I can remember as a teenager knowing that I was going to be a math teacher. I was so confident about it. But now, as a 33 year old, I often STILL find myself wondering what I want to be when I grow up. (I’m as far away from being a math teacher as you could imagine. Pastors aren’t exactly known for their math skills.) To be honest, I’ve always kind of cringed when people talked about “calling”….trying to find it, or stepping into it, as if it’s just this thing you sign up for and it magically appears one day. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve secretly rolled my eyes when I hear about it.
So here’s the thing….I had an experience recently where I felt like I stepped directly into my calling. I didn’t even know it was coming. It just happened…..almost exactly as I just described above. God’s funny like that isn’t He? In September, I was one of the speakers at the Bloom Conference in Louisville, Kentucky, and I don’t know that I’ve ever felt as comfortable, as confident, or as alive as I felt while delivering that message. God was affirming in me what I refused to believe for so long – that He’s placed a desire in me to share His message through teaching and speaking.
For longer than I’d like to admit, I’ve looked to others for approval – I’ve listened to their idea of what I’m good at, what my gifts are, what box I fit into, and even louder are the voices who have told me what I’m not so good at, what my gifts are not, and what boxes I definitely have no business being in.
Instead of obsessing over my limitations, I want to trust that God will carry me to my purpose. Three years ago, I wanted to start writing, and I wanted to start teaching and speaking more, but I allowed the lies I was telling myself to keep me from taking any tangible steps to get there.
There are literally thousands of people doing the exact same thing….does the world really need one more?
What do I possibly have to say that hasn’t already been said?
Who will care to read, listen, share what I say?
I feel like there’s a movement right now reminding us that there IS enough room for all of us. Those lies that I’ve told myself for years….I’m working on believe the truths that can be found in them. Truths that tell me that the world does need one more voice. It literally does need every single one of us to speak up and use our voices for good. This is how I want to use mine.
I’m starting to believe that I do have things to say that haven’t been said. Or things that have been said but maybe not in the way I would say them, or maybe those words won’t make it to specific people unless I say them. That last lie, wondering who will care to read, listen, or share what I say? Of course that’s always going to be in the back of my mind, but I know that trusting God that He will use me how HE needs to, not how I want Him to is going to be essential. Maybe all of this is to help me start believing in myself. Maybe I’ll inspire ONE person to pursue their dream. That would make it all worth it.
This week someone referred to my decision to take this step as bold. The definition of bold is “a person showing an ability to take risks confidently and courageously”. Goodness Gracious. I can agree with the taking a risk part, but I don’t quite feel confident or courageous yet. I’m praying that will come in time, and I’m praying that I will follow the path that God lays out for me.
One thing I am confident of, is that if you’re reading this, you are most likely one of “my people”. You’re my tribe. I have been blessed, challenged, and inspired by a few very close friends who have been the biggest cheerleaders I could have imagined. But I’ve also been blown away by people who always take the time to encourage me. There IS enough room for all of us. Thank you for believing in me. For having my back. And for not making fun of me (at least to my face).
In this season of my life, more than ever, I want to be bold and authentic—I want to be Melinda. I don’t want to try to be perfect, I want to be who I was called to be. I want YOU to be bold as well. I don’t know what that would look like for you, but what I can promise is that it will feel terrifying and you’ll feel silly and awkward, but you’ll also feel so ALIVE. I want that for you, and God wants that for you. How will you make your dream into a plan? What would it take for you to be bold today?