Have you ever said something, and you weren’t sure if you were speaking to others or to yourself? I have a strong feeling that this blog post, though it is for you the reader, may just be for me. Let me give you some back story so you can have a better understanding of the situation. As I am typing this blog, it is after midnight, which has become a constant thing for me. If you are wondering…no, I do not enjoy staying up until morning. I am long past that stage of my life, and with kids and social distancing, it doesn’t seem as fun as it was back in my twenties. Instead, I am here with my computer on my lap and my fingers tapping away on the keyboard. Could I have written this earlier in the day? Probably. But then again, I could not! I am not one who writes something that I do not believe in. Similar to staying up all night just to hang out, writing things to make them sound ‘pleasing’ to others has also gone out the window, along with my filter. So no, though I had a good idea of the topic, I could not write on it until I fully believed and did so strongly enough to share it with others. Thus, here I am, with my laptop at midnight!
After reading the title and first paragraph of this blog, you may be thinking, “Wait, isn’t this supposed to be about not giving up?” Well…yes, I am getting to that point. Bear with me. When you are down on your face and left with choosing between doing what feels right and doing what could possibly be right, you tend to feel trapped with no real way to go. In my mind, the first option required me giving up and would lead me to stay in a comfortable zone [a path often traveled by many], while the second would take me into the unknown [an uncharted path where I had no examples or roadmaps to follow]. If I had followed what I knew and had learnt, I could have written this blog earlier when the sun was up. Instead, I did what many of us do… I tormented myself. I had to drag myself through a common practice of going back and forth as I tried to give myself excuses on why I should run to my comfort zone and give up. Yes, each of you have done this. How do I know? I have observed a good amount of you for years. No, not you personally—that would be creepy. I meant humans in general.
Human beings have always preferred to stay away from risk and the unknown unless we are pushed there by some uncontrollable force.
We prefer to hold on to the safety of what we have tested, and what we know is consistent. This surety may be as tasteless, lackluster, and unrewarding as some of your… [Sorry I had to hold back on my choice of words there. Yes, I know I said that my filter had gone out the window, but this one clearly slipped in. As I was saying…] It is easier for us to give up, label the situation or task as impossible, and lay the blame for our retreat on multiple excuses, reasons, or persons, rather than to face it. Now, to be fair, we all do have real reasons why somethings may be impossible. However, when we hold on to myriad justifications on why this won’t work and why that can’t happen, are we even really trying?
Take me for instance. I willingly allowed myself to be tormented for the whole day. Imagine an entire day of pondering what ultimately became a long list of excuses for why I should quit. I thought about the costs, the labor-intensive effort required, the lack of knowledge in one specific area [note, one out of so many]. And then I even went on further to play deity and dictate that there was not enough time to get everything done and made the determination of how it would not work. The thing is, I know better than this. I already understood that during a battle, self-sabotage can easily pop up, as it has done time and time again for me and many others. But here I was knowing better but still sulking on the coach with my full-on ‘woe is me’ look.
That is when it hit me. [Well, it actually took until 11:40 pm for it to hit me during a warm shower.] I remembered what I already learnt from previous experience but had temporarily forgotten [again]. No one ever said that it was going to be easy. No one ever said that those reasons would not or should not exist. The fact that it was difficult did not give me an excuse to run for the hills with my tail between my legs. I could not quit simply because this was new, and the unknown felt scary. I could not stop because there was a possibility of rejection or failure. Those risks have always existed, and they always will. The bigger the prize, the bigger the chance of messing up [gosh, I filtered my words again]. I may not have all that I need right now, but I can use what I have and learn to do everything else that I presently do not know.
Yes, it will take some sacrifice and I am no stranger to sacrifice. Yes, it will take some strategic planning and adapting to the present circumstances and resources.
Nonetheless, this is not impossible. If God did not want me to do this, I don’t think he would have laid it all out for me to do in the first place. Though I believe He could have been much clearer in this regard, but hey, who am I to tell Him how to give instructions. I am sure that He would respond that He gave me more than enough and ask if I needed a burning bush too.
By the way, while this blog may have been mostly about me playing Jonah and trying to run away from my task because it appeared uncomfortable and extremely hard, do not think I have forgotten about you. This message is for you too! You may be in the midst of, have faced, or about to encounter some form of circumstances where you will have to choose between retreating and pushing beyond your comfort zone. I am not here to tell you that it is going to be easy. I am here to tell you that no matter what you decide, retreating is not actually an option. Though you may have to adapt, start over, or go a different route to get to your destination, withdrawing and fleeing are not the answers. Take a day if you need to sulk around a little. Take a week if you are that stubborn and need to get it all out of your system. But when you are done, take a warm shower or bubble bath—something to refresh you and your perspective—and look beyond your reasons and excuses.
The excuses and reasons you see today, though complicated, may be what you look back at tomorrow and view as your trophies. Knowing that, despite all of them you were able to climb over the hurdles and push through to achieve your dreams, will make it all worth it in the end. Who knows, after reading this, you may have your ‘aha moment’ where you figure it all out.
Hopefully, yours comes earlier than mines did.