i haven't written in awhile because life has felt nothing short of chaotic lately. work has been incredibly busy and the Indian summer heat has been thick and exhausting. i spend my afternoons after work at the gym to avoid the heat, and then come home, make dinner, and sweat while i pack and work on wedding details and talk with my family and friends on the phone. some days, i feel accomplished - like i'm making progress and setting the right boundaries. other days, i feel like i'm barely keeping my head above water and those are the days that i walk through in a perpetual state of self-talk. if nothing else, the past few months have been a great challenge for me to set boundaries, to learn how to say no, to make priorities for myself, to learn how to regulate my emotions, to not take things so personally...and honestly, i have to say that i think i'm doing pretty well.
that being said, i have been thinking a lot lately about bravery and fearlessness. i read this quote over the summer:
"I don’t think we can be a people-pleaser or an approval-addict AND be brave with our lives. Perhaps that’s why fearlessness or bravery starts with our identity first...
I believe that bravery is born in the quiet and ordinary moments long before it’s seen by anyone else. Sometimes it’s as simple and devastating as the moments no one else will ever see – the moments of daring to be honest with our own self, of laying down our excuses or justifications or disguises, of asking ourselves what we really want, of forgiveness, of honesty, of choosing the hard daily work of restoration, of staying resolutely alive when every one else is just numbing themselves against life."
as soon as i read that quote, i started thinking about wolves. shortly after that, i saw a book titled "Women Who Run With the Wolves." i have no idea what that book is about...but it made me think, "I want to be a woman who runs with the wolves."
i started thinking about the word "Wild." in high school, i would say that that would've been the perfect word to describe me - in the best way. i wasn't wild in the way that i was drinking or going to parties or smoking or sleeping around. i was Wild in the way that i wasn't afraid. i talked to everyone i encountered. i made friends in random places like Taco Bell and while driving down the street. when i fell in love, i fell in love hard and without hesitation. i made a habit of climbing mountains and of driving to Lake Tahoe at midnight to sit and watch the moon hover over the water. i drove fast and i laughed loud and i prayed fiercely and i never worried about the future.
i also started thinking about Twilight. people make fun of Twilight a lot, and i totally get it. but in a lot of ways, the Twilight books actually saved me. because of Jacob Black - the character in the series who also happens to be a wolf.
following high school, i had a really hard time. i got into a really bad relationship that left me completely broken. i felt like a walking shell of a person most of the time. but when i started reading Twilight, i felt...hope. i was never a girl to have crushes on celebrities or fictional characters. but Jacob was different. first of all, the book series took place in the Washington mountains, which is the most magical place i could think of. and second of all...Jacob was amazing. He loved Bella with a warmth that i only dreamt of having in a man.
"He’s like a drug for you, Bella. I see that you can’t live without him now...But I would have been healthier for you. Not a drug; I would have been the air...the sun." i remember laying in bed reading those stories, weeping, because all i wanted was Jacob...the wolf. i never thought i would have a Jacob...but he gave me hope in those moments when i felt like i would probably spend the rest of my life alone. i wanted to be Bella - a girl who truly did run with the wolves. :)
and then i remembered this tattoo that i dreamt up a while ago - something i still think about from time-to-time. i thought about having it put on my left side, on my ribcage next to my heart. it would be drawn up in bright, vivid greens and blues and oranges and reds...a wolf, howling at the moon, surrounded by pine trees and mountains, with roses in its ribcage. and in delicate font underneath, i would want it to read, "Fear Thou Not."
and even if i never get that tattoo, i want to always be reminded of what it means to me. that i am a wolf. that i have the capacity to be wild. to be brave. to take risks. to be loyal to my pack and to have the courage to walk alone. to enter the woods boldly, as if i already own it. to not fear about what man might think about me, but to be more concerned about God thinks about me and about whether or not i'm being honest with Him and with myself and with the people i love.
"well, i've been awaiting the sunrise
to open up my eyes
to see what you have, you have for me.
but still i am drowning
in a sea of lies
and whether to compromise myself.
but despite who we could be,
we're still waiting...
assuring to appease..."
i heard these song lyrics while running along the river trail last week, and i realized how afraid i've been. how few and far between are the times i take risks.
i am not a risk-taker by nature. but all these thoughts of wolves made me think of who i could be...of who i WANT to be.
so a couple weeks ago, i applied for a management position at my office. twice, i talked myself out of it. but i had people approaching me, telling me i needed to apply. i started reading the interview questions obsessively on my down time at work. i started losing sleep over it. and when i did sleep, i dreamt about the job.
so, i applied. i cried the entire weekend before my interview, while i prepped my resume and rehearsed answers to the interview questions. truth be told, i was terrified.
but, i did it. i interviewed and i said what i felt and thought and believed.
the results of the interviews still haven't been announced. but it was funny because, as soon as the interview was over, i felt a rush of peace wash over me. and i feel nothing but peace about what's to come. whether i get the job or whether they choose someone else, i know that i did was i supposed to do. and i'm so happy that i was a wolf. i took a risk, i did what i was terrified to do...i reminded myself that fear has only served to stop me from being alive.
i know in life that there are seasons for everything. i don't think every season for me will be a season of bravery, of wolf-hood. i think there have to be seasons of fear and doubt in order for us to learn and grow and, ultimately, to rise again. to realize what we are made of.
and it's funny because i am about to start a new adventure...2 weeks from today, i will be preparing to say, "I do." to committing my life, my hopes, my fears, my being, to another human. 6 years ago, i was weeping over Twilight books, wondering if this season would ever come, praying i would get the chance to risk love, to run with a wolf like Jacob. then, at the beginning of this engagement, i seriously doubted about whether or not i would have the strength to do it. i trembled with fear and wept in moments of doubt. what if we screw this up? in many ways, it would be so much easier to play it safe. to never get married, to never apply for that new job, to stay in the same house i'm at now. those are places where i know what's expected, where i can be comfortable. but as i prepare to step into this new season - marriage, a new home, and an unknown future - i feel ready. ready to be a wolf. ready to be a woman who runs with them.
this season is a chance for me to be wild again. and i don't mean wild in the way that i have to give up all my belongings to travel the world or to go skydiving or to swim with sharks. being wild and courageous and brave looks like giving my life, my heart, my dreams, my being, to another human. to opening myself up to things like bills and babies and to holding hands through every hard and good day. it means giving myself openly to the people I love - to offering things like food and arms and a listening ear and a merciful heart. it looks like never chasing the norm simply because it's the norm. it means learning to be okay with myself - to learn that things like my body or lack of college degrees don't define who i am. it means asking for grace and offering apologies for mistakes...but never for the space i take up. it means looking past the world's definition of what matters and to looking straight into God's eyes and allowing Him to declare the meaning of my life. Running with wolves, in this season right now, means walking forward with open hands – ready to accept whatever life, whatever God gives me. It means that I am ready to be nothing more than an empty vessel, ready to be filled.
i'm stepping into the woods boldly, as if i own it, and i feel complete peace about all of it.
i am ready to be a wolf.
let me be a wolf.
let me not tremble with fear.
let me take risks.
let me step bravely into the world that You made, knowing that You own it.
let me hear Your voice calling me deeper into the unknown.
let me listen to Your footsteps and follow them into the wild.
remind me of who i am. of who You've called me to be.
let me be a wolf. let me be a wolf. let me be a wolf.