What To Do When Nothing Makes Sense

Written by on 11 Nov 2014

So… I did something a little crazy.


Let me tell you about it.


Normally I’m pretty painstaking when it comes to writing this blog.


My process goes something like this:


Friday: Add to the editorial calendar, which has over 40 blog ideas (and counting). New ideas arise from weekly interactions, unexpected bouts of lucid dreaming, or one too many glasses of Pinot.


Weekend: Consolidate thoughts and ideas on the calendar. Talk to friends and family about what’s going on in the world in case one of my lucid dreaming ideas or random run-ins happens to align with something topical.


Monday: Go over the editorial calendar and choose a topic. Try (as hard as humanly possible) to wait for one of my ideas to get a visceral, deep, gut reaction, and then run with it.


I’ve found that writing about what touches me—my heart or my tummy—makes for the best reads.


Then, I spend most of Monday curled up at a coffee shop trying to write something insightful.


As Kurt Vonnegut so eloquently put it, “When I write, I feel like an armless, legless man with a crayon in his mouth.”


Quite a visual, especially in the context of a coffee shop.


Normally the blog post goes through rounds of editing, gets “slept on,” then re-edited on Tuesdays before I post it.


Someone once told me that bad content is more of a liability than no content at all, so I really took that to heart.


But today, I did something a little crazy.


Instead of posting the blog that I spent all-day yesterday vetting… all day yesterday composing… all day yesterday editing…


And I took it and threw it in the trash.


Yep, crumpled it up and threw it in the trash. And by that I clearly mean I dragged it across my desktop to the “recycle bin.” That’s the garbage can of the 21st century, right?


Regardless of where it ended up, cyber-trash or real trash, the important thing is that I scrapped it in favor of something a little crazy.


Instead of sitting on a topic for weeks (or in some cases years) before I try and add it to literary history, I’m doing things a little differently. Today, I’m going to share something that touched my heart and my tummy…


Just. Last. Night.


Yep, this story happened just last night.


I’m a firm believer that people come into our lives for a reason, and last night, I had one of those moments that just needed to be shared.


So buckle up, friends! This one is raw and uncut, but man is it powerful.


Last night, I was at the final session of a 5-week workshop at a local church. The workshop was called, “Find Your Mission.” The premise was that each of us is uniquely wired to make an impact. By learning how your talents, abilities, passions, and personality come together, you can find meaningful and fulfilling work that makes a difference.


“Find Your Mission” would show you how to do just that.


If you know anything about me (which you should by now!), you know that this class was right up my alley.


In fact, it probably should have been called Timmbit Alley.


But after 4 weeks of lectures and lessons, I was feeling a bit… disappointed.


I hadn’t learned anything remarkably new. I hadn’t been inspired to dig in any further. And worst of all, I hadn’t found any nuggets worthy of sharing with you guys—my treasured readers!


Yes, I’m always thinking about you.


So I went in to the session last night not expecting much. The powers-that-be had changed the format of the session to include break-outs and small group discussions, presumably so that could digest the information we had been fed for the previous four weeks. One of these sessions was a ten-minute one-on-one to discuss your unique “wiring.”


I figured…why not? Can’t hurt, right?


So I signed up.


My ten minute talk was sandwiched between the two major breakout sessions. Perfect placement for me to make a quick entrance and exit, I thought.


I was fully prepared to be underwhelmed…


And then, I met Andrea.


You know how some people just have an aura about them? Like a glow that you really can’t explain? Or a vibe that you feel but can’t see? Or a shiny quality that you just can’t put your finger on?


This girl had that in spades.


Shiny, vibe-y, glow-y spades.


I had no idea where to take the conversation, so we just started talking… We talked about gifts… passions… abilities… And at first, she gave me a lot of must-be-standard answers for 20-somethings:


Join a community group.

Look for something life-stage based.

Think about college ministry.


Based on my lack-luster reactions, she could tell that these just weren’t hitting the mark.


Apparently, I’m a tough customer. I know, you're shocked.


