One thing about me that you may have noticed is that I like trying new things, which is part of the reason you’re reading this post. I’ve never designed my own blog much less shared my personal feelings on one. My love for trying new things started a long time ago and has continued to play out in my adult life.
When I met Steve he was a trainer for the Minnesota Vikings Cheerleaders. So you can guess what I wanted to try… Yes, I was going to audition to be a Minnesota Vikings Cheerleader or MVC, as they’re known in the professional cheer world.
I have a dance background, but it’s nothing like what young girls and boys have today. Being that I was raised in a small town, dance looked different. We practiced once a week and I enjoyed it, as it was a fun recreational activity. We never had competitions, which compared to today’s standards is insane. We practiced our choreography and learned different steps all year so we could perform at the spring recital.
I have no doubt that being involved in extracurricular activities has helped me to understand the value of teamwork, dedication, how to encourage others and try my best.
My siblings and I like to dance, in fact my sister and I still dance together on occasion in my basement. As every dancer knows, once you have choreography ingrained in your head, it comes back to you at the drop of a beat. I still do choreography in my head while I’m driving or listening to music!
Auditioning to be an MVC with my experience would seem crazy to most, but it was exhilarating to me. I’m not sure if you’ve ever been to a Vikings game, but these women are legit. Their talent is incredible. Not only are these women stunningly beautiful and incredible dancers, they’re the amazing off the field. Some are students, others career women and some are moms. Who wouldn’t want to be part of that? I figure if you never try, you’ll never know what might have been.
With wanting to be part of this foreign world, I had to address my obstacles. My biggest challenge was that I lacked technique and flexibility. My sister would make fun of me for my rigidity and I had nothing to say because she was right.
So there I was charting unfamiliar territory. I sought out the help and advice from those who have gone before me. Thankfully Steve was very connected and he reached out to two former MVC so I wouldn’t have to go into this blindly. Not only did I share my pursuit of becoming an MVC with my friends and family, I talked about it with my students. If you remember I was teaching elementary physical education. I solicited the help of my students who were dancers. They’re incredibly talented and I needed their expertise. They took much delight in teaching me how to do double turns.
I auditioned for Minnesota Vikings Cheerleaders for my first time in April of 2011. I didn’t end up making the team, but I was selected to be part of the Minnesota Vikings Cheerleaders Training Program. The Training Program (TP) is its own separate team that practices one day a week at Winter Park and is coached by former MVC. The goal is to learn all things MVC in preparation for auditions the following spring so you can make the MVC.
I happily accepted my invitation to be part of this team. I was so excited to learn and be on a team again. Having played sports all my life and in college, I really missed the camaraderie of a team, dancing, and having a goal to work towards.
I committed to this new challenge and Steve was on board. He always was. He believed in me and encouraged me in whatever crazy things I wanted to attempt. He was so proud of me, as I was of him. He was right beside me helping me improve with his encouragement and sass.
I am so thankful to have had the blessing of being part of the 2011-2012 Training Program Team. Through the Training Program I met a lot of incredible driven women that I learned so much from. I also had the opportunity to be coached by two amazing women, Erin and Beth who have been coaching the TP since 2006.
What about you? What are your goals and dreams? Now I’m not talking about the kind you talk about all the time. I’m talking about the kind that you think about but haven’t dared to let them cross your lips. The kind that causes you to experience incredible joy just thinking about it, all while producing a level of panic that makes you uncomfortable.
You have a special calling on your life that no one else can fill. Plow through those doubts, take a look in the mirror and believe in yourself. I believe in you.
Don’t permit perceived obstacles to put your dreams on a shelf. You may be one bold decision away from finding your greatness.
My challenge to you is to re-visit those dreams. The dreams you once had that you set down because you were busy, scared and unsure about, pick them back up. Pray about them and ask God for a fresh perspective on them. Be open, willing and obedient and He will blow your mind.
One book that has helped me to grow and discover my purpose is the book “You’re Made for a God-Sized Dream” by Holly Gerth. I highly recommend this book if you’re wondering about your own dreams and how to navigate them.
The date was set. We’d be getting married at our church on Saturday November 18, 2011. We had finalized a date and finalized where our reception would be.
Today we went to Brackett’s Crossing Country Club. Steve wasn’t picky about the details of the wedding, but he really wanted the reception at Brackett’s. I figured that was a good compromise in my book. He’d choose the reception venue and I’d pick out everything else.
We invited my sister and my parents to our tasting. We tried several amazing foods and made final selections.
It was crazy to think that in just six short months, we’d be getting married.
I have to admit, I had little freak out moments about getting married post proposal. Of course I never voiced any of that to anyone.
I had dreams about marrying the wrong person, and to be honest, that was a fear of mine. What if I choose the wrong person? There was nothing in my life that had occurred to warrant this fear, but it was present.
Who you’ll marry is one of life’s frequented wonderings. I still couldn’t believe that this question was finally answered for me.
I continued to pray about it and asking God if this was FOR SURE what HE wanted for my life. I already knew the answer and realized this fear was something I was periodically hanging on to and allowing to get in my way.
I often wonder what God thinks about us when we question him and let fear creep in…when that fear is present only later to be found silly to be uncertain about down the road. We submit our prayer requests, give him thanks, and ask him for direction.
Then when He answers our prayers we question if it’s really true and right for us. We question if this is truly “it” because the answer to our prayer looks different than we originally planned. We have our opinion about how our lives should look and God has his. The key is knowing what God’s Will is for our lives and surrendering our will to being open to what He wants for our lives. Hopefully we’re not only open to it, but allowing him to lead.
As Susie Larson wrote in her book Your Beautiful Purpose: God’s Will for you is your best-case scenario.
Notice it doesn’t say “Ashley’s will for her life is her best-case scenario…” or (insert your name here) will for his/her life is his/her best-case scenario.
Any way you slice it, God’s WILL is always the best. This includes the disappointments, heartbreak, illness, uncertainty, etc. Instead of questioning His plan and allowing unwarranted fear to creep in, we have to choose to trust him.
Now me being engaged and having small moments of fear or doubt is one instance where fear ultimately didn’t change my mind or prevent me from being married, but sometimes that’s not always the case. We say “I do” to fear and allow it to rule and take residency in our lives. Your relationship with fear then begins to grow and your relationship becomes intimate. Fear speaks to you in the deepest places of your heart, allowing you to doubt everything you know. Fear will literally set up camp in your life until you decide to do something about it.
This is why reading God’s Word is so important. It’s not so you can check it off your to-do list or so you can feel good about yourself, it is so you are prepared with the belt of truth (Ephesians 6:10-18). Not just any truth, GOD’S TRUTH! This means that we are in the word. We hear it, read it and seek to understand and know God better though His word. The more we get to know Him, the more we can hear His voice above all others. We distinguish truth from lies by knowing who HE is, by getting to know His character.
The Armor of God
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.
My challenge to you is to examine your life and be honest about the roadblocks in your life; those fears that are straight up preventing you from experiencing God’s best.
- What roadblocks have you allowed to set up camp in your mind?
- What situational roadblocks are you allowing to cloud God’s truth?
Dive into God’s Word and see what He has to say about you and your life.
He already knows you, do you know him?
Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. Psalm 119:105