“You challenge people.” Hmmmm…hearing that immediately made me think that I’m seen as argumentative or ornery…but then he began to tell me why that statement should be taken as a positive and why my presence in different circles makes people look more deeply at their motivations and encourages them to press further…to “stretch” and get uncomfortable. And then, he asked me to keep it up!
“Maybe the goal isn’t to be comfortable…but to get comfortable being uncomfortable…that is something you do well.” What? Me? I don’t think so. I HATE pain. Physically, I’m rather intolerant to it (which is why living with chronic pain for so long has been terrible.) Discomfort sounds so…uncomfortable. But then she went on to explain to me how she sees me constantly finding ways to “stretch” and go farther…to upset the status quo…that I seem to know that there is always more refining to do and that the refining, while uncomfortable, is not optional but is always worth it.
“It’s a movie that I just know you would love because it looks like the main character is a strong woman who is a total badass and who is driven to right all of the injustices.” Yep, that one is probably true. Sounds right up my alley. I love turning expectations upside down on their heads. I love being the gal who will have her hair and makeup done but still pick up the power tools from the garage and get stuff done. It’s fun to see people’s reactions when they find out I’m a black belt…my appearance must not relay on the outside what I feel on the inside because people are so often just shocked. I love being unexpected. Defying my “role” or not being able to be put “in my place” doesn’t sadden me…it motivates me. If this tells you anything, on my wedding day, we had an “after party” at my in-laws’ house out in East Texas. We shot guns and threw knives and hatchets and there are pictures of it in my wedding album. (See feature image.) How many brides fill up 1/4 of their wedding album with photos like that? And my father in law loves to remind me of how I was smart about it…I made an excellent kill shot with a throwing knife and then calmly walked away in my afterparty mini-skirt while jaws just hit the ground.
“One thing I know about you is that you simply can not bear to allow injustice. You aren’t able to rest until it is addressed and amended.” Ohhhh…wow…I hadn’t thought about that. “I think that is why you always are drawn to the underdog…you have to see that wrongs are made right.”
“You shouldn’t try to change that about yourself. It’s beautiful. You are a beautiful…maverick.” Hmmmm…maverick. I have never thought of myself like that…but then she went on. “You know who else was a maverick?” Hmm…what? I was still thinking about the first thing she had said until she continued. “Jesus. Jesus turned things on their heads. He challenged the religious elite. He challenged the roles that people had just taken for granted were the ‘right way of doing things.'” And that is when it clicked for me.
All of these things have been said to me in the last couple of months…my science-geek nature sees a pattern which means I need to learn something from it. I think that maybe people avoid challenge because it is uncomfortable and requires energy but, for some reason, deeply crave it. Maybe it’s because there is something missing way down in their soul…some unmet goal. Or maybe because they know that God wants more for them…wants them to embrace the mission that he created specifically for them…but they aren’t often willing enough to press through the discomfort. laziness, awkwardness, or simple self-indulgence to be obedient to HIM. For me, I find that my conscience will absolutely haunt me if I allow myself to not step up to the challenges in front of me…I find that my mind immediately goes to how my sin of omission always moves outward and causes damage to others…living with that would require more energy, time and pain for me than just getting off my butt and doing whatever task God is asking of me.
So, I know this one is a bit heavy but…how are you doing with this? Are there challenges in front of you that you are resisting stepping up to? What outcome do you expect if you don’t step up? And what outcome do you expect if you do? Are you living such an booked-up life that you don’t even have the space to sit still and identify what your challenges are? Maybe that is what you need to approach first. Ask yourself this: what are my top 3 priorities in life? (Now don’t read farther until you have answered that question. Seriously, answer the question.) Now, look at your average week or day and determine how much of your time, energy, resources, and thinking are being used toward those top 3 priorities. If you are deflated by your answer, it’s time to make some serious changes to your schedule and resource allocation. Now, think about the challenges facing you again…you know what the right answer is. Instead of trying to wiggle out of the discomfort, try asking God for strength and wisdom and then get in there and join the fight. You too could be a maverick…a beautiful maverick like our Lord.
My prayer today is that we would rely on God to be exactly who and what he wants us to be. Whatever he is calling us to, he will give us the strength and abilities to accomplish. My prayer is that, unlike myself, you would see your God-given passions and characteristics as opportunities to reach our world and make it better…to show people the goodness that God has to offer…and that he is powerful enough to use your weaknesses for his good work. Much love friends,