Only You

We all ache over it.

Some more than others.

I don’t care if you are a mom, dad, single, married, retired, preacher, artist, or maker of Post-It Notes.

We all ache about it from time to time.

We all wonder if we are living how we should. We struggle with this question: Am I doing the thing I’m supposed to do? The thing I was created to do? Is it in my job? or volunteer work? or as a family member? or friend? What is the thing that no one else can do except me in my own special unique authentic way?

Did you get that last part? You. Special. Unique. Authentic.

You are the only one that can do it. It’s true. Whatever “it” is.

SO ARE YOU DOING IT?
A salary won’t prove it.

Neither will a diploma, or a second degree, or another certification program.

Those initials tagged on after your name? Nope.

And if you are looking for someone else’s approval and praise—ehh-ehh, that’s not gonna work either.

There is not one single thing outside of yourself that is gonna answer that question for you.

It’s unfair. Right?

How are you supposed to know? For sure.

TRUTH
The truth is, the only way you can ease, dare I say, end the ache, is to get bluntly honest with yourself and your Maker. You have to ask yourself what is my thing? What am I passionate about?

Lets say you’ve recently become passionate about something you just discovered—something you’d never really done before—let’s say writing. And not once did you take up writing in your childhood or teen years. Never. Then please don’t let that fool you. There is a good chance it’s simply a new hobby you’re head-over-heals about. To put it blankly, it’s a lot like lust. It’s new. It’s hot. It’s heavy. Don’t get that confused with your thing. Your passion.

Go back to when you were a kid. There was something. And I don’t care how dumb it sounds. You rocked Lego’s? SWEET! Did you have tons of friends? Did you eat playdough, paste, and crayons? (look, I’m raising my hand) Or were you that kid that told wild stories—okay lies? Look that’s a hidden “thing”—don’t doubt it.

Don’t doubt it for a moment.

The quirky thing that is uniquely you, IS a part of the puzzle.

CASE IN POINT
My brother. He was a story-teller. Now I was a bold-faced liar, but not a story telling liar like him. He had fantastical ramblings about all types of things. Lions under the house, in a bush, praying mantis that bit him, a strange grumpy farmer that chased him with a gun, snakes in the walnut tree, pennies smashed on the train track (everyone knows you NEVER find your penny after the train passes, NEVER). The list goes on. And he told these stories with passion and surety. Convincing! And I often believed him.

As he grew older, he used his passion for story in the theater. I suppose it helped that he could hold a tune with great accuracy, and that he had a decent falsetto. But as he was memorizing the script—he was living that story. And it showed in his acting. He was believably that character. I hate to say it—but he really rocked.

Then he got off path. Football, jocks, fast cars, crazy stunts, construction work, etc… And yeah, it worked for him—for a while. But I think the stories were still in him. Now and then I’d see glimpses of his passion for story when the family got together. If anyone can retell an event—he can. And he’d bring out every bit of humor and emotion in the process. We were captivated by him.

Then one day he cut his finger off, and a couple other things took place that had him done with construction work. As he left for seminary I swore he’d gone off the deep end.

Wow, was I ever wrong.

Little did I know he was getting back to his passion. I even wonder if he really even knew what was going on. All I know is he was being obedient to something he felt called to (again I thought he was nuts).

And again. Wow, was I ever wrong.

Today is he a senior pastor with some pretty amazing messages. While we live thousands of miles apart—in some ways I attend his church. Because I can listen to his messages online. And trust me, it’s not because I like listening to random church messages—but it’s because I like hearing him tell story. Of course now they are all true stories—retelling of events in ways that bring out every bit of humor and emotion in the process. He tells stories that open people up to hope, and grace, and truth.

ON TARGET DOESN’T MEAN IT’S EASY STREET
He’s on course. On target. And yet, I know sometimes, he still aches. Because whatever “posse” is against your Maker, is the very “posse” that would like you to stop doing your thing. There’s a boatload of reasons–but that’s a different post.

Just trust me. You doubting means the bad guys win. The “posse” needs to you doubt so you will fail. And give up.

You’ll notice that someone else will be better than you. Get more recognition. Earn a bucket load more money.

And sometimes what you do falls flat. And junk happens. And you start to second-guess everything.

And when that happens, you just have to trust that you are honestly doing the thing you were made to do. Because it was in you all along. You can see it was always there.

So if for some reason my brother stopped being a preacher at his church. Or you stopped doing that thing you know is your unique authentic passion. Don’t panic.

God has something else. He always does. And in some crazy way that you simply can’t fathom right now—you’ll land back in a circumstance where you can be doing the very thing that only you can do.

So do you know what that is?

You.

Special.

Unique.

Authentic.

I hope you do, and I hope you are rocking “it” !!
(and, I kid you not, if you don’t know, and if you’re tired of the ache, maybe there’s something you and I can do to help you see what it really could be)

© 2009-2012 Sherry Meneley All Rights Reserved
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14 thoughts on “Only You

  1. Good stuff once again.
    Tried the diploma, the second degree, yet another certification program.
    And, oh yes, I hoped that maybe some more letters after my name would do it.

    You’ve given me some homework to do, some things to think about.
    Thanks again.

    Oh, but my hubby really has found several of his flat pennies – after the train went through. I’ve witnessed them with my own eyes.

  2. I have to say I always found my pennies as well… sorry.

    Yes, great job again… and it hit home. Those seasons of doubt are frequent. It usually means for me that I have started to evaluate my life with wrong standards. I know that I am not here specifically to make friends and win influence. That’s nice, but it’s not really a good judge of success. At least, not for me.

