So again, the question in my head lately has been:
Why do we not do the things we know we would regret not doing if we were to die tomorrow, because we could die tomorrow?
When I think about what it would look like to really eliminate regret, and actually use the time and gifts I’ve been given to their fullest in this life, I think about:
- Not letting the lack of apparent feasibility of a goal keep me from following my calling
- Not letting what others may think of me dictate my actions
- Not letting people’s expectations, or my expectations of myself, hinder progress
- Accepting and appreciating everyone in my life, and letting everyone, from new friends to family, know that they’re loved
The list goes on…
The fears that so often stop me range from:
- Fear of failure, to
- Fear of success, to
- Fear of the unknown, to
- Fear of rejection, to
- Fear of embarrassment or vulnerability
Some of these fears are one in the same, but for the sake of time, I’m going to just ramble about fear of embarrassment or vulnerability, as it relates to appreciating my mom and dad and letting them know they’re loved. My parents are the two people in my life that know me the best, and have loved me unconditionally (in spite of that)… so I’ve been wondering lately:
Why do I not go out of my way to let them know how much I care about and appreciate them? Why do I so often take their presence and their love for granted? Why do I feel I’m entitled to treat them, of all people, with contempt if I’m not having the best day, even when they’ve been the ones most unconditionally loving and gracious towards me?
If I were to die tomorrow, would I regret leaving things in the state that they are in, in this moment?
The answer to the last question is, “Crap… Yes!” Now, I don’t think I’m a terrible daughter, and I’m not saying that I never tell my parents that I love them. We actually have a great relationship, relatively speaking. What I’m saying is there is a lot of room for improvement, and I’m wondering why I’m not working to make those improvements more proactively, given that life is so fleeting.
I’m going to steal a quote that Jan Carlberg quoted in her latest post, because I think it relates:
“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable,” (C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves).
Recently, I’ve made a vow to myself to not let fear of rejection and embarrassment as it relates to vulnerability keep me from being my true self. This is the beginning of a journey that doesn’t have an end, and I’ve already failed a LOT in trying to doing this, but I’m convinced intentions like this are what allow us to climb the ladder of life to the top with the most Love in our hearts. Baby steps, right?
Yesterday I talked to my parents about all of these thoughts I’ve been having. I cried and told them I love them and appreciate them, and the whole thing was so unbelievably terrible and ugly, but also so liberating and Good.
This is what I’m learning:
Success isn’t eliminating fear. Success isn’t not experiencing rejection or embarrassment.
Success is being scared, but still being willing to experience the things we fear regardless.
Success is vowing to not allow fear to cause you to wait for a reminder of death to prompt you to live the way you know you’ve always been meant to live.
Success is knowing that the lies that the enemy feeds us in our heads about how we are unworthy of life, love, and success, are absolutely false.
One of the biggest things I fear is that the reaction I will get from putting myself out there, from pursuing my calling, from telling people how I feel, might affirm the lies in my head, thus making them true.
Success is knowing that if that does happen, it doesn’t make the lies any more true. The enemy will always try to tell us we are worthless, whether it’s through our own insecurities, or through the manifestation of other people’s insecurities in our own lives.
Remembering that we are more than enough, not because of what we’ve done, but because Christ has made us more than enough, will put Satan in his place, allowing us to rise triumphant as we boldly carry out our callings for the glory of God. I hope that we can all build each other up as we work to each become our true selves.