A WORD OF ENCOURAGEMENT :: actually, I can

There are two types of people: ones who accept no's and ones who accept challenges. 

I really wouldn't classify myself as one who is naturally confident. In fact, for the majority of my life I steered away from spotlight, attention or anything that required me to be seen. I shared a post a few years back about insecurity and my long and irritating battle with it. I've come a long way from that point. But, like many women across the world, I deal with bouts of insecurity, lack of confidence. and comparison.

There's a statement that was instilled in me from a fairly young age that I still carry with me today: do everything with excellence. If you're going to do something, don't do it half-hearted - you're just wasting your time then. If you're going to go for something, then by all means, go for it! Give it every ounce of your attention, your energy, your time, your heart... give it everything. 

I decided to write this post because I remembered a moment. It was a defining moment. It made me realize what I was made of; that in fact I wasn't weak, I wasn't easily swayed by the opinions of others, as I had thought I was for many years. On the contrary, I was actually the kind of person who rose to challenges, who fought back, who took words of negativity and turned them into fuel. I don't know if you've ever had one of these moments, and quite honestly you may not even realize that you have. I didn't realize this moment was what it was, until years later.

I was sitting with a group of friends, mentors, leaders, people whose opinion mattered more to me than my opinion of myself. I was asked the question of what I wanted to do with my life. At the ripe age of 18, you can imagine the emotional turmoil I felt within as I stumbled to come up with an answer that was fitting. I had dreamt of being many things, but somewhere deep down, I knew there was something, a gift, however small and inconsequential it felt at the time, and so I shared it - "I want to be a worship leader". To be honest, I had only learned 2 years prior to that conversation, that that was in fact a real position, but they didn't need to know that. I said it and I remember feeling hot all over, like I was developing hives as I waited for a response. Instead of being met with encouraging remarks, the way people do out of kindness and consideration, I was told something that I'll never forget - "I don't see that for you."

Those words echoed in my heart for what felt like a decade. Even as I write these words I can still feel a pang. I remember feeling like a balloon was being filled in my throat, as if at any moment I might stop breathing. Filled with hurt, anger, frustration and confusion, I sat in silence. The voice continued with encouragement to seek different areas of interest. I began to convince myself over those next few weeks that they were right, that the feeling I once felt, must've been wrong, because if others couldn't see it, how could it happen.

A year later I would go to school. There I would study music, find myself struggling to balance life, ministry, part time job, extracurriculars and a full school load. I would sit at a piano weeping and praying explicitly to God in a way that I know only my loving Father could understand. Because as my fingers would stroke the piano keys, with every wrong note, I would hear those words "I don't see that for you." And it became natural to go through each of those questions - "Should I have listened? What if they were right? What if I'm wasting my time? What if I'm not good enough? What if I never get better?" And with that I would place my fingers back on the keys... and begin again. 

I am actually quite grateful for the person that said those words to me. Although you may find that confusing, you see, it was that voice that pushed, that nagged, that irritated the heck out of me, but ultimately helped shape me into the woman I am today. Because not only did it challenge me to become the worship leader I knew I could be, but exactly the woman I knew God wanted me to be.

I say this all to encourage you. To remind you that not everyone will see what you see, feel how you feel, or understand what you are truly capable of. Some people mean well, some people have good intentions, but some people have no clue what they're talking about. Let's just be real. So take every word with a grain of salt. Understand that there is strength inside of you that has yet to be seen. You have the ability to do whatever God has told you, to achieve the wildest of dreams, to be exactly who you think you should be. 

So don't be the kind of person that loses heart over a no, but takes that no and turns it into a "I told you so!" Boom. Prove em all wrong.

xo. mel

fyi, you can buy this print in the shop!