Wednesday, May 7, 2014

On Being Brave, Going Sleeveless, and Punching Fear in the Face

Photo by Chasen Grace Photography

Since January 1, I have written more than one email that has said something to the affect of:
"You should hire me." Or "you should let me speak at your event." Or "I can make you better; you need me on your team."
Of course, as a writer, I word-smithed them to read more professionally. And because, by the grace of God, ALL of these emails have been received favorably I have become brave enough to write more emails, create more proposals, and contact more people in the same way.

I'd love to tell you these moments of bravery come through my own strength. That I just reach down deep and find the part of me that is not afraid. But that would be a lie. The truth is, among other things, that I have a coach.

...

It was about an hour before I went on stage at the Missional Women Conference for an interview that this Florida girl started feeling the affects of altitude in the Mile High City. I started getting very hot and a bit nauseous. I was sitting in a good friend's session and I started stripping away my carefully orchestrated "cute" outfit. The good news is I don't think anyone was paying much attention to the girl in the corner removing her cardigan and belt. The bad news was I was now forced to face the world in my sleeveless dress.

...

I sat in at one of my favorite caf├ęs on the patio in the Florida sun. She pointed out her "fat arms" as we perused through recent pictures of weekend exploits. She declared that those were the very reason she never went sleeveless. She was skinnier than me. By definition her arms were smaller than mine. So certainly if her arms were fat than mine must be really fat. Right? So I vowed that day that I too would refuse to go sleeveless. That was in 2009 and I can count on one hand the times I've been sleeveless in public since then. And by the way, did I mention that I live in Florida? The lies we listen to, tell ourselves, and believe, can make us crazy.

...

As my mild altitude induced symptoms began to fade I rationalized that I could reassemble my cute outfit for my brief stage appearance and keep all of the internet world (via YouTube) from staring (because clearly that's the only thing worth noticing about what I had to say) at my "fat arms." But in a moment of unadulterated hatred toward being hot (clearly I live in the wrong state) and a spark of bravery, I decided that I didn't care any more. What I wanted most during a time of sharing a part of my story I had never before shared publicly was to be comfortable. And so I stashed the cardigan in my backpack took the plunge.

Photo by Chasen Grace Photography
Later that day twenty minutes before I was to lead my own session I sent a desperate text to my coach. I needed a pep talk and I wasn’t afraid to ask for it. Mere minutes before I was to begin he finally called. (I would have always considered a person leaving the room for a phone call at an important moment like this to be rude. Now I'll just assume they need a pep talk, too.) He asked me what I needed from him. I said,

"Tell me to speak up. Tell me I have something valuable to say. That people need to hear from me."

He let me ramble a bit more and then he simply prayed for me. As it turned out I didn't need him to give me a pep talk after all. Apparently when you punch fear in the face you can give yourself your own pep talk.

...

I have a picture from my on-stage interview. And I love it, sleeveless dress and all. Sure the lighting and angles are perfect because the photographers are geniuses. And perhaps when someone on the outside looking in sees it they see a girl who is confident, articulate, beautiful even. I see those things too. But I also see a girl who has years of wearing full sleeves to make up for. After all it's been five years of not going sleeveless and I live in Florida.

What are the lies you've believed? How can you punch fear in the face today? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below.





Missional Women

5 comments:

  1. Okay this is starting to be creepy! :) Now I understand what you meant. You've always been one of the most beautiful women I know Joy. Although you have gorgeous features, it's something more. When I think about what it looks like to be "lit from within" I always think of you, and have for 15 years.

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  2. Renia, I wish I could say something appropriate back. But I am speechless. You always say just what I need to hear. Thank you!

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  3. Loved this post!! Found your blog through Faith Filled Friday! I'm a Florida girl myself, totally understand about the weather, but also love how the transparency of ministering to others that often sheds some of our issues. Your sharing is a fabulous example.

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  4. Thank you so much! I appreciate you stopping by.

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  5. Albert Viviene BigorniaMay 14, 2014 at 5:00 AM

    Can I tell you something? I have never gone sleeveless outside of my home! At least I know I'm not alone.. I will follow your footsteps and be braver and bolder! =D


    I'm sure a lot had been blessed by your sharing through the conference! God bless you! =D


    www.thejourneyofawoman.com

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