Second grade. Ms. Donaldson’s class. I waved my hand ferociously for her to call on me so I could answer the question. I wanted nothing more than for Ms. Donaldson to call on me so that I could share the answer with the rest of my seven-year-old compatriots. She called on me. I proudly, boldly, and unabashedly said the wrong answer. Joseph Lee laughed at me. I didn’t raise my hand for awhile after that.
See, sometimes it feels like I’m still waving my hand ferociously for the Universe to call on me, and many days I reply with the wrong answer. Some days, I get called on and then I suddenly don’t have an answer. I draw a blank. I fall silent. But, even by raising my hand, I make it easier for others. In a classroom of people waiting to hear the answer, some days I am still audacious enough to offer one–even if it’s completely and utterly wrong. Most days, I am comfortable blazing that trail. Some days, however, I wish someone would unroll the blueprint for me.
Recently, My sister told me she doesn’t read my blog that much anymore. I told her, “Yeah, most people I know (like close friends and family) don’t read my blog anymore.” She said that’s sad. I replied that it’s not; it’s exactly what I wanted. The minute I saw and felt my words reaching women I’d never met, I knew that was the path I wanted to hike. And, while accolades and attention from my closest tribe always mean something special, it’s more important to me to reach the right people in the right places.
This is what I wanted.
But, with that comes great responsibility. Great scrutiny. A bevy of people who stay on my jock.
Yet, this is what I wanted. It’s not a question. Not a second thought. I don’t stumble over those words. Yes, this is what I wanted.
However, if there’s any lesson to extract from growth, it’s that you do not get a bed of roses without a few prickly thorns. Sacrifice is the price of admission for success. That is a ticket that you can’t bootleg or knock off, as much as some people will try. Pay it or move away from the gate so someone else gets a chance to step up. If you want greatness or influence or simply for someone else to give a damn about what you say, you will reap both the benefits and the consequences. The benefits are usually apparent upfront; those are the things you fervently pray for. The consequences are typically the lessons that don’t come until much later, when you are already knee deep in the blessing and 20 miles down the path. We don’t usually know or realize the full scope of what we ask God for. How could we? This life is best experienced in the moment, but only ever understood in hindsight.
I’m knee deep in the blessing. I’m at least 10 miles down the path. God has already called on me, so I can’t put my hand down now.