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Monthly Archives: October 2014

Your Dreams

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Today is the last day of 31 Days. I’ve already published 31 posts in the series, 31 Dreams From The Street.

I introduced the series.

I interviewed 25 people and shared what they would do with their lives if they didn’t have to worry about money.

I spent a day resting and reflecting.

I spent three days sharing random observations from the street. That is, The Day I Wanted to Quit 31 Days, Rejections from the Street, and Notes from the Street.

And yesterday, I shared my dreams.

It’s safe to say ALL of us are ready to close up shop on this series. Can I get an amen?

But something’s missing.

Before we call it a day, I want to give YOU a chance to share how YOU’D answer the question “If you didn’t have to worry about money, what would you do with your life?” 

Because I honor you. I respect you. I appreciate you, my reader. And I know every one of you has a dream, something you’d love to do with your life if you didn’t have to worry about money at all.

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So if you feel led, take this opportunity to share. Take this opportunity to dream big. Take this opportunity to be bold, to put yourself out there.

Put it in writing.

Make it be known.

Share your answer to the question I’ve asked all month long.

I’m opening up the mic. For you. Because after all this? Someone’s ready to be brave. Someone needs to be brave. You know who you are.

So let’s do this.

I’d love to hear what you’d do with your life if you didn’t have to worry about money at all.

GO. And be brave.

I’ll meet you, whoever you are, in the comments.

greensig

 

 

 

*This is the final post from a month-long 31 Days series titled Dreams from the Street. If you’d like to read the rest of the series, click here and you’ll be brought to the series landing page where all 31 posts are listed and linked. You can follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/AmyBPederson, and I’d LOVE to connect on Facebook at facebook.com/AmyBPederson! I’m so glad you stopped by. Make yourself comfortable and take a peek around the place. You’re welcome back anytime.

Tom Baunsgard - Hi Amy,
If I didn’t have to worry about money, what would I do with my life?” …. First and foremost… anyone in my family who had a house mortgage would have the mortgage paid off. All of our family members would have the option of a free college education.
I would love to donate my time, skills and money to Habitat for Humanity. Help develop and build more Senior Citizen Centers and affordable assisted living for the elderly and disabled. For my own personal extravagance, I would spend more time exploring this beautiful country with my wonderful wife Susan in our RV.November 7, 2014 – 4:03 am

Tom Baunsgard - Hi Amy,
If I didn’t have to worry about money, what would I do with my life?” …. First and foremost… anyone in my family who had a house mortgage would have the mortgage paid off. All of our family members would have the option of a free college education.
I would love to donate my time, skills and money to Habitat for Humanity. Help develop and build more Senior Citizen Centers and affordable assisted living for the elderly and disabled. For my own personal extravagance, I would spend more time exploring this beautiful country with my wonderful wife Susan in our RV.November 7, 2014 – 4:03 am

Amy - Tiffany, oooh!!! New Zealand! That would be awesome. My husband says Australia is amazing and he wants to go to Tahiti, too. Love your focus on fitting your home with things for hosting others. How lovely…I bet you’re an amazing hostess! :) Your idea to give awesome gifts and do big random acts of kindness is AWESOME! I would love to do that, too. Many blessings to you, Tiffany. My prayer for you is that you’ll see some of these dreams fulfilled in your lifetime.November 3, 2014 – 10:32 pm

Jill Tucker - Hi Amy! If I didn’t have to worry about money I would probably continue to do what I’m doing: writing and visual artwork. I would also give TONS of money to social justice causes and then travel more. Miss you! Hugs!November 1, 2014 – 3:50 pm

Tiffany - If I didn’t have to worry about money and could do whatever I wanted, I would do a lot more traveling. I would travel with my husband to Italy, Japan, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Hawaii, California (and drive route 1 up the whole state). We’d visit all 50 states. We’d build a house on some beautiful property where my family lives in Indiana. And we’d fill it with the kind of things you’d use for hosting others — patio furniture, a fire pit, a game room, a comfy couch, a guest bedroom. We’d invite the youth group over all the time and host our kids’ friends and all our family for fun parties. I would love to give people awesome gifts, including strangers. We have always talked about how fun it would be to do random acts of kindness — big ones — for complete strangers!November 1, 2014 – 11:22 am

Amy - Thanks for sharing, Katie! I love your dreams, and I love your giving heart.November 1, 2014 – 8:56 am

Katie Wilson - If I didn’t have to worry about money, I would help Mom and Dad pay all of the bills and finish the house. I would go on missions trips once I am old enough. I would give lots of money to our church and places like Samaritan’s Purse and Gospel for Asia.

