Boldly, Tanya || I'm Doing This Afraid

To feel fear doesn’t mean that you’re a coward. Boldness is taking action in the presence of fear. Do it afraid!

– Joyce Meyer

I have toyed with this blog for years. It has been a play thing. A little curio kept in my pocket to exercise my craft and give the pretense of progress and effort. I have been inconsistent at best. At worst, I have completely abandoned it.

When I acknowledged the call to write, I didn’t think it would be hard. I didn’t think it would be work. Writing is my both my God-given passion, and my God-given purpose. How much better – easier – could a calling be?

So, I stepped out in faith and waited for God to inspire me into greatness. I thought my part was to show up. God’s part was to rain down genius upon me. I would turn these profound revelations into eloquent phrases evoking emotion and change. Then, we (God and I) would show up the next morning to repeat the process until the day He called me home.

But the inspirational showers never fell. The flood of words never swept me away. The only time I managed a drip of insight was when a little water splashed on me from the faucet of flukes.

This calling isn’t effortless. It’s war.

Each day is a fresh battle of wills. I want to do this my way, on my terms. I want to set the goals. I want to define the outcome, and label the defeats. Why can’t God just oblige for once?

Can’t things be easy? Can’t I stay safe? Can’t I stay hidden inside my fortified walls keeping everyone at bay with insight and occasional humor? It doesn’t hurt that way.

I continued to wrestle, toiling over the disappointments and disasters as much as the successes and sweet spots. A pattern began to emerge. When I was the most transparent, I was rewarded with the most engagement. When I was untrue to myself, disguising myself, or just hiding, my posts fell flat. No one cared about those words, and it made me angry.

I confessed my hatred of  vulnerability hoping to abate your wish for it.  My heart is closed because it houses all the ugly painful things. Telling my story hurts. Visiting it and dwelling on it and hashing it out so others might learn from it feels like picking a scab. Who needs that kind of pain? Who wants another, a stranger, to see them bleed? Besides, aren’t we always told not to pick scabs? Doesn’t that cause infection?

Had an underhanded god rigged my calling with a bomb? Because something detonated.

Except I know God isn’t malicious or without purpose.

During church, my mind mulled over the shrapnel, examining each piece and reconstructing the crime scene. My participation in the service was lacking, but I managed to catch one perfect line of a particular song, “Show us your glory.” In exasperation, I whispered those words in prayer. “Show me your glory.”

God whispered an immediate response. “I already have.”

“Show us your power,” I sang back as the song and our dialogue continued.

“I did that, too,” He replied. “I wrote your story. I saturated every jot and tittle in my glory and my power. Just look.”

I lingered,meditating on the words, “Share the story.” The revelation I had waited for finally came, but not on my terms.

Withholding my story conceals God’s glory. Hiding the pain hinders the healing. Suppressing the sorrow stymies the comfort.

God wrote my story. He is asking me to share it. And to share it, I have to read it, examine it, and make sure I understand it. That means unlocking the dungeons of my heart to face the demons lurking there. No, not only to face them, but also to know them on a first name basis. I am afraid. But it’s time to do it afraid. Even if it hurts.

To share your weakness is to make yourself vulnerable; to make yourself vulnerable is to show your strength.”

Criss Jami

And the source of my strength is God.

Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.”

2 Corinthians 12:9*

*I would amend the words of Paul, as they apply to me. “Glad” isn’t the word I would choose. “Okay with” would be more accurate. Perhaps “resolved”. I also would change “boast about” to something like “reluctantly admit”.

What about you? Is there something you need to do afraid? Is there pain that you need to face? Or have you made it to the other side and found comfort and peace? I’d love to hear your story.