i read an inspiring book this week for the first book club meeting i organized (which was a great, fun success, by the way!). the book was the invention of wings by sue monk kidd, and it had so much to offer me, so much with which i identified, interestingly enough. you see why i say interesting in just a second…
it’s the story of two women in the 1800s, one a slave and one a reluctant slave owner. one, a slave in her body. one a slave in her mind. it is a story about slavery and women’s rights, but more importantly, a story about all the barriers that are placed in front of these two women – as a slave and as a woman – and how they struggle to break free. both women believe that they are destined for more than the lot they have drawn. and they believe that nothing should stand in their way. throughout their lives, individually and together, they break down those barriers that keep them from being who they believe they have been called to be. all along the way, they might never have imagined all that they would face, endure, and experience, both good and bad. but, they never gave up.
this book got me thinking about a lot of different things – especially the fight to follow your dream, the fight to be free to be who you are. i’m pretty sure i know who i am. and i’ve had my share of barriers placed in front of me that get in the way of me living the life i feel called to live, but none so large as the barrier that the church has placed in front of me.
if you have read my blog before, then you know my struggle with the united methodist church because i am a woman married to a woman. because of that, i am not deemed fit to be an ordained minister – though i have completely all other requirements. there is even a rule that says that it is against the church’s law for me to become a minister.
now, when there are people saying that you are not worthy, it may be tough to fight on. the easiest thing is to shrink back into place and accept your current situation. but, the brave and amazing thing to do is to be aware of who you are, listen to your soul, and challenge the status quo. the challenging thing to do is to follow you dream, your destiny. no. matter. what.
but to do that, we have to know who we are. we have to listen to the voice and the light within us. we have to believe in ourselves – and our dreams. and we have to love ourselves exactly as we are.
and that’s not easy to do. and that has been especially evidenced by my february photo challenge. as you may or may not remember, this month’s photo challenge was all about selfies. all about learning to love ourselves exactly as we are… in all the moments of our life. for some people, that has been very hard, and they have shied away from this photo challenge. totally understandable. for others, it has been something of a challenge that they have connected with. no matter whether you participated or not, it is so very important, in my opinion, to love ourselves – to take care of ourselves, to appreciate who we are, and to not be afraid to put ourselves and our dreams out there. tough to do? absolutely!
there is a quote that you may have heard before, but it completely sums up this desire to be who we are, but the fear to follow through with it. it’s not so much that we don’t believe in ourselves maybe, it more about being afraid to admit how amazing we are:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
all i can say is that i hope that i have the courage of sarah grimke and handful (the characters in my book), when it comes down to believing that my dreams, my goals, and my calling are worthy. i hope that i have the fight within me to follow my soul throughout my life, wherever it may lead me. and, while i have had barriers placed in front of me, i have tried to break them down. i have worked to create my own path, instead of just accepting what others say i can and cannot do.
but, mostly, i hope and pray that you will find the same energy, spirit, determination, and courage to love yourself enough to believe that who you are exactly who you are supposed to be. everything about you is a gift to the world. and your dreams, well, they are your calling and the way you are meant to make a difference. besides, my friends, we were born to fly.
wow… this book sounds AMAZING! I am seeking it out now. Thank you SO much for sharing about it. And the walls you come up against must come crumbling down, it is my deepest hope that we can become a fully accepting species. Have you yet met Rev Mark, a Methodist minister at dreamprayact.com? His heart breaks due to discrimination that he in no way shares. His writings about acceptance are passionate and wise, and I think you’d enjoy visiting him if you haven’t already. He’s not a frequent blogger but his wise heart is very kind. He would absolutely support you in sharing your loving wisdom as a full fledged minister. Bless your heart Liz, for being You. Your light matters in the world! Love & Light, Gina
Thank you, Gina, for directing me to Mark! I look forward to following his thoughts and words. There are actually many, many, many Methodists who disagree with what is happening in the church and how discrimination is splintering instead of building relationships. The problem is, not enough people are willing to DO something. They (I am generalizing) feel sorry and sad, but they don’t stand up for the LGBT who are called to be ordained. It’s just crazy. One day, though, one day.
As for me, I have made my peace, and I’m on to fighting the fight and simply living my life as me. Thank you for being such a light and a place of inspiration in my daily life. Love. xx
Don’t give up on your dream. You are worthy. Lorlinda
You are so sweet. Thank you! I have not given up on my dreams at all. They have evolved and changed and grown, and I celebrate all that has happened to me as part of my journey. But, it is so awesome to hear the support of others as well… so, thank you!
Love the sound of the book -I may suggest it for our list! And love the last pic quote!!
Do it! It’s not perfect, but very inspiring. And it made for some great discussion. 🙂 Oh, that last quote is just unbelievably amazing!
Thank you for posting this, Liz. That was a beautiful quote and so inspirational. I’ll send you peace, love, and strength to keep following your heart though I already know you have the courage.
Thank you so much Meghan. It is lovely received! Hugs and kisses! xoxo