I’ve been joking around with my husband that there are no whales to be found in Kansas City. As with most jokes, this one has its foundation in truth – I got scared and just like Jonah, I wanted to run away and hide in the belly of a whale.
The past few months have been exhilaratingly busy with new decisions to be made, a website to build, content to write, and all the other activities required as you launch a new endeavor. After my launch, I took a minute to stop, breathe, and look at everything I built. Then the fear set in.
Who am I to be called like this? What do I know about helping others? Most days I can barely help myself. I don’t have the right degree or education. Insert multiple other fears that all came bubbling up to the surface – fears that have been formed over years of allowing myself to be less than the woman God created me to be.
At the Self-Talk training this past January we were asked to introduce ourselves and to share why we had made the decision to attend. My reason? I was tired of playing small. Without even thinking, the words were out of my mouth. They came straight from my heart and my soul and were pushed out by the small part of me that had finally had enough. And as I stood and looked into the faces of thirty other people who had taken a huge leap and journeyed miles to attend this training, it was clear this was about to become a life-changing event for all of us.
It’s exhausting to play small. It’s wearying to spend so much time and energy trying to fit into everyone else’s definition of you. It’s draining to constantly look around wondering how to look, how to feel, how to dress, and how to think. And there’s only one reason to play small – a deep seated desire to fit in. A great need to belong and be accepted.
Submarines use sonar technology to send a ping (pulse of sound) out into the ocean to navigate, communicate with, or detect objects on or under the surface of the water. This is how I was living my life. I was defining my location based on my understanding of where others stood. I was ‘pinging’ out to the world and then using my perception of their location to define mine.
Sound crazy? Well it is! As Dr. Phil would say, “How’s that working for you?”
Humans are not submarines. We were not made to define ourselves by our surroundings. We were created by a God who has formed us and created us for a purpose. We already belong and are loved in His Kingdom. Beth Moore, in her Bible study on Esther, said something that has stuck with me. She said, “Our ego would rather be special than useful. We are sent here to be useful – beyond ourselves.”
Sending pings out horizontally to all those around you is an act driven by ego and a need to feel special. Looking up to God to understand our calling and His purpose for us is how we live beyond ourselves. How we become useful. How we know we are special.
So I’m no longer looking for whales. I’m standing firm in my calling to be useful, to be God’s hands and feet on this earth. And as I look around at our broken world where we all spend too much time and energy on living up to some unknown standard, I know that one way I can be useful is by being transparent. You are not alone, sister. Come sit by me and let me hold your hand. And together we can look up to God and pray using the words He gave us, “thy will be done” – Amen.