Are You Living or Existing?
The warmth of the sun caressed her fifteen-year-old bronze body as she sprawled across her full-sized bed. After breaking the news about her newfound love, she felt she owed him an explanation. She needed to use the voice that escaped her the day she left for boarding school.
“You know, I wanted to ask you out last year,” she admitted.
He seemed startled. “Why didn’t you?”
“Because I didn’t want to be rejected!” she laughed.
Seventeen years later, she realizes the fear of rejection has plagued nearly every decision she’s made. How many times did she decide against applying for jobs she secretly wanted? How many times did she remain quiet in meetings when she had ideas to share?
Fear makes you believe he’s protecting you from the most horrible repercussions of risk-taking. He likes to make you think it’s your job to halt the possibility of rejection and avoid shame.
She thought of shame as her scarlet letter for all to see. She didn’t want to live in the spotlight where all the perfect people go to criticize and condemn individuals like her.
So, she chose a life of silence.
Silence had protected her for so long, she didn’t know how to protect herself. She felt secure in her silence. It’s what she knew.
Have you ever felt like her? You wanted to do more and be more, but the possibility of rejection and shame seemed overpowering.
There comes a day when every individual must decide if she wants to live or simply exist.
Choosing to exist means we become slaves to fear, rejection, shame, and hurt.
When we simply exist, we miss out on opportunities to grow in grace towards others and ourself. We also miss the chance to stretch our faith and increase our boldness.
Yet, when we choose to live, we accept rejection as a moment to discover something new about our character. We get to see how the days we crawled through the trenches and shed pools of tears were worth it.
We realize living is risky, messy, sometimes scary, and yet, beautiful.
When we choose to live, we no longer want to blend in with whitewashed walls. Instead, we abandon our chameleon nature and proudly reveal our scars.