I said no this week.
I said no to a job offer and an opportunity, no to an “in” at an organization that could have been a really good fit. I said no to the comfort of a monthly paycheck and to the chance to put on my Big Girl clothes and break away from my two young boys for twenty hours a week.
But when I penned that final farewell, that good-bye-for-now e-mail, I also said yes.
I said yes to who I am, and I painted a picture of how my gifts and talents and experience might best fit into their world. I said yes, extending to them the invitation to dream big dreams for me and with me. I said yes to clearly communicating how we might make that next conversation a win for both of us.
I said yes to me.
Now, there are certainly times in which we don’t have the freedom to choose. When it comes to employment, sometimes a job that pays the bills is necessary just to put food on the table. But if choice is an option, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve relished in the choice to say yes to what I do best. In this discovery of self, I’ve delighted in finding out who I am, just as I’ve delighted in freeing myself from apologizing for who I am not. I’ve marveled at seeing how those unique threads of life-force have been woven in and out of my story since I was a little girl, how my me-ness most fits a given situation.
I’ve loved discovering what gives me life.
But this doesn’t just apply to the work force. This ability to dive into the essence of who I am and what I was created to do can be applied to friendships and to dating relationships, to marriage and to our fringe hours, to food and to books and to the way we worship. Because you and me, we are each a unique and delectable piece of Creation’s whole.
I liken it to the question of how we like our eggs.
You may recall Runaway Bride, one of a string of romantic comedies starring Julia Roberts and the coming-of-age characters she so effortlessly portrayed. In this particular movie, “Maggie” always orders her eggs the way her former partners order their eggs, which for her is void of self, lost of preference. Called on her wayward ways, she has to figure out how she likes her eggs. Poached? Sunny-side up? Scrambled? She finally locks herself in the kitchen, preparing every kind of egg imaginable until she discovers her favorite. (Eggs Benedict, if you must know).
But that simple act of discovery – through a plate of eggs, no less – frees her to be her most authentic self. And might it be the same for us?
Because when I enter in to the Real Me, I become my most dangerous self.
And we become dangerous women and men when we are fiercely, unabashedly, wholeheartedly ourselves.
So when opportunities arise – which they always will – we learn to shout a most holy yes alongside a convicted, hallowed no. We learn to say, Yes, Yes, Yes, freely and unapologetically, because we believe in this vision, this direction, this dream of our most alive selves.
We believe this: This is who I was created to be.
This is how I was created to thrive and to serve, to love and to participate in my small slice of earth.
This is Gloria Dei est vivens homo: The glory of God in fully-alive woman and man. And His glory, as Saint Iraneous suggests, is most electric in me when I cling to and fight for and dangerously free myself to believe in who I am instead of who I am not.
So, let us be dangerous men and women.
Let us be dangerous individuals who seek to know our unique and passionate selves. Let us be dangerous humans who cling to Truth’s whispers. Let us be dangerous beings who fight for ourselves and for each other, trusting the paths laid out before us – even if we’re not quite there yet, even if that “yet” won’t ever be reached.
Let us be dangerous people most fully alive in His glory.
Runaway Bride, sunny-side up eggs, vocational dreams, St. Iraneous, being our most dangerous selves – there are a lot of different thoughts here. What resonated with you? What comment do you have to add? For more thoughts on this theme, check out She Loves Magazines theme of Dangerous Women this month!