When your first option falls through, go a different route.
I discovered my love for writing early in life. When people asked me what I wanted to do when I grew up, my answer was always the same.
“I’m going to be a writer.”
After high school, I got accepted to the University of Texas’s Journalism school and was on my way to becoming the next Connie Chung or Erma Bombeck. (Funny combination, right?) Two semesters before I graduated I got offered a prestigious internship with Self Magazine. I spoke with the coordinator over the phone and was über excited. I had always loved reading my copy of Self. After overcoming a long battle with bulimia, potentially working at a health and fitness magazine was a dream come true. I could just see myself riding on the subways in New York, walking up to the Conde Nast building with my Starbucks in hand.
I couldn’t wait to tell my husband.
“But New York’s a concrete jungle!” he protested. (He loves the ocean and the national parks. He’s not a city person).
“Uggghhhh. Stop quoting Bob Marley! You’ve never been to New York!” I replied.
“What about the money? How will we make it? We are barely surviving as it is!”
He was right. Money would be an issue. Not only was the internship unpaid (I would receive school credit), but we also had a 1-year-old daughter. If he worked, we would have to pay for childcare.
To make matters more complicated, his school was paid by student loans that required him to be enrolled in classes or else he’d have to start paying them back. We couldn’t afford to take an entire semester off.
We played with the idea of transferring him to New York University’s film program, but in the end it just wasn’t going to work with our real life. No matter how much I wanted it to.
I called the coordinator back and told her the sad news. I asked if I could do the internship during the summer when my husband wouldn’t be required to be enrolled and she told me to call her back in the summer. I tried contacting her a few months later, but didn’t get a response.
I’m sure it would have been amazing. I might be employed by a major magazine by now, maybe even a famous columnist…but I’m not. I’m a married homeschooling mom of six living in the suburbs of Austin, Texas with a white-picketed fence and a minivan.
But looking back, I’m glad I didn’t take the internship.
I know that if I had gone, I would have been the mom that was career-obsessed, just like my dad was when I was growing up.
My husband would be living a lonely life in the shadow of my dreams, like my mom did. He would have been my secondary love. My love of doing/writing/performing would have trumped everything else.
I may have been successful, but at what cost?
In Matthew 2, God tells Joseph to return to Israel. Joseph packs up his new little family and heads for Judea. But upon journeying there, he finds out that Herod’s evil son is reigning and withdraws to the district of Galilee, specifically Nazareth — which was a fulfillment of prophecy.
Joseph had a plan, but God changed his direction in order to fulfill HIS purpose.
I cannot express how much I’ve learned in these last ten years since I said no to the internship offer at Self Magazine. God has taken that selfish young woman and turned her into something beautiful. And I believe that it was partly because I said “no” to a dream that would have accomplished my goals, but not God’s.
After leaving college, I applied at many magazines and newspapers, but I knew the low pay and crazy hours wasn’t what I wanted for my family. Because I took one course of web design during my last semester, I applied for a job at The Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Museum as their new media editor (new media = all things digital/internet). And I got it! I don’t know how I landed that job considering I barely knew anything about web design or graphic design, but I did.
I never realized that one day I would use all the skills as a graphic/web designer to score another web development job at an advertising company. There I would learn the ins and outs of SEO and hone my design skills by having daily access to the Photoshop files of REAL professionals. Then, I would learn that I didn’t want to build websites for other people, but I wanted to use all my skills to promote my dream — writing.
Maybe you started out blogging about your family. You posted pictures of your children and what you did over the weekend, but you’re starting to feel like you want to change directions. You are itching to post your latest recipes or DIY pieces.
Or maybe you’ve been thinking about monetizing your site, but something keeps tugging at your heart to go a different way. (Or maybe you’ve been a staunch naysayer of banner ads and affiliate links, but suddenly you feel drawn to them).
I’ve been feeling like I want to change the layout of my blog, but I’m scared. And I’m a little attached to my image heavy front page. But it’s a lot of work to keep up with designing feature images and grid images for my WordPress theme, not to mention all the resizing of optimized Pinterest/Instagram/Facebook images I would like to tackle! I’ve started seeing God’s hand pushing me into a new direction with a more specific audience. And that freaks me out.
I want to challenge you (and me) to not be afraid to change directions. Pray about it and seek God’s leading.
Joseph had intended to return to his homeland of Judea, where he knew people – his family was there. There was probably a bit of familiarity associated with his homeland. Sometimes we want to hide in the safety of the “known.” But God’s calling us out of our comfort zone, to a new land.
Your blog’s “Nazareth” may be the fulfillment of God’s own prophecy for your blog’s life!
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