I was once a “successful” network marketer. By successful, I simply mean, I was helping quite a few people with both their health and finances. I enjoyed what I did and loved getting to travel, teach and train others to duplicate what had been taught to me.
Not only was I able to convey information, but my heart to see others experience results was genuine. I loved getting phone calls of people feeling better or getting a check in the mail from the work they were doing to help others. I am not one of those who think network marketing is all evil and can’t be done with good motives. I have several friends in this industry and I love hearing about and seeing their successes.
When I was working with a product I believed in from a company that had integrity, it felt safe to dream and set goals. I was able to meet several of those goals and saw a few of those dreams come true. It was always exciting when I made my business a matter of prayer and then trusted God with the outcome. Trusting God with the results didn’t mean I waited for my phone to ring or someone to come knock on my door and ask for me to help them.
There’s a few things I learned from my season of network marketing that has stuck with me and has continued to help me in other areas of life. I don’t know if they will help you, but, here they are, for what they’re worth.
1) Story is powerful but don’t make promises. The only promises we can make with assurance are the promises Jesus has made. I would cringe when I heard someone make a promise they had no business making. It’s always better to say, “This is my experience. Are you interested in seeing what it could do for you?” Also, don’t leave out the valleys. Real life has ups and down. Real life has successes and failures, joys and sorrows. If it sounds to good to be true, it probably is, unless you are sharing the gospel. The gospel is tried and true.
2) Don’t take no’s personally, unless you did or said something offensive. The way we articulate our passions and asking matters. If you are sharing Jesus, don’t threaten hell. It’s just not conducive to genuine decisions coming from the work of the Holy Spirit. Fear is a horrible motivator that will never sustain the decision once the going gets tough. I’m not saying there’s not a time to speak hard truth, but if that was the most effective way to invite others to a better life, we’d all be free from our vices. Whether it’s smoking, overeating, or camping out in bitterness.
Keep in mind, if someone is about to run out into the street and they don’t see the car coming that you see, that’s the time to not care if yelling scares them. Most of the time, however, the issue at hand is not that critical. (God is thorough and patient.)
I use to tell people, “Don’t be afraid of no’s, it’s not personal.” And don’t decide for someone else. I’ve had people share things with me having no idea I was already interested in what they were sharing. If I’m not interested, I’ve learned to be graciously honest, knowing I’m not rejecting the person.
3) Dreaming out loud feels risky but you will have others encourage you. I love the way my husband has come to understand my bent in being an out loud dreamer. He use to think I was asking him to do something in order to make something happen. Now he mostly listens and sometimes will ask questions. Every once in awhile he will verify that I am (At this point) just dreaming. When he sees me moving towards setting goals and taking action, he knows stuff could possibly happen. Unless he sees red flags, and sometimes he does, he seeks to encourage me and offer practical help.
Nathan and I are very different in temperament but after 30 years of being in relationship, we are learning to not only appreciate those differences, but also see the value in having more than one perspective.
For me, being a dreamer means continually asking, “How can I help bring light and love into dark spaces?” I’ve let go of the idea I can “save” anyone, but I will never let go of believing we are created in Christ Jesus to do good works. Doing good does not mean we have a “works mentality,” unless we do them to earn our way into God’s good graces. Jesus already did that for us and now we can experience the rest and joy of being a pleasure to the heart of God.
When goals aren’t met or we are in a holding pattern with our dreams, we don’t throw in the towel. We are not all knowing. All we really have is a measure of faith to step out and begin asking, begin sharing and seeing what doors will open. We don’t push down doors, but we do knock. Heck, even Jesus said He knocks on the door of the church, seeking to enter in and restore what we’ve messed up.
Dreaming from a place of being in relationship with Jesus is a wonderfully, curious and life-giving space to be in. Sometimes that space involves the pain of deferred hopes.
I recently read something that caused my heart to say, “Yes! This is it!”
“Find the sweet spot between total commitment and complete surrender. That is where your freedom lies.” HeatherAsh
Part of dreaming is making a commitment to those dreams that won’t go away. At the SAME time, keeping our hands open throughout the journey to release the dream and be willing to let it go, trusting that no part of the process was in vain. If we truly believe WHO we are becoming is actually more important than WHAT we are doing, we will give grace to ourselves and to others who dream out loud.