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Learning to Show Up

September 12, 2016
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By Diana Carranza

I used to have a sort-of life motto: “I don’t do anything I’m not good at.”

If my husband asked me if I wanted to join his softball team, or a friend suggested I join them for karaoke, or really anyone asked me to do something that was outside the list of things I did well – “no” was my go-to response. It meant I no longer had to suffer through embarrassing situations or potential failures. I thought I must have discovered this secret that so many others who were putting themselves out there, wasting time on something they stunk at, must have not known. This was borderline genius, right?!  I thought so… until a few months ago.


During the spring semester of First Church University, I enrolled in the class “Daring Greatly” led by Blair Thompson. I knew it would be an opportunity to strengthen my relationship with God, have time for fellowship with my two sisters and the other awesome women who were in the class, and hopefully remind myself that I am capable of doing great things.

In the first class, we were introduced to Brene Brown’s book, which is inspired by her favorite quote by Teddy Roosevelt:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.”

We explored this quote, discussing ways in our own lives that we weren’t “stepping into the arena”. Everyone at my table took turns sharing their own thoughts, and without really thinking, I blurted out, “I don’t do anything I’m not good at.” Suddenly, I realized that this phrase was not genius, but an excuse to never leave my comfort zone.

As I reflected on the class over the next few weeks, I became ok with my imperfection. Even if my “critics” laugh or point at my failures or imperfections, I can have confidence that I am loved by God. He sees my worthiness in all things. All that I’m called to do is just show up.  And, when I do show up with authenticity and vulnerability, it will create more opportunities to connect with people, to show them love, and to remind them, “It’s okay to be vulnerable with me.” I really can’t think of a better gift to give someone!

While the recovering perfectionist in me wishes I could report that I walked out of class on the last day of FCU having perfected the whole ‘showing up’ thing and am now ‘showing up’ all over the place – that’s not quite the case, yet.  What I can say, however, is that I am committed to leaving the motto of “only doing things I’m good at” behind. Sure, my heart races at the thought of putting myself out there and potentially not looking my best… and yes, I’ll have some days where I will wake up with a “vulnerability hangover,”  as Brene describes them. Still, I know that through the uncomfortableness of showing up and being vulnerable, I will undoubtedly be who God is calling me to be. No, it won’t be easy, but count me in!



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