So she put her list down and looked at me and said, “There’s been something on my heart recently, and I’m just gonna throw it out there and see what you think. Have you ever thought about pregnancy?”


Ummm… what?!


Hello, Left Field, my name is Tracy.


But, she went on.


“Have you ever thought about pregnancy? You know, working with women who are pregnant, maybe unexpectedly, and helping them through that transition? Have you ever thought about that?”


I could honestly say, I had not thought about that.


I’m pretty much the poster-child for young, single professional. I’ve never been married. Never been pregnant. I’m an only child. I have no young nieces, nephews, or cousins.


I’m like, oh I don’t know, the least qualified person to work with pregnant women—maybe ever.


And I told her that.


No, I’ve never thought of that. That doesn’t seem to make any sense for me.


And she said something that really struck my heart… something that I didn’t expect… something that I hadn’t heard in a long time…


“You know, it’s ok to do things that don’t make sense.”


It’s ok…


To do things…


That don’t make sense.


And then came her story as to why.


Andrea met her husband during her sophomore year at Texas A&M (I can hear the whooping through the screen). They dated all throughout college, and married shortly after her husband completed his MBA. He got a job as an accountant. She got a job as a teacher. They moved to Dallas.


They were newlyweds.


All was right with the world.


Well, sorta.


Turns out, her husband was a vibrant and passionate man—two things that don’t always go hand-in-hand with accounting. After just a year of him working at the firm, she could see the light in him fading. In fact, he was miserable.


They had a comfortable living, had just bought a home, and seemed to be on the right track except that every fiber of his being wanted to quit his job…


And move into ministry.


He felt called to do something different, something meaningful, something better.


Of course, she was terrified (and rightfully so!). Can you imagine, in your first year of marriage, your husband wanting to quit his job? Where would they go? What would he do? Where would they live? What would happen to them?


Surely, he was crazy.


But through time and prayer and love, they decided that what was best for him was best for their marriage, and they made the leap.


Her husband quit his job. They sold their home. He joined ministry. They gave up their benefits. They bought private insurance. They took a 66% paycut, and basically lived off of her salary as a teacher.


66% y’all.


That’s a ton of money no matter how you slice it.


And to the world, this seemed crazy!


They had done everything the “right” way according to the world around them.


Go to college. Find a spouse. Get married. Get steady jobs. Use your degrees. Don’t complain. Live “happily” ever after.


Except that one thing was missing—happy.


And through faith—faith in something better, something bigger, something more meaningful—everything  changed. Their story worked out. They found a place to stay with another family at the church. Her husband’s salary increased ever-so-slightly. Slowly but surely, his light came back.


And now, they aren’t just surviving—they are thriving.


It’s ok… to do things… that don’t make sense.


On this blog, we talk a lot about giving yourself permission to take risks.


Permission to quit.

Permission to choose life over regrets.

Permission to love without reserve.


But we’ve only skimmed the surface of letting go of the permission we require from others.


Permission for our choices.

Permission for our careers.

Permission for our relationships.


Often times in life, something that you want to do—something that touches your heart AND your tummy—will look absolutely crazy to everyone around you.


All the good stuff usually does.


In those times, remind yourself (or find someone else to remind you) of this fact:


It’s ok to do things that don’t make sense.


Ironically, Andrea gave me permission to no longer need permission.


Let me be that person for you.


Expect to be misunderstood.


Know that everything good in life will look a little bit crazy.


Don’t wait for someone to tell you “it’s ok.”


Believe that it is ok to do things that don’t make sense.


And if you needed a reminder of that, here it is.


When nothing makes sense, do something anyway.




Whose permission are you waiting on to make a change in your life? Do you really need it, or can you take a leap of faith without it?


Share your story or your reaction in the comments below.


Did this story resonate with you? Or did it make you think of a story of your own?


I believe that stories unite us. These stories can be traced back to one person, conversation, or observation that provided a turning point in our lives. I’d love to hear if you believe this, too.


If you do believe this, then share it with your friends! Because sharing stories an instinctual, powerful way to touch the hearts of others and change the world around us.

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