Playing It Safe v. Doing It Scared

I struggle with this on a daily, sometimes hourly, basis--

Do I play it safe or do it scared? 

Since college, when people would ask me what I want to do when I grow up my answer is always the same: I want to make a significant impact on my world.

(I used to say the world instead of my world. But as I'm learning to redefine success, I really want to make a significant impact on my world-- the people my life impacts. I'll let God define the number of lives that impact hits. My job is just to be willing to make the impact.) 

 

Where I struggle with this is I'm insecure. 

I'm insecure that I'll try and totally bomb. 

I'm insecure that I'll put myself out there and it will totally suck. 

I'm insecure that I've heard God lead a certain way and maybe no one else will want to come that way too. 

I'm scared I'll make a fool out of myself. 

I'm scared I've heard God wrong. 

I'm really scared that to do some of the things I feel called to that the yes makes me a crappy wife or mom. 

I'm scared that by working I'm neglecting the community around me in my every day life. 

I'm scared because there are about 1 billion people more qualified. 

 

I'm scared and this fear keeps me quiet. Keeps me playing it safe. So I don't put myself out there. 

This summer I was faced with those fears and totally confronted that I was hiding.

Hiding behind motherhood. Hiding behind Sacred Holidays.

Hiding.

I was letting circumstances and my own opinions of myself disqualify me before I even really tried. 

So I took some big steps in the right direction. I started doing more things that terrified me. I started sharing with others the dreams I thought were only lofty ideas. I took a lot more risks, both personally and professionally. 

You know what? I'm not feeling any more brave today than I did six months ago. Honestly, I feel more terrified. 

My husband sent me this Tim Ferris podcast with Brene Brown today and I was reminded of this quote she has said several times before: 

 

"If I'm not a little bit nauseous when I'm done, I probably didn't show up like I should've showed up."

-Brene Brown

 

Today as I try to finish up writing the Lent study, I'm doing it scared. 

In the coming weeks as I start to fill up my 2017 speaking calendar, I'm doing in scared.

In the coming months as I put together a book proposal for my first book (Not Enough: A Discovery of How Not Awesome We Are... But God. The title is clearly still in the works but this is the gist of the book.) for my dream literary agent, I'm doing it scared. 

In the next year as I no longer just dream but make efforts to building a sweet, fun, true community in my neighborhood filled with people I don't yet know, I'm doing it scared. 

 

I'm learning that peace is a facade, at least the way I've defined it. 

I became a Christian at 16 and well meaning Christians told me then, "If you don't have peace about something, then maybe Jesus isn't in it. He is the Prince of Peace after all." I've run from so many things because they didn't feel peaceful. 

I'm calling that whole idea crap today. 

Peace isn't the absence of fear. Peace is confidence that even in the fear Jesus is enough and totally worth it. 

I feel certain Abraham was scared when he was walking up Mount Moriah to sacrifice his son Isaac. (Gen 22)

I feel certain as Moses raised his rod to part the Red Sea he was scared beyond belief. (Exodus 14)

I feel certain Esther was scared when she went before the King. (Esther 5)

I'm sure Rahab was scared hiding the spies. (Joshua 6)

I feel confident that David was scared when his son died. (2 Samuel 12)

We know that Jesus was in anguish in the Garden praying before His death. (Luke 22)

We know Saul, who we know as Paul, felt something like fear when Jesus spoke to Him. (Acts 9)

 

This idea that fear can't coincide with faith is a lie. We need to be done with it. 

This fear has kept me living a half hearted life for too long. 

This fear keeps us in our Christians bubbles, serving only other Christians, because it's safest there. 

This fear keeps us home, spending more time with our remote than real life humans. 

This fear keeps us spending more money than our bank accounts have. 

This fear keeps us putting too many filters over our picture and cropping out the less than appealing parts of our lives on social media. 

This fear keeps us saying "I'm blessed" or "God is good" or "I'm good! You?" whenever people ask us how we are are, believing the lie that they can't handle how we really are. 

Let's all stop it. Time is short. Our lives are but a vapor (James 4:14). 

 

What is your thing? Do it scared. 

Not sure yet what your thing is? That's OK. Do the next thing scared. Ask for help. Share some dreams with others. Start serving somewhere. Put yourself out there today. Stop waiting for what could be or what's next to make it better. Now, today, do it scared. 

I would LOVE to hear from you and learn what you are doing scared. How about tag me (@beckykiser) when you post a picture and use the hashtag #doitscared. 

Let's do this! 


A great anthem song to this idea is Francesca Battistelli's song "If We're Honest":

 

You can watch Brene's Ted Talk on Vulnerability here: 

Not Cancer + Not OK

I first heard "Not cancer!" about a month ago.

It's been a whirlwind since then-- more scares, some reliefs, and even more unknowns.

And I'm not OK.

I should be OK because I don't have cancer! But I'm not OK. I'm struggling and I feel so guilty about that. People say to me all the time, "Well at least it's not cancer!" or "At least it's treatable." So I feel like I should feel better. But I don't. 

