A few weeks ago, I felt anything other than brave. I felt inadequate, humbled, uncertain about this task in front of me. I had worked hard on this project...put time and effort and thought into it to make it my own. My sweet friend called me to say, "Jen, have you got your thick skin on? Because I think this needs a tweak here...a change there...reword this...add that..."
There I sat, unwilling. I hadn't wanted to hear those words. I didn't want to work on this project any longer. It was late and it was due the next morning. People were counting on me and I just wanted to cry. I thought, "Lord, I did this for you! Why isn't it good enough? I put my best into this!"
A slippery voice trickled up my spine and whispered in my ear, "It would just be easier to quit." I began to wonder why I do this to myself, why do I put myself in these situations where I am vulnerable and where I can fail in such obvious ways? It would be so much easier to wrap the covers of my life around me and let nobody peek into the real me. Where everything is in its place and I'm in full control. I mean, really...it would just be easier to quit.
Maybe it was pride that nudged me into working mode. Quitting has never been an option for me. It was all about, "Well, I'll show you!" Then, I quieted my soul, took my friend's words into consideration, and poured more of my blood, sweat and tears into this project. And yes, it was a much better final offering.
I shared this with another friend, and he asked what the response was. All I could say was, "Overwhelming!" And truly it was because few came up to me to say, "Well done". But I watched and I listened and I wondered. And God blessed me with the knowing that because I was brave and obedient, people's focus had changed for the better. The response was not my glory but His alone.
I thought more about this brave thing, and the birth of my second daughter came to mind. I had labored for several hours and the end was near. I was hitting transition stage and it was becoming more than I could bear. My thoughts were wild and unpredictable. Frantically, in my mind, I was looking for the "Easy Button." You know, the one that Staples advertises? Where was it now that I needed it? It was getting hard and I wanted out. I groaned, knowing I can't undo the beginnings of my child. And so, this baby that I had nurtured and grown inside of me, and had kept all to myself, needed to be born and shared with the world.
So it is with dreams. We hold them inside, cradle them, nurture them. But until we birth them, go through the painful process of sharing the dream with the world, does God give them life. God takes the seed of our willingness to expose ourselves, to lay ourselves low to the soil, and He breathes His love onto us. Maybe it's taking the plunge and sharing what following Christ looks like to your father-in-law. Maybe it's faithfully giving 10% to God in church. Or being OK with the elderly lady across the street that likes to come visit because she's lonely and welcoming her into our life.
Are you hitting the easy button? It would just be easier not to do whatever it is, to withdraw.
How brave are you?