Today's the day.
Back to schedules and homework and projects and assignments. It's not all bad, I suppose, but one of mine was in tears last night, and the other was bouncing off the walls in nervous anticipation. And we were all so jacked up this morning that we all forgot to say happy birthday to Jon, who views this as only another day (he is the exact opposite of me), but still. Everyone likes hearing happy birthday on their actual birthday.
(Happy birthday! I am avoiding all awkward "happy birthday, baby, you're my soulmate 4-eva" sentiments, which by avoidance may come across as very generic, like we don't know each other. But. You know how I feel about this.)
There are some people out there who aren't afraid of failure. (If this is you, then allow me to be in awe. You. Are. Awesome.) Then there is me, whose greatest (okay, there are more than one) fear is that awful word with all it's awful connotations. FAILURE. I am deathly afraid of it and will avoid it, even if it means unhappily staying put rather than happily taking a risk.
I can talk a big game and for the most part know what I should say. You know, things like "don't fear failure" and "failure leads to success" and "if at first you don't succeed, try again". But while my mouth asserts a steadfast bravado, my heart is shrinking back in fear, saying things like "if you fail, you're a loser" and "why try" and "I already know I can't".
Schools teach things like "WE DON'T SAY 'CAN'T' IN THIS ROOM" and other such daring assertions, I'm assuming in an attempt to teach that "can't" isn't an option, so the only other other choice is "can". Which is all well and good, but that's a hard thing to actually live out, as demonstrated in my own life. I can. Of course I can.
But I'm afraid to.
Because thinking you can requires confidence and the willingness to take a risk, both of which I am mostly lacking.
A couple of years ago, my sister-in-law and I made a trip to the co-op. (We are both big fans of the co-op and we also think you should be, too. Go. Find one.) Anyways, when we walked out, there was a small truck with two gigantic, and territorial, Rottweiler dogs occupying it's open bed. And apparently these dogs viewed all of the co-op parking lot as their territory, as they were barking and lunging toward us, the only other two living, breathing, scared persons in the parking lot.
"Where. Are. The. OWNERS?" I remember whisper-shouting that as I scurried toward her van.
But Melanie was not paying any attention to me. She was locked in on those dogs, and staring them down hard. Now I've always heard that you should NOT STARE AT A VICIOUS ANIMAL, and was thusly avoiding any eye and possibly teeth-to-face/throat/body contact. But she was standing tall, shoulders thrown back and head held high. Eyes directly on her target, which were two snarling (exaggeration) Rottweilers. I really thought they might jump out of the back of that truck. She strode to her van with me trailing, hiding behind her as she confidently opened the door, staring at the dogs the entire time. When we got in, she slumped in her seat and let out a sigh. "Um, that was a little bit scary," I told no one, since everyone already knew that was a little bit scary. "Weren't you scared?"
"Yep. But you have to let them know exactly who is boss."
She wasn't going to let those dogs know she was scared. She was letting them know she was the B-O-S-S and she could not and would not be messed with. Period.
This season of growth for me is marked by the word FIGHT. God is making it so very obvious that I can no longer hide behind a wall and let fear rule me. What walls do you hide behind? They might be similar to mine. Walls that are easy to hide behind, like avoidance. Not speaking up. Resentment. Busyness. Cynicism. Control. But now is not the time to hunker down and hope for the best. Now is the time to fight for what I know is rightfully mine.
We are going to face intimidation and opposition. We are going to face challenges that seem impossible. We are going to come to walls that seem insurmountable. We are going to come across snarling animals that look like they want to take our face off in a hot second. And you?
YOU HAVE TO LET THEM KNOW EXACTLY WHO IS BOSS.
Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.
Maybe it'll be the biggest fight of your life, but when we decide that something is worth fighting for, then hopefully we will fall for nothing.
I stood for nothing, so I fell for everything.
Unhealthy fear has no place in my life. Negative thoughts, anxiety, worry, self-doubt--none of it.
Sometimes when I get on a roll like this one, I stop myself dead in my tracks when I think there is no way I can keep this up. I may feel like this today, but tomorrow will most certainly be a different story. And then I have to pick myself up and remind myself that we are talking about today. RIGHT NOW. The present. And for the present, unhealthy fear has no place in my life. I've got to take care of today before I can worry about tomorrow. And besides, tomorrow can worry about itself.
So take today and show it who is boss. Show today where you get your strength from. And tell today that you are back.
And you aren't going anywhere.
Have I not commanded you?
Be strong and courageous.
Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged,
for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.