“Can you help me?”
These are the words of my twin boys who are learning to tie their shoes this summer. We may be a bit late with this shoe tying thing, but this summer we are figuring this out gosh darnit.
I bend down again, showing him one more time with my fingers wrapping his laces together. One over the other, through the loop, then pull to form a bow. I coach him through the process with his other shoe, which he fumbles with, requiring my gentle guidance to finish the task. It was a bit messy, but it got the job done.
Within just a few days, they no longer needed my help. Bows are being formed and they’ve even realized that created a double bow knots it together so it doesn’t become loose over the day as they play hard outside. They once were at zero confidence, zero understanding, and zero clarity about how to do it, they now have the skills and experience necessary to continue doing it on their own.
This is just like our life too, right?…and yet why do we struggle or compare ourselves to someone else who looks to have it figured out when of course they are further along in the process than us? The truth is, we all start at zero. Everyone. Even those you are comparing yourself too right now didn’t get to where they are without starting somewhere at the bottom as well.
In motherhood I had zero experience being a mom until I was, well, a mom. Sometimes you can receive all the insights and feedback, but it won’t really sink in until you experience it in real life. Until you have the baby (or babies—twins—in my case) and through the tangible experience you figure out how to change diapers more efficiently. Until you start writing on that blog you create, even though you suck at it at first. Until you watch those training videos and then APPLY those things to your real life environment, knowing you’re going to be slow, results won’t be instant, and you will make mistakes along the way at first. Until you get married, and realize marriage takes work, but it’s worth it to experience a depth of love so special and unique by fighting through the storms. Until you take that job even though you’re not sure what you’re doing at first. Until you open that small shop even though you’re afraid you don’t know enough yet.
We all start at zero, friend.
Even God started at zero.
I was helping my son read through his Bible the other day, and we started with Genesis. And I realized, even God talks about how He started at zero—a nothingness—to create something amazing. Everything is a new beginning in this chapter. The moon, the stars, the seas and the earth. None of it was there before and although God is God and doesn’t make mistakes (something different from you and I) it still demonstrates a semblance of a starting point to something that becomes amazing.
What if we really dug this into our thinking? What would be the results from this transforming thought and realization that we all start at zero?
Here are 5 transformational inner changes that I believe will happen when you apply this one truth–everyone starts at zero:
1) Your anxiety will lessen.
Because you will realize that starting at zero is NORMAL. At some point you learned to brush your teeth on your own, tie your shoes, and feed yourself. You started learning how to manage money (although some of you may still need a little more practice with this), how to drive a car, and how to land a job (I still remember reading through the book What Color is Your Parachute as I prepped for one of my first official job interviews). You learn how to change a diaper, what your husband likes (and doesn’t like), and how to start officially writing that book. You learn how to start or scale a business, what pace of lifestyle is good for your heart and mind, and how to make the best keto-friendly chai tea latte that still tastes good. Because you simply started, you went from nothing—zero—to something, and you realize that everyone else has been in your shoes, too.
2) Your confidence in your callings will rise
I’m a firm believer that there isn’t just one calling to your life. You are called to many things. My list for example is: I’m called to be a mom, wife, writer, author, speaker, friend, daughter, business partner, family cook and house-cleaner, and online influencer just to name a few. However, with the majority of these roles, I had to step into them at zero. I had never been a mom before until I had kids. I wasn’t a wife until I got married. I wasn’t a writer until I started writing, I wasn’t an author until I published my first book. I wasn’t a speaker until I started speaking at events. I wasn’t a friend until I learned how to be a friend to others…and so on. But as I’ve continued to grow in these callings, stepping out even when I’ve felt uncomfortable or scared, my confidence increased as I kept practicing and stepping out into the unknown. So step into the roles God has called you to steward at this time and you will continue to grow in confidence as you keep trusting in Him.
3) You will go from confusion to clarity
When you stay at zero you won’t learn what you need to learn to go from feeling confused to a state of more and more clarity. If we continue to read the Bible but don’t apply what it says to our daily life, we may not ever experience the depth of clarity we are meant to experience with it. If you theorize what you want to do—start teaching, coaching, speaking, building, acting, etc—you will stay confused about how to actually do it until you step out and learn through doing. If you continue learning about how to change a diaper but never actually do it yourself, you may think you have what it takes to do it, but it wont’ become clear until you actually do. And sorry for all the diaper innuendos but apparently after changing over 24 diapers per day with three babies under the age of two during about 3 years of my life, I’ve grown to be fond of that analogy. So, just trust me on this one…clarity will come as you do it, not before.
4) You will move from stagnant to sufficient
If you stay stuck in the mentality that you can’t do something because you already see other amazing humans doing those things instead, or you continue to dwell on how much you wish you were in that other amazing human’s shoes, you will stay stagnant—at zero—and never fully realize what you are capable of. You need to stop focusing on others and instead focus on Jesus who will help you understand who you are, how He created you, what He’s wired you for, and how you are supposed to get there. Just like there are multiple ways to tie a shoe, there are multiple ways to reach where you want to go in life. But sitting still wishing for something to change isn’t it. Take appropriate action, like getting still with God, which is probably one of the most important actions you can take to go from stagnant to becoming more sufficient.
5) You will enjoy the process
Because everyone starts at zero, you won’t be feeling this pressure to perform or reach a certain level of competence immediately. Or at least you shouldn’t. Therefore you will enjoy the process of learning how to become a better mom, knowing that you are getting better and better everyday. You will enjoy the process of learning what it takes to get that book published as you understand that you are right where you should be, in the normal part of the learning process. So, enjoy the process my friend, knowing that you’re right where you should be.
Recently, I’ve had to check myself on this very truth that I’m telling you right now. I found myself feeling overwhelmed again with how much I DON’T know instead of embracing what I do. I felt unequipped, but instead of staying in that place, I sought out other resources (like google) and people to help mentor me in the areas of my life where I felt stuck at zero. Instead of staying at zero, I moved the needle forward to 1, then 2, then 3, and although I don’t think there’s every going to be a moment I think I’m at 100, I will keep making progress and continue on this journey to grow instead of dwelling on the lie that I that I can’t become a better mom, wife, writer, speaker, friend, etc.
So the next time you find yourself stuck because you have zero inspiration, zero clarity, zero abilities, and zero confidence in something, remember I’ve been there too. We’ve all been there. But the only way to move past zero is to just start somewhere and let God do the rest.
>>Want to listen to the full conversation about this topic? Listen to Episode 37 on the Refine & Restore podcast!<<<