Playing Small or Standing Tall?

It has been a while since we've hung out but it never takes him too long to flash a light onto my insecurities.

He sat across from me in a booth when he said, "You're okay with being a footnote." I brushed him off with a roll of my eyes, hating that he could speak so clearly into my life.

And he didn't stop there (he rarely does). Later in the car, he said, "You are more important than you think you are. Thinking otherwise cheapens the value you have in other people's lives."

A few days later, his words are still in my head, making themselves at home. I'll never (easily) let him know how right he is when it comes to me but since the beginning of the year (probably before that), I've been thinking along the same  lines. And God has been using him and other people to affirm what I have been feeling.

Then He sent me Romans 9:33:
See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall, and the one who trusts in Him will never be put to shame.
This verse brings to my mind the Pharisees and the Sadducees. They were a self-righteous group of people, those who observed the Law of Moses and believed that their works made them blameless in God's eyes. They thought they were in the right but when Jesus came, He showed that everything about them was wrong.

Although they knew the Bible, their hearts were far from God's and they didn't take that news too well.

Jesus was a stumbling block for those who exalted themselves but I realized lately, He's also been tripping me up.

And I don't think too much of myself.

One of my greatest fears is not being enough. I am afraid of putting myself out there and not measuring up to someone's standard, someone's requirement, or worse, my own expectation. So, he's right: I make myself small; I become a footnote. I belittle and force myself into everyone's peripheral vision, praying that I don't become the center of attention in order to avoid failing publicly, embarrassingly and miserably.

I stay within my means and don't take risks. I sit on the sidelines, burying the regret of not being out on the field, convincing myself that it's better to just sit this one (and everything else) out.

But the funny thing is that not only does Jesus become a stumbling block for the proud and the conceited, He also trips up those who don't think they have anything to offer, those who are overlooked, those who are small.

Regardless if you think that the sun shines out of your ass or that you're unfit to do anything, He's going to knock the self right out of you.

Boundaries shatter against this Rock. Comfort zones have to give way in His presence. Nothing born out of self-sufficiency will hold up against Him.

He will consume you and yes, Jesus is a gentleman, but sooner or later you'll realize what you've been depending on to get you this far will run on empty and then, only then will His strength be made perfect in your weakness.

That's what I've been realizing: the way I see myself, my insecurities don't mean a thing when I look at that cross. His grace is sufficient for me and my perceived lack. What He did on Calvary was enough. And as long as I play it safe, I won't see His power, His grace manifest in my life. I won't get to see me blossom and see what He has made me to be.

Even if it scares me, I can't play small anymore. I can't! I have to step outside of myself, step out in faith and know that where I end, He begins. I have to trust Him.

Don't be a footnote. Be the whole damn book, be the main character. Don't be the supporting actress to your own life.

Aren't you tired of sitting down? I know I am!!!!

Go ahead and take the center stage. Even if you don't think you deserve it, that's okay. That's what Grace is about.

Airport Terminal

You're just passing through,
Waiting for the next destination.
You want no trouble but
It always seems to find you
Like an old friend-
No- more like an annoyance,
I mean acquaintance,
You didn't want to see.
But he sure was glad to see you.
He pulls you aside
And asks you to spread 'em,
As if you can hide anything
Under your soft curves
He was eyeing just moments ago.
But you oblige cause to do otherwise...
You don't want no trouble so
You raise your hands up high,
Offering yourself as a sacrifice
To maintain the peace,
While your insides churn with chaotic disgust,
As his ravenous hands reach for your body.
Now starts the pat-down,
He begins with your breasts
And then the smooth line of your waist,
Never taking into account
The doubts and insecurities
Weighing on your chest
Or the nervous hatred bubbling in your belly.
No, he doesn't care
Because he's dealing with the battle
Within his own body:
How far can he go to enjoy this
Without appearing like a perv?
If only he knew,
What an eye you had on him.
He holds in his whistle
As he makes his way past your hips.
But you can still see
The lust in his eyes.
Who wouldn't notice
His wolf interior bursting out at the seams?
No, he can't fool you.
That he does know
So he turns you around to continue his search.
(For what, who knows?)
He finally reaches that ass
Oh, how they love to pat that ass.
He gives it an appreciable squeeze
And shameful anger flushes through your veins.
He forgot himself,
With your eyes facing upfront.
Maybe that's why it's so easy
To stab people in the back.
He now moves down your legs
But not before he touches you where
You have to bite down the reflex to yell,
Knowing full well that no scream
Would ever be loud enough
To wake up the dead,
Your innocence long gone.
You're a big girl now and
He's done with you now,
Already forgetting about you
Not giving a damn that you haven't
That you can't.
You didn't want no trouble.
You were just passing through.
But he, like everyone else, passed through you,
Leaving marks and bruises
Another claim on your terrain.
Not that anyone could tell
If anyone cared to notice
But they don't.
You're left to hunch over the burdens
But you don't
Because your mama taught you a better posture:
Don't ever be ashamed of those bruises and scars.
Baby, you are truth
That sometimes you are a battlefield
That people bring the war to you,
But you can survive.
You are proof that we can survive.

