Five days ago, I did something I thought was impossible when originally asked. Last week, I stood on a stage in front of 160 women and shared my testimony of how Jesus brought me through a life-threatening eating disorder in my teen years.
I initially typed this response, “Thanks so much for asking. I really do appreciate it. But, I’m just really busy right now with teaching and adoption tasks that I just don’t think I can take on one more thing. My apologies.”
But something in me just couldn’t hit send. I started at that response for a solid five minutes…and I kept feeling a lingering sense of uncertainty. My mind was running about a mile a minute when it dawned on me…there’s an alternative answer to my excuses above.
What if they DON’T?
Here’s the thing – vulnerability is scary. Weakness is not something we celebrate ’round here. Struggles and challenges are not something we shout from the rooftops as if they were accomplishments. There is risk involved, and risk is no fun for anyone. Risk implies the opportunity to fail. And with that, comes really two possible results – reward or regret.
I figured I had two options – I could say yes, take the risk, and potentially make an absolute mess of myself on stage. OR, I could sit safely in my seat, never put myself out there, and never know whether or not my speech would’ve made a difference. As scared as I was, I knew I couldn’t live with that regret.
Two extra cups of coffee confidence later, I finally got the courage to respond: “Sure! Thanks for asking!”
A few weeks later, I was listening to the online stream of the IF: Gathering in Austin, and I heard the incredible Angie Smith give a brief talk. She was visibly nervous, and she explained that her nerves were based on a lie that she had been wrestling with for years…a lie that told her she didn’t matter. A lie that told her she was unworthy to teach. A lie that told her she wasn’t good enough to inspire others.
It was during this speech that the cause of my fear was realized…I believed those lies, too. And, I wonder, if maybe you might believe those, too. So, I started dreaming…
What if we shook off the lies that tell us we aren’t enough?
What if we shook off the lies that tell us we are too much?
What if we shook off the lies that tell us we don’t have a story?
What if we shook off the lies that tell us our lives don’t matter?
It is such a common fear in all of us, I think, this fear that our lives are completely futile and without meaning. But, I’ll tell you what if…we would stop living our lives in our little safety boxes. God doesn’t call us to merely stay quiet and be safe. God calls us to GO. And DO. And RISK.
I began to see this opportunity completely differently. Not only did I have an opportunity to share my story of hope with these women, I had the opportunity to encourage THEM to share their stories with others, too. Mission accepted.
Two months later, the week of my testimony came up, and I was strangely calm. I had been working through the lies I was believing over the last few weeks as I prepared my talk, and the few days leading up to my speech, the texts and messages of support began rolling in.
I had friends and family praying for me all over the place, and things went tremendously well. I dealt with a little bit of cotton mouth, and I vowed to never go up on stage without a bottle of water again, but I lived to tell about it, I didn’t vomit or faint, and I have received over 25 emails/texts/messages of support since I took the risk and shared my story.
There was no judgment. No labels. No looking silly. No changed friendships. Okay, there WAS some crying, but that would’ve happened anyway! 😉
Vulnerability is scary, but, friends, it is SO worth the risk! Where is God calling YOU to be vulnerable?