Adding Anything Affects Everything {a God-sized dreams post}

Several years ago I learned a hard lesson about myself:  I’m a control freak. My need for perfection, to be seen as capable, to never disappoint, that desire for approval was destroying me … and it was costing me more than realized.

I spent a lot of time studying Proverbs 31. In fact, I spent most of 2006 and 2007 digging deep into those passages and looking at the words and phrases, comparing them to other passages of Scripture about women. What I learned changed me. By October of 2007, the year I turned 36, the Lord and I had a whole new understanding of what it means to be a woman who fears the Lord.

One of the biggest lessons I learned was simple:

Adding Anything Affects Everything www.terilynneunderwood.com

Adding ANYTHING affects EVERYTHING. The Lord showed me how every time I said yes to something, even something small, it would affect everything else I did. If I said yes to making cupcakes for my daughter’s class at school, it would have an impact on the other plans I had for that day.  If I agreed to teach a Sunday School class, that time to prepare would have to come from somewhere. My time is finite, no matter how much I wish it were not.

Of all the lessons I’ve learned on balance (or lopsided living, as I prefer to call it), priorities, and living well, this has been the most important. And so, as I say yes to this God-sized dream, this passion for giving women permission to live well, this realization that God has given me a message of hope and encouragement for others, I realize some things will have to go.

Speaking

My dream is to speak, to look in the eyes of women and give them biblical truths and practical suggestions for living well.  And God has opened doors, unbelievable doors.  But that means I have less time for other things—like blogging.   I love blogging.  I love the relationships I have built.  But as much as I love tapping out words on the keys, I love ever so much standing before groups of women and speaking hope and truth.  I went to college on a debate scholarship and majored in Public Speaking.  I’m one of the less than 1% of people whose greatest fear isn’t speaking in front of a group.  I love it.  I mean, I really love it.

Refresh brochure www.terilynneunderwood.com

This week, Holley asked all of us God-sized dreamers to share what would have to decrease so we could be obedient to follow God in the dream He has given us.  It’s hard to let go of something that’s safe and comfortable, something I know .  But long before I was a writer, I was a teacher, a speaker.  The writing came from that … not the other way around.  I’ve hidden behind the screen far too long, scared to leap with abandon at what God has created me to do.  I’m stepping out.  I’m saying this, “God created me to sit around a table with five women or stand in front of 500 to encourage and challenge them to live in the full life He offers us!”

This weekend I’ll be the keynote speaker at Refreshed, a women’s conference at Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Huntsville, Alabama.  I’ll be sharing my heart on two of my favorite topics:  rest and living well.  This is it, y’all … I’m saying “YES!” to the dream.

What have you had to say “No” to lately in order to be able to say “Yes” to God?

{linking with Holley and all my dream-chasing friends}

12 Replies to “Adding Anything Affects Everything {a God-sized dreams post}”

  1. Love it! I am so proud of your for stepping out from behind the screen! You are a talented writer, but you are a passionate speaker, and I’m excited to see what God will do with your passion. Praying for you as your prepare for this weekend and minister to the women God will bring! <3

    1. Teri Lynne Underwood says: Reply

      Thank you, Sandra! I am very excited. I am so thankful for your friendship and your prayers. So glad the internet (and Nikki!) connected us. 🙂

  2. It’s been my experience in the past that when I’ve turned down something in order to be somewhere else, God has blessed that. Once I turned down singing at a concert in order to go to a conference for the day, and God used that day to give me direction. Praying He’ll bless all your work for Him especially the sacrificial parts.

    1. Teri Lynne Underwood says: Reply

      Sarah, that is my experience also. But somehow I often lose sight of what God has done before when He asks me to step out once again. So hard to let go of familiar and safe sometimes.

      Thank you for stopping by today!

  3. Denise In Bloom says: Reply

    Amen! Love this. I am right there with you. I have had to let some ambitions and plans go, in order to leave room for things that have a higher purpose.. I am thrilled for you to get out and speak, you are a treasure and have much to share with women. God is going to bless your obedience.

    Love ya!

    1. Teri Lynne Underwood says: Reply

      Oh girl! Love you too … and so thankful for your sweet friendship. You spur me on in the letting go of good to live in best.

      xo
      TL

  4. Teri Lynne, I like you so much. All of you. And that is all. 🙂

    1. Teri Lynne Underwood says: Reply

      Holley Gerth, you are the real deal. And I’m thankful you are in my life. I’m better because of you and your friendship. 🙂

  5. Learning to allow our dreams to but flexible – to be putty in Gods hands is a hard lesson. At least it is for me. The dreams I had in my youth are not the dreams of today and that is okay but still is taking so getting used to .

    1. Teri Lynne Underwood says: Reply

      Oh Amy! So true.

  6. Oh so well said “Adding Anything Affects Everything”! Praying for you as you follow God’s plan for your life! As I read your post I am praying I will sit quietly listening to God’s plan for me and bravely follow Him down the path He leads. In His Calm, Mary

    1. Teri Lynne Underwood says: Reply

      Thank you, Mary! For your encouraging words and for your prayers. What a gift both are to me!!

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