I shared with you when we didn't know if it was cancer or not and my faith was strong. Fear still present but my faith was solid.

So I want to share with you today when it's not so solid because we need to all hear from one another even when things aren't all "God is amazing!!!!!!!" We need to hear from people when what we know is true about God is solid in our minds, but our hearts are struggling to connect to the truths.

(Don't worry, I'm not wallowing in a pit of self-pity. Words are often hard to convey, so please don't read this as melodramatic. I want to be honest with you all in the good and the not so awesome.)

I remember that afternoon after the doctor's appointment going to one of our favorite burger places and writing this on the wall:

It was unreal. Not cancer. I was crazy giddy!

It didn't get old the next day either. Or every little moment of each day following. It would hit me, "not cancer" and I'd be reminded all over again how different that day would've felt had we heard: "You have leukemia."

After a week the adrenaline started to wear off and I've felt a little stuck since then. It's been an unending rollercoaster with my health.  Had a second opinion follow up at MD Anderson a couple weeks after. That was sobering walking in there. More ideas from doctors. Then more waiting. Then more unknowns. My heart was and is exhausted.

In the midst of all this was life. Marriage, mommy to 3 young girls, friend, neighbor, etc. I have been mostly sucking at all my roles in life. Oh and during all of this, we were launching Advent with Sacred Holidays. No big deal. Just our biggest and busiest month of the year and all I can think in my head is: "Do I have Cancer? Only Jesus. Lord help me. Replace fear with faith. Your will. Your way. You are enough. Oh crap. Jesus be enough.... (rinse and repeat)."

Chris and I are doing good. I'm not dying. Sacred Holidays is blowing up awesome-- so many lives are a part of this, so many women in prison are joining us. 

I should be over joyed, right?

Yet, my heart has been exhausted, finally catching up to my body that's been off for a few months now.

I'm struggling in the unknown. My head and my heart both know all the things-- about God having a plan, that He can heal me, that He is using this, that this can be a good reminder to slow down, etc. I hear the answers in my head and I've heard them from so many as I share my funk with them. 

Here's what I'm learning: It's easier to trust God when there is a sense of control or absolutely no control, for me at least. I had no other hope but Jesus a month ago. There was nothing I could do to manipulate or control my numbers on those tests. Nothing. I'm excellent at getting things done, and I could do NOTHING. So trusting God, even with something as scary as leukemia, was easier than this wait of "we just don't know yet but we know these numbers tell us something is going on." The wait, regardless of what it is we are waiting for isn't fun for any of us!

Oh how I wish it was as easy as: sleep more, work out more, drink more water, etc. It's not.

We all find ourselves here often, don't we?

I don't have a pretty way to wrap this up. No answers for you.

Other than my heart and my head still know fully that Jesus is enough for all I'm going through, and whatever it is you are carrying. I also know He will use this for His glory and my good. Those things I find such confidence in!

When I was waiting to hear, "Cancer or Not Cancer," I could not stop reading and praying Isaiah 43. I made this print out and pasted it all over my house. You can get it by clicking the link below. I've customized it for what I was going through, but you can still use it, or make your own. I pray you are as encouraged as I have been reading what He says is true about Himself, us, and our situations of unknown or waiting. 

I've been excited about all the studies we've put out with Sacred Holidays, but I'm especially for this years-- He Is: The Attributes of God. This whole study focuses on a different attribute of God each day, and I so need it.

I would love for you to join me! Click the image below to preview the studies.

If money is an issue, go here and we have some discount codes available. 

Feel Everything + Think Everything + Then Let's Move On Together

Wow. So here we are today. Donald Trump is the President Elect. 

Some of you just shimmied your shoulders in glee and couldn't hold in the squeals of delight. 

Others of you just had that lump rise up in your throat again as tears brimmed your eyes and your mind is swirling today with anxious thoughts. 

For the rest of you, you've always been slightly indifferent-- stuck between two candidates you couldn't vote for and never believed in. 

This is a strange place. A place of division and conflict and most of us suck at conflict management. We just do. Even those that don't mind, or even thrive within, conflict, still suck at handling it the best way we could or should. 

Last night as I saw the election polls turning and we all knew who this would go to, I made the decision that I would delete my "Trump Cannot Become President (Also, could be titled: Not Every Christian is a Republican)" post.

Deleting this post and all the social media posts about it was hard for a few reasons:

  • One, I believed in and still strongly and fully believe in every word I wrote. Not a word of it do I recant. I didn't want it to appear that I have flip flopped on any of the issues I shared. While I disagree with many of the deductions other made about the post (that I was pro-choice, pro-Hillary, etc), I still believed and believe in the core messages that were intended. 
  • Two, it has brought a ton of traffic to my blog. As vain as that sounds, when you are a writer, traffic is good. To me traffic has never been about stats, but every stat is a person and I'm wild about people. Each and every "stat" is a heart I love madly and am honored they would come and spend some time here. The world wide web separates us, but also brings us together. I love that coming together with others.
  • Three, I lost a speaking engagement because of the words I shared. I strongly disagreed with the pastor's decision even if I respected it. I wasn't willing to remove the post then to keep the engagement, and the pride factor in me didn't want to give a perceived notion of victory to a stance I disagreed with. (I'm a truly insane person. Feel free to laugh or judge or both! Wink.)
  • Four (and 99% of the reason), there were many of you, on both sides of the issues, who felt like I spoke the words you've tried to voice for so long. I still get emails and messages daily from people saying thank you. You felt safe in this place and heard for the first time. I didn't want to let you down. I didn't want you to feel like you were alone in your thoughts and feelings yet again. 

