Tell me I can’t, I’ll show you I can.
I’m pretty sure that’s been my motto since I was old enough to realize I had a slightly older brother. As a boy, he was treated differently by everyone. He was given the remote control cars and the transformers. I was handed baby dolls. He was told he loved math and science and got a microscope for Christmas. I was handed books. I was expected to learn how to babysit and care for my sisters. He was expected to just stay out of the way.
I’m not saying remote control cars are better than dolls, or that I’m not thrilled my love of the written word was nurtured so early. What I am saying is, I noticed the difference.
My parents believed early on - Boys can do things Girls can’t.
I didn’t buy it. I set out to prove otherwise. I tried to get my father to join my cause. When he went hunting, or fishing, I was the first to tag along. During football season, I learned every rule and position to watch the game right by his side. I made straight A’s beating out my brother’s A-B report card.
I’m not going to tell you this made my father believe in women, he was still as sexist as they come, but miraculously, he believed in me. No other woman could be president, because that’s crazy...but I could.
Unfortunately, this created an attitude that has followed me my entire life. I work very well in unhealthy, unsupportive environments that require me to prove you wrong.
If someone actually believes in me. I don’t know what the hell to do.
That’s where I’ve found myself lately. I’m surrounded by loving support. And it terrifies me and traps me in a pit of raw fear of disappointing people.
Outside of my husband’s overwhelming encouragement, never once uttering a negative word towards me since I cut our income in half, there’s now people crawling out of the woodwork to back me.
But it’s not just backing my writing. They’re backing me.
Pushing me to lead an intensive study of the Bible. Offering free tickets to a Leadership Conference because they see a future leader in me. Having no problems when my middle school girls overheard me groan “dammit” after crushing a finger in a rather violent card game during our church summer night outs. In fact, they think I’m good for them!
Then all my insecurities and as author Anne Lamott calls them...”my mental illnesses” overwhelm me.
I really have no idea what I’m talking about when it comes to Biblical stuff. I have no schooling on the topic other than my own experiences. I’ve certainly never been looked at as a role model. And yes, I’ve written a book, but who’s to say anyone will publish it, and even if they do, who says anyone will buy the thing? Please stop believing in me. It freaks me out.
Because somewhere deep down, maybe a piece of me believed the part where they said, “I can’t.” It’s easy to prove someone wrong...there’s no risk in that. It’s harder to prove people right. It’s harder to fail.
Amidst all this swirling in my head, someone reached in and calmed the storm. I’ve been doing a daily devotional by Beth Moore on Paul. It’s basically a book that gives you a scripture to read for the day, then asks you personal questions to answer in reference to the scripture. I opened my Bible to the days word and am not ashamed to admit, my eyes welled up immediately.
“Brothers, think of where you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things - and the things that are not - to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God - that is our righteousness, holiness, and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
Then I remembered, it’s not about my abilities, my strengths, or even weaknesses. None of that even matters. How quickly I forget that if I could do it all, it would be all about me.