A Personal Update
This will be more of a personal update for those close to me and long time followers (we are friends you know).
Some of you have been reading for so long. And have been so faithful and encouraging. Thank you. Truly. Thank you!
It’s been four years since Lil Light O’ Mine began as a dream. Just about this time four years ago – I had just dreamed up the name of Lil Light O’ Mine and the vision behind my company. I truly CANNOT believe what God has done since then.
My mail man said to me the other day, “You look really really tired.”
You know what? I am tired.
I have launched a small business and blog, moved to a new city, created and launched three products (almost four – new one coming soon), wrote and launched book and so on and so on. People – I would not recommend this pace.
God is working big time on my heart right now. There are these things I have been pushing under the rug that I would’ve previously called “weaknesses” or “places the enemy likes to attack” – but it’s time to get real.
Some of these are more like sins. They are more like strongholds. They are patterns that will hold me back long term if I don’t pause and do the dirty work of soul care.
They have the ability to derail my ministry and family if not addressed.
For so long, I was feeling God work and move out of my strengths – that I would put these “areas of opportunities” on hold. I was aware of them and I’d sometimes fix them with a bandaid. I’ve blogged about them and worked on each of them for a week here and there. I’ve also given myself these excuses: “it’s OK not to be perfect” and “I can’t be great at everything” and there is some truth to that.
However, I cannot continue running and serving on empty. The temporary fueling will not sustain my life. I began to wonder how much MORE effective I could be in God’s work if I took care of me first?
Which is HARD to do as a Christian woman! We are wired to put everyone else first. What do you mean take care of me? What!
Some of my friends and fellow leaders and ministry friends know this tension well. They might be crying right now because it’s like I’m writing their feelings. I listened to the BEST podcast the other day by Jen Hatmaker and it hit the nail on the head. Oh my word it’s SOOOO good. So raw. Particularly, her point about living off stale material just rang so true. I don’t want to live to blog or write. I want to live my life (always – not just spurts) in a way that His goodness is pouring. The material is just there – that I can’t help but write about it. Or share it. That’s how it started for me. And then busyness got in the way and I lost a bit of my passion.
Search for Victory Church on podcasts – then subscribe. Then, look for Jen Hatmaker, Part 3. Or go to THIS LINK and play her session THREE.
She is so honest how her calling took over. Good gracious it was freeing – to hear her put words to my emotions.
For so long, I didn’t know how to answer a simple question.
How are you?”
I SHOULD respond with a glowing, fulfilled smile and words like, “wonderful, blessed, excited, happy.” I should be beaming and grateful and never complain. But then I remember that me-myelf-and-I took on so much – so I try not to complain too much about creating the inner storm and fatigue.
My SOUL has felt empty.
I know my mom sees it on FaceTime. I hang up fast before she has time to ask me about it. I know my friends sense it and I run out of Bible study quick because I’m afraid I’ll start crying and won’t stop.
Y’all it’s nothing earth shattering. I promise. I don’t have a secret addiction and Ron and I are just fine. I’m not afraid to tell you. They won’t shock you because I have been honest with my struggles. I am just FINALLY seeing them for what they are – not weakness. They are strongholds. They are against what God has called me to do. I don’t get to cherry pick His commands – according to my strengths. I want to live a life honoring to God – in all areas.
Here are the areas that need my attention, for real this time.
- Spiritual – Daily bread
- Relationships – Ron first
- Physical health – Eating well, exercising
- Calendar – Margin
- Home – Simplify
- Financial – Maintaining budget
This does not mean I am quitting altogether. My friend Sarah Mae heard very clearly to take a year off and I have not heard that lovely word. I might be secretly jealous. I am hearing “reorder your days” (you cannot be last). Big rocks first. Keep saying “no” like it’s your job.
I’m not running for that second book at this time – when I certainly could. I’m turning down more speaking gigs than I’d desire. I’m trying to silence my product innovation brain.
I have big dreams in the forms of products, sites, ministries, businesses, books – that almost scare me they are so big. And I am shelving so much of it. Everything in my heart is hearing – it’s a preparation season not a production season.
You’ll still see some blogs and updates, but I feel less captive or required. I feel free.
I also feel free to explore this journey without reporting back. This won’t be a series or anything like that. I just wanted you to know the real scoop. And hope in some way it encourages you.
So, what am I doing about it tactically?
- Listening – I am hearing from the Lord and studying His word
- Finally talking about it – calling it what it is.