I survived.

Act Now

I haven't written in a long time to just converse and share my thoughts and musings.

And usually once I haven't done something in a while, it's a long climb up to get started again (i.e. exercising). Obstacles get in the way and making excuses is so easy that for a minute complacency isn't too revolting. It's okay to let another day pass by, avoiding the task. Then the moment's gone, but the gut feeling that more can be done doesn't go away.

So sometimes you have to get up and do it. Like I'm doing now. I'm getting up and doing it (not exercising though, my mind isn't up to that challenge just yet).

I'm writing again, starting with this thought that I have mulled over for the past few weeks.

A while ago, I read Acts 8:26-40 about the apostle Philip.

He is minding his own business when all of the sudden, God calls out to him, saying (basically), "Go here."
And Philip goes. Philip doesn't ask any questions. He obeys and goes.

That for me, right there, is astounding. There's more to the story but Philip's blind faith truly astounds me. Yes, I know that God will never steer me wrong but if God told me to do anything or go anywhere, I would bombard Him with 21 questions. I would want to know the Who, What, When, Where, Why and How of a situation and I wouldn't budge until I got all the answers. I have to know everything, so I can build a simulation in my head, to see how everything will pan out.

But Philip just obeys after God offers him the Where of the whole equation. Philip didn't need the other 5 parts.

He goes.

Philip gets to the destination and God tells him to stand by a chariot with a man sitting inside. Philip obeys again and he overhears an Ethiopian man reading The Book of Isaiah. Then Philip takes over. God doesn't need to spell it out for him.

Philip asks the Ethiopian if he understood the passage and the man says no. So Philip offers his services and the man invites Philip inside his chariot. Philip shares with him the good news about Jesus during the course of the ride. A river comes up on the road and the Ethiopian man decides to get baptized. Once Philip completes the baptism, God whisks Philip away to another destination.

Do you see how amazing God is? (Don't worry it took a while for me to see the significance of this passage that I couldn't shake off for weeks).

He answered all the questions that Philip might have had (if he was me) through his obedience.
Who: Ethiopian man
What: Baptism
When: Now
Where: A dirt road between Jerusalem and Gaza
Why: To share the good news of Jesus Christ
How: A passage from Isaiah
Philip didn't freeze up and ask any questions. He followed His orders and did what he knew he could do. The lack of details didn't scare Philip, he went where he was supposed to go to, knowing that God had all the pieces. And God showed up with the answers, after Philip's obedience.

Sometimes it's as easy as that. Yes, all the uncertainties and lack of details are nerve-wrecking and destabilizing, but you have to trust that He will see you through, He will never leave you lacking. He knows what you need before you even know what you need. The river will show up once you make the first step, so make that move now.

And you have to do it now! If Philip paused for just a second, then he could have missed his chance in sharing the Good News with the Ethiopian. Don't drag your feet. Don't let your doubts stall you any longer. Move and believe that God is directing your steps. Because He is. He has you and all the answers to your questions in the palm of His hand.

Act now. If you're anything like me, I think you've been thinking about this a bit too long. Go ahead and make the move.

151 Ramblings

He cupped my face gently,
Looked straight into my eyes
And smiled, a simple gesture
That gutted and left me
Gambling, gasping, grabbing
For air but I came up empty.
My lungs, naked and thirsty,
Burned with betrayal, angry
That I couldn’t get it together.
“I hate you,” spilled from
My singed throat but still
Hit its mark, softly.
And he didn’t look
Surprised because he
Understood that this was
Very close to the truth.
“I hate you,” I mumbled
Against his shoulder as he
Held me close. Tears
Brimmed my eyes as my
Eardrums resonated with
His heart. I couldn’t do this.
Being this close wasn’t fair.
But I stayed; there was no
Other place that was home.
To me, he was it but for him,
I didn’t know and I didn’t have
The courage to ask. All I could
Muster was the guts to drink in
The proof. And those same
Guts were now on fire and
My tongue was on the loose,
Almost released from the reign of my
Conscience: “I hate you
Because you make me forget.
I never can remember that I can
Row and wade my way through a
Sea of choices. Damn it, I can have
Anyone but I’m swept up in
A current of you. All I want is you.”
But I couldn’t say that. No, I didn’t 
Reach that part of the bottle yet.