I was terrified when I decided I was ready to have a baby. For the years leading up to my pregnancy, I was convinced that I never wanted to be a mother. I didn’t want to deal with everything that surrounded motherhood, and I certainly didn’t want any children. And yet. My heart (HORMONES) started to shift and even though my brain was terrified and scared, a baby was all I wanted. In a matter of months, my desire to be a mother went, on a scale from 1-10, from being a 2 to being a 20. It took many months to get pregnant, and when I did it took several more months to tell anyone (sorry Mom and Dad), so great was my fear – about the viability, about my ability, about this crazy decision my damn hormones had forced upon me. That little baby turns four years old this week, and there are new terrors every day. Yet, I remain eternally grateful that my heart changed, that my brain shifted, that my body was ready.
I was terrified when I decided to become a consultant with Rodan + Fields. For years I had watched friends announce their businesses in various companies, and I was always a bit confused. Why had they done this? What were they trying to accomplish? Had they lost their minds? I resisted and resisted and said “no”, and yet my skin grew more and more dull and every time I looked in the mirror I fretted over how old and exhausted I looked. And so I tried my friend’s lotion, placed my first order, watched my skin heal and then change, and became a consultant myself. I was terrified of other peoples’ opinions and perceptions of me. I was scared of the work it would entail. I didn’t want to feel like people were judging me or avoiding me because of this strange THING I was doing. And yet. I quickly grew to love my new business. I loved it for the way it gave me a community, the way it forced me to reconnect with people in my life whom I cared about, the way it brought me back to myself in many ways, the way it challenged me and helped me grow. I still feel scared, yet this business came to me before I knew I needed it, and now it’s here, helping support my family, and I couldn’t be more grateful that I started it, even when I was so scared to do so.
I was terrified when I first felt the pull to come to seminary. My husband, who was in his first year of seminary to become a pastor, asked me, “Would you ever do what I’m doing?” Uh, NO. I didn’t want to be a pastor. I didn’t want to deal with people forever correlating me to the stifling churches of their youths. I was scared that my friends would think I had changed, that I no longer cared about those whom I previously loved, or that I was like “those” Christians who judged and condemned and threatened. But then my husband told me about the role of the deacon in the Lutheran church. The deacons are the bridges between the church and the world. They focus on service, on representing those who need representation or a voice or a meal. And I knew in an instant that was me. Yet fear held me back, until it became undeniable that this was it – it was what I was supposed to do. I was still scared as I applied for seminary, and for candidacy (the process of being approved by the church at large to do ministry within the church), and for scholarships. It is a massive understatement to say that I was terrified as I resigned from my beloved job at my beloved school, and as we prepared our brand-new home to go on the market, and as we packed up everything we owned, and as we moved our family to this new home in this new state. And yet. Here I am, and I know it’s exactly where I’m supposed to be and I am so incredibly grateful that I began the journey that landed me here.
In life I’ve often encountered more questions than answers. I’ve often been scared – sometimes really really scared – to make the decision that was in front of me. I have a lot more to learn about this. But for now I’m learning to take the next right step, even though I may have so much at stake and even though I may feel so frightened of what will come next or what people will think of me. I’m learning to take that fear and shove it aside so that I can DO IT ANYWAY – and be the person I’ve always wanted to be. Our world is a place where it can be a real challenge to be brave, as there’s so much noise and mess and opinions. At a time when our world is filled with so much instability, fear, and unprecedented hate speech, it can feel even more frightening to make a big decision. It can also feel silly to think about things like skincare or the little steps in our journeys. But those little steps add up: increased confidence, children who know how to treat others, reaching out to link arms and experiences with our fellow humans.
It’s there in the little steps that the good stuff happens, that we get to be brave and learn more about who we really are and GIVE BACK to the world in ways that are deep and soul-satisfying. I wish this bravery for my soon-to-be-four-year-old, and I wish it for my phenomenal team, and I wish it for you, and I wish it for our world. The next right decision. Be terrified, but then be brave, because you just gotta do it anyway.