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A few weeks ago, I heard a sermon illustration about a little boy who spent every summer searching the beach for a starfish. While he searched, he would pick up sea shells he encountered along the way. One day, as he meandered the beach, there it was, gently being led up to shore by the waves. He ran excitedly over to pick up the starfish. Then he stopped. His hands were full of shells. He had no room for his starfish. He had to make a choice- set down what he already had in order to make room for what he’d always dreamed of or walk away and leave the starfish behind.
Change is hard. Growth is harder. You have to be intentional, make sacrifices and take risks. The moment the boy dropped the shells to pick up the starfish, the waves could have washed them all away and left him with nothing. He had to consciously give up something good in order to make room for something better.
At the end of that sermon they played “This is your Life” by Switchfoot.
“This is your life. Are you who you want to be?”
The lyrics reverberated in my mind and convictingly jostled their way down into my soul.
I was not. I am not.
My hands are full of shells and I keep letting my starfish pass me by.
My Seashells and Starfish
For the past year, I have been freelance writing for a marketing company. I never asked where the work ended up. I never asked what the articles were for. I just wrote. The pay was awful, but I kept telling myself this is a springboard. More jobs will come. Better jobs will come.
All of my free time was so consumed working for pennies, that I did not have the time or energy to seek out other projects. The assignments kept growing but the pay did not.
My husband was frustrated that I was sacrificing time with my family for basically nothing. I just wanted to help us earn extra money. Yet, I was working so hard and getting nowhere. I was tired and confused.
“Look for jobs that are worth your time,” my husband would say. Like what?
“If you want to write, do it on your own.” But who would read it?
“There is money in your words, you just have to look for it.” Who would pay for this b.s.?
Finally, I got up the courage to ask my client for a raise. A friend suggested that I Google my writing to see where it ended up, to give some ammo to my request. What I found was a poorly done blog filled with errors and formatting issues. There in the middle of the crap were my pieces, “written” by the owner of the blog.
I was heartbroken. Granted, I should have known. After all, I sold my work to someone else. They have every right to do with it as they wish. But all that work, all that time, to be hidden in an ugly blog no one will even be read? A year of my life wasted on useless articles?
I have played around with the idea of starting my own blog for years. I love to write. I always have.
Last year, when we were in the middle of FPU (Financial Peace University), I knew that I needed to write. I didn’t know why, but I needed to do it. I needed to share our story.
As usual, I convinced myself I was wrong. I decided that writing was just my way to contribute to our debt free journey. So I picked up some seashells and walked right past my starfish because I was scared.
What will people think?
What will they say?
I don’t want people to know about my life…
And now, a year later, after countless late nights and time telling my two year old I am too busy to play, I have nothing to show for it. Just a few pennies that wouldn’t even buy our groceries for a week- just some broken seashells.
My friend said, “Start your own blog. Keep your words for yourself.”
My husband said, “Write on your own. Stop wasting your time.”
The radio announcer said, “Everyone has a story to tell. Your story is meant to be shared.”
So, I did it. I bought the book (well worth every penny if you want to start a blog) and a few weeks later, here we are.
Live your best life
My goal is not to sell you things and make millions or to become a famous super blogger.
My goal is to encourage you and help you find freedom from debt and the things that are holding you back from loving your life, from picking up your starfish.
Everywhere we look, the world is telling us our lives aren’t good enough. We need more, the best, the latest.
It’s not true. Our hands are full of seashells. We are so busy juggling the good that the best passes us by.
Maybe it’s time to let some go. It’s ok to be empty handed for a bit while you wait.
Is your life good? Or is it the best?
Are your hands full of shells or have you found your starfish?
“This is your life and today is all you’ve got now. Yeah, and today is all you’ll ever have…This is your life, are you who you want to be?” -Switchfoot
Are you who you want to be?
I’m not yet but that’s alright. One day I’ll get there.
For now, I’m going to intentionally step away from the good and be open to the best. I’m going to strive to live simply, life fully, and love my life just the way it is.
Will you join me?
Mom. Writer. Lover of all things DIY. My mission is to empower my fellow creatives to show money who’s boss, ditch debt and follow their dreams. Achieving debt freedom isn’t easy but our dreams are worth it!