By a twelve year old girlOctober 31, 2014 – 2:12 pm

My Dreams

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I didn’t plan to write this post. But as I interviewed people for this month’s series, I realized it wasn’t fair to ask so many people to be brave without being brave myself. So mid-way through the month, I decided I would wrap the series with a post titled “My Dreams” and another titled “Your Dreams.”

Today, I’m sharing my dreams. I’m answering the question…

“If you didn’t have to worry about money at all, what would you do with your life?”

Before I get started, let me acknowledge that this is little unfair. I’ve had all month to process the question, hear 25 answers, and get my brave on. And I’m sure I’ll take a lot more time to answer than most of the people I interviewed. One more note…I’m going to answer this month’s question from both angles. That is, as if I had an unlimited abundance of money AND if money held no currency and I could spend my life as I wished.

So here we go!

(Expect this to be fairly unfiltered and unedited.)

Practical and Not-So-Practical Spending

I’d definitely take care of some practical and not-so-practical matters. I’d pay off our house, cars and anything else that hindered. I’d save 100% of projected college costs for our three children as well as all of our nieces and nephews. I suppose I’d put some money aside for three weddings, too!

I’d payoff my parents’ house, and would take my family of origin on a Walt Disney World vacation. And I’d take my husband’s family of origin to a dude ranch for that vacation my father-in-law’s dreamed of.

I’d move south and buy plane tickets to come visit family and friends whenever we wanted. And I’d make life easier for myself by hiring a personal chef or having meals pre-made for our family. Oh yeah, I can’t forget – I’d hire someone who LOVES cleaning to clean my house. Because I hate it.:)

That’s all good and fun. Everyone has things they’d buy and save for if they had an unlimited source of money. But those things don’t ultimately light the fire inside us. After we paid off the bills and saved for our future, we’d still have to spend our lives somehow.

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So let’s move on to the good stuff, the stuff of the heart, the stuff we’d DO with our lives if we didn’t have to worry about money.

MISSIONS

If I didn’t have to worry about money at all, I’d let my husband continue doing whatever type of work and/or leisure fulfilled him, and I’d pursue missions however it fit best with our family life. In an ideal world (a.k.a. an imaginary world), I could travel back and forth to Haiti and/or Africa whenever I wanted. Perhaps I’d spend a day. Perhaps I’d spend a few days. Perhaps I’d spend a week. Perhaps I’d spend a couple weeks. I’d find a safe place to call home, and I’d just love on the people all day. I’d develop relationships and pour into their lives to the max. If a school needed to be built, WE’D build it. If teachers needed pay, WE’D provide it. If clothes, food or shelter were needed, WE’D make it happen. Above all else, we’d educate, empower, and foster faith in people so they knew any mountain could be moved. Somehow, miraculously, I’d involve my family in all that. And every single one of them would love it. And I’d bring teams back and forth from the USA so everyone would have the opportunity to serve and love without the hindrance of money.

(I never said these dreams had to be completely realistic, right?)

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BACK AT HOME

So I’d be doing all that abroad, but back at home, there’d be life. Life abundant, but not too busy.

First off, I’d create a lifestyle that was supportive to the max. It wouldn’t just be me, my husband and our kids in our own little world. We’d have a whole community of love around us. Everyone would be all in. We’d be for each other and do anything for each other at any time. (Hence, the reason I’d be able to travel so much.) Need child care? Need dinner? Need help cleaning the disgusting toilets? Need a break? Need a date night with your husband? Need someone to talk to at any given moment? Someone would be there to help. And we’d be there to help others, too. It’d be community at its best, working for the greater good of everyone.

(Not sure any of this could ever happen? Yep. I hear ya.)

While the kids played and went to school and did all the awesome-kid-growing-up community things they did, I’d write. I’d write and I’d write and I’d write some more. I’d publish a gazillion books, as many as I could. If I thought of a book, I’d write it. And then I’d hire the best editors I could. Why not? would be the theme of my life. Why not. I’d make those books beautiful, lovely, glorious, delightful, and full of all the heart I could muster. They’d make people cry. They’d make people feel known and understood. I’d distribute those books to the people who needed them most. And I’d love those people as much as I loved the people in Haiti and Africa. Those people? They’d be my people. All of them. Every single one. They’d know they were cared for, they’d know they were heard, they’d know they were seen, and they’d know they were loved. I’d educate, empower, and foster faith in those people so they knew any mountain could be moved.

None of it would be fabricated. All of it would be real.

