These past few months, I’ve been really enjoying finding and re-reading things I’ve written over the years. It helps me appreciate and start to understand what’s happened over the past three years; how my life’s path has changed and developed. I wrote this a couple of years ago, when my anxiety was really, really bad; telling me to be quiet, to stop talking, to make myself small, that I had nothing to live for except to die. And I was trying to find my voice in that; trying to find the strength to keep going. So here is what I told myself, it helped me; I hope it might help another person out there, too.
As a teenager I worried constantly about the end of the world. When other kids were possibly thinking about friends & schoolwork, I was thinking about how I shouldn’t have children in case the world started ending during my pregnancy. (True story. I was tons of fun.)
When I first started going to church, 7 years ago now, those worries were sealed off. It was like I couldn’t see those things any more. And I thought that that was what God was about.
For a long time, having a baby represented a mythical ‘everything OK’ that I was working towards. I couldn’t have a baby so everything was terrible, & if I was able to have a baby, everything would be OK. Everything would be stable. I would have a future.
And then Sam did come along, and it turned out, he was not my unicorn. All these huge & much bigger baddies sprung up in the hole left by my now-absent infertility – some I’d grown up knowing about, & some new additions too. And it felt like this was wrong – that I was doing something wrong that allowed these worries purchase in my life.
But what I’m realising in this is that God wasn’t ever about taking me to some nice place where things could plateau.
Through Sam He didn’t give me a reason to relax, He gave me reason & strength to get nasty with the things I don’t like. And instead of feeling like I’ve done something wrong, I’m feeling trusted.
I am beginning to feel that my life being what it is meant to be has little to do with what evil is up to. I’m beginning to feel that life can be what it is meant to be when I can look evil in the eye
‘I’m not out.
I see you for all that you are. And yet I’m still here.
You’re really big & I’m really small, and I don’t have much to offer, but what I can offer I will.
I will not beat myself up for the myriad of ways I fight imperfectly.
I will celebrate every effort with joy, and I will bestow upon myself all the breaks I need.’
When I feel fears at the moment, I tell them ‘you are welcome here’. It helps, it really helps. They lose some of their power and I stop fighting with myself.
What I have realised is that what fear fears is your voice. Your authentic voice is entirely unique & it is powerful – & that is why dictators and terrorists act in ways that are designed to stop people speaking. That is what oppression is – the taking away of our voices. The stories of Jesus, Gandhi & MLK carry such universal & enduring appeal because fear tried to take their voices, it threatened them with everything it had, and they resisted, even to death. And as humans we love that story.
What I want to say is this. Your voice is unique & beautiful. Authentic self expression is the basis of all that we consider work on our planet. Fear can have us believe that our contributions are meaningless, or that we will lose out if we express ourselves. But the opposite is true. Your unique contribution is all that you have to offer, and it is the most powerful thing that you have.
Fear likes us to think that we have nothing to offer, but that’s not true. We all have something to offer, the very thing that disempowers fear the most – our authenticity. And let me tell you, when you are your authentic self, it strengthens me. And my hope is that when I am authentic, it strengthens you. Individually our authenticity is powerful, but together it is something more wonderful still.
The stories of Jesus, Gandhi & MLK are not the stories of powerful people. They are the stories of people who were oppressed, and lived anyway. We are all afraid. Jesus was afraid. We can be afraid, and it can take nothing away from us.
Your fear and my fear is not the sum of us. We can be all that we are meant to be, and we can offer all that we have to offer. Our somethings are very important to the world.