Tuesday, January 13, 2015

What If You Give Up When You're Supposed to Keep Going?

The "What Ifs" of God-sized Dreams

My Circles of Faith Co-founder Kimberly and I have faced many challenges as we stepped out in faith, starting a website we felt called to…and thought we had a clear vision for.

We spent many months in the planning and seeking stages. We gathered and prayed, wrote and rewrote our mission and purpose statements, agonized over our logo and site design. Every visual, every word was intentional and prayed over.

Together Kimberly and I attended our first bloggers’ conference, gladly and maybe a little hesitantly handing out our new business cards with high hopes that by the time we launched our website, the groundwork was laid and success was certain.

We invested money, effort, hours, held a well-attended launch party with enthusiastic supportive attendees. We were full of anticipation and excitement as we forged ahead.

And then we launched. Yay!
We checked our subscriber numbers weekly. We added Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. We went from a team of two, to a team of six, to a team of 18. All the while, the numbers of subscribers, followers, likers were disappointing.

What was wrong? We wondered. Was this worth it? Did we not pray enough or do enough? Deep in the recesses of my heart, I wondered, Am I not good enough? 

Oh there were so many times we wanted to quit. One week, I was discouraged, wringing my hands and saying things like, “I just don’t know! I don’t feel like anyone cares. I don’t know how much longer I want to do this.” Kimberly encouraged me with a prayer, an idea, hope.

The next week, she was discouraged. And it was my turn to hold her up, speak words of faith, prayers of promise. We continued along this downward path for some time.

Then as we faced the New Year last year, we decided we would stop giving power to our thoughts of discouragement. Instead we would commit to the next year and keep on praying, asking for God’s guidance and discernment every step of the way. The moments of doubt didn’t disappear, but they dimmed.

We had others come alongside us from time to time, too. One team member lent her strategic skills. Another shared her heart for nonprofits and varied media outlets. Another said more than once, “You two are too much in each other’s heads,” offering to help us open our circle wider. And another team member came with her willingness to help us with events. All of them came bearing gifts of themselves…and their faith, hope, and love when we needed a boost.

Now we are preparing for our first LIVE event, Women of Influence sponsored by Circles of Faith. This was always part of the vision. To take what we were doing online – Sharing stories to grow in Faith, do Life together, gather and build Community – and connect in-person.

The time, the people, the place has lined up perfectly. We put out the invitation and had a growing waiting list within a couple of days. It seems all our prayers and efforts have not been for naught. God was at work all along, doing His thing, moving hearts, sowing seeds, preparing the way. And we anticipate this event will be the first of many.

What if we had given up after the disappointments of year one?

What if we had given into hopeless, faithless words and thoughts?

What if we went our own way, instead of pressing on, following God’s path?

What if we had closed down instead of opened up to the words of encouragement and support from our friends?

Well, Circles of Faith would be gone…and there would be no gathering of Women of Influence. Women who will enter into fellowship, build bridges, share stories, and break bread together.

What if you close down, turn away, entertain doubt, give up when you’re supposed to keep going?

What won’t happen?

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