In this make-believe dream, I could actually make my dream a reality…

To be dirty during the day and dressed up at night.

It might be possible.

greensig

 

 

 

*This post is a part of a month-long 31 Days series titled Dreams from the Street. If you’d like to read more from my series, click here and you’ll be brought to the series landing page where all 31 posts are listed and linked! You can follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/AmyBPederson where I’ll tweet links to all 31 posts using hashtag #write31days, and I’d LOVE to connect on Facebook at facebook.com/AmyBPederson! I’m so glad you stopped by. Make yourself comfortable and take a peek around the place. You’re welcome back anytime.

Amy - Thank you, Emily. :) So glad you were able to see my heart in this series, and grateful you joined me on the journey. Blessings!November 3, 2014 – 10:34 pm

Emily Ratkos - It’s so inspiring to hear your hopes and dreams. Thanks for sharing from the heart these past thirty-one days. It’s been a pleasure reading what you had to say.November 1, 2014 – 6:54 pm

Amy - Thanks for following along, Katie!November 1, 2014 – 9:01 am

Katie Wilson - What a great way to end the 31 days series! Thanks for sharing your answer to your “question of the month”.October 31, 2014 – 8:46 am

Notes From the Street

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Today’s day 29, which means we’re in the home stretch of 31 Dreams From the Street.

(Can I just say a little Hallelujah?!)

I’d like to to step back and share some random thoughts and observations I made as we proceeded through the series.

No need for delay. Let’s get right to it!

Humility

I lived in humility this month. Ego was OUT. THE. DOOR. If you want to practice humility, commit to interviewing random strangers for a whole month. Or commit to doing something, anything totally out of your box. Then go make it happen. It’s an exercise in courage and humility, wrapped into one. Perhaps being brave makes us humble, too.

Trust

One thing I sensed deeply this month is that human beings have trust issues. I addressed this in yesterday’s post, but I’m pretty sure that half of the people I approached for an interview didn’t trust me. I find myself to be a fairly benign, non-threatening person. And I wasn’t asking that much of the people I interviewed. Yet, I was still rejected by 20. I recognize that being approached by a random stranger is totally out of the ordinary. I understand why elements of trust and distrust were inherent to this series. I just wish we lived in a world that was more trusting. Our walls are up. Our guards are up. We don’t always trust human beings. It’s hard to be authentic and develop meaningful relationships with others when we don’t trust. Trust is crucial to connection.

Hope

Couldn’t we all benefit from a little more hope? When we reveal bits, pieces and chunks of our hearts, we become vulnerable, we become wiser, we stir a little or a lot of the hope that’s inside us. When we hope for something better, when we dream bigger, we present ourselves differently to the world.  We’re a living example of what hope looks like, lived out in real time. We can hope for a better tomorrow. We can hope for the things God’s placed on our heart. Hope is worth the risk.

Image

There were a couple days this month that I literally wanted to strip off ALL OF MYSELF. I wanted to strip off ALL OF ME. I wanted to strip off every ounce of my image. Because I sensed something between me and those 20 rejections. Something sat between me and the hundreds of people I passed and didn’t have the courage to approach. One suspect might be image. My instinct told me that if I’d have been able to strip myself of my image, I would’ve had fewer rejections and greater courage to approach more people. But here’s the truth. Stripping our images is nearly impossible. We all come with a “face,” an outward image that people perceive and make judgements about. I wondered if people would have responded differently if I was a man, if I dressed differently, if I presented myself differently, if I was younger, or older?

Dreams

Chasing other peoples’ dreams is exhausting. Chasing other peoples’ dreams for you is exhausting, too. So chase your own dreams. And encourage the dreamers running alongside you. For we all need a little encouragement.

Dark & Light

The street can be dark, lonely, cold, and hurried. Slow down, be a light, and bring joy to a world that needs it bad. Sometimes, we need to get off the fast pace of the street, both literally and figuratively, and step into spaces where we can develop relationship and be known. Life is better when shared. Life is better when we’re connected. Life is better wherever we’re moving towards light.

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Work Your Spaces

We’re not meant to be everywhere and be everything to everyone. Be a light in the spheres God’s assigned you to. Stepping outside of the box is good, but if you step too far away from your gifting, you might just find yourself in the wilderness.

Security and Insecurity

The world can make you feel secure as quickly as it can make you feel insecure. Live a life that you love. Hold firm to your beliefs. Know you’re masterfully designed by your creator. Know that you matter. Believe that your life counts. Regardless of what anyone says or how anyone makes you feel. The value of your life has nothing to do with what others think of you. The value of your life is inherent in you. Because you are you. You are called and made, beautiful.

