Monday, June 14, 2010

So Long Self Day Six

From Seth Godin's blog, emphasis mine:

Shipping is fraught with risk and danger.
Every time you raise your hand, send an email, launch a product or make a suggestion, you're exposing yourself to criticism. Not just criticism, but the negative consequences that come with wasting money, annoying someone in power or making a fool of yourself.
It's no wonder we're afraid to ship.
It's not clear you have much choice, though. A life spent curled in a ball, hiding in the corner might seem less risky, but in fact it's certain to lead to ennui and eventually failure.
Since you're going to ship anyway, then, the question is: why bother indulging your fear?
In a long distance race, everyone gets tired. The winner is the runner who figures out where to put the tired, figures out how to store it away until after the race is over. Sure, he's tired. Everyone is. That's not the point. The point is to run.
Same thing is true for shipping, I think. Everyone is afraid. Where do you put the fear?

The point is to run.

I'm running. Since Saturday, I am passing mile markers of watershed moments with blazing frequency. My second child graduates from high school, and it feels like a sucker punch. (I finally figured out that it was the chronological nature of Kid #1 and Kid #2 that made this second graduation harder than the first. They've always been "SarahandShannon".  Sarah provided the first split last year; Shannon's graduation completed the exodus. And I really felt it this year - personally. I felt my age, my future, the changing of the guard. I sort of felt old.)

So anyway: Saturday marked a momentous occasion. Sunday brought another. PCC baptized 34 people in Cartersville in the James River. My friend Lindsay was ready to take that step, and she asked me to do the honors.

It was incredible. I haven't found words yet; to try to create a story out of the experience seems like it would devalue the moment.

I will say this: I was fully present in that place and time, with Lindsay standing in the water between me and her husband. The time came to say the words and they freely slipped out of my heart.

There's something planted in me, this firmly rooted seed of faith, and at times I am stunned by the depth of the roots. Seems like it just happened, somehow...

The point is to run. Just do it. Go for it. Ship it. When I read Seth Godin's post, it resonated. And I was thrilled to see something that connected so tightly to my current circumstances and my recent series of posts.

Here's the story: This weekend, I'll be delivering the message at PCC. I've spoken before, and although I'm more comfortable behind a piano, I'm okay with speaking the message. I feel confident in the content because of the process; Brian is heavily involved in editing and coaching. He's good at that.

But this time it's different. Because we are a mulit-site church, we prepare a DVD of each week's message. We shoot it early in the week, edit and have it ready for Sunday at Westchester. That means that I have to stand in front of a camera on Wednesday afternoon and deliver this message. To an empty room.

It just plain freaks. me. out.

And you know why? Here's the confessional part, the thing I'm really not proud of.

I'm all jacked up about this because of how I'll look. My hair. My clothes. The ten pounds I wish I'd lost last week. Etc.

It's all about me. And it makes me so nervous and uncomfortable. And I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that it is RIDICULOUS.

It's distracting, it's wrong, it's prideful. It's human nature.

Last week I decided that I fight fire with fire and do a little proactive battle with my self-image. The daily photos have been the first shot - no taking six or seven poses until I "looked good". No edits. Raw answers to the questions.

Not for any response, but to allow me to get comfortable with me. To feel the fear and do it anyway. To raise my hand and risk the criticism.

Just to run. 

Odd to do it on the internet, I suppose, but it's been a very helpful process for me.

And there you have it.


Anonymous said...

Beth, When I look at you I see Jesus!
When God looks at you he see's your heart and he has planted seeds down in you that will bare fruit as you follow him.

The enemy wants to distract you because with God you are very effective! If you weren't he would not be bothering you.

Put on that helmet of salvation and remeber who you belong to and Sunday will be awesome.

Bill said...


Brian C. Hughes said...

I think this is a 'both - and' situation. It really is about the value of excellence. On the one hand, you are limited in what you have to work with. No offense...this applies to all of us. Crud - look at me! I mean, no hair, short, big nose and my pants keep shrinking. Probably a conspiracy of the cotton industry.

Anyway, I don't get to grow my hair back, but when my good friends nudged me lovingly, I realized that I could do better about how I was keeping my shape (and for these purposes, round was NOT a shape).

So, I am doing the best I can with what I've got. And can I disagree with some (isn't that what a good blog does - spark dialogue and healthy debate?): I think image does matter. As long as you are working with what you have, you should do the best you can with it. It speaks to our culture and says something about our faith. After all, your body is the temple - it's the only vessel we have in this life to live out the reality of Jesus Christ. It's a gift from God, and I think it's incumbent upon us to treat it as a stewardship concern.

Remind me of that. I've gotta run, the Oreos just got here...

Brian C. Hughes said...

Just to be clear, by the way, I think you look good. You can tell Tony and Susan I said that, too. :-)