This guest post is part of the Good Ways blog series, a collection of stories and practices for finding God in hardship.
Last fall I started going to therapy.
One year before, I left my full-time job to be home with my daughter more. Then, that spring, I launched a life coaching business with the hopes it would bring in the income we needed to sustain my staying home part-time. To be honest, the whole change felt like we were walking the plank over deep waters. I was changing careers, choosing a life of less money and less security and there was no guarantee it would work out. The song Oceans by Hillsong comes to mind, “You call me out upon the waters, the great unknown, where feet may fail…” It felt like I was being called out of a boat and very possibly I would fall straight into the sea.
Within a few months of launching my life coaching business, I felt paralyzed: Where would I get clients? How could I grow the business with a young toddler at home? What if I don’t make enough money? I struggled with what others thought of me. If they thought I was making the right the choice, if they thought I could even make it as a life coach. I feared failure and I feared hardship.
These thoughts were not new for me. The situation they were surfacing in was new, but the thoughts were old and familiar and they halted all movement forward. There was no way I could grow my business with these questions and fears haunting my thoughts. I either needed to work through them or my business, and ultimately the stay-at-home life I was seeking, would fail. And so, I started seeing a therapist.
Therapy is the beginning of a journey and you must be willing to face whatever surfaces in order to illicit change. My hope was that it would uncover hidden truths that might otherwise never come to light. I am grateful for what came out of my time in therapy. Though it was hard, I believe lasting change has taken place and I am better equipped to navigate the issues I face.
Three main issues surfaced during my time in therapy:
- I am a people-pleaser who looks toward others to validate who I am
- I need to always appear as an expert and will never do anything that might make me appear otherwise
- I am hyper-critical of myself and tend to subconsciously repeat my “failures” over and over in my head, which in turn, clouds any joy or success I may have
After becoming aware of these three self-sabotaging mindsets, I had to make a choice: continue on as normal (where I would continue to be immobilized by these mindsets) or face them with the hope of lasting change. Of course, change doesn’t happen overnight, it would likely take many years to overcome a way of thinking that is deeply ingrained in me. It would be a journey. And so it began…
To start, I did a few key practices that provided a foundation to begin uprooting my old way of thinking.
Practice #1: Name the Truth:
Identify the lie, counter it with truth and find scripture to back it up.
Lie: I need others to validate who I am.
Truth: I am valuable because my God has deemed me so.
Scripture: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; and before you were born, I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet.” Jeremiah 1:5
Lie: I should always be the best at everything I do.
Truth: It is ok to grow and get better at something.
Scripture: “For the Lord gives wisdom, from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.” Proverbs 2:6
I have come back to this practice often. My hope is to make it a habit so that as an old mindset surfaces, I am able to immediately counter it with truth. It also helps to read through the truths/scripture I have already stated so as to make the thinking more habitual.
Practice #2: Prayer Coloring:
Write the thing or person you are praying for and then color in and around it, thereby creating a little prayer doodle for each item you pray for. I used Sybil MacBeth’s book, Praying in Color to provide templates for my prayer coloring practice. In this case, I listed out all the ways I could think that God had faithfully provided for me and as I wrote and colored each one, I remembered and thanked Him for His provision. The practice built up my trust in Him, allowing me to put my business and our finances just a little bit more in His hands.
Since I started therapy last fall, my circumstances haven’t changed much and I still find myself asking the same questions: How will I grow my business? Will I make enough money at this? What do others think? But I have been able to counter these self-sabotaging thoughts with truth and trust and have thus begun to live a life in less fear and with more freedom. As I said, it will likely take many years to overcome mindsets that are deeply ingrained in me…but I am grateful the journey has begun.
Rebecca Olson is a life coach, primarily working with mompreneurs who are seeking to grow their business while balancing life at home. She helps them create a vision for their life and business while setting manageable goals and navigating the challenges of motherhood. She is a mother of two in Albany, CA where she and her family love to walk the neighborhood. You can connect with her further at www.rebeccaolsoncoaching.com or on facebook.