- Getting counsel from trusted friends. My friend Beth Hewitt is one of the wisest most spiritually mature friends I know. And she gets me. Thankful for her pouring into my life. And my Orlando Bible study girls are precious – Kelsey, Dusty, Kristen and Carey – thank you!
- Reading – I am studying about habits, how to change in a way that is lasting, spiritual growth, healthy eating, soul care – will report back once I read and know which books have helped
- Writing – I am writing what God is teaching me – an old school pen and paper just for me
- Practically – I am working on my house to live more simply and live less like such a lunatic. I am literally slowing down. I was walking, driving, typing frantically every day. There are many more specifics from tracking budget to exercising etc – but this is moving a 38-year-old ship people that is used to operating full speed ahead getting whatever I want whenever I want. So, stay tuned.
God encouraged me with this very whisper this morning – and I hope he uses it to bless you. I just love when you get the perfect word for your soul and you know it’s for you. I am refining you Courtney, because I LOVE YOU, not because I am disappointed in you.
I am a work in progress. I have so much life to live. I don’t want to be perfect and there will always be a slew of things I am not good at. But I want to create a foundation. A healthy woman that can sustain the waves of life. My friend Cabell gave me that beautiful illustration. I don’t want to be the woman that gets beaten down by those waves. I want to be emotionally and physically healthy.
I just LOVE that this change is truly not coming from a place of comparison or peer pressure. Trust me – I’ve seen all you organized, simplified, structured people and thought “that is so not me – good for you.” FOR REAL – only the Lord could come in and call me to chill out. I will always be one intense free bird in some ways – make no mistake about that. Which means – this is not a next step for you! Let God order your steps. Let Him move in the depths of your soul. He wants you well and full of His love. From that place – we will love others and our family only the way He can.
This will not happen overnight and it will not be easy. Trusting God to walk beside me since He called me to it.
Stay tuned. And maybe pray for me. Or join me.
Praying for you!
Captivated by your transparency and so moved by the authenticity of your heart. I am so FOR you and I am praying your spirit would be renewed and your soul refreshed by your willingness to slow…saying no to good things and making space and margin for the best things. Sending so much love friend…xo
Courtney – I am so with you. I DO NOT want to be living off yesterday’s bread. Fresh manna today. And so it requires some things of me – time with God, a priority of prayer, the most important relationships first…. and to do this other endeavors must give way. Standing with you and am so grateful for your transparency….
your genuine heart draws people in & encourages us as we walk along beside you, or a little behind some days
i just love you
I am hit by the same realization a few times every year when I’m struggling to catch my breath. I completely understand as I’m always in overdrive myself. It’s so nice to be reminded that it’s ok to say “no” or to take time for ourselves and families. I’ve also started giving people options when I ask favors or whatever from them. “Hey, if this isn’t a good time for this…, please do not feel pressure to say “no”.” I don’t push in hopes that others will understand when I need the help and understanding to say “no”. The word Yes easily falls from my lips without a second thought. I’m pretty much learning to refine that myself. Thank you for this reminder today that so many others struggle with! Of course God wants us to be successful. We just need reminding that a day of success isn’t getting 30 things accomplished on our “to do” list. It’s the quality of how we spent yet another day here on earth with all the things HE has so generously blessed us with! I’ve been advised to start putting my name at the top of my “to do” list. It’s a great reminder when I remember to put it there.
Sending you a big hug, saying a few prayers for your journey and cheering for you to keep listening to Him. Much love.
Sending big hugs & lots of prayers!
“Be still, and know that I am God! Psalm 47:10
Love you, friend. 🙂
God has been dealing with me in a lot of those areas as well. Its hard. I love your words, “It’s a Preparation season not a Production season.” That really spoke straight to my heart. I am a why person. I like to know the reason behind things and it seems like I have been standing here with a “What on earth are you doing God? This is making no sense to me>’ attitude. And, he is just like “Keep going, keep trusting me, I have it all in hand.” It is a comfort to know He does have a plan and I can trust in him.
Thank you for this…it was truly God speaking through you to my life. I need to do all of this so not only will I be praying for you but I will be joining you and ask for prayers myself. I love that God is doing this because HE LOVES ME and YOU and not because he is disappointed in us. Thank you for these words and this honesty.
As our Bible Study group is going through The Best Yes it speaks of this for all of us. I am proud of you for answering your Best Yes in this time of your life.