Smile

Smile to someone on the street. Why not? One day when I was out interviewing for this month’s series, I’m pretty sure only one person smiled at me all day. A weight lifted when that person smiled at me. Like someone actually saw me, noticed me, decided it was worth a second to smile at another human being. You never know what kind of day someone’s had. Smile. Please. You’ve got nothing to lose. And you might just feel a little happier yourself, because you made someone’s day a bit brighter.

Broad & Shallow vs. Narrow & Deep

I’m not in this writing gig to push out content. I’m not in this writing gig to go broad, big and shallow. I’m in this writing gig to go narrow and deep. I’m in this writing gig to share my heart. I’m in this writing gig to connect, to love, to hear you out. I’m in this writing gig to share your story, to share my story, to share God’s story weaved through all of us.

Identity

Before we discover who we are, we have to find out who we’re NOT. This month, I learned a lot about who I am. But I learned even more about who I’m NOT. That lesson was invaluable. Now, I’m ready to move on. Now, I’m more prepared than I was, to embrace who I am with wild abandon. This learning who we are and who we aren’t is a tough lesson, but one I wish for everyone. Because we’re not created to be everyone. We’re created to be ourselves.

Time

I mentioned this in Darlene’s post, but we need to take more time with people. We’re missing the boat when we dismiss people, when we merely pass them by, when we barely acknowledge, when we think others better or less than ourselves. What if we took time? To sit. To be. To live in community with others? What if?

Money

I’ve decided once and for all. In the end, money won’t matter at all. In fact, the only power it holds over any of us is that it’s a currency. It’s a way of living. It’s a way of surviving. But living for money is no way to live. So we see money for what it is. A currency to sustain us. But it doesn’t have a hold on us. It doesn’t have us pinned down. It is what it is. Money. Currency.

So don’t be deceived, dear one, be assured. Your best life doesn’t hinge on money. Your best life hinges on faith, relationship, and finding purpose so you can leave a legacy when all’s said and done. So discover and live in your sweet spot. Because when life gets tough, when life’s down and out, all the money in the world won’t help a bit. Faith will sustain us. Relationships will sustain us. And if we discover, embrace, and walk boldly in our purpose, we’ll leave a legacy of hope.

There’s more to life than mere existence.

There’s more to life than money.

Let’s live like “we’re rich.”

For “The simple things in life are the only things that really matter.” Judah & The Lion

greensig

 

 

 

*This post is a part of a month-long 31 Days series titled Dreams from the Street. If you’d like to read more from my series, click here and you’ll be brought to the series landing page where all 31 posts are listed and linked! You can follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/AmyBPederson where I’ll tweet links to all 31 posts using hashtag #write31days, and I’d LOVE to connect on Facebook at facebook.com/AmyBPederson! I’m so glad you stopped by. Make yourself comfortable and take a peek around the place. You’re welcome back anytime.

Tom Baunsgard - Amy, This was a good project filled with discovery and great observations! A real stretch out of your comfort zone with lessons for us all. Keep up the good work!October 30, 2014 – 6:05 pm

Rejections from the Street

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It wasn’t nearly as easy to gather interviews for this month’s series as I originally imagined. When I conceived 31 Dreams From the Street, I assumed most people would be all in, that most people would jump at the chance to answer a simple question that allowed them to dream big.

But I was wrong.

I told you up front that I expected to be stretched outside of my comfort zone. I told you up front that I’d experience some level of rejection.

But I had no idea I’d experience the level of rejection that I did.

Apparently this question was loaded, more than I knew.

“If you didn’t have to worry about money at all, what would you do with your life?”

This month, I successfully interviewed and featured 25 individuals. All 25 individuals answered my question. All 25 individuals shared their first name and allowed me to take their photograph. All 25 individuals gave me permission to feature them on my blog.

This month, I unsuccessfully approached an additional 20 individuals. (Yes, that means that when all is said and done, I had to get extraordinarily brave 45 times this month!)

Here’s a listing of the 20 rejections from the street:

Non-English Speaking

  • A mamasita wearing a beautiful headwrap
  • A man collecting aluminum cans in a grocery cart

Chatted Up A Storm, Gave Me Their Full Name, but Refused to Be Interviewed

  • A window washer who took my blogging business card and said he was going to hire me to take pictures for his daughter’s wedding, because if I “have a camera like that, [I’m] a professional.”

