When a stomach cramp or gas pain is the first sensation to hit your conscious upon wakeup, I’ll be the first to admit it’s a bit of a challenge to get out of bed, let alone do so with a positive attitude. Lately, John and I have been facing a lot of trials and road bumps on our path, in what seems like all aspects of our life – health, finances, business, investments, you name it – it all seems to be going wrong. While we’ve been stunned and discouraged by the fact that everything seems to be happening all at once, we’ve been focusing on staying positive over everything else.

Something that’s helped me to continue persevering is a dream I keep having. I don’t normally recall how the dream starts, but I always vividly remember the last part – where a strong voice says to me “You have everything you need.” I then wake up with those words running through my head, feeling moved by the power within the deeply spoken, yet simple sentence.

The last month has been one that’s left John and I in a very interesting place. Despite our hard work, dedication, and determination to stay positive, it simply feels as though the world around us is falling apart. We keep asking ourselves if this is the “test period” most businesses and startups go through that make you prove to yourself how badly you want things to work out. It’s an interesting task, trying to follow your dreams, that’s for damn sure.

It all started about a month ago, when we had a deal fall out of escrow, a property we’d been following up on for months, and a full price offer that we’d been negotiating on, all fall through on the same day. Just a few days later driving to an open house, our car started seizing on the highway. As we were picking up our car from the repair shop several days later and were literally paying our (very expensive) bill, I got a call from Memphis that one of our rental properties had been broken into. The burglars broke a back window, climbed on through, and proceeded to steal the hot water heater, furnace, and air conditioning units. The lovely individuals that did this didn’t bother to turn off any of the pipes or electricity, so the attic ended up flooding, and the ceiling caved in on the brand new carpet we’d just paid $3,000 to replace. As we learned of this news, we sat in the car we’d just paid to repair, and hysterically laughed, shed some tears, and wondered how things could get any worse. Since then, we’ve had a number of offers outbid by others, several things fall through, and more unexpected bills.

Just yesterday we found out that our insurance policy denied coverage of the break-in because of a technicality we had no idea was a part of our policy. When I learned of the news, I immediately started shaking, on the verge of a panic attack, when the sentence played itself over in my mind. “You have everything you need,” said the voice, a reminder of the fact that I’d woken up six or seven times the night before after having the dream, the words always running through my head as I awoke. As I sat there, hands shaking, wondering how John and I were going to deal with this new and awfully expensive dilemma, I was consciously grateful for so many things. I did have everything I needed.

The gratitude was a cleansing wave of calm as I thought of the roof over my head, the food in my fridge, and the clean water in my glass. I was immediately thankful for my supportive friends and family, and so grateful for my worried husband and business partner who sat across from me, looking as lost as I had just felt. We let the news sink in, and then cleared our schedule for a bit to take a long and much needed walk around the neighborhood to clear our heads.

Things may not work out the way we want, need, or expect them to. In fact, it seems like things don’t go “according to plan” more often than they actually do. It’s something you just need to surrender to, as life’s flow isn’t ever going to stop and start working in just the way you want it to, in exactly the way you’ve scheduled on your calendar. Instead, we need to be flexible and surrender to whatever life brings us next. We learn to appreciate the ups because we’ve experienced the downs. We break through failure to become accomplished. We need to defeat all odds and keep working towards our dreams, because that’s what we’re meant to do. Keep at it until you fulfill your life’s purpose, whatever that may be.

And all the while, you must remember, “You have everything you need.”

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