Brave

Wednesday, March 27, 2013 § 3 Comments

I was the kid who couldn’t run fast enough or catch a ball or balance in roller skates. I didn’t try athletics or anything that would demand a ton of physical strength, because what’s the point? If you grew up believing you’re weak, you’d eventually live it. And so I led a life of a weakling, living in fear all my life. I was hesitant to try new things. I didn’t dare to be adventurous. I put myself in a box, thinking I was secure in it. Put another way, my life was boring.

But when you’re in Christ, you’d know that life with Him is rarely a bore. He would push you out of your comfort zone, taking you on adventurous trips you wouldn’t have otherwise chosen for yourself. You could only tug on Him and plead to spare you from this, because, “God, I’m afraid.” But that’s exactly why you have to get on it, because it’s when you’re afraid you completely rely on Him. After all, He knows what He’s doing, and you are left with a choice to obey or disobey.

I chose to obey when I sensed God calling me on an adventure. It’s totally out of my comfort zone, but I realized it was that one thing I’d been waiting — praying — for.

But no sooner had I said yes than I also realized that for me to finish this adventure, I had to be strong. That’s something I knew I wasn’t.

Fear easily found a foothold once again. Discouraging me. Paralyzing me.

And I’m tired of it. Tired of being afraid, scared. Tired of cowering. Of backing out. Of taking cautious little steps. Of being uncertain. Of finding the courage you couldn’t see.

***

When you’re facing a mountain, you have to find the strength in yourself to climb it. Otherwise, you’re going to be stuck where you are — and I’m speaking literally here as much as figuratively.

Just this weekend I joined a mountain adventure with wonderful, beautiful, passionate-for-Christ ladies. When I say mountain adventure, I mean passing through caves, trekking toward the summit, crossing a hanging cable bridge. My fearful self would have liked to back out, or at least would have used a lot of pep talk. This wasn’t what I was used to doing.

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But my fearful self surprisingly wasn’t around. I was able to hold myself together and put on some amount of boldness. I didn’t panic. Okay, maybe at some point I did, especially when I saw the cable bridge and considered my fear of heights.

But here’s the thing. I squeezed myself into the tiny spaces in the cave, climbed rocks, trekked in mostly muddy terrain, trod toward the summit, and balanced myself in a thin cable with a strength I didn’t know I have.

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I didn’t know I have it because I was too afraid to know. Because it’s the kind of strength you’d only learn of when you throw yourself into uncomfortable, unfamiliar situations. True enough, only when I freely embarked on a seemingly scary adventure did I find out that God had already deposited His strength in me. What’s there to be afraid of?

I have already given my strength to you.  You are strong. You have it in you.

“I can do everything through him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13).

***

There’s confidence in awareness that when He gives you a task, God provides the strength you need to carry it out. But more importantly, there’s power when you allow God to unleash His strength in you.

So here I am today, a changed woman. It’s amazing how a weekend of adventure uncovered the brave and strong me. The past mindsets that have limited me and thwarted my potential are gone. God has parted the lies that have covered my heart for so long, revealing a fresh heart beating with His energy and strength.

Now I choose to live without fear.

I have come to terms with uncertainty.

I can take bold steps, confident that God has made the ground stable.

In the end, it all comes down to this: I am weak, but if God is living in me and God is strong, then I become strong.

Now that I realize how strong I am in Christ, I cannot begin to understand the magnitude of His work in and through me. So I say, “God, let’s get that adventure rolling.”

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“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9).

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6).

Tomorrow

Friday, January 18, 2013 § Leave a comment

Tomorrow I will go out, one sure step after another. Tomorrow I will feel the sun sinking deep into my ashen skin. Tomorrow I will let the breeze whoosh against my body. To listen to the sound of life. To witness moments of activity. To see random faces I will never again see, but learn to understand that behind the creasing of the forehead, the curving of the lips is a motivation to live. The sky is the roof to dispense light down on me. Seeping into every pocket of my soul. Revealing. Into every pocket I will deposit the sound, the smell, the taste, the texture, the image of being out there among them. Out of my tiny corner. Because tomorrow, I’ve decided, I will really live.

Psalm 90:12

The kite philosophy

Saturday, January 5, 2013 § 2 Comments

My niece is tugging hard on the string, shifting her weight from one foot to the other to keep her frame stable. If she wobbles, she will lose control of the kite, which by now flies higher into the sky as she lets go a length of the string at a time.

A swift moment after, the kite reaches the highest height its string will allow, stable up in the air, its tail dancing to the rhythm of the wind.

Happy with her feat, she then hands the string winder to my sister, effectively giving her all control of the airborne kite. My sister jumps at the chance, pleasure written all over her face. She pulls the kite a little, then turns to me and says, “Try it.”

I hesitate. I doubt I can control the kite against the wind. But she urges me and I give in. From where I sit, I can see the kite battling it out with the wind. It gives a slight pull. I answer it with a gentle tug.  Staring at the kite, I exclaim, “It’s such a nice feeling!”

An hour or so earlier, my sister and I were in the open field trying to fly the same kite. We took turns launching it and pulling the string in, but we never got to fly it at such a height. Worse, the kite crashed to the ground a number of times. It didn’t bother me, though, and in my mind I wasn’t as bad as I really was because from the get-go I was clear with my intention: I wouldn’t struggle with the wind and have the kite airborne like what the other kite flyers were attempting to do.

I know I couldn’t do it anyway.

I would just fly the kite at a height I could manage.

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I now think back to the times I underperformed because of the limits I subconsciously set for myself, and the many opportunities I passed up because I thought I couldn’t deliver.

I didn’t fly the kite as high as the string would allow not because I couldn’t but because I’d said to myself I wouldn’t. Even before I started, my mindset worked against me — not the wind, not how the kite was launched, not how I tugged on the string.

I could have flown that kite high in the air, or snagged that writing opportunity, or approached certain people of note, or planted my feet in that lovely place, if I didn’t start out drawing my boundaries, telling myself what I could only do and how far I could only go. Doing so made me weak, and it inevitably became my excuse to back out at the bleakest prospect of difficulty and failure.

The reason for my past failures is that I allowed the limitations I’d predertermined for myself to set my course when in fact I am bigger and better than my limitations.

Truth is, I am that kite. I can fly high only if I let go of everything that holds me back — like how a kite flyer supposedly lets go of the string, with a trusting knowledge that each time he lets go, the kite glides higher.

What holds me back?

Fear holds me back.

Insecurity holds me back.

Pride holds me back.

Procrastination and laziness hold me back.

Wrong frame of mind holds me back.

Here within me is a suppressed potential. Everyone of us has. We are created to do greater than what we currently do — not necessarily greater in scope and size, but greater in significance and eternal value. We are destined to fly higher than where we are now, with our Ultimate Wind propelling us in the right direction, His character even magnified in our flight.

But first, we have to let go. Shall we?

As the new year unfolds, may we commit ourselves to being assertive, a doer, an action-maker, not putting limits to what we can do. Let’s not just sit idly and watch things happen; let’s make things happen. Let’s not just just seize opportunities; let’s create opportunities. Then we’ll be surprised at how far and high He can actually take us.

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