Tuesday, May 22, 2012

What If?

Someone recently called me brave.

Did you get that?

Brave.

When did that happen?

I'm not sure about owning "brave" but I'll gladly own confident these days. Why? Because probably like you I spent a large section of my life being afraid.

A few years someone I didn't know very well called me on it.

The word was "timid." 

I thought I was fooling everyone with all my talk of "wisdom" and "caution."

I reevaluated. I was intimidated by a lot of things.  What was I missing because of that?

Last week over on The Professor and The Housewife I wrote about our misplaced fears. We are afraid of the wrong things it turns out, if you pay attention to statistics instead of the media. You are much more likely to die by slipping in the bathtub than by being murdered. But dying in the bath isn't quite sensational enough to make the news unless you are famous and we throw in alcohol and cocaine. Then you can get your funeral broadcast live.

You are more likely to die from a bee sting than a snake bite.
You are more likely to be killed in a car accident than plane crash.
If you are a woman you are far more likely to die in childbirth than while sky diving.

Oddly enough when you tell people you are pregnant no one accuses you of being crazy or lists, out loud, the gruesome ways you could die on the delivery table.

If we are that far off when it comes to fears about life and death, what else do we have irrational fears about? You know the answers. Rejection, intimacy, failure, success, the unknown...

Are you really so happy with the known?

Can I just ask--what are you waiting for?

 I had a lot of people tell me I was really different when I got back from my first trip to Italy. I'm not sure what happened. Maybe because I fulfilled a lifelong dream everything else suddenly seemed possible. I do know that I realized at some point that the world wouldn't fall apart if I didn't analyze everything to death. I noticed that when I stopped being afraid, I stopped being so hard on myself. It became okay to make mistakes and to let people see them.

It became okay to be exposed. Unguarded. Wrong. Imperfect. If you are afraid to be those things you will never move forward.

I also just gave up worrying about what everyone else will think. It's easy to be imprisoned by that particular worry.

There are a lot of what ifs. We don't like change. The people around us don't like for us to change. Change brings up a lot of scary questions.

What will happen if you wake up out of the sleep walking version of life you've been living? What if you realize you're unhappy? What if the thing you want to do is a colossal failure? What if you voice your opinion and everyone disagrees with you? What if you find out you don't really have any talent? What if everyone thinks you are having a mid life crisis? What if you ARE having a mid life crisis?

What if?

What if?

What if?

If we are going to ask that question, let's at least spin it in our favor.

What if you find the adventurous child you were before life knocked you around? Do you even remember that person? What if you find a strong toned body under those extra pounds? What if you find your life's work? Or passion? Or the love of your life? What if you surprise everyone by how fabulous you are? What if you surprise yourself? What if you find out there is power in being vulnerable? What if your courage inspires someone else?

Let's search for our inner child and outer warrior. Let's leave fear stranded on the side of the road while we lie in the grass and laugh at it. Let's get to the end of this life full of joy remembering all the things we did instead of regret for all the things we didn't do...

What if?

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.
2 Timothy 1:7

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