I am told that when one doesn't know what to write, one should just write anyway. The one that I speak of today, this week, these past few weeks, would be me. So let's see where this goes.
It's not that I don't have things to say. Goodness knows that is never a problem for me . Although I did prove a point once on a youth trip that I didn't have to talk, and I was silent for half the bus trip home from Saskatchewan to BC. I am capable, I just process life better when I live out loud. For the record, when I am home alone I haven't taken to talking to myself. At least not yet.
At the beginning of the year, I asked God what the theme for the coming year was going to be. I know some people do New Year's Resolutions, but I have to admit I am totally Resoultion-Averse. There are lots of reasons, chief among them the fact that I don't like doing things that anyone says I should do for no other reason than that they should just be done.
So being the stinker that I am, on January 2nd, I thought I would ask a safe question of God, which was admittedly my first mistake. I asked Him what the overarching theme for the year would be, in part because I love getting a big picture and I hate to get bogged down by details. I figured if God gave me a word, I could probably find an easy way to say that I had been successful come the end of the year. I was hoping it would be a nice feel-good word like "love" or maybe if I was really lucky he'd say "eat". Instead, clear as anything He said "grow".
At first, I thought that would be easy.
There were lots of things that I could grow that wouldn't be hard. Like my waistline. Or my messes. . Maybe I could even grow my bank account - all thoughts I had before taking a holiday and paying taxes.
Instead, this year has been looking a lot like Grow Up. Grow Stronger. Grow Braver. Grow Deeper. Grow in Love. Grow in Faith. Grow Relationships. Grow things that matter.
And sometimes I feel like I am being thrown in the deep end with all this attempted growing. Growing is causing me to face a lot fears I didn't know I had. Or maybe I knew they were there, but I thought they were all under control. Or that ignoring them was a reasonable life plan. I don't know. It turns out there's a part of me that only wants to grow if I can be guaranteed that I won't fail. And that is a lie. I will fail, especially if I start feeding those passions that have been growing inside my heart for what feels like a lifetime. And I have to wrap my head around that failing is just another opportunity to learn a lot of other good things. Like humility, asking for help, asking for forgiveness. It's not bad to learn how to do any of those things well, right?
So I am back at the beginning, staring at the new four letter word in my life, wondering how I am going to make it all work.
If I write things that matter, somebody out there is going to disagree with me. If I speak things that make a difference, somebody is going to wish I had kept my mouth shut. If I lead worship and sing, someone is going to wish I had chosen different songs, sang a different key, or likely shut up altogether.
I can't be safe AND grow at the same time.
I know I should probably just say Rats, or Shoot. But what I really want to say is Damn.
Damn my stupid fears.
But don't worry, that's just what I want to say. It's not like I'm really going to say it or anything.
And I know that a little bit of fear is a good thing. It will give me pause to make sure that when I sing, or write or speak, it is done in the spirit of truth and love. My intent in growing is not to start going off half-cocked. Or at least, not any more than I usually do.
I've also realized that my fear of doing what is always safe and makes everyone else happy, or at least silent will probably lead me to doing a whole lot of nothing. I don't want that.
God is with me. I have nothing to fear.
That gives me hope. It's time to get growing.
"A ship in a harbour is safe, but that's not what ships were built for."
John A. Shedd