“Being uncomfortable will bring blessings,” Denise said. Denise is part of a team that loves teen mamas. Our team is small-ish, 2 years old and feisty as hell. There are four other women who walk this journey with me, they are beautiful, unique and have crazy dance moves.
Denise, in particular, has an unshakable faith. She cries when she tells stories of God’s faithfulness and sovereignty and asks you to do the same. Whenever I tell her this, she says she hasn’t always been that way. She says that, sometimes you have to keep trying to trust God and watch what He does.
She whispered this nugget about blessings and uncomfortableness in the hall before breakfast. I was telling her that I had kept doing things that made me scared and feeling awkward. She nodded, because she knows all about taking risks and being uncomfortable. She uprooted herself to Colorado 6 months ago.
This past weekend, we took the teen mamas to the mountain, where a beautiful, sweet woman named Georgia lavished us in so many ways. We had a meal at the top of Vail mountain, stayed in the most beautiful house and crafted galore.
It was breathtaking.
But the week before, I wasn’t sure I wanted to go. I love the girls, but was nervous about many things. I was worried about sharing a room and not having privacy. I was anxious about conversations and too many people (even for a TRUE extravert.)
That’s how fear speaks. It makes up stories about the “what-ifs” and “maybe this will happen.” It makes us seek perfection and worry about things we can’t control. Fear stops us at the ledge, at the part of the story that will make us grow and become more courageous.
Fear often times tries to keep us in boxes. I wanted to stay in my tiny box of things I could expect, in sleeping in on a Saturday and deciding the plan.
But God has a way of shaking things up.
And it ended up being the things that I was anxious about that produced the most beautiful fruit. The lack of privacy created intimate conversations about boys, love and friendship. Sharing a room lead to lots of laughter. Too many people became a blended family of leaders, mamas and babies.
The unexpected things became the stories we told as we drove down the mountain. About how we stayed in the hot tub too late and dared each other to jump in the snow with our bathing suits on. So we all did and our skin burned for 15 minutes.
In the bible, Jesus says “Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will keep it.” I never knew what this meant-- how to “lose” my life. First of all, I didn’t want to and I didn’t want to know this truth in a “living it out” kind of way. But this weekend, I experienced a glimpse of what this look likes. The losing that looks like letting go of fear, expectations and my own comfort.
I spent more time holding babies, asking questions and listening and then I did anything else. I made a fool of myself dancing to “Bye, Bye, Bye” and spent time praying for the girls. And I was surprised, because it was more life giving and joy bringing then I ever could have imagined.
Losing my life, to gain it.
I think this is what Denise was trying to tell me. To stand at the ledge, to be joyfully uncomfortable. To stand in a place where we don’t know what will happen next but we are obedient to the call. Where our awkwardness begins to look like humility, love and mercy.
And then we find ourselves deeply immersed in relationships and joy.