|who wants to test these waters?|
And now, for those who care–which would definitely not include me–we know the participants for Superbowl 2014. I won’t be watching. The Bears are not playing. Although my three-year stint living in Seattle does at least give me a team to root for.
Its advent reminds me of a conversation I heard almost a year ago while watching my daughter in gymnastics. I doubt much will have changed this year. But one can hope.
Interesting conversation among parents at the gym aren’t unusual. Eaversdropping, especially for a writer, is almost required. Not surprisingly, the talk that week spun around the Superbowl halftime show. I mean, what else do people have to talk about on a snowy Monday night for 2 1/2 hours while waiting for our daughters to finish learning forward rolls and back handsprings and hurtling themselves at immoveable objects?
The ladies were noncommittal. “So, what’d you think of Beyonce?”
“Well, you know . . . she sure can dance.”
“But it was kind of . . . I don’t know. What did you think?”
“Uh huh. Lots of people weren’t too happy.”
Then one of the dads jumped in. “I thought it was great. I didn’t have a problem with it. Loved that dancing. But hey, I’m a guy. So, it’s just OK with me, you know?”
The moms smiled, shrugged, and went back to watching the window. I couldn’t gauge their opinion.
Meanwhile, his daughter performed cartwheels out on the gym floor just past that pane of glass. My daughter was there, too, learning giants on the uneven bars, a skill she had feared and now loved. I put my daughters in this sport partly because I knew, in a world that would attack their body image cruelly, gymnastics would teach them that those bodies were strong and capable.
I wanted to ask. I really did. So, random guy, if your daughter out there started performing Beyonce’s dance moves instead of flips, would it be just OK with you? If she came home and informed you she had a new role model that no longer involved Olympic medals but gyrating lady parts in Victoria’s best secret, would that be just OK with you?
I’m sorry–I didn’t quite hear your answer.
I’m guessing not. But if not, the message you’re communicating to her on Sunday staring at the TV isn’t matching up with the one you’re paying big bucks for on Monday. And I hate to tell you this, but little girls and big girls alike don’t have a hard time figuring out which message will get them adoration faster.
“But hey, I’m a guy.” Said like it’s some kind of an excuse for having a lesser moral compass than the average not-guy. Which is, if you ask me, a giant insult to guys everywhere who do seem to know the difference between their brains and their other body parts.
Still, why does it matter? It’s just a show, just an opinion. It doesn’t mean anything.
Unless it does. The US Attorney General estimates that over 10,000 women and girls are forcibly brought to the Superbowl each year to be sold, up to fifty times a day, for the pleasure of “guys.” Some of them are twelve years old. About the age of this guy’s daughter.
While Beyonce sells sex on the field, pimps sell it in the shadows. We create a difference in our minds, to make us feel better about enjoying the show, but there is no difference to those girls. As long as we’re “just OK” with a culture that teaches our girls their bodies have a market value and our boys that girls are available solely for their pleasure, we’ll continue to be OK with selling children and women. And for some reason, we never seem to connect that with our daughters on the other side of that window, whom we believe aren’t touched by it.
This kind of in-human trafficking, using women and young girls like disposable sex toys, won’t stop as long as guys are just OK with “being guys.”
The enslavement of women and girls around the globe will not end as long as guys are just OK with “being guys.”
The chances of your daughter being sexually, physically, and/or verbally abused will continue to escalate as long as guys are just OK with “being guys.”
Yes, women can and should play a huge part in ending this. But ultimately, it’s men who must step up and not hide behind “being guys.” It’s men who have to say, “That could be my daughter, wife, sister. It’s not just OK.” It’s men who need to stop being guys and start being men.
And in the meantime, sir, do you happen to have a son at this gym, too? If so, keep him away from my kid. She’s been taught that her body is strong and capable. I’d hate to see him get hurt.
Several months ago, a group leader asked me if I had a writing mentor. No, I hadn’t really thought about that. I mean, writing is rather a solitary thing by nature. It’s not a team sport. Which is good, because I kind of suck at team sports. But we were talking about goals and focus and reaching where I believe God has for me on this journey of writing, and he was right. That I could use some help with from someone who’s been there.
- Make a lot of mistakes. Edison is famous for saying he hadn’t failed but had discovered 10,000 ways a light bulb would not work. Somewhere amid those “mistakes” one experiment happened along that did work. Perfectionists and the overly-cautious actually accomplish less because while they are waiting for the exactly right opportunity, everyone else is taking the “OK this will work for now” opportunity and running with it.
- Invest in a lot that seems worthless. Malcolm Gladwell says it takes 10,000 hours to learn to do something proficiently. In those 10,000 hours, I’m betting a LOT of hours seem like a total waste of time. Stories that never sell. Ideas that don’t bear fruit. Something you thought was finished that has to be done over. And over. And over.
- Pick the gold out of the pan. No opportunity is all gold. If you think it is, you’ll find out otherwise as soon as the honeymoon is over. Greatness happens when we look at the opportunity we jumped at in #1, assess all the mistakes and investments, and say, “This I’ll keep. This I’ll toss.” We accept that it takes hard work to find the gold and no one is going to hand us a ready-made setting of pure 14K. Have the wisdom the figure out what’s precious metal and hold onto it.
When you put something in the mailbox after the mail for the day has already come, you still have nearly 24 hours to retrieve it. Believe me, I thought about this.
|even the flag looks rejected|
This morning, I reveal my first #RiskRejection. It’s a journey a group of brave souls are on together. Women who would rather risk rejection than risk missing out on God’s road for their lives. That, my friends, is a potent force of women. I am anticipating great things.
