“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’
Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
– Marianne Williamson
I’ve been listening to the Atlas of the Heart by Brene Brown. She makes this radical statement that Joy is the most vulnerable emotion for us to share.
As I’ve been pondering that, I have been pondering my journey of healing my relationship with myself. One of the pivotal things that I have worked through on my journey has been processing the deep fear that if I pursue being fully who I am that no one would love me.
Though I ascribe to the belief that God’s rejection is my protection; the short-term pain of rejection of not fitting in has been real and very difficult. It has shouted to me that the only route to acceptance is to hide who I truly am and comply with the societal norms expected of me in order to receive belonging.
Some of the societal expectations that I have struggled with have included:
- For my family, I do not have a voice until I am married and have kids.
- For the church, though God created me as a woman with a leadership gift, there cannot be a place for both.
- For a potential husband, I thought if I was less than myself, then they would want to be around.
I have kept, and sometimes still keep, trying to fit into roles in order to gain acceptance. But that strategy doesn’t work.
The reality is if I have to convince someone to be in community with me, I will continually have to convince them to stay. It doesn’t work in the long term.
The other reality is when you make a choice to follow the yellow brick road of health and discover who you truly are, it’s super lonely. I reckon it to be like a ceiling fan. It takes time to slow down, stop, switch the direction it’s going, then start again to full function.
There is a true cost in the short term. Often I wonder, “Is it worth it?” Ultimately the answer is yes and yes again, over and over.
To be intimate with the specific joy of my heart; wow. To see joy grow, mature and flourish to all it’s meant to be is an awe-filled journey.
For the first time in decades, I am internally able to physically experience joy and gratefulness. It was worth the up-front, short-term pain. In this season as I am part of a light-filled, joy-growing community. It is such a blessing to see our lights and joys dance together, and it has only just begun.