Recently a friend looked at me and asked, “how did you do it?
Change. You have changed.
From her perspective I now operate with little fear of difficult conversations. Little fear of my own vulnerabilities. Little fear of saying hard things.
So apparently, i have changed and this friend has been around long enough to notice.
But do you remember the character in the epic tale The Pilgrims Progress, named Much Afraid? I always identified with her. MUCH AFRAID! Especially when it comes to dealing with people and having difficult conversations.
That combined with my southern girl heritage of needing to be fully likable…
i have lived most of my life “much afraid”
that people won’t like me.
Strangely i think i remember when it began. I was not one of the cool people in high school, until for some unknown whack of adolescence, i kind of was. I remember a friend, saying to me that someone was mad at me because i had not said hi to them that morning in the hall. And i was like…what? how could that possible matter to anyone? Why do they care if i say hi or not. i am a nobody. Then the person said that people will think i am “stuck up” (wow! who remembers that phrase? ) if i don’t say hi. And all of a sudden it mattered a great deal what people thought of me.
About me. And i had a great need and responsibility to be liked. And this became my crippling.
A couple of years ago i got raw and real with God and with the smallest amount of faith ever,
i asked him to kill this in me. This consuming fear of what people think of me.
The impossible need to be liked by everyone. i had close to zero faith that He could work such a miracle. I was tired of how this fear/need paralyzed me, but felt completely hopeless to change it.
The next day i am peddling through town on my bike and i heard the voice say, ” hey love, why don’t you let the world off the hook?
There are over 6 billion people on the planet, why don’t you let them off the hook?
Why don’t you let the the world decide who they like and don’t like and be ok if it is not you. Not everyone has to like you.”
Well that is BRILLIANT!
I then said OUT LOUD: World, i now officially let you off the hook. Like whoever you want! Be free! Some of you might like me, and for that i’ll be glad, but for some of you I am not your cup of tea, or the person you want to spend time with or even the person you want to get to know, you know what? Be free! Choose well and love well. And if you do like me some days, Halla! I think i’m a pretty likable sort, but if not. its ok.
Really it is.
THAT conversation while pedaling in the Gonaives morning traffic, following close behind tap taps full of people headed to work and children in their checkered school uniforms. Surrounded by a flock of motorcycles paying little to no attention to this dread headed woman smiling crazy and talking out loud to the world’s population.
That simple conversation did a big thing in me.
Don’t you love the prayers heaven answers whispered with the least amount
Don’t you love the phrases that pop into your head that totally make sense to you, strangely.
Off the hook!
So what that does in the practical sense is it allows me to love better. This is not a popularity contest. I don’t have a prize to win for being the most likable…my prize is about how i leave you and the planet when i “fe zel”, when i take wings and head to the other side.
Grace friends. Mk