Straight-Up Rejections

  • A mom and her little princess in the Disney store
  • A hipster guy on a bike
  • A dude selling hair straighteners
  • A blue-haired girl in Hot Topic
  • A construction worker
  • Another construction worker
  • A guy watering mums
  • Manager at a bank
  • Assistant manager at a bank
  • A woman getting her shoes shined
  • A young lady working the Taco Bell drive-thru

Allowed me to Conduct a Full Interview, but Refused Name and Photograph

  • A woman with multiple piercings who just wanted to move to Tahiti and surf all day
  • A rico-suave Jewish Orthodox dude who worked in a beauty store and would worship God all day
  • A family guy and his son who’d “have a happy, healthy family”
  • A man who was laid off from General Motors after 21 years of employment, then laid off from a die cutting company after 11 years of employment
  • A dude who’d “be worry free”
  • A woman who’d open a clinic and shelter for women who have escaped sex-trafficking

When I conceived the series, I should’ve expected to run into a few non-English speaking individuals. It’s happened before when I’ve approached random strangers for the blog. All I can say is…maybe it’s time to learn Spanish?!

But all the other rejections? I didn’t quite understand.

I knew rejections were inevitable. But the frequency at which I was rejected was much higher than I anticipated.

At least, I’m a fairly benign person. At best, I’m a friendly, approachable person. There’s not much about me that comes off as threatening as far as I can see. And to be completely honest, I don’t think I was asking for a lot. I was asking for an answer to one question, a first name, and a photograph. I would’ve taken an alias name if needed. Heck, I would’ve even taken the photograph from a distance, or pictures of hands, feet, anything just to get a picture that represented the interview.

Still, I was rejected 20 times.

I wondered why so many people rejected me straight up. “Not today,” was the most memorable answer from that group.

Trust is the issue, I suppose.

I wondered why many people talked to me and even answered my question, sometimes at length, but wouldn’t share their first name and/or wouldn’t allow me to take a photograph. My favorites from this group were two gentlemen I interviewed who also shared their FULL NAMES with me, but wouldn’t allow me to take a photograph.

Privacy is the issue, I suppose.

Trust and privacy.

Trust and privacy.

Trust. And privacy.

To be completely honest, I’m not sure why I’m sharing these rejections. I haven’t made any brilliant conclusions that will change the course of history and humankind from here on out. But the rejections prove we’re all human, don’t they?

All I know is that I was shocked at the number of rejections I got.

Some people are highly vigilant about privacy. I get it. Some people have trust issues. I get it. But I wasn’t asking for the world. I wasn’t asking for every detail of their private lives. I wasn’t asking for last names or middle names or maiden names. I wasn’t asking for anything except an answer to one question, a first name, and one photograph.

I wondered if some people thought I was an undercover reporter and was going to flash their photograph and story all over the television screen.

After wanting to quit the series mid-month, my approach rate reduced significantly. I no longer assumed people would say yes to my interview. So I only approached when I had a good hunch they might say yes. I didn’t want to experience more of this rejection, whatever form it took.

None of us want to be rejected. None of us want to be taken advantage of. None of us want to be played, or used up by another human being.

But I find it curious that in order to build and restore trust, in order to develop relationship, in order to live our lives fully, in order to make peace with issues from the past and embrace the dreams we have for our future, we have to get a little vulnerable and take a chance on the unknown.

So do we trust? Or do we not?

Are we willing to engage others simply in order to live more authentically? Or not?

Do we want to connect? Or not?

Are we open to taking chances in life? Or not?

We each decide, don’t we?

After writing this post, I’m feeling a little torn about what I think. I’m not 100% clear as to what I was supposed to learn from those 20 rejections, except that we have issues with trust and privacy in our culture. If I had approached you randomly on the street, would you have answered? Why or why not?Let’s chat. I’d love to engage in some dialogue about this!

 

greensig

 

 

 

*This post is a part of a month-long 31 Days series titled Dreams from the Street. If you’d like to read more from my series, click here and you’ll be brought to the series landing page where all 31 posts are listed and linked! You can follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/AmyBPederson where I’ll tweet links to all 31 posts using hashtag #write31days, and I’d LOVE to connect on Facebook at facebook.com/AmyBPederson! I’m so glad you stopped by. Make yourself comfortable and take a peek around the place. You’re welcome back anytime.

