I am so overwhelmed by the response to my Dear Parents With Children in Church post. Actually, overwhelmed doesn’t really even begin to capture it. Maybe I’m not supposed to tell you that. Maybe I’m supposed to pretend I expected the more than three hundred fifty thousand hits. Maybe I was supposed to be prepared for a launch into blogdom, whatever that is, maybe I just made it up, that’s how unprepared I am.
I’m not very good at “supposed-tos”, and I’m really not good at pretending. I’m a truth-teller. I finally got around to writing an about *that* mom page for all the new visitors. And oh my, there are so many new visitors. I really am so glad you’re here.
I can’t keep up with the comments and emails. I’m trying my best. I read every. single. one. I do. But I just can’t respond to them all. You guys have shared your hearts with me. Seriously. I am so grateful and humbled to hear your stories. They are sacred.
Meanwhile, I’ve been a little intimidated to write again. All these new eyes watching. Lots of disagreeing comments (and some not-so-nice) amid the overwhelming support. What if my writing isn’t enough? What if no one wants to read it? What if I insult all these amazing people who have shared beautiful things about children in church? Oh the What Ifs. Anyone else thinking of the Shel Silverstein poem?
A few months ago, a friend send me a desperate email, confessing her whatifs about a new challenge related to her own blog. In my all-knowing-blog-wisdom (yes, I am being sarcastic), I told her this. I only know because I went and found the email I wrote.
What if? One of my favorite things to do when I start to worry “what if” is to answer the question. What is honestly the worst possible thing that could happen if you disappoint people? Some might unlike your Facebook page. Some might not read the blog anymore. Some might even say something mean. Okay. It won't change who you are. It won't change the amazing things you've done with your family. It won't change the number of people you have helped and inspired. It won't change your value... as a person, a mother, a wife... or even the value of your blog. Now after all that, I don't think you will disappoint. And if you disappoint one or two, it won't change the ones you help.
It’s hard to hear our own advice, isn’t it? It’s hard to put myself in the positive side of things. But it’s true. If this blog crashes and dies, it won’t change the people I have reached. It won’t change the stories I’ve been honored to hear. It won’t change those I have encouraged. And it won’t change all the things I do every day - the way I mother, the way I live, or who I am in this world. I am filled with what ifs. I am a little scared. But I am grounded in love and grace, and I am gathering up my courage.
I talk a lot about love, grace, and courage. Someone commented on a post last week that they understand the love and grace thing, but what’s up with courage? Courage. It takes courage to live with love and grace. It takes courage to put ourselves out there and be truth-tellers. Some days, most days if I’m honest and I am, it takes courage to get up in the morning and do it all again.
I used to want to be fearless. That sounds so sexy. Fearless! Without fear. Above fear. Better than fear. But, I don’t think entirely leaving this fear stuff behind me is realistic. First of all, I have this little thing called anxiety. Yep, fearlessly anxious? Doesn’t work.
Living, parenting, loving, growing… it’s all scary. I find myself scared all. the. time. But as Glennon at Momastery points out, there’s not a lot that separates sacred and scared. Often it’s when I am really really scared that I am so very close to the sacred. When I’ve written words that scared me to death, I’ve been humbled by the most sacred connections. When I’ve been scared to put aside the world’s expectations for me and my family, I’ve found our beautiful sacred rhythm. If I strived for fearlessness, I would miss out on so much sacred.
Instead, I desire courage. I’ve heard it explained that courage is being afraid but doing things anyway. Courage embraces the fear, the scared, and the Hard, and Courage opens ourselves up to possibility, to growth, to the sacred. Courage is you sharing your story with me, and Courage is me sharing my story with you. Courage is stepping out in kindness and compassion, when it’d be easier to stand back while others hurt. Courage is seeing our weaknesses and our failures but still choosing to believe that we are okay, that we are enough. Courage is giving generously, of ourselves, our time, and our possessions, when it’s uncomfortable. Courage is going to bed with your body and heart aching, yes we all have those days, and knowing that you will wake up in the morning to give yourself, your family, and this world everything you’ve got.
It is with courage that I click post.