BOLD AND FEARLESS
After I put the car into park, I turned my whole body around, looked back and forth between Mehana and Judah and said, “Don’t be quiet. Don’t shut up. Don’t sit down. Don’t be snuffed out. Don’t hide or keep to yourself.” And I could’ve gone on and on. We were on the way to school and I was being flooded with frustration in response to something my kids told me that had happened a few weeks prior. The worldview of keeping the peace, coexisting by keeping quiet, blending in, tiptoe-ing around subjects was being revealed now in our own kids’ lives.
On the way to school, we were discussing normal morning nonsense. The car was full of loud anticipation for the day; lots of interrupting, a baby babbling, and me trying to bring order to what felt like a normal chaotic car ride to school. And even in the midst of the chaos, Judah found a way to slip through it and connect to my heart. “Does (his friend’s name) believe in God?” And the car went still. It was a glorious stillness (which I always welcome). Before I opened my mouth, I decided to press into the question in a more thought-provoking way, instead of giving a feel-good answer. “Have you asked her?”
Our oldest, Mehana, who is 5, chimed in: “We did.”
“And?” I asked.
Mehana explained, “She didn’t answer me. She kept looking down and stayed quiet. Her mom was standing right there, and said we shouldn’t ask that kind of question, that that was private and to be kept to yourself, like a secret.”
Enter tire-screeching halt into the parking lot and said, “what her mom said to you, I want you to forget. What she said to you, the advice she gave you, is wrong and I want you to listen to me instead. Some people believe what she tried to teach you, but that’s not what we believe. We speak the truth. We speak what is honest and love and good. The question you asked your friend was not in disrespect but in honest inquiry. YOU STAND ON A HILL, STAND TALL, AND SHINE.” Childlike faith, childlike honesty is a gem in a sea of blah. It is honeycomb in a bitter tasting world. It refreshes the soul and prompts others to join in.
That worldview of keeping your beliefs to yourself, as if to not rock some sort of coma-inducing boat, only breeds fear.
And what is so powerful about that moment and ever since that conversation, is that it has caused me to be spurred in my own boldness. The truth they live and the fearless questions they ask has caused me to take a look at my lack in that area. I think of Peter in the Bible when he was asked if he was a friend of Jesus, and his response: He said, “No.” Three times. He had three times. I have always wondered in my own flesh and fear, what my response would have been then. To keep the peace, would I have answered, “no,” too? I would like to think not, but the fact of the matter is, that I often want to keep quiet to not stir the pot, not be exposed for who I am.
Even in this moment, writing this all down, knowing this is going to be published, fear is brewing. I am struggling to speak the truth that I believe. I see the fear that I’m being driven by. The root of keeping quiet, of not speaking the truth, for me, is what other people will think, the opposition that will arise, and the discord that my stand could potentially bring. I want to play nice, I want everyone to be happy all the time, and I think that I can control that by saying or doing or not saying or not doing certain things. But the fact is this: the truth sets people free. I want to be able to teach my kids to stand tall, to be free to speak and challenge the status quo, and I think my passion in the car that morning came from my own realization about my own personal lack in that area. When I live out of a place of fear, it creates distance between me and everyone else. It doesn’t bring me closer, more intimate with another, it only separates us further.
It's much easier to tell my kids to stand up and be bold. It’s much easier to say it than to (what I’m realizing, now) actually do it myself. People are deciding what they talk about or not talk about because fear drives the conversation. Politics, religion, parenting, etc. People are afraid of offending, being at odds, rocking the boat. But this just drives us further apart. No one knows what you believe, no one gets to see the gift that you are, no one gets to practice relationship and love and communicating in love.
What has been revealed from that interaction between our kids and that mom and daughter are not what I expected. Yes, it brought the conversation of “being bold” up. But, I still wondered why the passion and energy in my response? The answer is: that mom and I are both believing lies.
The lie she is believing is that it is not ok to talk about certain topics in public. And the like I’m believing is if I speak boldly in the truth, then I will be rejected and I can’t be honest.
I realized that I’m just like that mom. I don’t speak like her and I don’t believe like her, but the same author of lies control our response in this world. It’s all designed to keep us from being who we were created to be: daughters of the King, bringing glory back to Him. The enemy hates us all equally, whether we believe in Jesus, or not. The lie kept her quiet, which caused her daughter and in turn my daughter to be quiet. This is why my reaction was so strong to the story in the car that morning: if I was standing right there I may have remained quiet. I may have believed the lie that I have bought into about the fear of rejection. I may have sounded just like Peter in The Bible. And that’s just not okay. I realize that my humanity might have gotten in the way because of my need to “look good, feel good, and be in control.” (Quote by Dan Tocchini)
When the kids asked that question to that friend, the author of lies and fear had no hold on the kids. They had no fear of rejection. They were free. THEY WERE FREE. I want THAT! The conversation was at first perceived as political correctness, speaking boldly, and not shying away, but as this has gotten shaken out, even now as I’m writing, it’s really revealed my need for spiritual freedom. Our kids asked the most intimate question to their friend with complete boldness. I want that. I want to unravel the hold fear has on my voice and speak and write even when my voice shakes. I have felt snuffed out, afraid, insecure and unwilling to press into it enough to shift. But this is not who I am.
I was not created to sit down. I was not created to beat around the bush. I was created to speak life and love and freedom, not to blend and muddy and be hushed. This is true in every area of who I am, every area of my life. And I would argue, every area of your own life.