Tom Baunsgard - Hi Amy, I applaud you for your effort and reaching out to people and ask them that simple question “If you didn’t have to worry about money at all, what would you do with your life?” To reach out and ask questions of total strangers about something as personal as “Money” is way out of the comfort zone of probably 99% or the population. To get positive responses from over 50% of the people you approached is wonderful, Especially in this age of the Internet, Cell phones, Ipads, Banking and Credit card Scams etc., so many people are very guarded about anything they share for fear of being used or exploited, therefore, Trust and Privacy are paramount.
Even striking up a conversation with a stranger is out of the comfort zone of most people. My wife Susan will be the first to tell you that I am the most outgoing of the two of us and can initiate a conversation without too much angst. I guess it is my curious nature. But I look for for cues and the possibility of having something in common with the other person… even it is as simple as we are waiting in a line together somewhere which is the thing we have in common :) I’m a BIG GUY and I think sometimes people are a bit intimidated by that, but a smile usually breaks the ice.
Thanks for the Stretch! Reaching out there with your blog captured the very essence of moving beyond your comfort zone. Both the positive responses and the rejections were very interesting.

TomOctober 28, 2014 – 11:36 pm

Amy - I do feel grateful that the series allowed those 25 people to bare a little bit of their hearts and souls, and I hope someone was really encouraged by that. I did feel a connection with several of the people I interviewed, and now I just hope that something about our interactions will spur them on to reach for their dreams, or to live their lives more fully alive. I have learned that good things come from DECIDING to take chances, DECIDING to become a little more vulnerable than my flesh wants to. It is there that I have grown wiser. It is there that I have felt more connected to others. It is there that I have felt more understood by others as well. Thank you for your kind, kind words. I’m SO glad it inspired you and that you found it to be brave. Now I am ready to be done. :)October 28, 2014 – 9:47 pm

Monica - “But I find it curious that in order to build and restore trust, in order to develop relationship, in order to live our lives fully, in order to make peace with issues from the past and embrace the dreams we have for our future, we have to get a little vulnerable and take a chance on the unknown.”

This right here is HUGE! If you gained nothing else from this…if none of us gained anything else from this….I hope you, me and others can walk away with those wise words. Thank you Amy! The very fact that you blog and do so publicly qualifies you as a living breathing example of vulnerable & brave!

I have your #31days from the street to be intriguing, authentic, brave, inspiring and most of all you gave 25 people a voice to share their hearts! What you did, and what you are doing is a gift!October 28, 2014 – 6:12 pm

The Day I Wanted to Quit 31 Days

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I came home and cried that night. Cried to my husband for a world that’s cold, a world that’s harsh, a world that isn’t welcoming all the time. Cried because I didn’t want to do this anymore, this 31 Days. Cried because I wanted to quit.

Earlier that day, I’d spent a few hours in the hustle and bustle of the street. It was my third journey out and about gathering interviews for my series, 31 Dreams from the Street. The interviews were exhilarating and adventuresome at first, but draining and exhausting by week three.

I spent three and a half hours wandering the street and a whole assortment of locations that day. My goal was to gather seven interviews, enough to last the whole week to come. But I only gathered five that day. I tried and tried for six and seven, but continued to come up dry.

Now that I look back, there was good reason I never gathered interviews six and seven that day.

You see, two hours into that day’s adventures in interviewing, I came up against a wall. An invisible wall constructed by a fellow human being who happened to be in my vicinity, who happened to find herself in my path when I was out and about interviewing.

I won’t share details of this encounter, because honestly? The memory is fairly traumatic, like the kind of memory that will stick around for a lifetime whether I like it or not. But I am choosing to share the experience vaguely, because I think there’s something to learn from it.

So this encounter. I didn’t expect it. It came out of nowhere. Had I known it was going to happen, I would have evacuated the vicinity immediately, long before it even happened. But I believe all things happen for a reason, that God works all things together for those who love Him. And He will work this, even this, together for my good.

She was there, in my presence, while I was interviewing another.

She asked what a blog was. And then she proceeded to laugh when I told her what I write about. She laughed in a casual and dismissive way, as if my blog and writing were the stupidest things she’d ever heard of.

I continued with my interview.

At that point, I’d only had my new camera for a couple weeks, so I was still trying to learn all the settings on it. The lighting in the space I was in was notably different than the space I’d just been in. So when I went to take a photograph of the person I was interviewing, I had to take THREE or FOUR shots in order to get ONE that worked. The lighting was really tough to manage with the all manual settings I was attempting to use on my camera. (Let it be known, this had never happened before. I was totally caught off guard and felt like an idiot the way it was. Because I would’ve gotten that shot on the first try had I been a professional and/or fully acclimated to my new camera.) Anyway, before the last shot, she made a snarky, sarcastic comment that really got under my skin. I will never forget her words. They couldn’t have been more rude and belittling. It wasn’t until later that I realized I should’ve responded to her comment differently than I did. But these are the battles you face as a nice, people pleasing person, even when you’re belittled straight to your face.

