Being vulnerable is hard. Openly sharing your creation is hard. Facing and accepting criticism is…guess what? Freaking hard. But there comes a time when, as we say in the ol’ church house, you’ve got to let go and let God.
It feels like I am entering one of these seasons.
There are lots of times when stepping out isn’t hard for me, or at least not THAT hard. Like in group project situations: I usually wait around to see if anyone is going to take on the leader role and if no one does, I do. And no one ever does.
Chatting with strangers, talking in front of people, these things are pretty easy. I think it stems from a desire to put others at ease. Like I know I can do it and it won’t bother me so I alleviate the task from someone else who it would stress out. And that makes me feel good.
Personality-wise I am typically a very emotionally available person. One of those heart on her sleeve / in her hands / on a silver platter-types. I suspect it’s largely to do with being extroverted (needing to connect with people to survive) and some small amount of bravery (I can’t quite accept that it’s solely driven from my people-neediness, even if it’s true).
But lately I have felt more resistance than normal.
Fear, self-doubt, and shame can have some pretty loud voices. Here’s some things I’ve been hearing lately from my inner critic:
- You’re too outgoing. It’s annoying and loud and you should just be quiet.
- People are freaked out by your passion. Calm down, tone it down, don’t cause trouble.
- You’re just doing stuff for attention. Your need for affirmation is uber obvious.
- You’re not actually that talented. All spark, no substance.
- Who the hell do you think you are?!
So yeah. That’s the record in my head. It’s not constant. It’s sneaky. Like subliminal advertising that just blips in here and there. Usually following a personal high moment.
But here’s the thing–I know it’s a lie. I know I am created for more. I can feel it inside my guts, this pressure, this ache to burn bigger and brighter. It’s almost painful when I think about it too long, all that my heart desires.
It’s kind of like pregnancy.
There’s this dream that’s taken hold in me. It’s not entirely formed, but it’s a part of me. And the more it grows, the more it forms, the more anxious I get. I remember when I was staring down the last couple weeks of my pregnancy with Anabelle and there was definitely some oh sh!t moments. Imagining what was ahead. That scary and painful process. All the unknowns. To have your precious baby outside of you, so exposed and vulnerable.
Sometimes it feels safer to keep it all inside.
The dream / book / talk / play / script / poem / design / idea. Inside. Safely out of sight. Where no one can criticize it. Where no one can accuse you of being selfish / braggy / wrong / stupid / foolish…
But where no one can enjoy it. Be inspired by it. Be comforted. Feel less alone. Feel encouraged…
Fear of failure and fear of success (I think I just diagnosed myself) are not safe ground. It’s dangerous. If I keep it in I won’t be safe. I will die.
So I must choose:
- To step out, to speak up, to blog, post, write, publish, share.
- To be vulnerable and transparent.
- To worry less about my grammar and more about guts.
- To care less about criticism and more about catalyst.
- To stop cowering to fear and doubt and shame and be fueled by faith and hope and love
And frankly to not second guess every word of this post. To just put it out there for someone else to read. To let go and let God.
And when I do, maybe someone else will feel at ease. They’ll know they’re not alone. They’ll feel a flicker of bravery in their guts. They’ll choose to burn bigger and brighter and bolder.
And man, that always feels good.
[What dreams are you holding in? What is your resistance?]