    Thanks for the story about your brother… I always thought Jesus was the consummate Actor. Can’t you just see him on stage? (All life is a stage… I’ve heard that somewhere.)

    Keep up the awesome work!

    • Thanks Jer. OKAY, between you and my last commenter, I think I need to go ask my brother the true about those pennies – but I still think he’s gonna pull my leg 🙂 And yeah, Jesus was the ultimate creator of stories and He had a supah amazing way of communicating them.

  3. Ok. I’ve been thinking about this for hours. You’re right. I think there are many (and some very valid) reasons why I’ve pulled away from my passion. The first thing that comes to mind is…well, someone is already doing it. But you’re saying my “thing” is special and unique and something only I can do. I think I used to believe that–and now…not so much. I think what happened is I came across a band of like-minded people doing my “thing” and at first, it felt like home. People talking my language. And then the more I looked at them doing my “thing” the more distance I put myself from them. I realized I wasn’t so special anymore. And to be even more honest… I pulled back and stopped pursuing the “thing” because they were doing the “thing” much better. (which is defined by how big their following is and how well their books are selling) So, even though I do have valid reasons to pause in the pursuit of anything right now–I’m guessing I need to process this a bit more and re-connect with the One who put it in my heart to begin with. (deep breath)

    • I love you when I say this: comparison is “the posse’s” (bad guys’) tool. Every, and I mean EVERY person faces EXACTLY what you face. There are people who do what I do, and are WAY better (again, this is my opinion, and could/could not be truth). But it’s not the reason I should stop. Ditto for you.

      So it’s not fair that I know you… but it gives me the right to say, “oh girl, there are things about you… that I’ve not ever seen in anyone.” How you combine all that goodness into “your thing” is not yours to worry over. Keep doing your thing/things, keep learning, doing, etc… God WILL take care of the circumstances.

      We all, and by we – I mean me, get confused. Sometimes we think our thing will look like a “real job” – the type with good income and all that jazz. We think it’s the thing that will rise up to the top and we’ll be the next Jon Acuff, Kelly Rae Roberts, Martha Stewart, Dave Ramsey, Anne Lamott, Steve Jobs, or whomever. But that’s not how it works. Because again, that is comparison. A terrible terrible thing to look at. Truth be told, I had to stop following some of my very favorite “role models” because it chipped away at me.

      A type of example: I would write a blog post – have it all ready for the next week. That Sunday, my pastor would do a sermon on it. With much better points than I made. I would trash the post. And this type of list goes on and on. I MEAN ON AND ON AND ON. Posse won.

      But that was then. This is now. I do my thing. I try to not look too closely to other’s numbers/followers/success. I accept that many of us are having the same idea at the same time. And I attribute that to the Holy Spirit who desires so BADLY for a message to get out that somehow, in some crazy mystical amazing way, we are all getting the message at the same time. THINK ABOUT THIS. IT’S SUCH A WILD THING. And little ol’ me was included in the mass download, and I heard it. And I was chosen because I have my own special audience who get’s my voice.

      So, I treasure that I’m included in the “mass collective” who is all doing the same thing.

      You are chosen. You are in the mass. But there is something that is all “just you.”

      Screw the posse!

      • ok. So here I am again. And all that you said-hit hard and spot on.

        And so I thought I would comment once again–because I’ve thought long and hard on another piece of your blog.

        What did I rock at when I was younger.

        I’d be a total liar if I said it was writing. Because I didn’t. And I don’t.

        So, I let my mind just go back to those younger days…and get inside the head of that little girl to rediscover what was she good at?

        Well, a few things I know. I lacked confidence, so I didn’t succeed at anything. And I was timid, so I never tried anything. And I was extremely shy, so I hardly ever talked. Actually it was really just not knowing what to say. So I didn’t say what I didn’t know.

        But there was one thing I did.

        I listened.

        To everyone. To my friends, my teachers, my parents. I even listened to the girl who chose not to talk to anyone except me because she was abused at home.

        I listened.

        And maybe my “thing” has a great deal to do with listening. Listening to others and listening to Him. And as much as I don’t know what this ephinany will morphe into or what shape it will take on…Maybe somehow listening to others and listening to God somehow work together for what only I can do…

        This was quite a day for me…Thanks for meeting me along on the journey and the space here to process.

      • Laura! Good, good, I mean REALLY good work. Listening is __________. Mercy? Is that your spiritual gift? OHHHH to discover…it always stirs hope and more hope. I am going to email you something on Mercy. On Listening. I think…it might bring you “more” in many ways.

  4. And sometimes, you turn your back on your calling, usually when you’re young, to please other people. AND, after giving yourself permission to re-approach your purpose later in life, you may find it rusty and full of cobwebs, because you did not honor it and shut it down. Sometimes it takes a bit of dusting and polishing to get it back into its “giftful” glow. But I’m not giving up. Thanks for the inspiration and permission, Sherry! Oh, and yeah, the pennies are always close by.

  5. WOW – this is something I have been struggling with in myself even more so recently. And as I read thru this (and your mini blog via yours and your readers comments) I began to have a little clarity. I can’t thank you enough for that! Your writing/coaching/art is truly a divine gift to me.

  6. Well said. You obviously have a gift of writing. I’m inspired by your “min=blog” concept. What a beautiful way to have meaningful conversation. I’ve neot tried that as I wondered if the person would even see that I posted a response. Off to learn something new. Life is a grand adventure…

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