I laid there in the dark of morning & wondered if this is what a midlife crises felt like. The thought of turning the big 4-0 this year & how I feel like I’m behind in reaching my dreams or chasing after them or perhaps even knowing what they are makes it feel like one. The dream that feels so prevalent on my mind right now is having children of our own. I never thought I’d have a hard time getting pregnant & definitely never thought I’d miscarry. Now, here I am at almost 40 and have to mark the box at the doctors – 1 pregnancy 0 BIRTHS. It feels like time is running out & I have no control over it. It’s not the way I planned & there seem to be too many factors that play into having that dream realized that I can’t change. I can’t help but feel like God let me down or perhaps I wasn’t meant to be a mom. Yesterday, I said to my husband, “Sometimes, I just want to give up & say screw it all.” But I’m not the type to do that. I’ll feel the pain, I’ll cry into my journal & even yell at God. I’ll do my best to walk through it, have faith, & trust that He has a plan. Sometimes that’s really hard. . .like REALLY HARD. BUT He always seems to answer.
I’m part of this little Monday morning club of Hannah Brencher Sheets & today’s letter was like she read my mind & heart. She said everything I wanted to say but way better because well, she’s an author. So here’s her take on fear & believing lies about yourself.
I had coffee with a girlfriend the other day who reminded me of this part in the Lion King. It’s the part after Mufasa dies in the stampede and fear leads Simba into the jungle to hide and rebuild his life. Wait… can we just stop for a minute and say that this movie stirs way more feelings as an adult than it did growing up? I am convinced the Lion King was made for adults.
But Simba is like all of us on so many levels. Fear shows up and informs us that things won’t be going according to plan. Tragedy strikes. We lose instead of winning. We face the reality: life isn’t perfect and life wasn’t designed to go our way.
As a result? He hides. He runs away from the calling on his life in order to just play it safe. He decides a safer life would be better than one filled with pain. And then Mufasa shows up in the sky (in the form of a cloud of smoke) to lay some hard truth down on Simba: you’re off the course. You’ve forgotten who you are. You’re not being who I called you to be. Remember who you are.
In God-like fashion, Mufasa delivers a message from the sky that nearly made me weep: something has stopped you from being the person you’re called to be. Figure out what it is and then fight past it. Don’t be afraid of the dark.
For me, it’s fear. I preach on stages about fear a lot and I still find it hiding in the corners of my story. I am guilty of letting fear tell me who I am, what I should wear, how I should act. Fear is the thing that crops up in my heart after having a really good conversation, a shrinking voice that tells me, “You said too much. You should have just stayed quiet.”
I think fear has plans to hijack our stories. It has a hope that it can keep us standing in one place, never moving forward or going after that thing we said we wanted. Fear and a slew of other insecurities rooted in that fear can make us unproductive. It can make us idle. It can cause us to think thoughts like, “Well, that person deserves this more than me. That person is going to get what I wanted.” It makes us stop communing with another and turns us on the defensive.
You have to be careful that you don’t become so familiar with the voice of fear that you’ll follow it anywhere, that you’ll allow it to hold you back. I’ve been in those spots before and I can promise you this: choosing to listen to my feelings of fear lead to paralysis. Nothing good is born when I allow fear to tell me who I am.
This past weekend, I asked Lane to write me a love letter. He does this on special occasions (and I am guilty of buying far too many cards for far too many love letters if you think there is such a thing). But I wanted the letter for a specific purpose. I’ve been believing a lot of lies lately. I’ve been clinging to some of those lies and asking them to name me. I’ve gotten so into the habit of listening that those thoughts are waiting for me when I wake up in the morning.
I am sharing this to be transparent and honest with you– that I would appreciate any spare prayer you’ve got to help me fight off the lies that want to say to me, “You are unworthy. You’re not good enough. You are not deserving of good things.” I share this also because it is certain that someone reading this email today needs to know they are not the only one. You are not alone when you hear the fear hissing in your ear. You’re not crazy. Someone on the other side of this screen knows the battle you’re fighting.
Back to that love letter… I slipped my hand into his this weekend at church and I asked him if he would write me a love letter so that I could read it in the morning. As I sip my coffee and open my Bible before the day begins I can also read that letter and let the words of someone who loves me, and knows me, drown out the voices that want to stop me before sunrise.
Because you know what is precious that fear wants to steal? Your time. Fear doesn’t want you to use your time to make any person better. Fear wants you to stay inside your mind, racing back and forth from thought to thought. Fear wants you to be unproductive and look back on the day thinking, “I am such a failure. I didn’t get anything done.” And you know what fear cannot have? You. It cannot have you. As much as it can feel as if fear is swallowing you whole, you were made to dance in the light. You were made to find joy in the small stuff. You were made to be present to your people. And we are going to have to fight like hell to make sure that happens daily. This may be the fight of your life but I promise you: not a second spent fighting down fear and replacing it with love will ever be wasted.
We are going to dedicate this month to fighting the fear that wants to hold us back. Who is with me?
As I read that I cried, yelled “that’s me”, and raised my hand in unison with Hannah. I love the way God meets me in the strangest places at the perfect time. So, I’m getting up, I’m pressing on in life, I’m doing my best to not believe the lie that God is holding out on me or that I’m not supposed to be a mom, & I’m not gonna let Satan win. How about today we write down the lies we’re believing about ourselves & then write the truth & begin to believe that. Or, like Hannah, have your husband, friend, or parent right down the truth about who you are. Sometimes we need an outsider’s view to see who we truly are.
And because pictures make everything better here are a couple of self portraits I took almost 2 years ago. It’s on my list of things I want to do more of. . .self portraits.