Stepping up to the microphone, the girl’s hands trembled. Her mind focused on deep breathing and the mental exercises needed for calming her nerves, as well as her voice. She looked as her sister stepped onto the stage to take a seat at the piano. The girls locked eyes, anxiously smiling at the other. Edginess and joy were evident in their easy-to-read eyes. Movement on the stage caused both girls to shift their focus. The violinist and cellist stepped up to their mics, nervously tuning their instruments.
Each of the band members locked eyes, sharing courage-filled smiles with the other. The pianist counted off and boldly began playing the tune, as the strings joined in at the appropriate time. The vocalist found her voice, and confidently began singing. Their moment to share their talent had arrived. The music stretched out before their audience as all girls embraced this moment they had long dreamed about. Their talents were awakened while all fear was dispelled.
The woman laced up her athletic shoes. What was she thinking? Did she really believe she would be successful in moving from couch-potato mentality to actually consider herself a runner? Could she truly one day consider herself an athlete? With her heart already pounding before her feet even hit the pavement, she took a deep breath, popped earbuds into her ears. The only truth she knew was this was a moment of solace from the craziness life threw at her. Each foot being placed in front of the other, no matter the pace, was a way of hammering out all insecurity, all fear, and pacify all emotion. It was a way of attaining a pinnacle of reconciliation within herself.
The few miles she had managed to put in already had formed the conscious realization that running helped reconcile the voices of defeat within her head, along with helping to reason out conflict in her life. What she gained in the exertion of exercise was her world being filled with peace and joy. The emotional high encouraged her to keep going, to keep training, and to keep making time for exerting her physical energy. She yearned to believe herself to be the athlete she envisioned herself to be. Her self-discipline and confidence being awakened; insecurity and fear being dispelled.
The woman sat down at her computer, staring at the blank screen, clinging to her bold purpose statement of, “I am a writer.” Her past unfolded before her mind’s eye. Many years spent believing various lies she had, knowingly or unknowingly, chosen to believe, were rooted in denial of her self-worth and came flooding over her. Not to mention how, as memories unfolded, she recalled the years spent serving and ministering to the needs of others, including family. Making countless sacrifices, all worthy and pleasing, it placed the sincerity of embracing the belief she was a writer on the back burner of daily living.
Similarly, memories from her childhood came flooding through her mind. Reminiscing, she recalled the discovery of the manual typewriter, and asking her father to get it down from the shelf. She recalled the chemical smell of the triplicate paper being fed into the roller and the thrill of pressing hard onto each key. These recollections were vivid upon her heart. She remembered the joy she felt as each letter built itself upon another and unfolded into a paragraph, and soon became a story.
Recalling this dream, and the pleasure found in creating, it all helped her let go of each lie she had so unconsciously hung onto for so many years.
Lies of how writing and creating were all meaningless, a waste of time, since no real livelihood could come from such endeavors, especially when she thought herself to be so mediocre. Resolution to fight the internal critique and the fear of doubt had arrived. The time to embrace this awakening, let go of insecurity, and face all fear had come. With dedicated resolve, she typed that first letter, then another, and another, until slowly the screen began to fill and her story came to life. Facing the lies with the formation of each sentence on the screen was liberating. White space vanished as the words flowed from her heart, her mind, and took their place on the computer monitor. Her heart filled with joy, as insecurity and fear were being dispelled.
She had discovered a re-awakening.
Awaken and Arise
“Awake, arise, and Christ will give you light…” a rough translation that is birthed from Ephesians chapter 5. It offers two commands and a promise. The author commands us to awaken and arise, thus encouraging us forward in mindfulness and to not sleep through the purpose God has for us in this life. We are to step into all God has uniquely created us to be, for when we believe and awaken, we have this promise we can hold fast to: we will be made alive in Christ. He will illuminate our lives, our very souls, solely because we are His Beloved.
Like an arrow breaking launching from the bow, being thrust into the air, may our attempts at being brave, and stepping into our dreams and purpose, be released to hit their mark. May the flying arrows dissolve the fear, the disappointment, the despair, the insecurities. May whatever threatens to undo us and inhibit us from awakening to all we were created to become while here on earth. May light pour forth where there once was darkness and may our spirits be awakened as we grab hold of Christ, our hope, and embracing the purpose placed on our lives.
So often, we forego that which brings the deepest joy, satisfaction, and purpose in life. Each of us have a variety of reasons to sacrifice since food needs to be put on the table, and bills need to be paid. Life also certainly seems to have it’s fill of unexpected twists, turns, and demands. No doubt, when what brings us deepest joy can bring the challenge of turning a quick profit, we can be quick to prioritize and focus our energies on the necessities of life. Unfortunately, this reality can threaten our soul’s joy as hopelessness can threaten to settle in.
However, what if we took on a different mindset? What if we had a mindset of readily embracing a mere shift of perspective? Consider if each of us were brave enough to make decisions that could boldly change the current path of our lives. What if we were consciously attentive to embracing our purposes, our desires, and our callings? Instead of settling for a lost feeling of hopelessness, we could strive to find those pockets of time. Therefore making a concerted effort to embrace our dreams. This, my friend, would also encourage us in loving ourselves well.
What would it look like if we were resolute in our decision to let go of lies, soak in truth, and awaken our hope?
Take the time to be still.
Allow for senses to be awakened.
Reflect on your very own distinctiveness.
Focus intently on your specific likes, dislikes, hopes, desires, dreams, joys, talents, etc.
Recognize and disable all that entraps.
Boldly embrace uniqueness.
In doing so, your interior battle will find release. As a believer, expect to receive the promise of being made alive in Christ.
Discover hope actively being restored.
John O’Leary*, a burn survivor who, as a young boy, suffered from burns over 100% of his body. Quoted as saying, “No one else has your story, your scars, and your wisdom. No one. Embrace them. Accept them.” He encourages individuals to live in a way that impacts others. John tours to speak and motivate people to “navigate adversity through decision-making.” He yearns for all to embrace a “brighter vision for what’s possible.” He is an example of someone who suffered one of the most horrific of tragedies, yet has taken decisive action to move forward. He has embraced the tragedy and allowed it to help unfold the purpose in his life. He is now living his dream, and inspiring hope for others.
Let us each take decisive action to conquer fear, insecurity, and defeat, instead taking steps to scale the mountain that seems insurmountable. May we awaken, arise, and, with Christ, seek to face the fear. Therefore, may we find ourselves ascending the mountain, one bold step at a time. With resolution and sheer grit, may we decide not to flee from anything life brings our way. Rather, we should be still, reflect, and take that bold step to stare all defeat down, thus finding hope. Through these decisive and brave actions, as we embrace our gifts and lean into Christ, insecurity falls away. Fear is dispelled.
Let the song go out and reverberate off the walls, the tune blessing the ears and souls of all who have come to hear. Run the race to the finish line, and obtain the realization that you are indeed an athlete. Write the story and share it. Trust that the audience will ultimately receive encouragement, wisdom, sustaining strength, and blessing from it. Dispel the lies you have chosen to believe. Tackle bit by bit, word by word, or note by note, the truth of who you are. May the truth of who we are become evident as we awaken, arise, and receive the promise of being made alive in Christ.