You are speaking to me. I just took over a BIG job as administrator for a Christian school & daycare. It’s a lot. Before this job I had quit work 4 years ago and was staying home with my two girls.
I know God called me to this position but some days I’m so overwhelmed and I’m not sure what he’s trying to teach me. The stress & craziness are to much and I cry out to him. I put my cares on him but they come back. I’m trying to dig deep to break these strongholds but I’m just not sure where to start. Thank you for sharing.
Just finishing a great book by John Ortberg called Soul Keeping. And was so touched to read what Ruth Bell Graham has on her grave marker…inspired by a caution sign, it says “End of construction. Thank you for your patience.” Methinks this is a life-long process! Listening-adjusting-growing! Blessings on you, dear Courtney!
Dear Courtney: Thank you for this. I’ve been feeling similar as have many others. Thank you for being honest and transparent so that others can feel free to obey in the ways that God is specifically speaking to them. Excited for you as you “slow”. God will get the glory as we “drivers” get in the passenger’s seat- only by His grace.
I’m sitting here taking deep breaths and willing you and I both to feel the shoulder tension ease. I am so here with you. I hadn’t caught up with your blog in forever and God led me to read this one today. I used to think that when God asked me to put dreams in a drawer that it was because he didn’t feel I could do it. It was some kind of a failure on my part. But really, it doesn’t mean the dreams are broken forever. It just means its not His time. And all the accelerating I do keeps me feeling frustrated and defeated because things are moving at the hyperspeed pace I “think” I want. There’s a reason I end up sitting in that corner between the wall and the bed wondering if I should go ahead and call my thyroid Dr. because something must be off. Something is off, but its not always the meds. Sometimes its my timing vs. God’s perfect timing. I am struggling with balance. Because I want to be DOING something Lord! Instead of just being. That recent awesome book came out about finding space in your everyday life for yourself. I had a serious laughing fit cause that time just isn’t there. God has said no to so much. Honestly? It hurt my feelings. But I know He loves me and has His best for me. I just have to Wait. Hope. Trust. That’s my theme. And I renew it daily. Cheering for you, Courtney. To all of us struggling with this: You GOT this, girl. You are a Jesus follower, a lover of God, and accepted and adored by your Heavenly Father. You are sunshine to those around you. Pick an attitude that honors God today. You can do this! Do the best you can at whatever God has for you today. Sometimes the bravest thing we can do is to stop and take a breath.
Hey sweet girl,
Wow. Love your authenticity. You just freed about a thousand+ other women. You’re doing such a great job listening and obeying. God meets us there. Rest and know that you are not alone. Love you.
I’m so proud of you. I’m excited to see how he replenishes you and multiplies less as you rest. I love your dreams. Praying for you.
Can I just tell you how much I love you and how much your posts help me? I love that you share your great ideas and solutions, but what I am most grateful for are the times when you are just frank and open. Sometimes what I need is just to hear another Mom say “I’m tired. I don’t know how to do this. I’m trying my best to be what I think I’m supposed to be, but I’m not sure that’s what I’m supposed to be after all. Let’s pray.” Thanks for being the brave one so that the rest of us can say “me too!”.
I have been awake in the night recently with dear sweet #3 who I truly thought would be sleeping through by now and my mind has been racing with ideas to the point I can’t get back to sleep. Things I dream about doing, visions to reach others and how to make them happen. But I often come back to your phrase about only passing this way once. That phrase helps me so much. When I am wishing to be able to do this, that and the other – say “yes” to all the opportunities to serve – find a way to bring in an income around the family… It reminds me of missing where I am supposed to be in THIS season, for all too soon my kids won’t wake needing me and my time will be freer to seek which dreams to chase. Sometimes I forget that right now I am living the dream I prayed for through my single childless 20s… Thank you for this post, which is obviously resonating with so many of us! It is so good for the soul to be reminded of these things.
Courtney, thank you for your honest words and transparency! I am right there with you on this. My pastor preached on margin and it spoke to my core. I started making changes and letting go of things for this season and it has been SO good. It does feel good to make time for yourself and take care of your soul. Enjoy some guilt free time! Sending hugs…
I totally get this Courtney. God will be so faithful to refine you and remold you and release you from these strongholds. Your heart to pursue him shines. Keep after him and he will line everything up just right.
Courtney! Thank you for this transparent read. You are inspiring and encouraging us in this. xoxo
Love your beautiful honesty and heart for Him and all He has planned for you. I can so relate to this sweet girl. Praying for you and with you Courtney! xo