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Posts Tagged ‘fearless’

I don’t know if I can think of something apropos to describe last week. It was so very long and thick, but somehow never felt like there were enough hours to just stop in. It was following several other similarly feeling weeks, filled to the brim, overstuffed. So, I felt like I was showing all my seams and needing to sleep an extra 16 hours a night, and mostly unable to hold on.

Weeks like last make me feel like I am not enough. They make me feel stuck and make me feel like the only possible solution is to drastically cut out every single thing that consumes any amount of time and start over. Fortunately, I don’t do things like that, because weeks like that happen, and maybe they happen too often.

While I dreamed of a new city and a new job (as though it would quiet my soul), I found that the most life-giving things I did last week were to make Thai turkey burgers and to paint my nails red.

What I wanted to do was one of two things – something dramatic – a huge leap, designed to immediately make a change. Or nothing. Go to bed immediately. Or watch more tv than what’s good for me. So the simple act of making myself dinner, of painting my nails, was my small step of rebellion.

I have a tendency to think in giant leaps. This month went by unusually fast? Well, then I’m practically aging a decade in my head. I’m moving forward in anxiety, sure that I have missed something, frantic about life passing me by. I think that things have to be done in huge steps, free-falling leaps. I too often think in a world of cold-turkey quits, roof-top declarations, and flash mob confessions. Thai turkey burgers and red painted nails teach me to think in small, quiet steps. That sometimes, the only way to change is a million inches forward, one inch at a time.

When I look back at my life, what I often see are not the big, defining moments – they are there, the one decision, one step life changers. But, more often what has changed me have been those small, scared, barely trusting, but I’m still moving steps. I forget, too often, the great faith it takes to move forward when you can’t see the end of that long winding road.

And so I will continue to feed myself well, paint my nails red, and trust in the work of small, scared, barely trusting, but I’m still moving, holy steps.

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I have this rather bad habit. It comes from trying to find a way to better say yes and more importantly to say no. I am an introvert. An internal processor. A type 9 who never wants to create any sort of conflict. This is the habit of maybe. It looks like this:

Friend, Acquaintance  Co-Worker: Whitney do you want to do something in the future that you may or may not like or feel like at the time, like be in a large group where you know one person, or so on and so forth.

Whitney: Maybe. I’ll have to think about it and get back to you.

The heart of this habit is to ensure I don’t mindlessly agree to things. But, I often let it become a way to say no without saying no.

I was walking down the bakery aisle of the grocery store, examining all of the different versions of nuts I could buy when I was suddenly struck with a thought, or rather several. First is that pecans are always, in every recipe I can think of, superior to walnuts. 

The second, and probably more important has to do with Matthew 5:37 – let your yes be yes and let your no be no.

There’s nothing in there about maybes.

I started thinking about the fact that so often, someone would ask me to do something that I knew in that moment I wasn’t going to do, but I wouldn’t say no. I would say maybe. Not because I was waiting for something better. Not because I wasn’t really sure. But, to save feelings. To say no without saying no.

But, the thing is and was, that I was still saying no. I wasn’t doing the thing. I just wasn’t saying this. Further, I thought, maybe there is something more to this verse, not just saying what I mean and doing what I say (which – hello – I could use some practice on), but also on understanding that each decision I make comes with an inherent yes or no. I said maybe and I meant no.

In a year where I am trying to be fearless, this struck me hard. So, when I shirk away from a hard conversation – I’m saying no to that fearlessness. When I take my vitamins in the morning, I’m saying yes to healthiness. And so on and so on.

Which means my habit of maybe is for naught. So now I’m trying to reframe my maybes, I’m trying to think in terms of saying yes to wholeness and no to fear. It’s an endless journey, no?

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And so 2013 has been around for some 9 days. And I’ve spent that last 9 days thinking hard about the upcoming year. What I want to do more of (write, listen to music, create, connect) and what I want to do less of (watch tv, sleep). All of this is well and good and pretty par for the course for me. New year. New thoughts. A new chance to try to be more. I usually walk away from the New Year with lists. Lists that I think will save me. Lists that I think will cure aches of loneliness that come with being alive for very long in this world.

But, strangely, blessedly, I didn’t get that this time. Somehow, during a car driving, thinking session, amidst all the shoulds and goals and what nots, one word drifted to the top. And I knew that one word was mine.

Fearless.

I am a lot of things, but I don’t think that fearless is one of them. At least, I don’t think it is something that comes naturally to me.

Honestly, I don’t really know what this will look like. This fearlessness. But, I do know this. It will mean saying yes to somethings that I would have said no to. It will mean choosing not to indulge the voice in my head that tells me not to try something I might not be good at, not to say something that may sound dumb, not to love when I might be brokenhearted. I think it will look a lot like what Brene Brown tells us that courage meant at one time – telling your whole story with your whole heart. I think it has something to do with the reminder we get in 1 John 4:18 about perfect love casting out fear because fear has to do with punishment. I think it has to do with a lot of things that I don’t even know yet.

So, I’m going to do things a little differently this year. I’m going to let go of the trying to earn my worth by doing the things I think I should. I’m going to instead, try to inhabit my life. Live all the way out to the edges. I’m going to find my own brand of fearless and I’m going to wear it out and do nothing more.

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