Cast Your Net

I can clearly remember a conversation that I had with my husband in 2014. It was one of our “checking in” conversations – we have these periodically just to discuss how we’re feeling, any goals we want to accomplish, or things that we weighing heavy on our hearts and/or minds.

“I feel like I should be doing something more.”

At the time of this conversation, I had a 4 year old and a 5 month old. I dearly loved my children, but I felt like I had lost a sense of who I was beyond being a mother. My days were wrapped up with caring for their needs, and somewhere along the way I felt like I had lost who I was.

“Well, what do you want to do?” my husband asked. That was the problem – I didn’t know!

“OK. Well, what are you good at? What makes you happy?” he asked.

Blogging has always made me happy. I started blogging in 2008 with My Chihuahua Bites. I love to write, and I’m really passionate about sharing my life and my story with other women as a means of encouragement and community. Over the years, blogging has changed. We’ve moved from Blogger, to Google Reader, to Twitter, to Instagram, and onto whatever social media platform happens to come along next. What has remained constant throughout the years is that I’ve maintained that passion for sharing my life. I’ve always tried to live my life in an authentic way, and I’ve hoped that my transparency will help some other woman through her own struggles.

It was through that conversation that Tickled Peach was born. I wanted more than anything to create a community. I am right here, in the trenches, raising my children and I wanted to reach out to other women who are doing the same. We are meant to live life in community and my goal has always been to create a safe, judgment free zone for women of all ages.

Well, life happened. I could offer you a thousand excuses as to why Tickled Peach didn’t take off the way I had hoped that it would. In the end, it comes down to me. I allowed myself to buy into lies – that blogging was dead, that there was no way I could ever write professionally, and that I would never make money off of a blog. I allowed myself to get caught up in stats, blog traffic, and engagement, and I told myself that I was putting in a lot of effort for something that wasn’t giving me the results I wanted.

But what if the problem was that I had a skewed sense of what my results really should be?

Over the years God hasn’t let me let Tickled Peach go. Even though I had “quit”, I continued to pay my monthly hosting fee and my yearly domain renewal. Why? Because something inside me said that I wasn’t done just yet.

Last spring I had a major AHA moment. I was participating in BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) and had been studying the book of John. We had reached the end of the year, and we were focusing on John chapter 21. Jesus has been resurrected, and has risen from the dead. From John 21:

Simon Peter said to the others, “I am going fishing.”

“We will come with you,” they told him. So they went out in a boat, but all that night they did not catch a thing. As the sun was rising, Jesus stood at the water’s edge, but the disciples did not know that it was Jesus.

Then he asked them, “Young men, haven’t you caught anything?”

“Not a thing,” they answered.

He said to them, “Throw your net out on the right side of the boat, and you will catch some.” So they threw the net out and could not pull it back in, because they had caught so many fish. – John 21: 3-6

I couldn’t stop thinking about that passage. Let’s think of the disciples for a minute – in those days, fishing was both a profession and a means of feeding your family. I’m not sure why the disciples went out that particular day. I don’t know if their ultimate goal was to fill their own belly or to sell their bounty. Whatever the reason, they had spent an entire night fishing with no result. They were likely tired, discouraged, and at the same time, they were likely struggling with their own feelings regarding the resurrection. I image they were grubby, exhausted, grieving, and discouraged…. and here comes Jesus.

Who they believe is a stranger speaks to them, and tells them to cast their net over the side of the boat.

If that were me, I can imagine I would be skeptical. If I’m honest, I would probably be a little annoyed. I’d likely be thinking “yeah, sure, don’t you think I’ve tried that already?

But they listened. They cast their net. And they were rewarded beyond measure.

The story continues. When the disciples dragged the net ashore, scripture tells us the net was full of 153 fish, much more fish than the net should have ever been able to hold. Yet the net did hold, and it did not break.

They listened. They did what they were asked to do. And they were rewarded.

I just kept turning this passage over and over in my mind. God has never let me forget about Tickled Peach. It’s always been there, in the back of my mind, as something I needed to do. But I’ve refused to listen. I’ve made a million excuses. I’ve pushed the thought away, time and again. But still I heard: Cast your net.

What needed to happen, for me, was a shifting of my priorities. Maybe I needed to let go of this idea of being a “success” and just go. Maybe I just needed to write, and let God do the rest.

I find myself at somewhat of a crossroads right now. I identify myself as a Stay at Home Mom, but my children are getting older. My oldest is in school, and I have one more year before my middle child starts kindergarten. In three years all of my children will be in school full time, and I need to start thinking about what I want to do at that point. Do I want to return to my career as a social worker? Should I complete my Masters degree? Maybe I should go into another field entirely.

When I start to ask myself these questions, my anxiety skyrockets. The truth is, I don’t want to do any of these things. After 10 years as a social worker, I feel burned out, and while the work is rewarding, it had become exhausting and emotionally taxing. I’m almost 40, and the thought of returning to school at my age is scary. So what do I want to do?

I want to write. I want to be home with my children, even when or if they go to public school. I want to be the person handling drop off and pick up. I want to have the freedom to volunteer at their schools and at my church. I want a lot of things that a full time job will never be able to provide for me. And….

Dare I say it? I’d love to write a book. I have a passion for speaking as well, and nothing would make me happier than to book speaking engagements.

Here’s where the doubts creep in. If I can’t even successfully launch a blog, how could I ever launch a book? Who would ever want to read what I have to say? This is all crazy talk. These are just dreams. Dreams are just something that sound really nice, but they aren’t achievable.

Except what if they are?

The problem is that you will never know if you never even try. I’m stepping out in faith, doing what I believe God has called me to do, with the desire to do great things in His name. I’m letting go to my definitions of success and instead and choosing to let God define me.

I don’t know your circumstances today. Maybe God has placed something on your heart, something that seems impossible and that you are telling yourself that you can’t do. He might be telling you to move. To apply for a new job. To have another baby. To adopt. Whatever He is asking, I’m here to tell you that he will equip you to do. The money you need will come. The house will sell. The baby you are praying desperately for is waiting for you as well. Whatever the circumstance, God’s ability is far greater than our own. Don’t worry about the how’s – walk in faith. Take that first step. See where God can take you.

Cast your net, friends. If He calls you to it, He will equip you to do it.