I watched “42” this weekend. The movie is based on a few years in Jackie Robinson’s life as the first Black man to enter Major League Baseball. It was amazing.
Mr. Robinson said “God built me to last” when confronted with the impending challenges. This thought triggered a few memories….
The Cost of Fear
For much of my professional career I found myself being the only female and mostly the only person of color. Around lunch tables, dinner parties and the like it was always…interesting.
People were kind. People smiled. Yet I always felt like I had something to prove. I had to show I belonged. I had to show I was worth their time and efforts.
I know most of it was my fault. Not the looks and comments. But my feelings of having to out work my feelings. I was angry. I was hurt. I was disgusted. I wanted them to get to know me because if they knew me they’d see who I am (instead of was). But fear descended like a thick fog.
I almost forgot…
I am not just a woman.
I am not just a Black woman.
I am not just a “double check” for corporate America.
I wear “underdog” like a badge of honor.
I am a hard worker.
I loved people.
I love helping others.
I have a kind heart.
And I have worked for every opportunity extended.
Yet suddenly, my best was not good enough.
[shareable cite=”Dana Pittman”]I wear ‘underdog’ like a badge of honor. [/shareable]
Fear Masked as Courage
In response, I resolved to wear them down.
Armed with my fear masked as courage I donned my best suit and went in. Not realizing the impending danger ahead. Unlike Mr. Robinson I don’t believe I understood the challenges awaiting me.
I arrived early. I stayed late. I’d be kind. I’d be helpful. I’d pretend not to noticed the subtle nuances. I did this until I began to question…doubt…whether I actually belonged.
A hollowness was settling over my heart. I was losing myself. Days began to bleed together. Something had to change.
In the end, I reached the end of me.
No more pushing.
No more pretending.
I reached the end of trying to be the me I thought I had to be…the cost was too high. I had reached the point of no return.
I’m going somewhere with this…give me a second.
I realized I did not need to belong. Not in the way I thought. Not in a way which compromised everything I was. There is no integrity in it. I resolved if I was going to feel the heat then I’d rather be ablaze for something I believed in.
There is a fine, sturdy bridge connecting these truths. I had to have the audacity to be who He created me to be. He showed me I too was “built to last”. And it did not require me to be a bull in a china shop.
Audacity is about having the guts to go all out knowing the odds may be stacked against you. In 42, the odds were against Mr. Robinson. He was pressured from his team, opponents, the fans. Yet he and his wife had the audacity to know he belonged on the field.
I am learning daily how audacity and fear can’t coexist. Yet for a while I was willing to relinquish me in pursuit of
Risking it all to prove a point to people who probably can’t recall my name.
Time has revealed that what I sought I had–acceptance. He did it and offered it to me with no strings attached. He has taken residence in my heart and is slowly helping me relinquish the past feelings that fear feeds upon. He has held me close as we’ve weathered many storms and dark nights to realize what He has provided is enough.
The light shines through the darkness, and
the darkness can never extinguish it.
(John 1:5 NLT)
This journey of Audacious Faith is uncovering old hurts and God’s love and grace. Gone are the days of chasing approval of men (and women). Instead I lean into the One who sought me first. And now my heart’s desire is to be transformed daily into the image of Christ.
Ridding myself of fear. I don new gear. 😉
Because in Him we (YOU and I) too are made to last.
[callout]Thank you for visiting Day 8 of 31 Days of Audacious Faith. Follow the entire series by visiting daily or subscribing. (See all of the posts here.) I pray you’ll be blessed.[/callout]