A lot of people my age seem to be going through the same thing. We all want to do what we love and usually what we are doing (for work) is not that thing.
Maybe you’re stuck going to school for something you hate or going to school without any direction or maybe you’ve already graduated and you’re working in a job that has nothing to do with your field.
There are a million different reasons for why you’re in this place. It could be money, pressure from your parents, or fear.
I think we’ve been told from a very young age what being “good enough” looks like. What the American dream is supposed to look like and how we need to prepare for the future. That has resulted in a lot of people being discontent in their situation and dreaming of a bigger, more beautiful world.
We over romanticize travel and love and happiness.
Travel is incredible, my favorite thing to do actually, love binds us in a way that words can’t, and happiness is my favorite kind of feeling.
But doing and feeling those things will not fulfill your life.
They will not make all your dreams come true and they will not solve all your problems. When you get back from Thailand, you might still have anxiety. When you break up with your boyfriend or girlfriend, you might still feel ugly and fat, shoot you might feel that when you’re with them. When the fleeting feeling of happiness fades, your depression may sneak back in.
Don’t get me wrong, I truly do value and adore travel, love, and happiness. But it seems like our generation wants all of those things but we don’t want to work for any of them.
We want to be SO HAPPY but we won’t take an actual steps towards that. If your job sucks, get a new one. If your relationship is hurting you, leave. If you hate where you live, move.
Life is not as complicated as we want to make it. But it is much harder than we want to believe.
5 years ago, I went to Kenya and it changed my life. And not in the cheesy way that I think most people will interpret that sentence. I didn’t come home and sell all of my belongings, I didn’t stop going to Starbucks, and I don’t even think my behavior was that different.
5 years ago, going to Kenya changed my life because it set on me on the trajectory that I am today. 5 years ago, I was 20, wide-eyed, and naive. I had no idea what God was going to do with my life and honestly I didn’t care. I didn’t have a worry in the world. If God would have told me to start One Love His Love 5 years ago, it simply wouldn’t have happened.
I didn’t have the money, ambition, or strength to do so. But you know what He did tell me to do? He told me to go back in 2011. And then to live there in 2012. And then to start building the rehab center in 2013. And then to start the non-profit in 2014. And then to lead a team that same year. And now this year, I go again.
My heart is ready and expectant and happy.
But every step has not been happy.
When I lived in Kenya and got malaria and I was 8,000 miles away from home, I was not happy.
When my Kenyan dad passed away just months after we started fundraising for the rehab center, I was not happy.
When someone else had a similar name as ours and wouldn’t release us to start our non-profit, I was not happy.
When I (and Shalee) spent a lot of money starting something that we didn’t know would get approved, I was not happy.
When I messed up the forms for one of our team members, I was not happy. When some of our own team members got sick on the trip, I was not happy.
When I came home feeling like a failure of a leader, I was not happy.
Emotions I have felt over the past couple of years: stressed, heartbroken, worried, unworthy, unloved, and definitely unhappy.
But when you go after what you love, you simply will not feel happy all the time. Constant happiness is a lie that we tell ourselves to make us feel worse about our own lives.
We just believe that if we were doing what someone else was doing, that we would be happy. But that’s crap. Your happiness is your truth. And being happy isn’t a determinant of success.
You should feel stressed and worried and unworthy and heartbroken. You know why? Because that means you have something to lose.
This thing, it means something to you and it could break you, so no, you shouldn’t feel like a giant ball of happiness all the time. The things you want to succeed take hard work. They take hustle, they take your whole life, and they take love. Nonstop love.
Our nonprofit is still SO baby, we are only a year and half old. We can’t even really walk yet. We are still comfortable crawling. Everyday. Towards this goal, this dream of a rehab center and a future for so many others. I would have it no other way.
And I’m SO glad I didn’t know that my life would be here 5 years ago. I’m so glad that God pushed me a little bit further each year and that he continues to do so. If you feel unfulfilled in your life, change it. Make little steps towards your dreams. But you’re going to have to work for them and not every day will be happy.
That’s kind of the point. You might have to work full time at an office job and do your side hustle in your free time. If that side hustle, that dream, is really your thing – the extra hours will be worth it. Jon Acuff says “work on your side hustle until it’s your only hustle.”
Believe in this dream and work at it until it’s yours. No, you won’t be a national geographic photographer tomorrow and you won’t win a grammy the day after that but maybe start now.
Maybe start believing in those dreams and believe in yourself. Believe in them so much that you put everything towards them.
Fight for something that would wreck you if you lost it, that’s how you can be sure that you’ll fight for it.
So the truth of happiness? How do we get there? Well it will probably include a lot of unhappiness, sacrifice, and most of all love. Truly loving your dreams and the people in your life isn’t always happy. It’s really hard. It’s a choice. Everyday. But it will be worth it.