I want more courage to rise up and live as the person that exists inside of me. Sometimes I feel like I am suffocating that person inside of me, like she is there living in my bones, growing in strength and voice, and sometimes I listen and jump and risk and get uncomfortable but all too often I shush her and ignore her and focus on the lives of imaginary people on the screen or the page so I don’t have to focus on the real-ness that lives inside of me.
I’ve spent a large portion of my life daydreaming about what life may be like one day. Then the day comes and it’s always wonderful, but never what I expected.
The president of my university often said, “You will never be tomorrow what you aren’t becoming today.” I’ve never figured out how to bridge that gap. How to become today what I’d like to be tomorrow. How to become today who I’d like to be in one year from now, in five years from now, in ten years from now. I’m just not sure how to manage that. But I think it has something to do with the brave in my bones, the courage that I push down so I don’t have to live up to the calling I know is mine.
Ignorance truly is bliss and I’m fantastic at feigning ignorance. If I don’t know what I’m supposed to do and don’t do it, then I’m an excused. If I had no idea I was capable of grand things, then I am exempt from the guilt that stems from mediocrity. If I am ignorant of the song I am destined to sing I can’t be held responsible when the notes come out all wrong. Or don’t come out at all.
But I’m not ignorant. And I am guilty. And that brave song is welling up and gathering courage and breaking through in acts of kindness and in words of truth. More and more often that brave song is swirling around in my head forcing my focus on things that matter, things that are real, things that don’t make sense but should.
Many people in the internet world chose a word for 2014. Maybe they also chose a word for 2013 and 2012. I’ve heard about this word-choosing and never thought it’d be a good idea for me, personally. I may start out the year with bold and beautiful plans but then reality sets in and I fear that I would ashamedly be looking back at the January me from the other side of the year and shake my head at how for a second I thought I could really live the daydream.
A few moments ago I walked over to my roommate and said, “I’ve never had negative feelings inside for more than ten minutes. I don’t know what to do.” The sad and the mad and the frustrated is burning, but the brave song is not consumed.
I’m cautious to choose a word of the year. My inside brave song has been disappointed by my outside weakness far too often. I want to be brave. I want my life to be a song. A fragrant aroma. But I also want to shut down, to shut off, to disengage, and to push down the stuff inside me that asks me to change. My hope for 2014 is that the Jesus inside of me overcomes the outside weakness – that sometimes I let the brave song be heard and I write the book and call the friend and engage the stranger and focus on the stuff that matters.
Have you ever old the old hymn I Have Decided to Follow Jesus? It’s one of the five or so hymns we sing every Sunday morning during the invitation at my home church. The verses are a simple line repeated three times and then followed by the line No turning back, no turning back. Here are the simple lines of each verse:
I have decided to follow Jesus. No turning back, no turning back.
Though I may wonder, still I will follow. No turning back, no turning back.
The world behind me, the cross before me. No turning back, no turning back.
Though none go with me, still I will follow. No turning back, no turning back.
That’s my word for this year in a song. My brave song to decide, to persevere, to live holy, and to forsake all. No turning back, no turning back.