I wish I were braver.
I wish I had the ability to say exactly what I wanted to say and to do exactly what I wanted to do.
I wish I could just jump.
I wish I could push past the anxiety and the insecurity and throw myself exactly in to the thing I needed to do.
I wish I could fully comprehend my own capability.
(Those statements above have very little to do with the words below and normally I would delete them but they felt important regardless of their connection.)
I was scrolling my email today when I say a newsletter from the “Naked Pastor”. He’s someone I follow on social media who talks a lot about deconstruction and ‘controversial’ topics in the church. Today he wrote something that I realized is something I’ve been thinking about a lot.
“We’ve been trained to stay on the straight and narrow. But when we stray, we are terrified because of all the bad things that will happen to us that we were warned about.”
I remember being in church when I was in high school and even in college and hearing things that terrified me to my core.
I went to a Christian university. I wasn’t allowed to do a lot of things.
(Spoiler alert: I did MOST of the things I wasn’t allowed to do).
But, it gets me thinking.
When I taught one-year-old kiddos, I had a new tiny human come into my classroom and her dad worked downtown and would visit a lot. And he was a little intimidating.
I was outside with all the one-year-old kiddos and I was talking to the dad and his tiny human was in a push car and was going to fall off the deck. It was maybe 4-6 inches. I caught the car and pushed them back up.
But the dad said to let them fall next time.
The funny thing is if the dad wouldn’t have been standing there, I would have let the back wheels fall and let the tiny human plop down.
I knew they were safe, but the presence of the dad caused me to react differently.
The presence of someone I deemed with more authority than me (which in that case it was kind of true) caused me to react differently.
I wonder though; how frequently have I acted differently or had a different response because of deeming someone with more authority than myself.
I’ve discussed this next topic in my life a few times. It ebbs and flows out of meaning and out of my own personal reality.
I have a very strong reaction to men who are in authority or “authority” in my life (and yes the quotations are two different types of people).
It stems from a lot of years and a lot of men in and out of my life deeming themselves someone who had the power to tell me what to do.
(And this isn’t just inside the church).
But, because of the people with “authority” in my life, basically the ones who don’t have it but assert it anyway, I have truly lost a lot space to actually give people with more wisdom, life and what have you the ability to speak to me.
And also, because of that, I sometimes feel that I have lost the space.
Because of the ways other people have hindered who I am and what I’m about, I have lost the ability (sometimes) to believe I can be that person.
It’s funny how different life can be when we live in the verbiage of what we can’t do versus the verbiage of what we can.
I know that I come across as an extraordinarily strong independent woman. I come across as someone who knows what she’s about and does what she needs to do.
And even saying all of the things I said in this collection of words, I still believe the sentence above is who I am.
But that doesn’t mean that sometimes it isn’t a battle to move past the giants that like to wake up from sleeping and stomp around and shake the trees.
Here’s the thing about me:
I’m going to keep going in spite of all of that. I’m going to keep showing up and choosing to speak even when I feel things around me want me to be silent. I’m going to ask for help from people who are a little wiser than me (men and women) when I know they are safe in my knower even when my brain hasn’t caught up yet.
I’m going to try to the best of my ability to not be an island.
And I’m going to try to not be afraid of what is or isn’t off the path.
I’m not little red riding hood and I won’t mistake grandma for a wolf.
If you’re afraid of things that people have told you to be afraid, if you have been told you aren’t the right person and you don’t say the right things, if heaven forbid you’re a woman who’s been told you are less than- I want you to know that I’m here for you.
I’m with you.
Let’s do the damn thing.