our deepest fear
One of my favorite quotes of all time is mentioned in Coach Carter and Akeelah and the Bee, (both, btw, are good films you should see):
“Our worst 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 so brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?‘ Actually, who are we not to be? You are a child of God: Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There is nothing enlightening about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God within us. It is not just in some of us, it is 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.”
It took me a while to digest this paragraph the first time I read this in its entirety– and if you’re like any normal person, you were also feeling a little unsure of what to make of this upon the first read. For those of you who grew up in the church like me, this quote may even be contrary to what we were taught in our youth groups, Bible studies, and interactions with friends in this subculture.
We were told (both directly and indirectly) that true humility is demonstrated through our silence, and through our holding back– a “mature” Christ follower would never “show off”. No wonder things in our churches (like the arts) are so mediocre! No wonder our churches have become places of captivity rather than freedom! No wonder I hate going to “Christian” productions (most of the time)!
Some of us may never be who we were meant to be because we choose to fear the weaknesses, limitations, mistakes and regrets rather than our potential, ability, and God-given favor. It is a crippling reality. I think Marianne Williamson got it right in her quote when she brings up this idea of the “healthy” fear of just being awesome. When we recognize that as our deepest fear, it becomes something that we strive to and can overcome.
What we need more of these days are bad-asses. Yes, I said BAD-ASS. Not in the cocky or annoying sense but in the awe-inspiring, admirable, true, and real sense. When you are doing what you love, what you were made to do and you do it to your fullest potential, you are a bad-ass and it’s what I believe God calls us all to be…
Some of you may be turned off by this example but one of the reasons why I love Kobe Bryant so much is because he is someone who has conquered the fear of being awesome. As much as he is knocked for being a cocky, arrogant SOB, I can’t help but admire the fact that he is doing exactly what he was made to do, which is to play the game of basketball and do it at a transcendent level. I watch Kobe and it makes me want to be better at whatever it is I do. I watch Kobe and I believe I can do a 360 somersault dunk on life… and kick out the 7-foot, 300-pound villain of doubt, criticism and ensuing mediocrity!
So I don’t know about you but I resolve to not hold back for fear of criticism, slander, or misunderstanding. Of course I will be responsible and maintain great relationships but I will fly so that others will be inspired to fly. I will sing my heart out, write the best songs possible, make no apologies for spitting truth on this blog, and style my hair the best I can to look as beautiful as I can (this is not an easy task, I admit)!
Humility is not about shrinking. It’s about shining— and in the process of shining, it’s moving and inspiring others to be in wonder and awe of the Higher Power that put that ability in you from day 1. Don’t be afraid to be a bad-ass. There is something pure about this.