Scared to Be Brave
For over a week now, my news feeds have posted routine updates about the college admissions scandal. Like most people who have commented about this in my presence, I was not surprised to hear about this practice. In fact, I assumed that the world knew this was happening, even sanctioning its occurrence. I mean, even The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Season 3, I think) tackled the role of privilege in college admissions, albeit from another uneasy, funny angle.
In all honesty, I have only read two short articles about the scandal. That opening paragraph was my clumsy way of getting to the heart of this post (and giving a shameless plug for a show I will miss on Netflix). The juiciness of the headlines, frankly, have been a deal-breaker for me as I actively work on figuring out who God wants me to be, what He wants me to do. I have been trying to give up negative self talk and thinking, hoping faithfully that doing so will liberate me and catapult me on to the next step in my journey toward destiny, and that extends to reading about, participating in, or listening to negative talk about others, regardless of whether I know them personally or not.
It has been hard, though, because it seems like every time I make a commitment to God, these storms (sometimes tiny and other times gargantuan) pop up to test that commitment. In reality, giving up celebrity gossip has been relatively easy. I have been increasingly aware of its salaciousness and lack of value in my life, so not clicking on a headline hasn’t been all that hard. Plus, it’s science fair season at our house, so there are tons of electrodes and graphs, taking me away from my tablet or phone at night. But trying to figure out my place in the world has been tough, and those storms (you know, the stuff that puts you on notice that God has heard your prayer but is waiting on you to demonstrate your faith or commitment) are starting to reveal themselves like fully functioning neon signs in the night sky.
About six months ago, I admitted to myself that I am unhappy, unfulfilled, frustrated, and insecure. I put on a brave face, a strong facade, but on the inside, I am falling apart. Just typing that last sentence sent waves of anxiety through my body as I wonder what the world (or the six of you who may decide to read this) will think about this confession. I feel guilty because I am supposed to be grateful. I feel guilty because so many would give all they have to be in my position. I feel guilty because I am afraid to walk away from the source of my heaviness into uncertainty.
Like so many other women, I deflect my pain and channel my self improvement efforts into things that are easier for me to tackle (i.e., giving up celebrity gossip). Listen, I have lost 27 pounds. I have increased my daily steps. I spend more time with my kids. I am a more attentive wife. I spend tons less money eating out. I talk to or text my parents and brother more often. I meal prep on Sundays like a boss. The problem is that none of this deals with the real issue, and actually walking away (and not a little bit away, but all the way away) makes me feel disloyal, may disappoint people I love, will usher me into unknown territory, and downright petrifies me.
So part of my personal push to get out of my rut is to focus on my joy (creative expression) and trust that doing so will build the confidence, strength, and courage to leap full on into my destiny. Wish me luck!
I think we are all a little like the lion in the wizard of oz. We feel we are lacking courage, belittle ourselves, but when it comes to it we find strength pours into us and we truly become bold as a lion. I pray you find your purpose and fulfillment. You are looking in the right place (Jesus). May your life know all the joy, wonder, and fulfillment I have found in Him without the anguish and pain I first suffered looking in the wrong places.