Am I afraid to be ordinary?
It’s fun watching people who don’t know me come alive when I give a talk or facilitate a group. Before that moment, I blend into the crowd (in the photo above, I’m the short one in the middle of the second row). But after I share a story or two, I become “that woman who rides her bike everywhere, sailed around the world, and put words to what I feel.”
After I publish my weekly post, I watch the stats and savour the “likes.” I did a little dance when best-selling author, Daniel Ladinsky, posted a commented on my blog.
In Daring Greatly, researcher Brené Brown says the fear of being ordinary fuels the narcissism in our culture. When I read that, I thought about how much I like to be noticed and how hard I’ve worked to develop my online presence. I felt exposed. How much of what I do is driven by fear?
But Brown didn’t make me feel ashamed. Like Rumi, she encouraged me to “welcome and entertain” all my feelings, including the fear of being ordinary.
When I sit calmly in God’s presence and welcome my feelings, I’m aware of my need to be noticed and affirmed. God is aware of it, too.
God, the One who promises to meet all our needs, notices and affirms me. I can picture God doing a little dance too when someone reads my blog.
God, the One who knit us together in our mothers’ wombs*, loves it when people notice that I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
As I entertain both fear and joy, I can choose how much I will let them influence me. I can enjoy who I am and appreciate how everyone is extraordinary in some way or other. Discovering and delighting in each person’s uniqueness is life-giving.
I dare greatly when I write or speak with vulnerability. Inevitably, that old tape in my head will say, “You just can’t be ordinary, can you?” I admit, there’s an element of that, but it’s not the whole story.
(And if there is a whole story to be told, as long as I have breath, I’ll tell it.)
Happy are those whose hearts do not condemn them.
— Ecclesiasticus 14:2
*My punny friend Mark would say that God knit me together with yarns.
∗ ∗ ∗
Love Mischief for the World
“When our lawn was destroyed by animals foraging for chafer beetle larvae under the surface, we decided to use clover for ground cover instead. Clover enriches the depleted soil with nitrogen, doesn’t need to be mowed, and its flowers provides nectar for the bees.” —Heidi Braacx, New Westminster, B.C.