I am in a place of so much anxiety. I don’t want to continue to go through life feeling like I am holding back from being 100% honest.
The fact is I have followed Gary Vee for almost two years now, and I have taken what I have heard him say and applied bits and pieces in the last two years to miscellaneous things. But, today while I sit in my living room contemplating my next move (and also hoping that Ellie sleeps just a little bit longer during her nap), I stumbled across another quote from Gary in a keynote that he gave recently. He said:
“Life is basic. 99% of this audience is doing shit because they value somebody else’s opinion more than their own. If I sat down with all of you one by one and figure out every dumb thing that you are doing and trace it back to you are doing it to impress somebody, or to prove somebody wrong. And it is the biggest mistake that you are making. If you leave here with anything, the second you can get quiet in your head, and stop worrying about the judgement of others, is the second shit starts actually happening.That get’s even harder in today’s new world of living publicly.”
There is something inspiring and exhilarating about the people in this world that speak truth, and don’t care about the ramifications of that truth. I always struggle when listening to Gary because I wonder how “Christian” his perspective is. On one hand, I feel like a lot of Catholics could radically improve in their faith and life if they listened to what he said, but at the same time, I am torn by the underlying motivations of Gary.
I want success. I want stuff. I want to write books. I want to speak. I want to be a YouTube star. I want to be a father. I want to be a husband. But, at the day what I really want is to fulfill God’s calling for my life. Is it wrong for me to want these worldly things in the pursuit of my calling? Is it ever justifiable to own a yacht? Is it ever justifiable to spend $30,000 on taking my family on a vacation?
When I’m Honest With Myself
I like to think that I don’t care what others think of me, and I actually will preach that I believe that to my wife and family quite often. But, at the end of the day, I really am freaked out by the possibility of living out the calling that God has given me, because I am worried that other people will think I’m weird. I am worried that other people will say that I am old school. I am worried that I won’t be able to make a substantial living to provide for my kids and get them nice things. I also am very self-concious of the fact that the only reason I have the luxury of pursuing this calling to the level that I can is because my wife is in a position where she has been given the ability to make enough money to support our family. So the reality is that I don’t HAVE to work. I don’t HAVE to make money. Natalie and I don’t really NEED anything else. We are comfortable in our 1400 sqft, 3 bedroom house, and because of our frugality we have paid off all debt except for our house.
Why do I have such a difficult time articulating this point. I am worried that if I launch a ministry/business and it takes me 2 years to make any money off of it, but it ultimately becomes successful that people will say “well I could have done that too if I was married to a wife that provided for our family.” Why does this even matter to me? Why am I letting those thoughts and fears about what someone MIGHT say TWO years from now stop me from what I feel I need to do right now?
So what is my calling?
I wish I knew. I think I know what it is, but I have a difficult time articulating it. It all comes down to this. I believe that most of the problems in our world stem from a disordering and/or a misunderstanding of our sexual desires. I believe that if more people learned the true meaning of sex, and learned to live in harmony with their sexual passions, desires, and wants the world be a better place. I don’t mean a moderately better place, I mean like a radically different place. less crime, less drug and alcohol abuse, happier people, less depression, more overall success. How is this possible? Where does this claim come from?
I don’t have any data to provide hard facts, but it seems logical. There is such a high percentage of criminals that come from broken families, divorced parents, and complicated circumstances. Our hook-up culture has lead people to seek relationships built on sex and physical satisfaction which in the end frequently (if not always) leads both parties to be unsatisfied in the best case scenario and broken and hurting in the worst case scenario.
But the problem is too big for me to overcome.
I see people that have already spent a significant portion of their life trying to make an impact in this area: Christopher West, Levi Lusko, Dr. Hilgers, Janet Smith, etc. What has come from it? If I’m honest I immediately think, how many Instagram followers do they have? See no one cares or wants to accept what they are preaching. They are just crazy Catholics.
I have battling thoughts in my head when it comes to this issue. First, you don’t choose your calling or your mission (or at least I want to believe that you shouldn’t) based on how easy it will be to succeed. Second, how can I be so bold to think that it is my responsibility to single handedly change the culture. Third, why am I trying to define what success is in terms of how long it will take to complete this “goal.”
The reality is that I am embarking on a mission, a life goal of trying to impact one person and one couple at a time and help them on realigning their sexual understanding and desires to be in harmony with how God created them. If I truly believe that God is calling me to this, then it shouldn’t matter (but, my ego refuses to accept this answer) how many people I impact. If I work my entire life sharing about the joys, suffering, and happiness that has come from Natalie’s and my marriage and the only people that are affected are my siblings that should be enough for me. The number of likes, shares, and retweets won’t matter when I die.
This calling is something that has been eating at me for over a year, and I keep beginning to make moves in the direction of this new chapter, but I am preventing myself from truly committing because I am afraid of failure. I’m afraid of looking like a weak spark that has no endurance in completing difficult things. I don’t want to be looked at as a failure in my own business. I don’t want to be viewed as someone that has no grit.
I Am Holding Myself Back Because I Care About What Other People Think.
But that is why I think this entire emptying of my brain happened after listening to Gary’s keynote today, and that is why I think I was so impacted by his words, “99% of this audience is doing shit because they value somebody else’s opinion more than their own.”
I am guilty of this. I am in my current place purely because I care about what other people are going to think of me if I’m really honest. I am afraid that someone will say that they disagree with my belief about sex, marriage, and love. I am even more afraid that I might be wrong. What if NFP isn’t the answer to everyone. What if you can live a loving fruitful marriage while contracepting. What about the hundreds of thousands of marriages that contracepted throughout their entire marriage and they didn’t get a divorce, and they are happy, and they did live out God’s calling in their life, what do I say to those people?
As I set out on this new adventure I don’t have answers, I just have a lot of questions.