I feel like its been forever since I connected with you all through here. So much has been brewing!
And while good, it has taken my focus away from writing much. Even though “the bug” forces me to put something on paper almost daily.
Thankfully, one part of keeping connected is through social media. While I don’t always have time to write a full-out blog (or even much of a post), I can carve out a little time to share something that has touched my heart in the hopes it will touch yours. Or to create a quick meme that might encourage or be uplifting.
Ahhh, the wonderful world of soundbite communication.
But I digress.
Last night I had a few minutes to spare, so I decided to take a break and create a meme to share with you all based on a talk I heard recently. I wanted to cheer each of you on to be yourselves, without asking permission.
To “Be Absolutely You!” And all that jazz.
I was excited to share the message of my meme, but I needed juuust the right background picture to bring it home. The problem was, I couldn’t find anything close to what I wanted.
And frustrations rose high.
Finally, with a defeated exhale, I shot up an arrow prayer: “God, why is this so difficult?!”
Then, the answer hit me. Literally. Like a punch to the gut.
“SO…YOU want to spur others on to absolutely be themselves by using a picture of someone other than YOURSELF?”
Que irony. Face Palm. Eye Roll. Head Shake.
Yeah, I know.
But the really embarrassing part?
Even after I realized this colossal, insecurity-fueled mistake I had made, I STILL hesitated just a minute before selecting a photo of myself.
And by “a minute” I mean over HALF AN HOUR.
I first had to contend with some pesky inward attempts at derailment:
“You can’t do that.”
“Better give a good pre-qualifier to this one.”
“It’s kind of conceited, isn’t it?”
Whose voice was that?! Cuz it sure as hell wasn’t mine.
At least, I don't think it was.
Well, not anymore.
I mean, I work hard to eliminate such insecurities from my life.
Yet, that voice, those messages, felt so deeply embedded. Spurring me on towards the need to play small. To apologize. To hide. Ugh.
Now, please follow along as we take what will seem like a hard left turn…
Neuropathways are funny things. (stick with me, please).
It takes time for new neurons to be born, form and link together to create neuropathways. These little networks are dedicated to and responsible for all sorts of things in our lives.
But here’s the thing. If we continue to do what we’ve always done, ingest what we’ve always ingested (I’m not just talking food here), and behave as we’ve always behaved, the only thing we will succeed in doing is reinforcing those pathways that already exist.
If we want something different, we will need to do/ingest/participate/create something different.
And it will need to be reinforced.
Now, what does all of that have to do with our earlier discussion?
My beliefs about myself have changed, but clearly, I need to do more to reinforce those changes I’ve worked so hard to create.
And that’s why I chose a picture of myself.
Yes, it’s a professional picture.
No, I won’t apologize for it.
Because it is absolutely me.
At the time I wasn’t super healthy. At least 15lbs heavier than I am now and feeling very insecure about a request to do a ‘photo shoot’.
I picked this picture because it reminds me that in spite of all those challenges, I did it anyway.
I showed up.
I reinforced the new things I wanted for my life. Things that are becoming my reality, more and more every day.
It was the beginning of reimagining my place and my worth.
God made me to do hard things.
Creative things. Bold things.
To help people. To equip them.
And to not apologize for any of it.
And if He’s not trying to hide my light or make me small, then who in the world am I to do those things to myself?
Admittedly, I have a slight (read intense) shudder and low gasp attempting to wellup inside of me and take over the delete button to erase what I just typed. But I will not allow it.
Cuz, reinforcement. Remember?
How about you?
Have there been times when you didn’t “use your own picture”?
When you played small? Apologized for… well… you?
Dear Beautiful Sister Friend-
You were created to do hard things.
To do YOU-shaped things.
This world needs YOU.
Your out loud voice.
I know it’s hard. And sometimes scary.
But not as hard or as scary as getting to the end of our lives and realizing we never actually lived them.
Starting today, set your intention.
What makes your soul sing?
What’s that thing you’re aching to contribute to the world?
We need you to do that thing. No apologies. No permission.
Just watch the change you will affect.
Naysayers be damned.
This is your one life.
We’re all waiting for you to live it out loud.