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Monday, October 31, 2016

Dancing Like a Unicorn

I think I have at least five or six blog posts rolling around in my head.  That’s what happens when I don’t write for over two weeks.  Have mercy, this is either going to be really long or totally incoherent…

Last Sunday (not yesterday… the other last Sunday…), I found myself a little lost.  OK, I’m not sure whether or not it’s fair to use the phrase “a little” if you have crossed state lines that you didn’t intend to cross, but whatever.  GPS isn’t always awesome.  There’s room for some grace here.

My children were slightly panicked at the thought that we didn’t know where we were or how we would get to where we were going.  I was not.  In that moment, it occurred to me that I should probably tell them why, and this is it: wherever you are, there is a road to get you to the place you need to be.

I explained to my kids that even if they were lost in California and needed to be in Maine, there is a way to get there as long as you have enough gas in the tank.  Everybody relaxed.  I didn’t bother to tell them we were running short on gas.

Then, this past weekend I did it again.  Twice.  If God ever calls me to Chicago, I am going to have to live within walking distance of everything and everyone I need, because I stink at driving there.  True story. 

I spent my Saturday at the #SheLeads conference, and as you may already know conferences are one of my happy places.  This one did not disappoint.  It was affirming.  I love the connections, both with new friends (I went alone—not because I forgot that people travel to these things in groups, but because none of my local friends were available) and with established friends around the country, texting from the venues at which they took part.  I hear someone even saved a seat for me in Nampa. 

I’m not sure exactly what I was expecting, but there was definitely a moment when things turned upside-down for me.  Jo Saxton was speaking, and she asked, "Are you fully living your calling or doing what you think you can get away with?"  Oh…  Ouch…

Sometimes I think I’m really living it, but sometimes, friends, I think this whole #LessFearIn2016 thing is a farce.  Look, everyone who knows me also knows that I will push the envelope… but how far?  Lately, I think the answer to that is, not far enough…  I’m learning something about the reasons why, though, so at least there’s that.

The other day I was thinking about the kinds of things that have held me back in life.  Today feels like a rather appropriate time to talk about this, because I spent the morning singing and dancing, dressed in unicorn pajamas.  Stay with me.  I did not just fall down a rabbit hole.

I have never particularly liked unicorns.  When I was in third grade, my school participated in a young authors competition.  I thought my story was great… it probably wasn’t, but I thought it was.  The girl who won wrote a story about unicorns.  I thought that was dumb.  Thus, there has been little unicorn love in my life, because… clearly… this is the kind of thing about which it is reasonable to hold a grudge for three decades.

Then, let’s fast forward a couple of years to my fifth grade Christmas concert when my teacher (whom I adored) pulled another child in front of me on the risers, praising her great singing voice and actually said, “You can stand in front of Lisa!”  Wait.  What?  Seriously, even if you’re dealing with a loud, tone-deaf kid, there is no way you make a spectacle of this kind of thing.  I’m not a participation trophy kind of girl, but we also don’t have to be mean.

And don’t even get me started on my elementary school art teacher who vocally called me out for my ugly art.  Never mind.  I’ve changed my mind.  I really wanted an “Artist of the Week’ ribbon, just once, even if it was a pity prize.

So, just backtrack with me.  Here I sit, writing a story about how I dressed as a unicorn and sang and danced for a living, this morning. I might thrive on doing things that other people say I can’t.

And yet, it’s as if I can never quite forget the sting of being a disappointment.  That’s what actually holds me back.  Fear of failure.  Fear of not being enough for other people.  Fear of not being enough for myself.  But I can’t keep living like that, because I have something to offer, and the call is compelling.  I can’t run.  I can’t hide.  I don’t even want to.

I woke up, this morning, thinking, “This is day one…”  That statement is far more loaded than I am going to attempt to unpack in one sitting, or maybe ever, but it’s true.  I’m not exactly sure where I am.  I’m not exactly sure where I’m going.  But I know there’s a road to get me there, and I’m going to find it—unicorn pajama dance parties, and all…

This I know, that God is for me” (Psalm 56:9, ESV).


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