“You know what I really admire about you? You have such a bold spirit. If you decide you’re going to do something, you go and do it.”
I looked over at her as she said it. It was the first time I had seen her in a month, and nothing had changed. We still could sit and talk for hours about our Lord and what we wanted in this life. She smiled her joyful smile as she said the words to me, and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about those words all week.
A year ago, I wouldn’t have described myself as bold. I probably would have described myself more along the lines of a turtle, who liked to shrink back in her shell because she was so frustrated with her physical illness, and with the way the world treated it and the way she treated it. It felt like the shell of the girl I once was, had been stripped away the second I lost the use of my legs. I didn’t know how to be independent anymore, or passionate, or active. Not only did I not know how to be, but I couldn’t be.
So I painted myself a new shell. A shell that covered up the brokenness, and kept everything quiet. Every time I would be asked how I was doing, I would give a generic response.
“I’m doing great! My legs work now, so I can’t complain.”
I hid so much from the world. I hid my frustrations, and my anger, and my pain that I still felt as I tried to figure out who I was all over again.
Let me tell you love, I’m not hiding anymore. I may be broken and a sinner, but I am renewed and stronger because God works in my weaknesses. And when God is working, we are free to be bold.
This is a letter to you. You, who worry about what people will say. You, who worry that you might fail. You, who have the world at your fingertips but don’t know what to do with it. Stop painting layer upon layer over your shell. You aren’t accomplishing anything by painting your shell in the way you think others will like. Your shell is yours, so go decorate it and make it beautiful and unique to you. Or better yet, just strip off all the layers and leave your raw self and show the world that version of you.
That is the version of you that will shake the world. That’s the version of you that will tilt the world off it’s axis because of all the good you can do with who you really are and the love that will overflow from you from it. And the world deserves to see that version of you, babe.
So open up. Let yourself be bold. Show the world who you are, and open your hands so that you can pour out onto other people. Have breakfast with friends often, celebrate birthdays like they’re the only one you’ll ever get, and dance at any and all opportunities. But most of all, love. Love the world around you, love the people in it, and love the Creator who made it with every single ounce of your being. Nothing else will matter in the end, so go be bold with your love. I promise you, it will always be worth it at the end of the day.
I’m done hiding, and I want you to be done hiding too. Last summer changed me, in more ways than I will probably ever understand. But what I know is that I don’t have to wait on the sidelines anymore and cover up who I am. I can freely live my life and give every day one hundred percent. There isn’t a single day that goes by where I’m not grateful for everything in my life, the good and the bad, because all of it is what gives me a spirit that does not fear and lets me live my life boldly for God. You have everything you will ever need because you have Jesus Christ in you, and that is enough to shake every part of this world.
So go do it. Don’t wait around, and don’t worry about what people will think. You have all you need, and the world is your oyster. Nothing can stop you, and I believe in you.
“for God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love and sound judgement.” (2 Timothy 1:7)
My mom is my inspiration for this post. She has shown me what it is like to live in a way that is boldly for Christ, and she doesn’t let anything get in the way when she sets her mind to something. And everything that brings her down, she allows to make her stronger and fight back even harder. Last summer, she wrote me a poem while I was in the hospital and I look at it every single day and I want to share it with you all because I think it can apply to anyone.
“June 22, 2013
Before: vibrant, independent, caring, passionate, active, strong
Now: broken, quiet, still, dependent
Future: renewed, determined, focused, stronger”
Thank you mom for your example, your words of encouragement & empowerment, and your unending love.