Yep, that happened. And I kid you not, on my birthday, every second person said to me, “Happy Birthday. It’s all down hill from here.”
Every second person.
It’s as if the jump from 23 to 24 is actually about 10 “grown-up years”.
This year I’ve got friends getting married, some buying houses, and others moving overseas. And although they present themselves as mature adults excited about these significant moments in life, when I look closer I can see that flicker of deer in the headlights in their eyes.
To be honest, 24 doesn’t scare me as much as 26 does. 26 was the age both Peter Jackson and Steven Spielberg were when they individually released their first feature films.
Pete’s was Bad Taste, Steve’s was Duel.
These men are two of my heroes and growing up I held their personal achievements as certain benchmarks for my own life.
Now that my age is reaching that vicinity, I’m starting to feel the pressures to achieve. And it’s mighty scary.
Achievement is a tricky fear, because it’s not like there’s an exact situation where you can “overcome” it. It’s not like when people are afraid of heights so they go skydiving, or they think they are claustrophobic so jump into a submarine.
To achieve something you usually have to do the hard work first, which can take a while, meaning you are prolonging your fear of achieving.
See the Catch 22?
Some of you might be reading this by now and thinking, “Well it’s not the achievement part people are afraid of – it’s the possibility of failure.”
Sure. Valid point. Failure is pretty scary too.
But I challenge that point of view.
I once read that our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, it is that we are powerful beyond measure.
Think about it. It is easy to be run of the mill. It is easy to be regular and uniform and sufficient. It is easy to stay exactly where we are. But how hard is it to phenomenal?
To be extraordinary and unique and awesome?
We wander through life saying, “That’s such a heavy burden to be all those things, and to have that power. Who am I to carry that burden? Who am I to be amazing? I’m not that person, so I’ll continue to be run of the mill. I will stay exactly where I am”.
Sweetheart, I’m sorry, but God didn’t make you that way.
Something I learnt a little while ago (from our own archbishop too, mind you) is that God is continually asking us to go make a difference.
To go step up and step out.
But we are frightened of the light within us.
We are frightened of our responsibility to change the world as a Child of God.
Even Jesus himself was frightened.
Through all his belief, through all his teachings, through all that was written in the Scripture and through all the love of his Father, Jesus himself cried and prayed in Gethsemane for God to take away this cup of suffering (Mark26:36-39).
Jesus feared the power bestowed upon him to forgive the world their sins.
And I think we can agree that Jesus, as a man, was being asked a lot. He was frightened, and needed the strength to achieve.
You might ask yourself, who am I to be powerful and extraordinary.
So I ask you – who are you not to be?
Throw away that bushel basket, and let that light dazzle and glint and shine.
One of the bravest things someone can do is to be completely themselves and stand up for their beliefs – but it is terrifying to do so.
Do it anyway.
You being yourself allows the shy around you to do the same.
You standing up for your beliefs encourages the quiet to do the same.
You letting your light shine liberates the masses to do the same.
God does not want us to stay exactly where we are. If He did, He would not have given us feet. So go overcome that fear and achieve.
Go be fabulous and incredible and courageous.
Go change that world and be a Child of God.
You can follow Kiri on Twitter and Instagram @KiriGroeneveld
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