It seems like whenever we settle into a pattern in life, something changes, doesn’t it? That’s been the case for me lately, so I wanted to fill you in on where God’s been leading.
A few months ago, I reached a point of complete burnout. My book release last fall led straight into an intense season where I juggled a new book deadline + an extra load of teaching wellness and fitness classes + supporting my husband as he took the leap from his steady paycheck to be an entrepreneur full-time + keeping up with my kids’ activities.
As I navigated that season, God taught me so much about myself and His heart for me. The lessons I learned weren’t easy, and they ultimately led me to changes I never anticipated making. But the reality is, when God speaks, I’ve learned to listen.
Initially I had planned to let all these changes happen behind the scenes, but I have a feeling someone else may need to hear what I’ve been learning. So today I’m going to share about dreams that shift and the beauty of following wherever God leads.
First, a little background on my career journey for those who are new here…
In 2008, I heard a distinct call to write for publication. I was a complete mess at the time, navigating a season of long-term disability as a new mom. My call to write drew me to fiction, and I started writing novels that earned attention in contests. Then I signed with an agent, and we worked hard for several years pitching my novels to publishers. I had a few bites, but I couldn’t get my foot in the door with a full-length novel.
In the process, I reached a crisis point with my health and decided to do something about it. I started exercising and eating healthy, and a new dream was born. I earned my certification to teach fitness and later added nutrition and wellness coaching to my credentials. During that time, much of my blog content switched gears to follow that focus.
I continued to write books alongside my health and fitness work, but fiction reached a dead-end for me. The idea for my book Prayers for Hope and Healing sprouted, and it made it through the iron-clad publishing door to become a reality last fall.
Becoming a first-time author was amazing and the fulfillment of a ten-year dream. But with that dream-come-true, a new challenge emerged.
Once I became published, I learned just how much work happens behind the scenes to make a book a success. In the midst of that work, I continued teaching fitness and wellness classes, alongside coaching one-on-one clients.
Do you see a recipe for burnout here? 🙂
As I worked hard to juggle it all this past winter, I found myself struggling with my own health and wellness. The very things I was teaching others to do were nearly impossible for me to follow because I’d given myself no breathing room.
Time with family became a rare commodity. And the times I was present, my mind flitted to a million other places that needed my attention.
It soon became clear that something needed to change.
I went through a detailed process of analyzing the options. When it came down to it, I had two choices:
1) Keep going as is, but figure out a way to shift my fitness and wellness coaching to a different model. This would require a big upfront investment but could save me time in the long run as I juggle it with my publishing career. -or-
2) Let go of my fitness and wellness altogether to focus on writing books and speaking on topics related to them.
As I worked through the pros and cons of each — and analyzed how my personal values were impacted by each scenario — it became clear that I needed to move forward with Option #2.
Lots of prayer and discussion followed. I talked it over with my husband and wise counselors, including my agent, and their input confirmed this decision.
I then began the process of communicating the decision with my wellness classes and clients and received an overwhelming amount of love and support. As I moved toward the transition, God provided new instructors and resources to fill in my place — a confirmation that when I step out in faith and obey Him, He will provide.
In the meantime, I’ve gained the opportunity to work alongside my husband in his business ventures — yet another dream shift I wouldn’t trade for anything.
In two short weeks, I’ll be finished teaching my weekly fitness classes. There have been lots of tears as I’ve processed this truth. And I’m sure there will be more tears to come.
But here’s what I’ve learned in this process of letting go: My identity isn’t wrapped up in the work I do or the tasks I fulfill or the ways people view and define me. My identity is wrapped up in who I am in Christ.
While I’m quick to put labels on myself — wellness coach and fitness instructor, author and speaker, wife and mother — the only label that matters is Daughter of God.
Sweet friend, if God is calling you to let go of something you love — if He’s ushering you into a new season with a new label — never forget who you are. You are a creation of the Most High God. You are worthy. And you are loved.
As I step into this new season, there is grief and loss, yes. But there is also beauty and freedom. My creativity has been revived as I dream about new book projects. My health has improved as I find more pockets of time to exercise and eat well. My head is clearer as I interact with my kids and cheer them on at recitals and baseball games. My marriage is strengthened as I partner with my husband in work and in life.
All of these blessings wouldn’t exist if I didn’t slow my pace to appreciate them.
As I enter this next phase in my journey, I invite you to join me. You may see less diet and fitness advice here. But I pray that as I share what God is teaching me in the everyday journey, you’ll be inspired to dream a little bigger, rest a little more often, and find hope in the One who created you.
Enjoying the journey with you,
P.S. – If you’re looking for ongoing wellness tips from a Christian perspective, I highly recommend visiting Grace-Filled Plate and Clare Smith. My blog also has wellness posts in the archives HERE.
*scenic photo by Una Matison / CreativeMarket.com
Beth K. Vogt says
Thanks for always being so transparent. Excited for where God is leading you, Sarah!
Sarah Forgrave says
Thank you, Beth! ❤
Love this! Thank you for sharing and encouraging us by your example to slow down and choose what matters most for this season of life. I appreciate you so much!
Sarah Forgrave says
Thank you, Janese! It’s a lesson I’ve had to learn and relearn and relearn again. 🙂
Sarah, I love this and love your heart. I know God’s blessing will pour out all over you as you trust Him every step of the way.
Sarah Forgrave says
Thank you, Sherrinda, for blessing me today! ❤