So here is why I decided to delete that wildly loved and hated blog post: We have to move on.

I get you and BitMoji gets you because the have done a great job putting all the feels on the favorites page: 

Pretty sure most of us have felt all of those emotions this past 24 hours. 

I don't want you to rush past any of the feelings you have about this campaign or try to self help your way out of the thoughts swirling-- and there are many of both feelings and thoughts regardless of how you voted or didn't vote. 

Feel every bit of it today.

Think everything.

Listen to others.

Share with those you trust. 

Then we must move on. Not as victims or victors, but as people who love Jesus and one another. 

I deleted my blog post about Donald Trump because he is no longer The Donald, he is President (Elect) Trump. I will respect him. I will respect his office.

I'm asking that you would as well. You don't have to like him or agree with him. But let's change the culture we have and our children are inheriting of blatant disrespect for those that are different in belief or opinion.

Let's practice manners. Not for etiquette sake but for love's sake. 

To respect doesn't mean you have to agree.

I'm pretty sure there isn't a single candidate in the history of ever that each of us have fully agreed with. Let's be honest, there isn't a single person on the planet I've ever fully agreed with. My closest friends and family (including my hubs) are people I disagree with often, and they with me. But you know what? We can love and learn in the midst of this. In fact, I think we become better when we share, with love and grace, our disagreements. We share and listen to learn, not to find a stronger stance in our position. We seek to see all sides, not just the one that feels best to us (or seems best). And as we disagree we still say, I got your back and I love you. 

We are in this together, not alone. 

The answers have never been in an election's results. They just haven't. 

I hesitate to share this next part because I don't want it to seem like a bandaid. It's not a bandaid. It's not just words. The following must be our anchor in every storm and celebration: 

Our security is only found in Jesus. He is enough. 

He is enough for your fears and your joys. 

He is enough for times of peace and times of terrorist threats. 

He is enough for the traditionally married and the LGBT community.

He is enough for the poor and the rich. 

He is enough for black lives, white lives, latino lives, blue lives... all lives. 

He is enough for refugees and citizens and illegals. 

He is enough for the unborn baby and the woman carrying that little life. 

He is enough. 

We can feel feelings (He did several times). We are allowed to question and wonder (He did hours before His death and even on the Cross). We are allowed to rejoice and find relief (Jesus was all for celebrations-- His first miracle was wine for a wedding).

There is freedom in Christ to feel things and think things. And you will actually be a healthier person when you don't just do the right thing because you should, but you come to that place out of healthy processing.

Hope will only result when we come to Him with thoughts and feelings open before Him. 

Division is not for us. It's a lie and a great obstacle. Love must run deep.

So today we listen to God and one another. We do this without pride and without fear.

When each of those well up, and for many they will, we fight hard in the Spirit's strength not to stuff them down, but to lay them before Him and one another.   

Then we open His Word and we let His truth settle in over us. Fear and pride slip away when our gaze is less on Fox News or CNN, and instead fixed on His truth. So, whoever your feelings and thoughts take you today, settle in on His truth today. Read through the gospels and remind yourself of Jesus power. Read through Isaiah and remind yourself of the truth God desired to speak to a people far from Him. Read through Exodus and hear of how God leads is people in power. His Word will bring the hope you desire.

No more scrolling through Facebook or Instagram. Turn off the TV, it isn't saying anything new.

Instead, go to Him. Share your thoughts and feelings honestly. Share with those you know and love and ask them how they are. Then make every effort to move on. And when fear or doubt or pride or security in someone/thing else creeps up, you stop and confess and surrender again. Continue this cycle. He will help you because He loves you. 

 
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P.S. If you've made it all the way to the end of this post then we are friends, so please see my note below and use the promo code. Thank you for your time today. For listening. Would love to hear back from you on Facebook or Instagram in the comment threads. 

I wasn't sure if I'd share this next part because I really didn't want any of this to in any way appear to be promotional because it's not. But I've heard so many share in the past few days how much they need the Advent study we released through Sacred Holidays, He Is: The Attributes of God. I've heard so many say, they desperately need to be remind of who He is right now. Their security and confidence of been misplaced and they want to correct that. 

So I wanted to encourage you to do it along side us. I have a 10% off code for you: FRIENDOFBECKY. Even if we don't real life know one another, we are friends. There are 8 days left to order and guarantee the study arrives before Advent begins.