Shi%%y First Draft

Lose Yourself

Look, if you had one shot, or one opportunity
To seize everything you ever wanted-One moment
Would you capture it or just let it slip?
His palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy
There’s vomit on his sweater already, mom’s spaghetti
He’s nervous, but on the surface he looks calm and ready
To drop bombs, but he keeps on forgettin’
What he wrote down, the whole crowd goes so loud
He opens his mouth, but the words won’t come out
He’s choking, how everybody’s joking now
The clock’s run out, time’s up over, bloah!
Snap back to reality, Oh there goes gravity
Oh, there goes Rabbit, he choked
He’s so mad, but he won’t give up that
Easy, no
He won’t have it , he knows his whole back’s to these ropes
It don’t matter, he’s dope
He knows that, but he’s broke
He’s so stagnant that he knows
When he goes back to his mobile home, that’s when it’s
Back to the lab again yo
This whole rhapsody
He better go capture this moment and hope it don’t pass him
You better lose yourself in the music, the moment
You own it; you better never let it go
You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow
This opportunity comes once in a lifetime yo

This song means a lot to me. It talks about fear and adversity and opportunity. It talks about pushing yourself into the moment and doing the thing you desire most even if it means doing that thing when you feel you are being strangled by fear. One of my favorite ministers refers to it as ‘Doing It Afraid.’ This song talks about taking the opportunity of a lifetime and going for it with reckless abandon, with whole heart, with whole mind and with whole soul. It talks about doing it afraid because you know that that the ability to accomplish your goal is within you. Because you know you have one life, one chance and you are willing to take the chance in face of fear and previous failure.

Fear has often plagues me. It immobilizes me. It makes me wait until the last minute to complete things. It makes me miss meals. It causes me to delay action, to disobey God, to cower to shiver to shrink from the very thing I desire. I have missed a lot a wonderful opportunities by letting fear ride me into a corner. Or did I ride fear? Regardless, it kicks my ass more often then anyone would ever imagine and I hate it. It makes me feel ashamed of myself. Fear has been a familiar excuse for me. I’m not doing that because I’m afraid. I’m not good at that. It’s not my thing. That’s what I say, so I don’t have to go though with it.  

My whole life, I’ve been exposed to theatre and performance. I’ve watched my mother rehearse and dance and transform herself into other people on stage and I always wanted to do it too. But when given the opportunity to audition for plays in high school, I chose to avoid it. I elected to watch the show rather than endure the audition process and deal with the possibility of rejection. I wasn’t the cool kid. I wasn’t good enough. But when I sat in the audience and watched to show I knew I could have been up there. I could have done the part of the maid or the dancing lady who was on stage for 4 minutes but I was afraid. This is one example of many and I’ve regretted each time I’ve chosen not to try.

Am I not more than a conqueror? Am I not talented? Am I not fabulous and gorgeous and amazing? If I really want to be superhero, a messenger of God, part of the holy nation should I not stand fearless, with eyes of fire, dreadlocks forming a halo like the rays of the sun, glowing with His Shekina Glory, should I not be spiritually ripped? Shouldn’t my mere presence make demons shake and cower? Why can’t I do this?

So many questions. But there are some answers and I find them in so many places – in the Bible, in poetry, in music, in the voices of friends and family and strangers. So many words permeating my brain. So much encouragement. The ammunition, the fuel, and the armor I need to continue to try. To get up again and keep walking. Part of me knows that I can do this because I’ve done it before….

I was at a Joyce Meyer service in Des Moines, IA. It was awesome and at one point in the service Joyce invited anyone who was battling with depression to come up for prayer. I

 was sitting there watching and God said, in my head “Go up there.”

I said, in my head, “I’m not depressed, I’m the happy girl.”

God said, “Go up there.” 

So rather than get that awful feeling I get when I disobey a direct order, I went up there and got in line. I ended up in line behind a lady with blond curly hair, just a bit shorter than me.  I stood there. 

Then He said, “Hug this woman and pray for her.”  

Outraged, I said in my head, “God this is a Joyce Meyer Conference! This woman is in line for Joyce to pray for her. Not me. “ 

That feeling again… “Do it.”

So I did it. It was terrible. I was so scared. The woman didn’t seem to mind. Joyce prayed for us and we went on with our lives. I don’t remember what I said; I don’t remember any other details about that moment it was so long ago. 

Later that year, I was in Baker’s Square with my sister to get some dinner and I saw a lady I knew. I went by to say hi and her dinner mate looked at me and said, “You don’t remember me do you?”

I said, “No.”

She said, “We were both at the Joyce Meyer conference and you prayed for me and since then I haven’t had any problem with depression.”  

Instead of being happy and praising God for using me, I was completely freaked out. What if I hadn’t done it, would it have been my fault if that woman was still depressed? It seemed like too much responsibility. (Sermon: Be a Super Hero by Deirdre Jackson)

I struggle against my own fear. I look at my limitations, I worry about screwing up. I spend a lot of time convincing myself that this is real, that ministry is where I belong and that it’s not just some delusion of grandeur. It’s almost laughable considering what I know about pastors and ministers. Grandeur in the role of pastor is easily balanced out by stress, angry parishioners, low pay and passion to serve.

I remember when I volunteered to help a young MDiv student who was starting a church. Our pastor asked for volunteers and after church I told her I’d be happy to vacuum or make fliers because I was good administrative stuff. Months later, she called and I ended up in a meeting where we formed a leadership team and my husband, Lewis and I became fully involved in the creation of a new church. I was amazed by it but I also thought it would be a good experience. I did not really realize what a big deal it was. I really didn’t get it. I was the secretary no big deal. But there was so much more to it.

Since joining to leadership team at Family of Hope, I’ve preached two sermons, served communion, planned and lead worship services and prayed and prayed and prayed. I’ve ministered to people. I’ve counseled people. Me! I look at my shortcomings and I look at my failures and I realize that when I Lose Myself in the ministry. I can do it. I’ve been doing it.

Coming to the realization that I’ve already been doing this was a huge milestone in my vocational discernment. I had cried and cried over the decision to apply to University of Chicago. I was so distraught at one point that my pastor told me, you don’t have to do this. That statement freaked me out. She told me that God ordains people, not people. She told me that I didn’t have to do it. But I knew I had to do it. I told her that as much as I was afraid to do it, I was more afraid not to do it. I had to do it.

Every aspect of the process of applying for admission to University of Chicago pushed me out of my comfort zone. I hate asking for help because I fear rejection and I had to ask people to write letters of recommendation for me. They all said yes and they all submitted their letters on time. Not a single one of them let me down. I saw how irrational my fears are. I saw Gods grace and kindness prevail in places where I feared criticism and rejection.

I am telling a story that is incomplete.  I don’t know how this is going too turn out but I do know when I focus on the thing I love and I make the decision to show up in the face of fear, I see glimpses of the person I can be. I see a picture of the minister I might grow into.  Someday, I when someone comes to me and tells me about their struggles that I’ll be able to tell them about my journey and tell them that they can do it.


3 thoughts on “Shi%%y First Draft

  1. Wow. Love this. This reminds me of something I read in a Marianne Williamson book, and I’m paraphrasing here: “Fear is the absence of love. The ego causes one to fear. Love is the absence of fear.” I still have to get that in my head, too.

  2. You are not alone. So much to learn and unlearn! Thank you for your feedback. Please join me in thinking about this subject, I have to revise this paper two more times. Also, there’s that whole living life thing which I seem to be revising all the time. You’ve been my partner in that for a long time. That Marianne Williamson….God bless her. And bless you, sister. Let’s keep pulling each other along.

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