I am going to be honest. The beginning of 2023 has been hard for me. I decided to
leave my full-time job at the end of 2022. For many different reasons, it was time for
me to step away from that role. One of those reasons is that I have decided to pursue
music in a fuller capacity. Honestly, it is scary but I feel like it has been something God
is prompting me to do. If you ask me what that looks like, I will give you the same
answer I have been telling everyone who asks…I don’t know yet.
I have some ideas and hopes for what it could look like. The main goal is to glorify God
with whatever I create and hope that whoever listens is reminded of who God is and
who they are in Him, but I have no concrete plans yet. I am still figuring it out…waiting,
planning, and dreaming.
It is very difficult for me to write and share this. Here's why...
We live in a culture that curates, pretends, and shies away from vulnerability (even though that is what we all crave). There is a fear of letting people see that life is not all tied up in a
This type of cultural pressure is new to me. You see, I was born and raised in a very
small and beautiful country, Honduras. The realities of life there are very different.
While we do have many other cultural pressures, the hustle culture and individualistic
idea of success is not one of them. I immigrated to the US 5 years ago and while there
are so many things that I love about my life here that I am grateful for, it has been a
cultural adjustment. This constant expectation of earthly success and the American
dream can be exhausting. From afar it looked ideal. In reality, it’s a different story.
When I moved here, I quickly found myself observing how people talked, acted, and
lived. I began to notice the things people valued. How people dressed. What is cool
and trendy. What a “good” Christian looks like. As you can tell, it was a lot of
information to process and evaluate. Before I keep going down a very long rabbit (that
would have to be it’s own blog post), I’ll stop - you get the point. I am in a new country
with new sets of social norms.
I really don’t like admitting this about myself, but many times I care too much of what
people think of me. Living in a culture that glorifies hustle, material success, and the
next big and new thing has made me more aware of how people perceive me. So not
having a concrete plan is daunting and scary to share because of these cultural
At the beginning of this year, I started feeling the pressure to curate how I presented
myself. I wanted people to know I was doing something and going somewhere.
But recently, God has been teaching me to reframe this idea of to-dos and
achievements. To understand what God really frames success as and what really
matters for the kingdom. To not fall into the trap of hustle culture. To not pursue the
American dream but His dream. There have been seasons when I have done this well and others when I have given into the cultural expectations. In this current season, I
have found myself once again struggling and trapped in the pressures of earthly
success. Focusing on earthly desires. Sin is tricky like that. We may think it’s completely
gone and then it catches us by surprise.
I want to share with you what God is doing in my heart and what he continues to
remind me of again and again. I hope it encourages you because it has been medicine
for my soul.
God cares way more about who I am becoming than what I do for Him. Let me be
clear: I’m not saying do nothing and stay stagnant. God call us to more than that. Rest
assured our being in Jesus will always lead to fruitful doing. So, we are called to do but
it is very important to examine the posture of our hearts when we do. We live in a culture that glorifies the doing more than the being and we’ve got it
twisted. I love how John 15:4-5 (ESV) explains it:
“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in
the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the
branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me
you can do nothing.”
Once again, Jesus is far more concerned with our hearts and continuously invites us
into being with Him. In His presence. That is the place where our hearts are changed
and our lives are transformed. His presence is the place where we remember who we
are and where we are fueled to go out and do from a posture that is doing for His glory
and no one else’s.
I may not have it all “in place”, or better yet, the place I think I should be at. I do not
know what the future holds or what my doing is going to look like specifically, but I
know who holds it all together. I know I want to be a faithful daughter that seeks His
As I am doing and abiding in Him, I am letting go of worldly and cultural expectations. I
am learning to be okay with letting people know that I am still figuring out without
filtering where I’m actually at.
I don’t have practical steps or a pretty bow to tie all this up with (apologies if that is
what you scrolled down for). My encouragement to you (and to myself) as we continue
developing our rhythms this year, planning and doing for Him, may our gaze be on
Him. May we be reminded that who we are in Him is far more important than what we
can produce for Him. In the end, He is the reward and our prize.
Kaley Rivera Thompson is an author, copywriter, Bible teacher, speaker, and worship leader. When she's not championing other women, cheering on the rising generation, writing or playing her guitar, Kaley loves to sip strong coffee, go on hikes, or take a day trip to the mountains with her family. She takes the most pride in being a mom to three little girls, Lina, Lili and Ceci. You can follow her on instagram at @kriverathompson or find out more on her website at kriverathompson.com.