Crave being a beginner …
Crave taught me that it is ok to be a beginner. I joined the Crave IV Leader class with high anticipation. My project was just an idea at the time. I hoped to bring coaching to inmates or “returning citizens” leaving prison and jail, to help them reconnect with their families upon release. These relationships are vital and are often dysfunctional — at best — before incarceration, and frequently fractured afterwards. My heart is to bring restoration to these families.
Overtime, after a few Crave spiritual formation sessions and Crave professional development classes, I began to realize how important it is to lean into the discomfort of not knowing it all and to be ok with being a beginner.
After some time in prayer and reflection, I realized l was placing limits on my project. Not only do I want to help restore returning citizens, but I also want to offer a program to the officers guarding them.
As a former correctional officer, I recognize the burn out many officers suffer from compassion fatigue. You may not see the burnout that happens inside the walls of the jail and prisons, but I do, having experienced it myself. Many of the returning citizens arrive home with a misguided frustration and anger at the way they were treated inside. This frequently impacts how they manage their lives on the outside.
For me, being able to see the “full picture” during my time as a Crave Leader has come at the expense of losing my expectation of having it all together. I have had to accept that even when things do not turn out as planned, purpose is still found.
Here are a few things I have learned from my experience as a Crave Leader.
- Knowing your WHY is so much more important than the HOW. The how will come when you can keep the why first. For me, the WHY is the restoration of families from all returning citizens AND the staff who care for them.
- Embrace the lessons you are gifted. The process is not always black and white. There is a lot of gray. Learn to color outside the lines and be ok with starting over. Embrace being a beginner.
- Water your seed with love, gratitude, and patience. Just because you planted a seed yesterday, do not expect an overnight harvest. Nevertheless, remain committed to the planting process.
I have not finished my project, but I will. In the meantime, I remain committed to being busy with a purpose. Here are a few projects I have completed since I became a Crave Leader:
- I authored and published two books about divorce to help families become restored after the loss of love and marriage.
- I taught a 3-part series on healing from past trauma-restoring lives.
- I started a new position as an ability analyst to help the sick and injured ensure they receive payment while recovering.
- I continue to host monthly bible study meetings with women to teach them how to rest from life’s busy demands. Despite the pandemic we continue to meet and impact these women and families.
- I have participated in 5 or more interviews about my book and the importance of supporting those men and women who are walking through separation or divorce.
I continue to crave being a change maker in this world and, even though I am a beginner, I am learning how powerful that process is.
Thank you Crave for helping me to be ok with starting over, and with being a beginner. I will continue to cultivate change wherever I go and hope to pitch my project to jail officials at the end of 2021.
Shanay Pugh Crave IV Leader