I have been hiding so long that it’s almost too bright out here for my eyes to adjust. As a teacher and encourager it is a downright hostile environment to say anything at all these days. Seriously, when my kids ask me what my favorite color is I halfway expect a protest to break out if I get the wrong answer (luckily they were just trying to make me a beautiful card). What you end up realizing is that you can’t make everyone happy. You will be too conservative for some and too liberal for others, overly compassionate for one side and heartlessly harsh for the other. You aren’t going to nail it. Although you realize you were made strong, passionate, and with a deep affection for the pursuit of wisdom, after you are good and tired you’ll realize you are saying nothing, sacrificing nothing, and bringing about no change in the world all because you are scared of backlash and not being liked. It’s at this point you begin to reevaluate your life choices.
I met a famous speaker once who shall remain nameless because half of you will show me your tattoo of her on your bicep and the other half will call me a heretic throw holy water on me for even mentioning her name, but this person who God created and loves (mic drop) told me something when I asked for one piece of advice she would give someone starting out on the blogging and speaking journey: Don’t let them put you in a box. WHOA. I was motivated and felt freedom and joy at getting to be myself, though I was a bit of a hodgepodge of so many things. But then, do you know what happened? I put myself out there and because it wasn’t received the way I had hoped or envisioned, I went to the “We Sell Boxes” store and found the perfect sized box. I purchased that box and climbed right on in it and taped it all around. I left myself and the message I’ve been given in the dark for the cause of self-protection and preservation. I raised my glass to avoidance of conflict and not being talked about in whispers when I walked into a party and settled in for a nice, long hibernation.
Over time I fell more in love with the message than the potential effects of putting the message out there. Which meant punching a hole in the box and taking off the tape and letting that sink in for a bit. Then I peeked out and saw that life went on and some cool stuff happened and some terrifying stuff happened and it was time to emerge. I find myself at this leg of the journey realizing that we do a lot of things, but that we have not invested the time and heart in the places we value most because we have just plain ol’ been on the gerbil wheel too long. If I cannot take the time to walk my kid through a difficult season because I need to nail all the things, then I have chosen to foster an incorrect perception of my abilities over having the patience to care for my children in the way they need me to in order to feel the safety to discover who they are and how to navigate this world surrounding them. I am literally choosing approval from others not even close enough to me to know good and well I couldn’t pull all I am attempting to pull off over stability and peace for my family and home.
Today we couldn’t get to church because we had the germs and so I thought, Hey, why not attempt a bit o’church up in here? As you lose people close to you and begin to grow older you realize that what you choose to pass on really is of the utmost importance. So today I decided we would aim for two thoughts: 1) God made me and 2) God called it good. We read the first chapter of the bible in my bible and the two kids’ versions we have and then we read a children’s book all about creation. Then we started to ask some questions. Who did God make? Straight out the gate they said “me.” Yes, sweet beautiful child God had all the supplies at his disposal and knit together the intricacy and intentionality of you. I asked who else did God make? And to my great delight they said, “everyone.” What does this mean for us if God created us in their image, male and female? That every single person we come into contact with is an image bearer. We seek to love, respect, and honor their reflective representation, no matter what. The beginning of the gospel always starts here. God made me and God called all that he has made good. There is more to this story, but the beginning sets the whole stage… be careful with your beginning.