I guess I'm a writer.
My fourth grade English teacher, Mrs. Haywood, told me so, after all. "Julie," she said, "never stop writing." She also happened to teach our math class, so hopefully she'd be pleased to know I majored in math and continued to get my Master's. And yet here I am, writing. I fell in love with math in the eighth grade and never looked back until grad school (that's another story for another time), then went down the route of actuary then internal auditor then risk manager then SAHM then children's ministry then sales, and now I'm combining sales with something I'm realizing I've always craved: writing. (That's a whole, whole lot of other stories for other times.)
But somewhere in all that, I got tired. I don't just mean "I'm not a young adult anymore" tired, or "well, I'm a mom so of course I'm tired haha" tired. I mean autoimmune disease and adrenal fatigue. I mean the kind of tired that, some days, makes me have to seriously psych myself up to make a PB&J for my kids, and the kind of anxiety that makes me want to hide under a blanket because I feel paralyzed by the need to make even a simple decision on something. To make things worse, this kind of tired looks an awful lot like laziness, so brings on an awful lot of shame.
Yet, a couple years into getting help with all of this, I did something I never would have dreamed of when I was at my worst, and which was still a bit surprising - or foolish - considering how tired and NOT put together I still felt. I started a business with Noonday Collection. My role is focused on empowering people in vulnerable communities through fair trade, so I can make an impact while having a platform for sharing something I care about.
And now I want to share what that "yes" taught me about myself.
You see, when I started, I didn't know how I'd pull this off. But sometimes God shows you your Why before he shows you the What, and shows you the What before he shows you the How. Sometimes faith means taking just the next step, trusting that the ones beyond that will fall into place.
In Genesis 12, God tells Abram his Why and What: God will bless all nations through Abram's family by making him into a great nation. But he says to Abram, "Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you." Abram doesn't know the exact spot to settle. He surely doesn't know he'll be waiting another couple of decades before that kinda important procreating step would begin. The How is hazy, but the next step is clear and is all he needs to step into his story: pack up and go.
My Why started a few years prior to starting my business, when I felt drawn to the intersecting issues of human trafficking, global poverty, and ethical consumption. My family changed how we spent money and our relationship with our stuff. I felt strongly that there is so much untapped potential in our society for us to be engaging this conversation more, to be putting our wallets to work for a better world. I had no idea What I would do to lend my time or skills to that space, and being an extra-tired mama home with babies made me feel pretty okay with just entering a period of discernment about it. I assumed I'd get my health in order and get both kids sent off to school and have an effortlessly clean and calm house and then sit down one day, crack my knuckles, and begin some kind of new role. But instead, I heard about Noonday Collection in the thick of tiredness and busyness and a light bulb went off: this was what I'd been praying toward for years. Of course, this happened when I was still two years away from having both kids in school, and I assure you my house was not (and still is not) in order, ever. My health, while better than it had been a couple years before, was not (and still is not) in order. I didn't know how I'd carve out the time or manage my limited tank of energy. But when I couldn't stop thinking about Noonday, I realized that if I waited until I knew exactly how I'd make it all work, I would never say yes. I realized that although there's often a need for more "nos" in our life, we have to pay attention when we feel a tug toward a yes that truly matters to us.
How many times do we stay on the sidelines because we're waiting for a perfect moment that may never come?
I dove on in, and found that even with limited energy and time, I could make it all work (close enough, anyway). So now I'm a tired girl who has a business she adores that creates impact and allows her to travel the world, instead of a tired girl pining after impact, community, and adventure she thinks she's disqualified from. I'll take it.
And as time has gone on, I've felt a tugging again, one that never entirely went away after Mrs. Haywood's class. A tugging toward writing more. And it reminds me of how I said yes before, even though it might not have seemed reasonable at the time.
Do I have the How nailed down? Nope. I don't yet have a shiny, perfect content creation calendar all planned out for the next six months. I don't even know how frequently I'll blog, or exactly about what, or whether more than one or two people will read it (hi, Mom! Miss you!). But stepping into my story at Noonday has emboldened me to keep saying yes to the right things. The community of women has emboldened me, with our founder, Jessica Honegger, at the helm. She often says "courage corners you," and that's exactly how I've felt. Taking a new step still can feel scary, but it also feels doable, because now I know that if I have a What that aligns with my Why, I will figure out the How as I go - or at least fumble my way through something meaningful and joyful.
Let's not leave impact, joy, creativity, and entrepreneurship to those people who wake up full of energy every day, or who are super organized, or who have the right education, or whatever lies we may tell ourselves. Let's shuffle our way in to join them, coffee in hand, one step at a time.
What do you need to say "yes" to?