hey sole sister,
I’ve been processing a lot lately. I’m a woman so… obviously. I feel something bubbling up inside me and I want to share it with you. Each year, on my birthday, I pick a new word. I started when I was 25 and was facing graduation from graduate school, the associated unemployment that comes with carrying two degrees (anyone else been there? Just me? Ok cool), and what I foresaw in my future. I chose the word brave. And God threw me into the deep end of bravery that year. Ask and you shall receive, I guess. But anyway! I loved what it drew out of me. I loved that the anthem of my soul was “be brave” for that entire year. To trying new things: be brave. To taking a step out of my comfort zone: be brave. To turning down one job without an alternative job: be brave. And the next year “be still.” To my antsy-soul looking for something easier: be still. The year after that “be authentic.” To that hard conversation with a loved one: be authentic. I’ve exchanged words like afraid, embarrassed, careful, and no, for words like genuine, real, honest, bold, and yes. This year, I’m exchanging fear for fearless and, in full disclosure, this is going to take a lot of practice.
Where do you start? How do you begin to undo 28 years of fear and insecurity based decision making and say yes to the less safe, more risky, more real version of myself? I’m going to start by telling the truth.
In Shauna Niequist’s book Present Over Perfect, she writes, “If you’re tired, you’re tired, no matter what. If the life you built is too heavy, it’s too heavy, no matter if the people around you are carrying more or less. You don’t have to have a public life in order to be terribly, dangerously depleted.” I read this and I think, “tell the truth.” Our truth is not true only when compared to others truths. It is true because it’s true because it’s true. No matter what no matter what, no matter what.
I’m starting my journey of fearless living with truth telling. When I feel sad, telling the truth about that. When I have an opinion, telling the truth about that. When I feel happy, when I feel low, when I feel let down, when I have something to contribute. Telling more of the truth. Less swallowing. More honesty. Somewhere along the way, it seems that I believed that if I hid my true self, then I couldn’t be shamed for it. If I toughened up, I’d be a better person. If I was less sensitive to the world around me, I’d be more successful. What happened was I lost myself along the way and became one million little versions of every person around me in order to keep fitting in and maintaining the peace. So, I’m starting by telling the fearless truth about my true self to my true self first. The reality is, the cost of mirroring a million other people’s likes and dislikes is not equal to the return of losing myself. I’d rather offer the world around me, my work, my relationships, my family my truest self because I am made in the image of a God who does not make mistakes. So the things that make me uniquely me are not to be hidden and wished away. What a shame! What does my soul tell God when I wish I wasn’t how he made me? In a subconscious way, I’m saying “you messed up, and I need to spend my life fixing it.” Woof. No thanks.
So own it, sole sister. Own your true self. Your sassy self. Your quiet self. Your introverted self. Your longing self. Your healing self. All your “selves.” We have many and it’s ok for them to coexist. They can coexist because the Creator of those many “selves” didn’t create you with exclusivity. He created you intricately. Just as a weave. Many fibers knitted around, under, over, through, and all of them together make a beautiful piece of art. You aren’t a mess up. All of you makes something very beautiful. Even the pieces you wish you didn’t have. You need them. They aren’t yours to throw away.
Let’s carry our true selves. Honor each other’s true selves.
“Come out of hiding, you’re safe here with Me. There’s no need to cover what I already see.”
– Bethel Music
Love you, mean it,