I've always been just okay. But, as I sit and write these words, I feel my skin becoming inflamed and a tension in the center of my gut. I know to listen to what my body tells me, and what my body is telling me is that I am letting fear get the best of me. I am afraid of what comes next. But, I hear the refrain of angelic visitors throughout the Scriptures, "Do not be afraid."
I'm embarking on a new educational journey. This East Coast girl has moved to busy Los Angeles, CA to begin a new thing. I have books to buy (and read), classes to attend, papers to write. I know how to be a good student, but I also know that being a student has never been the easiest thing for me. In fact, being a student has sometimes brought out the worst in me, and I don't know what to expect from myself.
Anyone who knows me really well knows that I'm an extreme introvert. Some people who don't know me quite as well see a woman with a gregarious laugh and a warm disposition and assume she's an extrovert, but it's not the case. What they witness is a young woman who has learned from experience that performing bubbly extroversion ensures the best chances of success in this life for a woman. I've always been good on a "stage," but when my "performance" ends, I have no sense of how to proceed. So, yes, you'll see me blogging, podcasting, preaching, and teaching with a sense of confident self-assuredness. But, as an only child with a strong fear of being misunderstood and rejected, I feel like it's always safer for me to just perform, and when the performance is over, to retreat into my home. My space.
Those who know me well will tell you. It's not easy to get to know me. I am simple and complex at the same time. I'm absurdly passionate about people and relationships, but the fear of broken relationships often stops me in my tracks. Like many people, I fear disagreements and broken promises, and my defense mechanism is disengagement.
Now I'm beginning my new life on the West Coast, and I'm realizing with each passing second just how much my East Coast relationships mean to me. I'm remembering all my losses. I'm remembering all the friends I can't call anymore because I was too afraid to call them eight years ago when there was still a chance that we could cultivate a relationship. I'm remembering all the times I have let my friends down. I'm remembering the ways I've tried to make up for lost time. I'm remembering the summer seven years ago when I lost a friend to cancer and the regret I felt for not spending time with her in the months before she died. I'm remembering the way that profound regret drew me to the side of another friend who had cancer these past few years. I was not going to be that absent friend again, so afraid to cope with love that I refused to receive love. I'm remembering the phone call when I told her that I was accepted to UCLA. I remember us talking about how our friendship would be enhanced by the distance since I'm an early bird and she's a night owl. I'm remembering that she died this summer, seven years later. We won't have those phone calls.
And yes, I'm okay. I'm always just okay. But, in these last two and a half months of 2017, a year that has been full of overwhelming joys and gut-wrenching challenges for me and for our world, I don't want to just be okay. For me this okay-ness I live with is mediocrity in disguise. In these last months of this year, I must pursue excellence. I must pursue joy. I must pursue relationship. I must pursue the high calling that God has placed on my life. Being okay just won't cut it. I want to be inspired. I want to do a new thing. I want to live into the reality that nothing, not even my wildest dreams, are impossible with God.
Intellect teaches us that the supernatural, the miraculous, is improbable. But, I follow a young man from Galilee who embodied the miraculous in His very being. Where intellect fails, and it inevitably does, there is the Earth-shattering love of God. In the months to come, there will be miracles. This is my time for miracles. I will be more than okay. I will see the miraculous with God. Will you join me?