If you are interested in the things that we talk about here on Real Talk Universe, I highly recommend that you check out the podcast, The RobCast, hosted by Rob Bell. I am a loyal listener of The RobCast. I find such value in Rob Bell’s interpretations, messages, and goofy demeanor. I just love this guy!
This past Sunday (June 18, 2017), I found the latest podcast to be extra insightful as it really hit on a topic that’s been weighing heavy on my heart lately. Story telling. Creating your journey. Having a true voice in your own timeline. Basically, are you living out the story that you want to tell? Here’s a snippet from that episode:
“A culture tells you stories about what matters, what’s significant, what makes you happy, where the joy is, what you’re doing here, and if you don’t get really intentional about the story you are living, you will get sucked up into the story of your tribe.” –Rob Bell (The Robcast, A Goat for a Boat)
Just genius, right?
This was especially impactful for me, seeing as how the lull of summer time tends to unlock deep reflection. All my life, I’ve known that I was a leader trapped in a follower’s body. I had ideas- good ones- but these ideas were accompanied with heavy doses of anxiety and social fears. I had solutions for issues, both societal, personal, and familial, but when I spoke up, I was dismissed, and this dismissal ran deep. I was dismissed so often, time and time again, that I began to lose my voice, my drive, and my willingness to solve.
The voice of a young leader in the making was muted, and it stayed that way. Luckily, as many of us do, I grew up. But concurrently, as many of us do not, I learned. I met the right people. I surrounded myself with the right minds. Gradually, I learned that I needed to cut out the ones who no longer serve me.
This rags-to-riches story did not occur in one elegant wave of a healing wand. With my voice as stifled as ever, I went to college, developed an eating disorder, joined a sorority, and dated a narcissist. I dabbled in the waters of wanting something more- accepting leadership roles just to prove to others I was worthy, setting goals that were signed to self-sabotage. Do you see what I was doing here? I tried to live out my journey on my terms, all the while having NO IDEA what my terms were. Everything I did and strived to accomplish was driven by societal expectation.
One morning, as I was well into my 20s, I woke up. The curtain was lifted and thrown off the handle. I took a deep breath, exhaled the mental clutter that clouded my judgement, and I screamed, NO MORE. No longer would I live in accordance to what the world expected from me. I was going to live my life on my terms. I was going to live out my story the way I saw fit.
Rags-to-riches stories always end with a positive permanence that is 100% unrealistic. I have many moments of anxiety. My social anxiety is very real on most days (Praise hands for self-checkout registers at Target.) Some days, I want to quit all the things and sink into my bed for hours. And THAT is REALISTIC, as I know that those days are a part of my story too. My story is comprised of joy, fear, enlightenment, nervousness, encouragement, shame, laughter, and vanilla-frosted cupcakes, like any other person in our culture. But the difference is that IT’S MINE.
Friends, I ask you: How will you continue to intentionally live out your story? How will you ensure that your story is YOURS?