Long Obedience in the Same Direction
I imagine most people who start something do so to meet a need they witness. They have an idea or an opportunity for a solution to a problem in their own life — or in the lives of others — so they begin to work. It’s not glamorous and it’s uncertain what the finish line looks like or if there is one at all.
That was us 10 years ago when we set out on this journey known as Krochet Kids intl. We established a plan to provide meaningful work to women in Northern Uganda as a means for them to take back control of their futures. To put them back in the driver’s seat of their lives.
The above video is a snapshot of what that first day of crochet training was all about.
A decade later we find ourselves overfull with gratitude, with the same spirit of optimism, and perhaps carrying even more questions than when we first started. We have realized the hard-to-swallow truth that anyone realizes as they pour themselves into meaningful work. That is to say, our goal is not to attain some unattainable or fleeting idea of mastery, but to commit yourself to a consistent process of improvement and to walk with long obedience in the same direction.
The patient result becomes one you could not have imagined or planned for in the beginning and it is very good.
Earlier this year I had the amazing opportunity to travel to Israel for a 10-day trip throughout the country. I was invited by my friends at Socality to take part in a trip hosted by Israel Collective — an organization “dedicated to building vibrant relationships between American Christian leaders and the people of the Holy Land” (from their website).
In retrospect, one of the biggest blessings was that I hadn’t previously thought much about or really ever planned to visit Israel, thus I went in with no expectations of what I would experience. This lead me to be pleasantly surprised by EVERY aspect of our trip, and especially the people and culture we were able to experience while there.
The food was amazing, the landscape beautiful, and the conflict in the middle east (both at large and within Israel alone) was more complicated than I formerly could have understood. You can read a short blog post about our time in Jerusalem and the history of unrest in the area HERE.
All in all, the trip left me with innumerable questions and an odd sort of optimism despite clear pathways to peace. I guess it was Israel Collective and others we were able to hear from on our trip who were earnestly looking to find common ground and build relationships.
Below are a handful of images from the trip. You can view more photos on my VSCO Journal.
As per this instagram post, “Wildflowers” by Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers has been stuck in my head all week.
Not to mention, all of the rain we have been experiencing in Southern California is making this place bloom like crazy. What used to be brown hills are now lush green landscapes covered with wildflowers.
“Wildflowers” – Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
The Importance of Being Believed In
I am increasingly convinced of this:
the only absolute factor for success is having others believe in your ability to accomplish your dreams.
The truth is, entrepreneurship is hard. Following your dreams is really difficult. All the odds seem to be stacked against us and the biggest obstacle of all is ourselves. The negative self talk that bounces around in our heads minute by minute is one of the biggest deterrents for good ideas being executed in the world.
We live in a culture that says, “Try harder”. “Pick yourself up by your bootstraps and make it happen.” “Figure it out.” But you will eventually hit a wall, and the perception of your own superhero abilities will crumble. Mine have, consistently.
The only thing that has allowed me to continue marching forward are the loving voices of friends, coworkers, and family that believe in me more than I can believe in myself. And it’s a commonality shared across humanity. I’ve seen this internationally through my work in poverty alleviation as well. Women in developing countries are a POWERFUL force when they realize the potential they possess and are surrounded with a supportive community rooting them on.
This is the one success factor. We start out by believing in ourselves, but we will fall short and the only way we’ll be able to believe this core truth again is if there are others there to remind us.
Takeaway: Don’t be an island. Be an encouragement to others and be a recipient of that same encouragement as it comes back to you.