Do you find that with the passing of time, you've become happier in your skin? Less concerned about what others think of you? It's one of the joys of growing up.
Yet despite that marvel of aging, there is still a courage that is required when making decisions for your life (and your work) that are MORE in alignment, and closer to your own truth.
Today I'm starting a new shedding, knowing that the life I want is on the other side of these fears that are keeping me stuck... The time to be brave to be free is now.
[02.27] The joys of getting older
[03.22] Two major 'sheddings'
[07.46] The next layer of shedding...
"We start to finally listen to the small voice inside us saying: 'hold on a minute girl, these things you thought would lead to a happy life, aren't quite serving you just as you thought they would anymore." - Lisa Linfield
"This shedding is about obedience to the still voice inside myself." - Lisa Linfield
"Fear holds all of us in unhealthy patterns one way or another." - Lisa Linfield
"Life is an onion - and just when you think you've dealt with something, new circumstances bring new depths of dealing with the issues that stalk us." - Lisa Linfield
"I've felt a call to discover (and teach) what God thinks about money." - Lisa Linfield
"We all need to throw off this cancer of 'show & tell' consumerism that's destroying our wealth, upsetting our families, and getting people into debt and valuing fake success over long term financial stability." - Lisa Linfield
Reflections from inside a riot zone
Shifting disempowering money beliefs about debt with Donna McCallum
Success and the fear of failure
Two things we need, but hate building – perseverance and resilience
Brave to be free
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Don’t you find, as you get older, that you seem to settle into your skin more – each year becoming more ok with who You are, more settled in what YOU want, and less distracted by what The World Out There thinks you should or shouldn’t be doing.
But it comes with a challenge – being brave enough to act on the things you know deep in your soul you should be changing. Having courage to feel the fear, but do that thing anyway because you KNOW it’s what your soul is longing for. More alignment, more peace, more joy.
You’ve all walked with me through two major sheddings in my life – times when I’ve been brave enough to walk away from the life I knew towards the unknown because I knew in my soul this new direction was right.
Today I’m starting a new Shedding… one I feel extremely wobbly about, but know that the life I want is on the other side of these fears that have kept me stuck.
I don't know about you, but my most favourite thing about getting older is shedding all the junk from my younger years and becoming more content in my own skin.
It's like we're born how God wants us to be and then as we grow we start to put on these layers of complexity. The layers multiply in our teen years, carry on growing in our early 20s and then start to grow a little less slowly until our 40s when we start to finally listen to the small voice inside us saying "hold on a minute, these things you thought would lead to a happy life aren't quite serving you any more".
And your 40s and 50s become this process of shredding these layers you've put on one by one in search of becoming truer to the real you, accepting the human God made, warts and all.
There have been two major sheddings in the last decade for me, and they happened so differently I struggle to find a formula to help you see your own sheddings..
I can trace a 7 year journey from what I thought was about to be the pinnacle of my career (which never happened), to the day I sat excited, terrified, but mostly hopeful at my desk on the first day of full time work in my own company.
That journey was one characterised by extreme shedding - I'd thought I was born to be a corporate employee and that I would die as a corporate employee. From the people pleaser in me wanting to please my boss and being the apple of their eye work wise, to realising the hugely fatal flaw of that in a corporate environment where bosses come and go. From the safety and status of a salary and job title to the nothingness and startup capital of your own business. From accolades and praise to nothing.
And from that shedding that led me to that first day alone at my desk at home began a whole new journey of shedding layers - layers I had no idea I even had (or at least totally underestimated how powerfully they'd wrapped themselves around me).
I speak to many people who have left the corporate world – either to start their own business or retire, and they all describe a similar surprise at this journey of shedding that begins after leaving the corporate world. The journey of shedding the status, position and authority that comes with success… of realising that life goes on back there without you… of being entirely responsible for your own successes and failures with no excuses…of facing your fears, finding your voice, and needing to motivate yourself outside of the deadlines, rhythms and flows of corporate.
Of rebuilding your identity – who you are when all the praise of humans, the pathway of success and the safety of the structures disappears.
My second shedding was way more of a sudden shock….
...a house one quarter of the size of my last one, and a view to die for was a decision we made over just 10 days.
John and I talked had spoken often of the major characteristics of retirement we wanted – the flexibility to join our girls on their journeys; not being tied to one physical place; the opportunity to travel and visit the people we love. About 6 months before we made the decision to move, I felt God telling me to open my clenched fists and let go… to journey life lightly, not holding so tightly to the things that kept my stuck.
Moving so quickly was John’s decision – and one I wholeheartedly felt at peace was the right decision and was aligned to the principles we’d said we wanted in our life. But I didn’t have that emotional drive that so often powers me, and so for me it was a real shedding. I struggled with the process of downsizing, it broke my heart to move away from my family and my lifelong friendships.
And then just 3 months into that journey whilst going through year 2 of Covid lockdown, my daughter broke her back and our world shrunk to the walls of our tiny house as she was bed-ridden for months.
As we struggled through the stormy seas of getting her back onto her feet, the riots in our state, Covid that spread through our family and community, and trying to manage a growing business and be fully present for my clients, I’ve come to realise that again these major sheddings are just the beginning of another phase of identity development.
