A few weeks ago, I found myself on the deck of a 4 million dollar house boat in one of the most beautiful, serene places in the world surrounded by people who were motivated, ambitious, successful, and making dreams come true for themselves and others. Being on that houseboat was a goal I had made in March of this year when I heard it was a possibility, and I accomplished that goal.
And the first night there, I could not sleep.
It wasn’t the usual rough night for me where I take a while to fall asleep and then wake up frequently throughout the night, it was that I was unable to fall asleep at all. I lay in bed for hours, trying to breathe, meditate, relax, talk to God, identify what it was that was keeping me awake.
Finally, I realized I was not comfortable in that world, that space, that mindset. It felt daunting. It felt anxiety inducing. It was also thrilling and wonderful, but my subconscious struggled to adjust. I began to sing a mantra to myself.
I belong here.
I belong here.
I belong here.
At around 2:30 AM, I gave up on sleep and went up to the top deck of the houseboat where it was wide open to the stars. I stared up into them and absorbed the expansion, the abundance, the unknown. The ocean and the night sky are the two things that most profoundly remind me of both the humility of my existence and the vastness of my potential. Each time I melt into the night sky or explore the depths of the ocean, I am in awe of all creation and reminded how important I am to my Heavenly Father because He cares enough to give me all He has and gives me the opportunity to become all He is. If I want it.
Photo credit: Klemen Vrankar via Unsplash
For so much of my life, I had kept myself small. I felt a need to minimize my own impact on the world in order to not outshine others or make others uncomfortable or cause others to feel upset. Because of events in my past, I had learned that one of my roles in life was to shrink and hide in order to be safe.
That night, as the stars hugged me and lake water sang to me, I began to allow myself to expand. I gave myself more permission to take up space and be seen and heard. I looked into the unlimited beauty and power of the universe and decided I belonged.
I still sometimes struggle to feel like I deserve this. I still have moments where I don’t feel like I’ve earned it enough, but the beauty of the atonement of Jesus Christ and the blessings of this life is we never have to earn them, they’re given freely. It’s not mine to earn or deserve, it’s mine to receive in gratitude and share with as many as I can.
There is much to be done and much more to learn along my journey as I decide what kind of an impact I want to make in this life, but now I am thrilled with the opportunities instead of cowed by the potential. Now, when I pray each day, I ask God to help me be His vessel. I visualize His light filling me to the brim so there is so much of His light it flows out from me and I’m able to reach out and transfer His light to others. I ask Him to guide me to those who are ready to receive it, and my prayers are being answered. I still sometimes catch myself shrinking to those seemingly bigger and louder than me, but I’ll get better at reversing that pattern. I’ll share my story and take up space and be seen and heard.
And I’ll show others how to do the same.
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