Skin in the Game (29/31)

Recently, there’s been a lot of sickness in my social circles.

I have friends whose parents are sick or dying…Friends of friends receiving diagnoses that seem unfathomable for people so young and healthy.

It’s really made me think about how short life is. And how we really don’t know when our time is coming.

I’ve been doing some big things lately. Starting a business. Signing up for a mission trip. Owning and expressing my feelings. And it feels good. It feels like progress. There is an amazing amount of peace when you recognize what God intended you to be and do and you just DO IT.

I was reading Hannah Brecher’s blog yesterday (if you don’t read it- you should) and T said this part stuck out to him:

I’m not an expert on life. I start a lot of fires (literally…I forget candles are burning and stuff). I’m not always graceful. I still think Tupac is alive. I’m only 25. I’ll probably go through much more heartbreak and loneliness and milestone moments than I could ever anticipate in this very day. But in my young adult life, I’ve learned this: it takes guts to believe in something. I mean, to really believe in something so much that you get your skin the game.

Well really the Tupac part made him laugh, but then he said to me: “I think that last sentence …could apply to you. You’re putting yourself out there a lot more. The mission trip you’ve signed up for. The honest writing. It’s a big deal. I’m proud of you….and pretty impressed.”

It took me a minute to respond to him. I’m not doing anything for any kind of accolades or approval. I love that he’s supportive and proud of me and that makes me feel good but that’s not why I’m doing it.

I believe that we all have a story to tell. I intend to tell mine here. And in my journals. And my pictures. And one day, in a memoir.

I believe that we only get this one life to do it and do it right. I’m a messed up person and I’m probably going to screw up (A LOT) but that there is grace and a lesson in every mistake and I’m learning every single day.

I believe that God laid a purpose on EVERY SINGLE PERSON’s heart and we should honor that. He’s telling me that I’m created for something bigger and greater than my current vocation.
And just like Hannah, I believe you have to get your skin in the game.

For me, that means pouring my heart out on this blog. Sharing my feelings- even if they seem uncomfortable or like ‘dirty laundry.’ I think there is a way to share that is intentional and life-giving if you do it right. (read this post for more tips- it explains this way more eloquently that I could).

I signed up for a mission trip not really having a clue what I’m getting myself into. I’ve heard about my church’s partnership with Enlace and I’ve been encouraged and moved by the impact. I want to have an impact too. I know going there for a week isn’t going to change the world. But you know what? That doesn’t mean I won’t have an impact on one person. I’m teaching myself Spanish (this IPhone app was recommended and it’s awesome). I want to be able to go there and speak in the native tongue and carry on a conversation with someone in a way that is familiar and comforting to them. Maybe that doesn’t seem like a big deal, but to me it’s huge. I’m a talker. I like stories and I like connecting. I want to be able to visit our friends in Anemona, El Salvador and share stories and laughs. Maybe I won’t feel forever changed by the trip or maybe I will. Either way, I believe in the cause and that as a daughter of Christ and a person of ability, I should help others and I am REALLY excited about it.

With all this stuff swirling around and hearing about so many people I know battling illness, I can’t help but keep thinking about a friend of T’s who got a scary diagnosis.

How would I react if I woke up tomorrow and found out that I was facing a fight for my life? Would I regret how I spent the time up until now? 
Would I be ready to fight for the life I’ve been living and the life I’m going to have?

Just like Hannah, I realize I’m still pretty young. (c’mon 30 is young people. At least until I’m 40. Then 40 will be young…)

I don’t know when my time will be up.

I do know that I don’t want to waste a SECOND being mediocre or average or unfulfilled.

I feel a burning desire in me to do things. Lots of things. I don’t know that everyone feels that. Or maybe some people learn to squash it until the flame is just barely a flicker. I realize the more and I more I pursue what I feel in my soul God has called me to do, the bigger that flame gets.

I get a little braver. A little less skeptical of if I can actually make a difference. Every time I take a step it gets a little easier. A little more real. And I feel different. A little more peaceful. 

A lot more ALIVE.

I’m not skirting responsibility or throwing caution to the wind, but I’m not backing down from a challenge either. I’m taking a leap of faith. I’m putting things on the line and seeing if they hold up. I’m testing my long-held beliefs about what I’ve though life should be like and seeing if they pass.
I feel like if you have a dream and it falls apart and it doesn’t hurt- you weren’t really ALL in. Failed dreams SHOULD hurt. Anything you’ve given your everything to should feel like a hole in your heart when it’s gone.

I want my future dreams and plans to succeed. I want them to thrive.

But if they don’t?

I want it to hurt.

I want to have skin in the game.