… That wouldn’t be fun…

Ok, fine. But I am so there for those premieres!

Look, I lived a life of being told what to do, and after years of just trying to please everyone, I walked away. I lost the support of some family members for a while, some even turning their backs on me in an effort to prove a point.

When I walked away, it was great on so many levels, but I was riding the lowest low at the same time.

I walked away from a great career in advertising and took on an understudy role at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival. Then, I got married and transitioned to non-profit work. Two weeks later, my husband was laid off due to a plummet in the housing market.

A year later, I lost my job when the director canceled a grant that paid for my position. But the “fun” didn’t stop there.

We ended up getting evicted the same day we discovered we were pregnant with our second child. During that entire pregnancy, we moved around about three times before ending up with family.

Talk about a sordid, nomadic life.

However, an opportunity to teach theatre in public education opened up, and it enabled us to get into a rental home.

Reliving this now brings me to tears, as I am reminded of the only vehicle we had at that time.

It was a white 1991 Honda that my parents had given us, and the reverse gear no longer worked! We ended up having to be strategic with where and how we parked the car. We would then put it in neutral on an incline when we needed to back up!

Tears are flooding my eyes as the current revelation of what that car symbolized to us washes over me: young, innocent hearts, being strategic and moving forward in faith, never looking back!

Wow. What we could have done with that revelation back then had we known.

But there is a season for everything. Not one of us can make our dreams a reality if we are stuck reliving the failures of our past.

One evening, as I was praying for anxiety to leave me, I heard a whisper in the stillness:

“This time won’t be like last time.”

It was resolute. Final. Sure.

And I could do nothing but accept it as a warmth raced over me and tears streamed down my face. Our “last time” involved:

  • moving around with babies in tow,
  • living off of the government (WIC/EBT),
  • struggling just to put gas in the car,
  • drowning in extreme medical debt, which lowered our credit scores, and
  • led to our inability to get approved for business and home loans.

Was I really going to risk it again?

But, then, that whisper repeated:

“This time won’t be like last time.”

So, I now understand that there are, for me, at least seven ways I can only fail at pursuing my passion this time.

1. I continue dwelling on the failures of my past

It’s okay to remember them so we don’t make the same mistakes, but we must not allow those past failures to immobilize us in any way! LET. IT.GO!)

2. I don’t believe in something greater than myself

For me, it is Father Yahweh and His Son. When I was at my lowest, He was the only one who could have rescued us.

It will take another post to share the miracles we saw after the only one I told my troubles to was God.

3. I don’t believe in myself and what Father God has gifted me to do

You must be your own #1 fan! I am discovering that it is truly “mind over matter.” Your feelings and actions follow what you think.

Listen to some great, motivational speakers to get your mind out of a negative rut! Les Brown is one of my favorites, and he is the #1 motivational speaker in the world!

4. I don’t make a plan and commit to the plan, even if it has to change from time to time

As a freelancer, you make your schedule. And, “Schedule to fail” is not on it. Make an achievable schedule and stick to it no matter what you have to do!

5. I don’t celebrate achievements, no matter how big or how small

Treat yourself when you finally tackle and organize that closet, or when you land your first major contract! WHOO-HOO! If you don’t first love and celebrate yourself for every gain, no one else will!

And here is where you can toot your own horn… TOOT! TOOT!

6. I don’t focus!

After completing an idea web, I realized there were multiple projects I wanted to pursue. But, man, was I all over the place! And this just increased my anxiety!

A personal coach I consulted with suggested that for the next 30 days, I focus on the one project that could bring the quickest money. This would enable me to equal my standard income by the time my last check comes.

Those simple words changed the trajectory of my thoughts and my efforts!

7. I don’t get a personal coach or trusted mentors. Anyone that will hold me accountable!

Who do you answer to when you don’t stick to your plan or your schedule? You must have someone you trust completely who loves you for everything you are, no strings attached.

Who in your corner will not let you drop the ball because they want what’s best for you, just as much as you want it for yourself?

Who won’t criticize you, but encourage you should you happen to mess up, fail, and need to get back up and moving ahead? Answer this question, and you will be on your way up the ladder of success, whatever that means for YOU!

Emotional Roller Coaster

The emotions following a major career transition are like those wacky roller coaster rides. One day you’re up, the next day you’re down. You have to harness your emotions expeditiously.

Being consistently productive is the only way to ease the anxiety you feel. And if you’re still trying to figure it out, go and utilize your gift or skill to help someone else, and clarity will come!

I truly believe I am about to crest the hill of a mountain that seemed to be growing despite the ground I covered.

There’s an electricity in the air that’s unexplainable.

As I move forward in obedience and follow the path laid out before me, even though I don’t feel like it at times, there’s a shift working in my favor. And I have to work it as well.

A wave of fear attempts to crash over me daily as the reality of walking away from my 8-year embryonic tenure as a classroom teacher is ever-present.

I could rescind my resignation, but I was already pushing on a pull door to develop a program no one seemed interested in participating in and supporting.

For me, it had died despite the vast sponsorship dollars and grants I was able to garner to further grow it. So, I lost my zeal, and it almost sent me into a nervous breakdown. I had to choose my family and my sanity over a paycheck.

It was time to move on and pursue my passion to develop me and my husband’s business, and my own career as a director, writer and artist. I chose to let go.

What will you do should that time come for you?

 

RESOURCES

How to Craft the Perfect Schedule As a Work From Home Freelancer – This is a great article from Wonolo Co-Founder and COO, AJ Brustein, if you are planning a transition to work from home.

“Let it Go” from Disney’s Frozen sang by Idina Menzel

Motivational Speaker Les Brown