Small One // A Teeny Talk On Fear and Gumption


My nickname from my close friends is Tney (pronounced like Teeny). And today in church there was a message on Identity. The pastor put it as “what do your friends call you? What are you known for?” Then he went on to talk about his grandmother who passed away and how at the funeral her identity was clearly seen as people talked about who she was.

I’ve had this desire for the past 6 months to be smaller so that my God could be bigger.  Because I don’t think having a big God gets a good enough rep. We want a God in a box. A God that is like the genie in Aladdin, always on our side and there to grant our wishes. But I want a big God who will make me small and say no to some of my requests and place people and things in my life that are hard. Things that make me scream at Him and doubt Him and fall from Him. I need a God that will make me feel all of those things and still be waiting for me when I come running back whispering “Small One, I’ve always been here. I never moved. I never left. Just keep pushing. Just keep fighting.”

So my friends call me Tney. The origin of that nickname has nothing to do with being small, but still- it’s been quite the blessing that that became my nickname, my identity. I thought having my identity resting in a Big Big God meant that my smallness was okay, wanted even. And it’s taken me 3 months of a prayer for God to “keep me hungry and small” to realize that this whole time God has provided that. He has been answering me sweetly, saying “Small One, look around you. I have placed friends in your life that keep you small and hungry for more of me. Just look around you. Look up and around you.” 


His name was Thomas. He sat down across from me in a coffee shop,  this elderly gentleman that had to be almost 70, and tells me straight up with no introduction “My dear, you need to stop living life on the back burner. You need more gumption.”

I thought this meant that the last three months meant nothing. That my prayer had been wasted because I had become too small, too meek, too mild. So I asked Thomas if he thought I had lost my fire, I told him of my prayer and being small and I asked if he thought I had become so small that I wasn’t worth while any more. He cocked his head a bit and smiled a sad smile.

“Sweetheart,” he whispered so that only I could here him. “You are only as small as you see yourself. You can be small in the sense that you mean in that prayer of yours, but that doesn’t mean you can’t live a big life. Live a big, worthwhile life with the people that matter. With the few people that have stuck with you and been your cheerleaders and have loved you hard during this season you seem to be stuck in. You don’t need a lot to live a worthwhile life.”

Thomas and I talked for a bit longer, we swapped stories and then he left. And I was left with a book about Holocaust survivors and thoughts on how I could be more like Thomas, gumption-filled and real– in the sense that he knew who he was and what sat in the very bottom of his core. And he wasn’t afraid of that.


I think this all really boils to down to fear. In the root of my smallness and desire to have things that are bigger than myself rest fear, all snuggled up  like he owns one of the rooms in my heart. Fear doesn’t play no games neither. He gets right to the point and whispers lies and uncertainties into your ears at night, or when you would least expect him too. Wanna talk to a boy? He wouldn’t want you anyway, why do you think you’re single. Wanna start a business? No one would buy your product or follow you.

All these lies that tell us that we are not worthy or capable or adequate all boil down to the fact that we are riding shotgun to fear. I may be Tney but I am also immensely worthwhile and most definitely adequate to do whatever sets my heart on fire. So  muster up some gumption, go take the world by storm but don’t forget to whisper a thank you to the one who is so much bigger than you, and still notices all the little things about you; don’t forget to come running back to the God who always knew you were His “Small One.”


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