I’m just not sure, as I write this, that those great things are going to come from me. See, even in RiskRejection, I am worried that I am not doing it right, I am not risking enough, I am not as good as others. I don’t deserve to be in this company of women. Stupid, stupid, stupid lies. But I know I am not the only one ever attacked by them.
And this morning as I ponder what to write, I have learned something really important about that fear. But first–the risk.
I chose to take several risks, one a week is the general plan, though I am never all that great at sticking to plans. I put the first one in the mailbox Monday. Basically, I floated an idea to another author asking her to collaborate on a book idea. Not such a biggie, right? Except that SHE is a biggie. A real biggie. A name you would know instantly if I mentioned it here. And I am anticipating a curt reply from her agent saying, “Thanks, but no thanks, we didn’t even show this to her, you overly-ambitious twit who should never even have thought such preposterous thoughts.”(Yes, and all those synonyms.) Oh, and “We fart in your general direction.”
But I did it because, well because I’ve had this idea rolling around in my head for a couple years now, and I know it’s a good one, and I’ve been too ridiculously cowed by the thought of the rejection that would follow to follow through. Enter Amy and RiskRejection. And I knew this was the first thing I had to do. So, it’s done. I did not retrieve that letter, and to do so now would be a federal offense and I’m not into that much risk. It’s winging its way to California, where it will be a lot happier than in the deep freeze of Chicago, at any rate.
And as I wondered what I would write about this, I read my Scriptures for the morning, and this is what I found.
and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come.”
He rolled up the scroll, handed it back to the attendant, and sat down. All eyes in the synagogue looked at him intently. Then he began to speak to them. “The Scripture you’ve just heard has been fulfilled this very day!”
Jesus, my risk is so paltry in this light. And–and this is the thing that brings me to my knees in astonished worship–you knew the outcome. I fear the possibility of rejection. You knew its certainty from the beginning.
And yet Christmas came. And Friday came. And Easter came. And you barely flinched in the Garden of Gethsemane. For what? For me. And for this world I am part of.
What matters in this RiskRejection thing? Willingness to try. To put it out there. To say, “You know what this feels like, Jesus, so here it is. At your feet. Do what you will.”
Let’s do this. Join me. What do you want to risk in 2014? Click the link and join us.
This is a first blog for a new year, and a fun ride it’s going to be. See, I agreed, in one of my probably-cold-medicine-induced moments, to a challenge. It’s called #RiskRejection, and it’s scarily awesome. The instructions?
The risk has to entail specifically risking rejection–not just any risk. We all know what that means–the scariest risks of all. We hate rejection. We loathe rejection. We run from it full force, despite having no clue what we’re running toward. I am guilty. This is the girl who rode her bike four miles to school rather than risk the Junior High School Bus Rejection From Hell. I am a pro, I tell you.
But as I write this blog about facing fears, I know I could not face my mirror, or computer, if I did not accept this challenge. Plus, Amy is an amazing person and just fun to be on a challenge journey with. Definitely check out her blog.
The more I think about this though, the more I am realizing–I am not all that scared. Which either means I’m doing it wrong (entirely possible) or I’ve learned a few things since junior high (certainly hopeful).
I realized that I risk rejection pretty much on a daily basis, and I am OK with it. Or maybe not so much OK as at peace with knowing it’s my calling and where I need to be. Really, that’s better than OK.
I write and speak and pastor for my life. Every time I send a query letter into cyberspace, a request to be put on a speaking schedule to the real mailbox, or a blog post into the wild blue yonder, I risk rejection. Someone won’t like it. Someone won’t want it. Someone won’t like or want . . . me. Ouch. For an introvert who would much rather sit at home with her cats keeping her crazy thoughts to herself and never letting the scary world see them, it’s kind of like an opt-in button for water boarding that you push yourself. Every. Day.
Unless you do this word thing for a living, you can’t quite understand what it’s like to put the words out there and know many of them will not be accepted, remembered, or maybe even liked. Statistically, that’s just the way it is. In few other professions do you expect to have the majority of your work never succeed. You live for the words that do. And yet, I like this. Go figure.
Reality–every time I get up behind a pulpit to speak, I face rejection due to the fact that I am female. Male pastors will never understand what it feels like to know someone might walk out and never come back because you wear a dress instead of a suit. (Although, I am sure people would walk out and never return if a male pastor wore a dress. But that is not the point.)
The point is, I’ve come to terms with rejection. We are not friends, but we are cordial acquaintances who recognize one another’s value. I still HATE it. I still want to run (or ride my bike) away as fast as possible. But I don’t. I have grudgingly admitted that it is an inevitable part of what I’m called to do. And I don’t ever, ever want to give up what I’m called to do.
Because the prospect of not doing what God calls me to do is scarier, in the end, than rejection. Not scary like God is going to get you for disobeying scary, but scary in the sense of, I will miss something beautiful and hurt someone who loves me so deeply. I would hate that more than the school bus. Trust me, that’s a whole new level of hate right there.
So, starting Thursday, I’ll be writing about this challenge. I started the first one today. Scary letter in the mail and you will learn more about it Thursday. I’ll try to find things which really do scare me. I suspect that will involve more personal rejection than professional. Eek. Not at ALL OK with that.
And I invite you to do the same. Join us. Face rejection. Embrace rejection. Write about it on your own blog or on Facebook, and link it up. The more the merrier in this little exercise that makes me feel like I’m on the Giant Drop at Six Flags. What’s your challenge?
And, what do you think my challenges should be? I’m open to suggestion. Except the Giant Drop. Nope. Not going there.