Have courage and be kind.
One of most memorable lines from Disney’s new Cinderella.
Personally, I like Glennon Doyle Melton‘s five-step plan a little more…
- Show up.
- Be brave.
- Be kind.
- Try again.
Simple. Anyone and everyone can do this.
But easy? Hmmm.
Each of those steps may be just a bit trickier than you might think.
- Show up. Now, if you’re an introvert (present company included), just showing up can be paralyzing. What if no one I know shows up? What if my outfit is just wrong? What if I’m late and everybody notices? Or early and don’t know what to do? What if…? For a person who finds power in solitude, just leaving the safety of home and going somewhere – anywhere – can be the first and worst challenge.
- Be brave. Well, if the challenge is to “Be brave,” there’s a good chance there’s good reason to be concerned. It doesn’t have to be big fear. But it’s difficult to carry on if apprehension stands in the way. Especially when we show up someplace new or foreign. Or even worse: someplace where the memories hurt.
- Be kind. And, please note: kind is not the same as nice. A nice person is working for affirmation from others. “Nice” usually shows up because, well, if I’m not nice, people will think I’m not a good person. Kindness, on the other hand, will do the right thing because it is the right thing, not for the applause. Kindness will persevere even if it’s more than likely that there will be a total lack of appreciation or even acknowledgement. Sometimes being kind is lonely and invisible.
- Rest. Showing up, bravery, and kindness can be exhausting. But rest can be elusive when we relive the moments that were hard and the details swirl and dance relentlessly. It’s hard to rest when your soul is in motion. It’s near to impossible to be peaceful when tiny wars rage inside.
- Try again. You’re kidding, right?
The simple truth is that it’s not always easy to do what is simple.
Please don’t misunderstand. I LOVE this schedule and I am absolutely not looking for excuses to leave it stagnant, lost, or ignored in the cluttered jumble of my notebook.
No, I’m going with it. I’m going to show up with bravery and kindness, rest when I’m weary, and keep doing it, over and over.
(At this point, I want to write Boom! But I’m not entirely sure that’s my style… Yeah, let’s pretend it is.)
I invite you to join me, doubts all around.
And fear not! For hidden right in Glennon’s own words is the key to our victory. This simple but difficult plan really is possible in spite of human frailties and shortcomings.
Review those first 4 steps. They are clear and specific. Show up. Be brave. Be kind. Rest. Oh, good golly, Miss Molly. Really? Every day?
But take a closer look at Step 5: Try again.
Once more: Try again. Not Do it again. Not Do it better next time. Just try.
Yes, we may have fallen short. We may have shown up, but our spirit was absent. Our bravery was weak and our kindness was only nice. And when we tried to rest, we relived every moment of our failure.
But, Dearhearts, all 4 of those steps counted. What we did really mattered.
And tomorrow, or the next time, or after a little nap, we will give it another shot.
Let’s be clear. We are not called to Try to Show Up. Try to be Brave. Try to Be Kind. Try to Rest. Success comes way too easy when we set the bar that low from the start. We sell ourselves and our goals short when a half-hearted attempt gives us an excuse to call it a day.
No. God calls us to excellence. He doesn’t shame us or scold us when we fail. But He always expects our best. Our best each time.
So, maybe today our best Show Up is picking up the phone.
Maybe today our best Be Brave is saying “Help.”
Maybe today our best Be kind is not responding harshly to harsh words.
Maybe today our best Rest is just leaving the room to shed tears in private.
Count it a good day.
And then, try again. I know God will smile. I just know it.