Stripped of my lifelong friends and my family, unable to make new friends because we were shuttered in, our family grew closer than ever and more focussed on God.
Which brings me to what I think is my next layer of shredding… and one I feel a lot more wobbly about.
You see, leaving corporate was around finally finding something I was passionate about, financial planning, and something I found a natural high doing – helping people with their money. It was a great pull of passion. Going to Hilton didn’t have a pull of passion, but it was a decision John made and I fully supported, and because of the school year, one we needed to commit to quickly – schools, moving, buying and selling a house all in 3 months. There was an urgency and momentum to it, and with Jess breaking her back so shortly after it, our focus turned to survival, helping our little girl make it through this.
No passion, no flurry of action, no drama of survival. It’s been brewing for a while, as these things do, but this morning as I journaled I came to an uncomfortable realisation.
You see, our children’s church has been studying the concept of idolatry, so the last few Sundays the 10 minute children’s teaching inside the church has been so brilliantly geared towards the question of what do you think about and what do you love more than God, and as we picked up that theme, our pastor expanded it to what we feared more.
Now this is a concept I know well and teach on, especially when it comes to God. So yesterday as I was listening to Kate teaching the kids, I knew the answer to the question of what I would struggle to survive life without was my family. I not only love them, they’re the people I most want to spend my time with… not only the immediate 5 of us, but I am so lucky to adore my birth family, as well as my extended family.
But this morning as I journaled today, a deeper, darker realisation came.
I fear the pain of rejection by humans more than I fear the pain of upsetting God. It’s a dark shadow that has weaved its way through my life – showing itself either as people pleasing, or as fear and avoidance, always keeping me on the outside of humans looking in.
To a certain degree I thought I’d nailed it when writing my book, Deep Grooves: Overcoming Patterns that keep you Stuck. I think that fear holds all of us in unhealthy patterns one way or another – be it at work, home, in our careers or lives in general.
But, as I always say, life is an onion… and just when you think you’ve dealt something, new circumstances bring new depths of dealing the issues that stalk us.
The big issue I’ve been grappling with for a long time is my work. The thing I love most is to teach people, to see that spark in their eyes, and watch them come to the realisation that they can change their lives and do things differently. With Jess’s accident and our move to KZN, I cut back significantly on my teaching… and my podcasts.
But over the last year, I’ve felt a call to discover – and teach – what God thinks about money. The WHAT of money is the same – saving, spending, giving, investing, debt – it’s the how and why of God that intrigues me. When I read that there were double the verses in the bible that talk about money than faith and prayer combined, it made me realise that there was so much I wanted and needed to learn…. And teach.
But each time I have clarity that this is what I want to do, the fear inside me rises, and I walk away. I’m scared that I will lose everything. That all the work of the last 6 years will be ruined. That people will think I’m nuts. My family and friends think I’ve gone all extreme. I’m scared that nailing my colours to the post will drive people away, and I will stand alone, rejected. I’m scared at the criticism of Christians as I watch people like Beth Moore and Nichole Nordeman and almost every well known Christian Woman I follow be lashed in the town square of social media. The world is mean, but when people attack your faith, those lashes hit to core of who you are.
My nature, and my faith, means that I’m an inclusive person… I love making the circle bigger. My people pleasing means I want everyone to love me. And, I want the whole world to change its ways about money… to throw off this cancer of show-and-tell consumerism that’s destroying our wealth, getting people into debt and valuing fake success over long term financial stability…..
I’m convinced I will lose everything…
This morning as I was praying, I knew in my heart, If someone asked me to abandon God or lose my life, I’d choose to die rather than abandon God. I gave up John while dating because God asked me to stand with him. So I know when it matters most, I’ll choose God.
Yet, in his graciousness, God showed me this morning that when it comes to this call to teach the world HIS way with money, I have been choosing fear over God at every single turn. Fear of the rejection, fear of the criticism, fear of making the circle smaller, fear of nailing my colours to a post rather than hiding on the outskirts of humanity. Fear of losing friends and family.
I heard an amazing line this month from Julie Chennell – the life you long for is on the other side of this thing you fear.
So I have to ask myself – what happens if it’s true? What happens if the life I long for – a life of congruence, teaching people with a shared passion for God how to live life differently, encouraging them and they encouraging me… what happens if that is even better, filled with more joy than living in the fear I currently feel around trying to please everyone as I teach about money?
So I think I need to do this. With no major pull, no big decision, no drama to energise me, I need to make a brave decision to act, despite the feeling. To hold tight to the saying that held me through the angst of making the decision to leave corporate… Brave to be Free. Because right now, being free of the fear, and choosing God needs me to nail my colours to the mast.
From now I choose to find out and then teach about how God wants us to manage our money. And like I always have done, as I learn, I will teach. I know that this may mean I lose some of you, and so I lovingly say thank you for walking this journey with me to this point and I wish you well going forward.
And as I go through this next shedding, I take to heart the lessons from the last two. That whilst the shedding is hard, and the growth afterwards goes to the core of who you are… you emerge more content in your own skin, more stable in your journey, and closer to being the true version of who God created you to be – with less fear, more faith, more hope and more joy. Now that version of Lisa is someone I can’t wait to meet.
Take care everyone, be kind to yourself, and have a great week.
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