Written by Rebecca Chasteen
“I figured you’d be president of something by now.”
My best-friend-since-kindergarten was over with her son. We were celebrating New Years Eve together by letting our children dump toys on the floor while we ate Bojangles. Someone brought up the idea of telling one another if they were doing what we imagined they would be doing at this point in their life.
I told her that I felt like overall, she was doing what I thought she would be with her life and in her life. Her life lines up with who I know her to be and who I’ve always known her to be. Her womb has not yet carried a child and it breaks my heart for her, because I just knew she’d have a house full of little ones by now. But that’s not anything she can control. So instead, she traveled across the Atlantic Ocean, into a foreign country to adopt a little boy who, due to his special needs, was in an orphanage. This is a woman who doesn’t like to drive some where in her own town that she’s not familiar with. But for that boy, for her son, she spent weeks upon weeks in the unfamiliar. She took leap upon leap of faith to get to him and she continues that practice now. Her life is busy with her commitments that matter to her and her house is messy (look, I’m not telling you anything she wouldn’t) and she is getting ready to adopt again. Yes, she is being the person I always knew she was. It looks a little different than we both thought it would, but I imagine the teenage version of her looks at the current version of her in approval.
The teenage version of me, on the other hand, has probably been a little confused.
I’ve tried for years to pinpoint a particular moment or choice that sent me veering off course, but it didn’t happen all at once. It happened slowly, discreetly. One internal misstep after another. Not to say my whole life doesn’t make sense to me. Much of my life lines up pretty well with who I am. it’s more the living of my life that seems to be floundering.
I know my stumbling block. I know my enemy. I know my kryptonite.
It’s fear. All those internal missteps – fear based thinking, fear based decision making, fear based living.
Fear can sneak it’s way into anything. It can look like logic or practicality. It can look smart. It can look wise. It can look average, normal, safe. It can look like a “sure thing”, something bound to satisfy your needs because it is safe – but it is a false guarantee. It is the wrong kind of safe.
It is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. It is a lie I have listened to over and over and over. It is a con artist who charms you and tricks you and steals everything you love.
Fear is a roofie someone slips into your drink while you look away for just a moment. You drink it down, unaware, and it renders you powerless. And then your whole life changes.
I’ve struggled over the past few years with feeling like a victim of my circumstances. I’ve struggled in survivor mode – just getting through this week, this day, this hour. For years, just getting through. Feeling crazy and frustrated with the disconnect in my life. Missing the living of life in the midst of the surviving of it.
I’ve struggled to feel safe, to feel like my life is under control, to feel like maybe this time, I’m going to get it right. I’ve cried time and time again I can’t do this, feeling like such a failure, feeling trapped in a way of living that doesn’t work and doesn’t fit. How can such a smart person, with so many resources fail so much?
I’m not going to get it right. My life is not under control. There is no sure thing. No bank account big enough, no job good enough, no plan fail-proof enough. There is no preparation great enough, no safety net safe enough. Not in my own strength, by my own means.
I can’t do this because I can’t do this. I’m not supposed to be able to do this. I’m not made to do this. And no, it doesn’t work, it doesn’t fit. I’m made to live in faith. I’m a daughter, a child, beloved, cherished, gifted. I am not alone and I am not made to do this alone. Of all the resources I’ve tried to tap into, I’ve too often neglected the greatest one. The source of it all – The Divine. The Creator. The Father, Redeemer. Love. Light. Life. The Way.
And so, I’m abandoning the sure thing in favor of the real thing. The only true security is the security I have in Christ. Whatever things look like on paper don’t matter. I am free to choose to believe. And I am free in choosing to believe.
I introduced the Brownie troop I lead to trust falls. I taught them to close their eyes and fall backwards into the arms of their Girl Scout sisters. They were scared at first, skeptical. It took practice. The first few times, they barely tipped themselves back at all. Some of them started to fall and then stopped themselves. One or two just watched. As time went on, the girls saw that it worked. They would be caught, they would not crash. So they started letting themselves fall farther, quicker. They stopped stopping themselves. And the ones watching, they joined in. It looked too fun to miss out on. They love falling into the arms of someone they know will catch them.
I’m practicing trust falls now.