What does success look like?

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This beautiful lady next to me is one of my dearest friends. We bonded instantly at a retreat almost 8 years ago now and I’ve had the privilege of getting to know her as she has said yes to teaching at our retreats over the years. I can also say that Jeanne is my neighbor now and her family is like family to us. Because of that bond she encouraged me to go to her Creatively Made Business retreat, and with my husband’s encouragement to pursue my dreams, (he’s a ROCK STAR) I said yes.

We don’t live in California any longer so it was a treck to get here, but it worked out perfectly with driving Rebecca back to college. So we had a fun road trip through New Mexico and Arizona all the way back to Southern California, and this.

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It’s the first time I’ve gone to a retreat where I didn’t host it or teach at it... and that scared me though. But a few days before it started I got a sweet message from Jeanne and it quieted my heart and reminded me to give this time to the Lord, and He would show up. Let me tell you, He did.

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I came, we all came with expectations of what we thought we wanted out of this, and I’m sure we all wanted this to be a success.

We all want success, right? Success in our relationships, success in our careers, “success” in our bank accounts and success in our dreams.  But how do we know how to gage that and how do we attain the life we want to live?

The world says its how much money you have in your bank account, or how big your house is, etc. etc... But as a believer and one who connects my creativity to our Creator I look to Gods Word for answers.  

Proverbs 16:3 says: “Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.”

So let’s talk about that.  This workshop of Jeanne’s was not faith based, but as a believer I know it is a part of who she is. She did talk about how we can honor the gifts God has given us, use the talents or passions we have and that in turn that give’s Him the glory.

Because that’s what our calling is. I truly believe we are here to honor Him through what we do.

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I’ve talked about this before, but I’ll say it again. The Lord is just waiting for us to be willing to be His vessels, to be used for His purposes.  Believe me when I say this... when we finally GET that, He’s going to show up BIG TIME! Because He has bigger dreams for us than we could ever imagine. Ever.

And that’s what I breathed in at Jeanne’s retreat.  

It’s funny how the Lord works things out. How He puts things in order for us and GOES before us.

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You see, I was listening a few weeks ago at church to a sermon about “forgetting what’s behind and pressing forward.” Running the race of the goal of Jesus Christ. I know now that it was a precursor to this workshop for me.  God had gone before me and was preparing me…

“Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14

I’m going to be totally open and raw here. I’ve tried hard to keep my “head down” and just do what I feel the Lord is calling me to do. But when I look up and around I see so many people doing what I do, and that was where the enemy got to me.  Telling me I’m not that good at what I do, or you’re kidding yourself if you think people will go to your retreats when so many people are doing them now. This was in my head! But the Lord love us so much and speaks to us, and when we let go of our fears and trust Him with our whole lives, He shows us His truths. I needed to “forget those lies, and continue to go forward in what I know the Lord wants me to do.  And that church service ended with this, and I’m SO glad I wrote it in my journal at that moment:

“Run your race.  You’re not trying to compete with anyone else, just run the race God has for YOU.”

Those were words that went straight to my heart! And, they were words God knew I needed to hear and remember.  Thank you Lord. I think those are words for YOU too. Someone else is probably feeling like they’re not good enough or they did something they regret in the past or they are just so hard on themselves. STOP it. Go back to that verse and SEE the GRACE God has for you. And then if you need a little bit more help in understanding GRACE, go check out Pastor Mike Todd’s video series on grace. He’s an amazing pastor out of Tulsa, Oklahoma and has another great series on relationships. But here’s the link to the one on Grace: Grace Like a Flood.

So thanks be to God… before I met this new group of women I had laid those fears down and the Lord truly blessed me with a time of JOY,  meeting such an amazing group of creatives! And what a gift that was. 

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Jeanne truly shared her knowledge, her experience and her time with us.  Inspiring all of us to dig deep and remember what we’ve dreamed about, and what we’ve always wanted our lives to look like. To see the potential that is out there for all of us, and to work hard to live out our passions with integrity, honoring the gifts the Lord has given us. 

And in that space I met such beautiful women who are all desiring of that in their lives as well.  What’s so awesome is knowing that the Lord had these connections for me AHEAD of time, just waiting to gift me with them. That just makes me smile so much!

To know I was going to meet other women who have the same passion to gather people on their land and want to draw them closer to the Lord through that land was SO amazing! To have two “soil sisters” now that are prayer partners in this journey is beyond me. Holly and Tara… you are in my heart forever.

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To have met women from around the country that I now know I can reach out to, connect with and collaborate together in our entrepreneurship is so exciting! Some of them are already planning to join us in Italy too!

I know that it’s not new to have meet so many incredible women for me. I’ve gathered women for years now at my retreats and I love every one of them. Its just that this time it was a gift to ME.  To be lavished on, to be encouraged to continue to use my gifts, and to be connected to other creative business women... I just can’t thank Jeanne enough! 

Psalm 37:4 says: “Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

The Lord knows our desires already.  He’s just asking us to give them to Him and then see what He will do with them! Its not easy, there’s no secret sauce that makes it come out perfect. But it will be “successful” if we look to Him, not the world, for our dreams and desires to be fulfilled. He will give us clarity, direction and in turn, our PURPOSE. That’s my word for the year and the WHY I came. It’s also the why behind our retreats and why we feel called to bring women together and encourage them to live life abundantly in the Lord.

He has SO much for us… so much JOY and so much HOPE and we love to share that with everyone.

One last verse, I know I’ve shared a lot of them and my blog posts seem like books they are so long but there is so much running through my heart and my mind that I want to share!

Romans 12:2 says: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

So keep pressing forward and dream those big dreams! Through prayer and devotional time in God’s Word He will show you His will for your life, and it will be GOOD. Actually it will be better than good, it will be more than you could have imagined on your own!

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Next August I highly recommend going to Jeanne’s business workshop, and let me know if you sign up! I’ll come by and give you a big hug of encouragement! You can even come over and see our land and what the Lord is doing on it.

To sign up for Jeanne’s next business workshop, click here.

As I head home this weekend, I’ll be sharing next week what vision we feel this workshop gave us and how that will direct us going forward. So I hope you will check back and see what we have cooking!

Have a beautiful day and I hope you know that if you ever want to reach out and talk or ask a question, that we are here for you. Rebecca and I have a heart to encourage other women and would love to hear your story too.

Hugs,

Laura McCollough