I originally wrote this piece as a “Shining Moment” talk I gave at my MOPS meeting in May of 2015. The theme for MOPS that year was “Be You Bravely.” Being me bravely was something my soul needed that year. The theme was right on time. I am so grateful to my Stamford MOPS group for taking a chance on me as part of the leadership team. I was less of a faith person and more of a fear person, but their faith and their kindness paved the way for me to find my own path back to belief.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people wont feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
This quote sums up the struggle I have had for a few years. I knew I was afraid when my husband went to war. That fear for me was/is justifiable. It’s tangible-something real to be afraid of-bad guys, war zone, etc.
But this fear of being powerful beyond measure and having a light that overcomes the darkness sounds absurd to me. There are so many more things on my to-do list than being powerful beyond measure and a light in the darkness. SO what am I afraid of?
The truth is a combination of, “I don’t know and everything.” And that combination has been paralyzing for me. My self-esteem plummeted and my anxiety skyrocketed. I became easily swayed by outside influences, especially my husband. Somehow in the midst of my fear and insecurity I replaced God with Matthew and made his words and deeds law. I squashed my talents and interests in support of him and unfortunately that has led to nothing but resentment.
My transformation to meek and resentful was a slow fade. The move back toward confident and courageous has been equally as glacial in movement. It was during my train rides to and from work in New York City that I read, Freefall to Fly, by Rebekah Lyons. Reading that book planted a seed in my heart and growth in faith began. Her book challenged my ideas about myself with questions such as:
“What am I so afraid of? Why is living in the moment so difficult?” pg 87
She also answered these questions for me with her words, “Because when the busy stops and the hurry fades I’m left with a haunting feeling of inadequacy.” Pg 87
The following words of Lyons’ about using my God given gifts and talents hit me with a power packed punch:
“God wants us to reclaim it. To stop filling our days with empty distractions that deter us from using our hearts and souls.” Pg 93
Reading those words, “God wants us…” were the seeds of faith being restored in my soul. I didn’t believe in myself, but God does. He wants me to reclaim the gifts and talents He gave me because I am, “fearfully and wonderfully made,” in His image. Psalm 139: 13-14
It has been a year since I read Freefall to Fly and the journey from then until now hasn’t been smooth, but I have stepped out in faith more times than not. I have spent more time in the Word. I have surrounded myself with faithful people. I have tried new things, gone to unfamiliar places, and learned that I am worthy of love and respect.
I am still uncovering my gifts. There are still days that I’m unsure of my talents and greater purpose in life. But I am learning that,
“[Life’s] not completing a task list. It’s not looking perfect. Or being perfect. It’s a plan derailed, a life surrendered, a bondage broken. It’s knowing who you are and more importantly Whose you are.” ~Rebekah Lyons
Learning Whose I am and fostering that relationship has allowed me to be brave.