Toward the end of last year I’d found time to journal more often.
My love for writing was returning, after losing it in the midst of two years of slogging out essays, assignments and news articles.
The ease of sharing with the world, however, wasn’t returning with it.
I felt again, stuck and stupid.
I’d wrestle with my longing to write and share, ultimately concluding that there was already too much white noise in these online spaces, that there’s no room for my voice, and that others can articulate ideas so much better so why bother, and who even cares.
If I’m honest, I’ll tell you I still have to shush those lies almost on the daily.
I’m much kinder to others: wholeheartedly believing that they have a story to tell, that there is room at the table for them.
It’s about time I spoke just as kindly to myself, and stopped allowing seeds to doubt to grow.
The ten-year-challenge roaming the internet (where you post side by side images of you ten years ago and now) remind me of just how far I’ve come.
Despite that, I feel seventeen and thirty all at once; I know there are parts of me that have grown—parts that are sure, carefree and unconcerned about the thoughts of others—and parts that still want to be seen by the cool kids.
I think being brave with our lives is extraordinary. And extraordinarily terrifying.
Not just for those of us who dare to take up space in an online world of perfectly curated Instagram feeds, but for those who walk out hard days, hard marriages, difficult decisions and every day life, and just keep showing up. On the daily.
And being brave with our lives means that people like me—the quiet ones, the wall flowers, the background ninjas—we have to stop waiting for permission to be granted like some great golden gift bestowed by someone at the very head of the hierarchy. (You loud, audacious, party people don’t have to wait for permission either!)
We don’t need anyone’s permission to be wholly, uncompromisingly ourselves.
I love these verses from Romans 12:
”If your grace-gift is serving, then thrive in serving others well. If you have the grace-gift of teaching, then be actively teaching and training others. If you have the grace-gift of encouragement, then use it often to encourage others. If you have the grace-gift of giving to meet the needs of others, then may you prosper in your generosity without any fanfare. If you have the gift of leadership, be passionate about your leadership. And if you have the gift of showing compassion, then flourish in your cheerful display of compassion.
Let the inner movement of your heart always be to love one another, and never play the role of an actor wearing a mask. Despise evil and embrace everything that is good and virtuous.”
If your grace-gift is dance, then may you dance with wild abandon.
If your grace-gift is writing, then may you scribe the poetry of heaven.
If your grace-gift is music, then may you hear a new song and sing a new tune.
If your grace-gift is food, then may you delight in the kitchen, and be surrounded at the dinner table.
Whatever it is you have, you can bring. We are all called to push boundaries, to pioneer new days, and to come to take our place at the table, or on the dance floor, or behind our computer screens and offer our gifts without apology.
This year I’ll be writing without apology.
Without comparison, without wondering if anyone’s even reading.
Writing because of my need to write, and because my love of words is stronger than my need to impress or captivate.
Because I’m brave enough to come and offer what I have.
May you offer your grace-gift to the world too, there is room for all of us.