Celebrating Two Years!
If not for you, I wouldn’t be able to write this post today! Because you engage, read, and support my online shop, Stephen David Leonard continues to grow and reach tens of thousands of people and more all the time.
The past two years, watching stephendavidleonard.com come to life and grow so fast has been an amazing experience. I can’t believe it’s already been two years this month I launched Stephen David Leonard into the world!
Following Your Dream
Have you ever had vision, or a dream or a passion you felt terrified to try, but knew you had to do it anyway? Maybe you shared your dream with a few close friends and family only to be discouraged away from it?
“Why can’t you be content with what you have?” some ask. “Hmm, do you think you have what it takes?” others question. “Do you really have something unique to put out there?” others challenge.
I’ve had a few different seasons in my life. Professional student (actually, I was an amateur—I never got paid!), Pastor, small business leader, entrepreneur, CEO. After working hard behind the scenes for so long it was terrifying to launch a project in my own name and to step out of the shadows into the forefront.
It feels easier to champion someone else than to put your own creativity, your own thoughts and passions into the world. I have many days I question why I ever launched stephendavidleonard.com at all.
Inspiring to Live the Life You Were Created to Live
Why is it so important to put the Stephen David Leonard brand into the world?
I started Stephen David Leonard back in 2017 because my mission is to inspire people like you to live the life they are created to live. I’ve spent a lot of my life trying to be who I thought people wanted me to be. I’ve worn various masks over the years trying to fit in and be accepted.
Fearing I would be rejected for who I really am, I gave my energy to being who I thought people wanted me to be. In doing so, I ignored myself and the way I am put together.
Made In God’s Image
A few years ago, through reading the Bible, therapy, and the help of mentors, I saw some words at the beginning of the Bible through a new lens. In the book of Genesis it says, “God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”
I’ve read those words many times—even preached sermons on them when I was a pastor. But I missed how important those words are for us.
We are made as images of God—reflections of God in the world. We are his creations, with inherent dignity, embodying different parts of God’s character and nature to one another.
Designs Reflect the Designer
As a designer and entrepreneur, I am amazed at the way the things we create reflect us. Whether it’s a piece of jewelry, a song, a story, or even a business our creations reveal something about who we are.
How you ever notice how you can hear a song you’ve never heard by your favorite band and immediately recognize it’s them? It’s the same with God, when he creates, his creations reflect him.
But when he made humans, he purposefully made us to be embodied images of him in the world. Have you ever been to a museum, or read in a history book and seen the little statues of gods in temples in the ancient world?
Those statues are representations of the gods they signify. They physically embody characteristics of the god. The statue might be a bull to represent strength. The statue might look like a crocodile to reflect the god’s power.
The images of the gods and goddesses helped the people worshipping the god understand who the god is. In the same way, God made us to be living, breathing representations of himself so we understand who he is.
Designed with Purpose
This means we are designed with purpose! Each of our personalities, talents, and interests reflect different parts of God! Understanding God has designed each of us intentionally and with a purpose has changed my life.
I know I am made with inherent dignity as an image bearer. I know I am loved. I know I have been given my own talents and strengths. And I know the same is true for you. You are created with dignity, you are loved and you have been given your own talents and strengths.
Many people struggle against a sense of lack of purpose, career misfit, even disconnection from their true selves. But when we know God has designed each of us, we can see his design in our lives and find new purpose. It may mean a new career, a new way of relating to people, a new way to volunteer, a new hobby, or even a renewed way of living.
Sharing My Journey
The Apostle Paul told the Thessalonians he was, “ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.” Through Stephen David Leonard my goal is to share not only my insights as a veteran pastor, parent, husband, and entrepreneur, but also my own self as someone who has learned helpful insights along my journey.
I have experienced a marriage crisis leading to healing and greater intimacy. Marriage is a crucible where we come face to face with the hardest truths about ourselves. It’s also a place where we can truly know and be known by another.
I am privileged to be raising two amazing boys. I walk in the pain and joy of raising a son with a severe disability and another son who has an insightful mind and artistic soul. I have experienced the suffering and pain of parenthood in the midst of the happiness of watching my boys thrive.
I have battled depression on and off most of my life. Feelings of unworthiness, rejection, and self-doubt. Understanding I am created in God’s image is one of the single most grounding truths giving me something to hang on to in dark moments.
I live out of a deep faith in Jesus and have devoted years to studying and teaching the Bible in school and on my own. I do not expect everyone to see everything the way I do. I do believe I have something to offer whether you come from the same spiritual starting place or not as humans are spiritual beings.
Designs to Inspire
In addition to sharing my story and learnings, I create designs to inspire and help you as you find and live your own purpose. Whether it’s a keychain you carry in your pocket, a bracelet you see on your wrist, or a bag over your shoulder (and more!), each SDL design is a reminder of your own unique design and the life you are made to live.
I started Stephen David Leonard to share what I have learned and to help you in your journey to discover God’s design for your life. From the content I share, to the ways I open up my life to the product on my site, everything here is about inspiring you to live the life you are created to live!
Thank you for letting me join you on your journey!