I continued with my interview.

When I was about to leave the space, I handed a blog business card to the person I was interviewing so they could check out the post later if they chose to do so. This was standard operating procedure for the month. A business card was quick and convenient, with all my information in one place. But when I handed that card to the person I interviewed, the woman laughed. Right there, right in my face. As if me having a blog business card was the lamest, stupidest, most ridiculous thing she’d ever seen.

Having been knocked down not once, but three times during this interview, I was ready to bolt from the scene as quickly as possible.

So I did.

As soon as I handed off that blog business card, I thanked the person I interviewed as kindly as I could, and I bolted. Far off. Straight away. As far as I could go.

Because I’d been made to feel like a fool, like an idiot, like a tiny, tiny girl who didn’t matter one speck.

At that point, I’d gotten five interviews for my series. I had two more to go to meet my goal for the day, but for the next hour and a half, I wandered aimless.

I never did get two more interviews that day. Because I was scared. I felt hollow. Defeated. Low to the ground, like a nothing, a nobody. This series I’d conceived? It suddenly felt like the most lame and ridiculous thing in the world. This writing, it seemed like worthless dream chasing.

I wanted to quit.

This 31 Days had officially eaten my insides alive. It wasn’t worth this. At all.

As far as I was concerned, my encounter with this woman was a 31 Days worst nightmare. Not only that, it impacted my ability to be fully authentic with the person I was interviewing. When someone is subtly and not-so-subtly criticizing you in front of another, you have to wonder about the negative impact it has on everyone.

So I came home. And later that night, I cried. I talked it out as best as I could with my husband. And we agreed, I’d write my thoughts and feelings about 31 Dreams from the Street during the last five days of the series. But I never did tell him about that woman. Because it was simply too embarrassing and belittling. I never will tell anyone the details. They will remain in me, lifted to God, as He’s the only other who saw, really saw, what happened that day.

Over the course of the next four days, I lifted it up. I handed it over. I decided I had to be brave, to keep going, to finish this series just as I’d planned. I needed to get through these interviews, brutal or not.

Four days later, I ventured out. My husband freed me with his words. He said, “Commit to a certain amount of time. Decide that whether you get one interview or ten during that period of time, you’ll be done interviewing after that.”

I got four interviews that night. They all went well.

A couple days later, I got another interview.

And a day after that, I stepped out of the interview box and offered a guest post to my daughter.

On the airplane to the writing conference, Darlene offered to be interviewed when I told her I was wrapping the series and needed another interview.

And on day 26, I decided I just couldn’t do another interview. I gave myself grace. It was okay. I’d already learned the lesson. I’d moved on from the trauma that was.

I don’t know why this happened.

I do know I wanted to quit that day.

I do know my interactions with that woman were traumatizing, forever and unfortunately etched in my memory.

But God calls me to goanyway. God calls me to continue, anyway. God calls me to write, anyway. Because NOT everyone is going to like me. NOT everyone is going to like what I do. NOT everyone is going to like what I have to say, or how I present myself in this world. If you are that person who doesn’t like me, that person who doesn’t like anything about me? Okay. So be it. The people pleaser in me surrenders. To you. You don’t have to like me.

So I will be brave. I will continue. I will follow this call. I will write, anyway. I will be me, anyway. I will, anyway.

Because I must.

So as I wrap this series, I accept the fact that I don’t write for everyone.

I write for GOD. Because He made me and He called me. Because He knows the most traumatizing things that happen to us, and loves and heals us just the same.

I write for ME.

And I write for YOU, you who have taken time to read one, two or twenty-seven days. For all of you who care, for all of you who understand, for all of you who get it, even a little bit? Thank you.

Cheers. To not quitting because of someone else’s belittling.

Cheers. To the 31 Dayers who have been bold and beautifully brave despite how hard any day’s been.

Cheers. To you.

greensig

 

 

 

*This post is a part of a month-long 31 Days series titled Dreams from the Street. If you’d like to read more from my series, click here and you’ll be brought to the series landing page where all 31 posts are listed and linked! You can follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/AmyBPederson where I’ll tweet links to all 31 posts using hashtag #write31days, and I’d LOVE to connect on Facebook at facebook.com/AmyBPederson! I’m so glad you stopped by. Make yourself comfortable and take a peek around the place. You’re welcome back anytime.

