You’re Kidding Me!

One of the venues I’ve come to enjoy in the District is Sixth & I. Not only is the space itself beautiful, but the author talks I’ve attended there have always been great. (Random fact: The space was the home of Turner Memorial A.M.E. Church for over 50 years.) While scrolling through my e-mail this afternoon, I was checking out some of the upcoming talks and to my surprise, I discovered one of the facilitators is a former intern in one of my labs at the NIH. I was shocked. I never doubted his ability to do great things, but the Sixth & I platform is a pretty big deal. I’ve seen Brené Brown, Susan Cain, and W. Kamau Bell speak there. These are all big names, mainstream authors and Vann is facilitating a discussion there. Wow!

I thought about it and began to wonder if this was an answer to a giant prayer he once prayed or just a random happening. I will never know, but I’m reading a book that’s had me thinking a lot about the size and expectation of my prayers. A passage I read today said sometimes God gives us thimble-sized blessings because we have thimble-sized prayers. The author suggests in the midst of the vast ocean of blessings that are available, we can limit ourselves to a portion as small as a thimble simply because we fail to ask for more. I’m guilty! I don’t dream or pray big enough. At work, I give my all and can always push the envelope, but in my personal life, I’m often a lot less comfortable walking on water.

Yet, given where I am in my current thoughts, it’s interesting that I would run across this e-mail today. Comfortable hasn’t been all that comfortable lately. And, even though faith walking is hard, I’ve been forcing myself to trust God more. I’ve recognized that I can’t stay where I am, God has more for me, but I have to embrace faith walking.

About two weeks ago, I spent part of an afternoon writing in my journal about some big life goals. I’m talking, I dropped the thimble and wrote out my biggest and wildest God-sized dreams. Things that only God can do. The day after I wrote them, someone invited me to lead a workshop at a training for leaders in the federal workforce next fall. The invitation was random and completely unexpected, but in my journal I’d written that one day I wanted to be a workshop facilitator. I didn’t know the topic, didn’t know the audience, but I wrote down this big dream, and a day later one path to realizing that dream revealed itself. My initial response was, “God, you’re kidding me, right?” But then I decided to act like the child of God that I am and remember that God’s not kidding around with me. He wants to do major things in my life, but He’s waiting for me to release the brakes. It’s acceptable for me to be nervous, but I ought to pray with the expectation that God is going to answer in the here and now.

I’m nervous about this workshop, if I’m honest I don’t have a clue what I’m going to talk about, but I know it will come together. God did not create me to shy away from opportunities He presents in my life. Things have to work out because God answered my prayer. Now, I’m challenged to trust Him with more. Up next . . . registering for the Publishing in Color Conference. It makes no sense to me, but I stumbled upon this opportunity and writing a book is on my list of God-sized dreams. I’m going to go to the conference AND I’m going to force myself to be brave enough to trust God to let my gifts make room for me. He’s not kidding me, just as God is opening doors for others, He’s willing to open up gigantic doors for me too!

Feel the Fear, and Do It Anyway!

Baltimore Women’s Classic 2012

Last weekend I did the seemingly impossible.  I ran (and completed!) my first 5k race, the Baltimore Women’s Classic!

For some, the idea of running a 5k means nothing, for others, it’s viewed as a bit crazy, but for me, it was freeing, and perhaps therapeutic.  I faced my fear, and did it anyway!

Here lately I’ve been more open to the notion of pushing through challenges, even when the only things I feel are fear, worry, and anxiety!  This is so challenging for me.  Despite what many think, I’m extremely shy (almost too shy) and reserved.  I often avoid trying new things, going places alone and speaking up in tough situations/environments.  In new places, I try to go unnoticed and blend in the background.  In a crowd, I’m rarely the person who will talk to a complete stranger, I’m quite content being alone.  I generally behave in this manner until an environment (or person) becomes comfortable.  I’m not completely sure why this is my nature, but I’ve been a loner for as long as I can remember…I don’t seek to surround myself by a large circle of friends, it’s always been that way.  I’ve often said to people that it’s just me in my life…me against the world.  And while, this isn’t necessarily the healthiest approach to living, it’s just the way it’s been…but increasingly I’m finding myself moving out of my comfort zone.

For the first time ever (perhaps!), I’ve spent a lot of time honoring every emotion that I’ve felt this summer…that’s tough stuff…and on two occasions along this journey, I’ve run into this statement, “Feel the Fear, and Do It Anyway!”  The first time, I just read it, and put the piece of paper back in my bag.  The second time I stumbled upon this quote, I began to question how the piece of paper on which it was written got into my work bag and why I kept on randomly finding THIS piece of paper.  After sitting with this thought for a few minutes, I came to appreciate that this quote has extreme relevance in my life at this very moment!

I’m feeling pushed outside of every wall that defines my comfort zone!  In the case of work, where I would once just go with the program, I no longer feel like I have to do that…I can truly take a stand and speak up for what I think is right and what I think is wrong.  I no longer have to doubt my knowledge, my skills, or my worth!  If people don’t like me for that…oh well, I can’t change me just to fit in.  I’m who God created me to be!  From a health and wellness perspective, I’ve chosen to no longer be defined by the demons of my past who would lead me to believe I can’t be in amazing physical shape.  So, I took a leap of faith and decided to sign up for the 5k run not knowing if I was going to be able to complete it or not, but I felt like I had to prove to myself that I’m more than any naysayer says I am.  Similarly, biking 30 miles was definitely not in my plan, but I just rolled with life and did it.  With family, I’m trying to be more open to connecting with folks, sharing what’s going on in my life, letting the wall down a bit…it’s not easy, but I’m doing it.  And finally, in love…now that’s the toughest area for me…even those who know me best, can’t understand the fears and anxieties I experience when it comes to love.  I struggle to to trust that there are people who believe in genuine, unconditional love, but I’m slowly learning that I may be wrong about that.  As a result, I’m trying to be authentic and raw with my emotions, and if I get hurt along the way, at least I will have given myself an opportunity to love fully, honestly, and without restraint…that’s all I can strive for!

So, at the end of the day…I’m human, there are things that scare the life out of me, there are things that make me want to run away to a secret hiding place, there are things that make me cry, there are things that I wish I could avoid, there are things that I wish would just work themselves out without me needing to put forth a lot of effort.  But life isn’t that simple, yet I am an overcomer!  I am an OVERCOMER who has made the active decision to feel every ounce of MY FEAR and DO IT ANYWAY!

Until next time…peace!

Thoughts to Live By…

A few months ago, I had the opportunity to facilitate a bible study group at my church.  At the conclusion of the class, my group gave me a pretty neat calendar with some amazing quotes to live by.  I’ve been keeping the quotes that I find most meaningful to me in hopes of coming up with a creative way to display them.  I haven’t figured that one out yet, but I thought I could post some that have been particularly meaningful to me as of late.  Perhaps they will resonate with others too.

“Never stop.  One stops as soon as something is about to happen.” -Peter Brock

“I never met a person from whom I did not learn something.” -John Wooden

“Determination gives you the resolve to keep going in spite of the roadblocks that lay before you.” -Denis Waitley

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet.  Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.” -Helen Adams Keller

“Don’t let go of your dreams.  If you have determination and belief in your dreams, you will succeed in spite of your desire to let go.” -Catherine Pulsifer

“As I grow to understand life less and less, I learn to live it more and more.” -Jules Renard

“Sometime when we are generous in small, barely detectable ways it can change some else’s life forever.” -Margaret Cho

“Happiness resides not in possessions and not in gold; the feeling of happiness dwells in the soul.” -Democritus

Until next time…peace and blessings!