(Pic Credit: Mapleridge Ranch)
In the past seven months, I’ve been praying a prayer to be smaller.
I think the need to be smaller comes from a society that tries to shut us up inside a box of labels they deem appropriate for us. The smaller you are, the less labels they can fit onto your packaging tape.
Seven months ago my box would have read Christian, depressed, anxious, anorexic, hypocrite. Part of living inside that box meant that I identified with those labels. I identified myself as a mess of a human that was struggling to keep her head above the darkness that surrounded her.
I know that I write a lot about the darkness. But I have this firm belief that if we don’t even acknowledge something then it has the power to grow stronger roots and take hold of our life. I never want to let the darkness take hold of my life again so I’m going to focus on the ways out, on the light that shines unto my path like a mid-day sun.
This past summer I was working with a woman who spoke love like it boils over in her bones. She could tell when I was not okay and she always knew the words to say, and when words weren’t necessary. Making others feel like they mattered was a second nature to this girl and helping me see that truth was something she took on as a challenge for the summer.
It took me most of the first 4 weeks of this 6-week camp to really realize I was not okay. To realize that there was a fear deep-rooted in my heart and I was riding shotgun to it.
All these lies that tell us that we are not worthy or capable or adequate all comes down to the fact that we are riding shotgun to fear. And riding shotgun is something that I seem to do often.
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 rests 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.
In the bible there are many occasions when followers of God were frightened and let fear drive their life but my favorite is found in Matthew—when Jesus walks on water. You see, the disciples were fine out there on that boat, but then they saw Jesus and were terrified because they thought he was a ghost.
I’d be lying if I didn’t say my fear is a fear of ghosts per say. Not specters that haunt us from ‘the other side” but ghosts that have brown eyes and a crooked smile, ghosts that look like dancing across a stage with grace and confidence. Ghosts that came in so subtly but then left abruptly, ripping a chunk of my life out and taking it with them. I am afraid of these pieces. What losing them meant and what it means to go forward without them.
I think we all have these pieces of us we carry. These ghosts that cause us all so much fear. We need to let go of the past. The things that we are holding so tightly to that aren’t letting us blossom into our full potential.
Today, I had to perform in front of twenty-ish of my peers. This is not something I have ever done, not solo anyways. I was so caught up thinking about the ways that it would go wrong, the ways I wouldn’t measure up to the rest of the class. I, once again, let fear in and let it shrink me.
Did I perform? Yes.
Was it the best I’ve ever sang? No.
But was it an honest representation of where I am in my life? Yes.
Because I struggle with anxiety and the ghosts that I do, of course something this vulnerable was going to be hard.
Life is going to be hard.
It’s not about the storms that we go through, it’s about the way that we fare through the torrent seas.
I am a mess of a human. But God still shows up. Jesus still walks on water and approaches me in whatever boat I am in. Whatever the state of my life, He is a l w a y s f a i t h f u l.
I need to stop existing in the ways that are expected to be smothered. I was not created to be small, though in the grand scheme I am. I was not made to walk the main road, so I’ll take the narrow path. There are so many more things to me than meets the eye and through all 20 years of my life I am still learning and finding myself. And that astounds me. That there are so many different things to learn about a single human and we are all constantly changing, like weeds into wishing flowers.