Tom Baunsgard - Dear Amy, The world is full of wonderful people… and then there are some bad ones who take pleasure in attacking and belittling a nice person. It was a direct attack on your way of living , thinking, and believing. But take heart! What you are doing here is an outreach, a witness, that has far more positive effect on this world. I’m praying for you to have peace with this trial and that you know that what you are doing is a witness of what God really wants to see in all of us, that “People Pleasing” way of life. Keep up the wonderful work! God Bless you!October 29, 2014 – 4:16 am

Tom Baunsgard - Dear Amy, The world is full of wonderful people… and then there are some bad ones who take pleasure in attacking and belittling a nice person. It was a direct attack on your way of living , thinking, and believing. But take heart! What you are doing here is an outreach, a witness, that has far more positive effects on this world. I’m praying for you to have peace with this trial and that you know that what you are doing is a witness of what God really wants to see in all of us, that “People Pleasing” way of life. Keep up the wonderful work! God Bless you!October 29, 2014 – 4:15 am

Amy - Thank you for your encouragement, Katie!October 28, 2014 – 9:48 pm

Amy - Dear Monica, I poured through these words slowly and surely. Thank you for sharing this wisdom and truth. I am wondering about this “suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” Feeling a little overwhelmed by the series as I wrap it…the perseverance definitely sprung forth. I wasn’t about to quit, but honestly, really wanted to. I knew I needed to persevere. And now, I’m hoping the character and hope will spring forth as I move forward, that the purpose of the series will become more and more clear as time passes. Thank you, friend.October 28, 2014 – 9:42 pm

Monica Palmer - Romans 5 New International Version (NIV)

Peace and Hope
5 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we[a] have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we[b] boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we[c] also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.October 28, 2014 – 6:04 pm

Katie Wilson - I am glad that you are not quitting! This has been an interesting and encouraging blog, and I am only twelve! Keep writing!October 28, 2014 – 7:51 am

Gretchen Wendt O'Donnell - Oh, and I’m praying for you too! October 28, 2014 – 2:56 am

Gretchen Wendt O'Donnell - Dearest Amy! It astounds me that people can be so cruel. I’m so sorry you had to go through that. I just prayed for her ’cause clearly she needs it! October 28, 2014 – 2:55 am

Valerie Hubel - Wow; how brave of you to continue on with the interview in the midst of trauma like that. Thanks for sharing, I ma sure it brought it all back for you. This series has been good – you have written it so very well.October 28, 2014 – 2:24 am

Carol Femling - Bless you, my dear daughter! You didn’t even mention these things to us. Like dad says, not everyone will like everything a person writes. You can’t always please everyone and someone will take issue with what you write. Anyway, keep writing! So proud of you! Love you! :)
October 28, 2014 – 12:06 am

Amy - You’re welcome, Nicole. I’m glad (and sorry) that you related to the post…at least that helps me know I’m not alone in this kind of experience.October 27, 2014 – 9:15 pm

Amy - Janice, so grateful you stopped by. To be honest, I’m not sure I would’ve had the courage to take on this series had I known how hard the interviews would be. But I think there’s a reason God led me to it. So I am grateful for what came of it, and that I was able to complete all 31 days. :) Blessings to you.October 27, 2014 – 9:13 pm

Amy - Thank you for your encouragement, Tiffany! I was just thinking about you when I was out gardening this afternoon, and then came in to see your post. So glad we’re connected here…need to get some time to check out your blog, too!October 27, 2014 – 9:11 pm

Jaimie West Bowman - Amy, I’m so incredibly sorry that happened to you and there are people out there like that. I applaud you for forging ahead anyway and being brave. That really sounds like a spiritual attack and I’m glad you didn’t let it stop you. I’m so thankful you open your heart up and keep on loving people. This 31 days series has been such a challenge, but you DID it anyway and are almost done!! October 27, 2014 – 7:54 pm

Nicole Newfield - “To not quitting because of someone else’s belittling”…. Thank you for your honest words. I think we can all relate to this feeling.October 27, 2014 – 5:03 pm

Eileen - Amen!October 27, 2014 – 4:21 pm

Janice S. - Oh Amy, wow, this is so hard and so good. Thank you for sharing the experience, even though it is clear that you were deeply scarred by it.
I love the idea of the series – even while acknowledging I would never have had the guts you had to attempt such a challenge. I can’t wait to read through all your posts up to today.October 27, 2014 – 2:59 pm

Tiffany - What a great post. I’m so sorry that that woman made you feel so small. And I’m so glad that you gave it to God and kept going. You are showing us all what it means to be called by God — that the world won’t understand and probably won’t like us — but we are to go and to do anyway. Thanks for sharing new friend :)October 27, 2014 – 2:49 pm