This week I participated in a blog swap! Jordan Fortenboher has written something very personal to share on my blog, and I am excited to introduce her. She is a worship leader, speaker, and wife. She lives in the greater Cincinnati area where she also blogs about faith and bravery. You can read more from Jordan here, and my guest post on her site can be found on the same site. You can follow her on Twitter here!
Thank you, Jordan, for a wonderful experience!
I felt it flutter in my heart and bubble in my stomach as I prepared to leave–more like procrastinated from leaving. I felt it shorten my breath and tighten my grip on the steering wheel. That agoraphobia aggravating my plans and good intentions. It’s not even that bad. Nobody even really knows about it. And I almost let it decide how I was (or wasn’t) going to use my day. (Wouldn’t be the first time.)
And, in all vulnerability, I looked down at my hands, covered in white dry cracks, about to bleed again. I made another, duplicate mental note that I need to stop washing my hands so much, that I need to try to change the rules in my head (within reason) so that my hands can heal. But there are so many germs…everywhere. I breathed a sigh of giving up again. Whatever. My knuckles weren’t bleeding yet.
The whole day seemed normal, until I stopped to think about why I forced myself to drive to Starbucks to edit my book instead of staying in my cozy comfortable familiar chair. At home. That wouldn’t have caused so much stress. But I needed a change of scenery. Staying home wasn’t helping me get work done. But as I parked my car and turned off the ignition, I started thinking that maybe I should have tried to pick something…safer. Something less anxiety-filling. Something easier.
And Starbucks is really fine. Probably one of the safest places my fearful heart could go to work on my writing. I walked through the glass door and I felt a wave of relief. My favorite table was open. No one else was there (besides the workers). The music was soothing. Perfect.
That doesn’t always happen. I recalled the time a few days before when I packed everything up to go work there and arrived only to find that they were out of dairy-free options. And almost every table was taken. And the noise was swelling, threatening to burst my ear drums. So, did I suck it up and get to work anyway? No. I ordered plain coffee to go, turned around, walked out the door, and went back home.
Is that what I was afraid of, then? Too many people? Or things not being what I expected them to be? Imperfection? Change?
I quickly threw my bag down on a chair to claim my favorite table, even though there was no one there to beat me to it. I ordered, awkwardly. Waited for the coffee, awkwardly. Kept my eye on my stuff at the table in case invisible people were going to appear out of nowhere to steal it.
Finally I got my coffee and I sat down to write. I took a sip of my vanilla latte–still too hot–and winced when it burned my tongue. When will my desperation for safety and perfection go away? I thought. Must I be miserable forever? I swore to myself (again) that I would find a way to overcome this. Somehow, I would figure out how to fix it myself.
As if in mockery, I got out my manuscript. Daring to Be Brave, the title laughed. Right. That’s me. Daring to be brave as I take my little scaredy-cat self the whole 4.7 miles to…Starbucks. That’s brave, alright.
As if in answer, I thought: No…sometimes living a normal day takes more bravery than people realize. I’m not the only one. I need this book. And I think maybe someone else might need it, too.
So I edited and wrote and edited some more. And I’m still working. But I think someone needs to hear this: You’re not the only one going through whatever it is you’re going through.
Maybe people make you think that something is wrong with you if it takes all the strength you have just to make it through each day. I am so, so sorry if that is the case, because it’s not true. And we might not be going through the same thing. Maybe your struggle isn’t anxiety or perfectionism or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. But whatever it is, it’s valid. And it’s OK to be struggling.
You are enough, right where you are, just as you are.
As I keep writing my book, I’m realizing that I am so far from having all the answers. But the good news? I know the One who does. And He has me on this amazing journey of transformation.
I am slowly (VERY SLOWLY) learning to trust in Jesus instead of letting myself be a slave to fear. It’s not a quick fix (let’s face it: nothing ever is), but you know what? Maybe it’s not about the destination. Maybe the journey is the point.
Maybe all we need is just enough bravery to take the next right step.