This may come as no shock to you, dear readers, but I am a simple person. And while we’re being honest, I’m also pretty fearful in general. And okay fine, a little stubborn too.
With every big decision I’ve made in life I’ve waited until I absolutely, undeniably, know in my knower that I’m sure about it. And even then God usually has to spell it out for me with a big sign saying,
“Yeah, umm, did you miss the memo on the TPS reports?”
“JUST DO THE THING already.”
(Also, yeah, God quotes Office Space to me sometimes. It’s not weird.)
I often need to hear the same advice from ten different people in ten different ways before I’m finally like “Yes! I see it now!”
What can I say? I’m a little slow on the uptake.
Just ask my sister.
She’s 7 years older than me, and therefore at any given time has always been one whole stage of life ahead of me. She’ll always offer up golden nuggets of wisdom like, “Sister. You should never, under any circumstance, wear white athletic socks unless you’re going to a gym to work out or a field to play a sport.” Sadly this is how we would refer to it: “Play a sport”, because neither of us know the first thing about any one sport, other than the fact that they usually take place on a field. (This does not bode well for me in my Fantasy Football league but I refuse to quit playing, because stubbornness, remember?)
Or she’ll say, “Sister. You need to have a micro-planer in your kitchen drawer. What are you going to do, BUY fake grated Parmesan? Absolutely not. You grate it yourself. With a micro-planer.”
Or, “Sister. You’re in your 30’s now. You really should start using wrinkle cream. And for the love of God, wash your face each night before bed! Don’t you know that every time you sleep with makeup on it adds seven years to your face?” Incidentally, I feel that this is a gross exaggeration on her part. Then again, I could wake up tomorrow and realize with horror that I have the face of an 86-year-old woman because of all those times I was too tired to wash my face before bed.
Whenever she gives me advice, I’ll nod in pretend-agreement and then go on to totally ignore it for the next three years or so until I inevitably realize that she was, in fact, correct.
I recently had the rare opportunity to give my big sister a little advice of my own. She sat on my porch with teary eyes and a shaky voice, questioning whether or not she should pursue a particular opportunity. She wanted it badly for herself, but it felt risky. She worried about failure or looking foolish.
You should know that Sister is a lot like me. We both need God and the universe to make things obvious for our tentative hearts. We find comfort in the redundancy of signs all pointing to the same thing.
As she explained the details of the situation to me I couldn’t help but laugh, because it was so obvious to me from the outside looking in. I grabbed her shoulders, looked her squarely in the eyes, and said “Sister. YES. Don’t you see it? God hasn’t just opened the door he’s taken it off the hinges. Walk through it!”
By the way, she did, and it I’m happy to report that it all worked out in her favor. Then as luck and fate and God would have it, I soon found myself having a teary, shaky moment of my own. I felt stuck in a creative rut. Writing was something that had always been breezy and fun and casual for me but suddenly it was complicated and difficult. I began to question whether or not I should really even be pursuing this dream at all.
“It all just feels too risky,” I commiserated aloud one day to my writing group.
One of them immediately responded with, and I quote, “Stop it. Get out of your own way. Get your butt in that chair and write. God has apparently taken the door off the hinges for you so start running through it! Go on.”
She said my own words back to me, almost verbatim, and I nearly choked on them. If it was redundancy I needed, the universe was surely giving it to me.
But I’ve got to say, I’m starting to wonder about all this redundancy that I assume I so desperately “need”. (Those are air quotes, by the way. I’m using them ironically.)
I’m starting to wonder if maybe there’s a better way.
I’m wondering how many adventures I’ve delayed, missed out on, or ignored altogether because I was waiting for that big flashing sign to spell it out for me. To give me permission to proceed.
So much of life is simply choices.
What if I already have all the permission I need pursue the dream God gave me? What if I just need to be brave enough to choose it?
The uncomfortable truth is that everything in life truly worth pursuing involves some amount of risk.
I know this. We all know this. Yet, knowing and doing are two very different sides to the same coin.
It’s easy to stand on the outside of someone else’s dream and say “You should totally go for it! Be brave!” But when it comes to absorbing my own risk and taking my own steps I’m suddenly all about phoning it in to the Department of Redundancy Department. (See what I did there? Of course you did. You’re clever like that.)
Guys! I’m tired of wasting time! I’m tired of tiptoeing around the dream just because it’s risky. I’m tired of letting fear be the thing that holds me back.
So I’m not going to anymore. It is a choice, after all.
I don’t have to flip that coin up in the air, waiting to see if it lands on knowing or doing. I can just take the coin out of my pocket and use it to double down on the dream.
Because whatever dream it is we carry, I think we are meant to spend it to the very last cent. It doesn’t do us or the world any good to keep it shoved in our pocket.