I have a few recurring nightmares.
- Seeing a tornado coming
- Navigating home from my grandparents’ house in Mississippi on various ill-equipped vehicles at night (tricycle, running, etc.)
- Needing to take a shower but all the shower stalls are full
And being unprepared for a test at school. (They say 1 in 4 people have exam dreams. You?)
I’ve been out of school for 30+ years, but I still dream that it’s test day, and I had yet to attend a single class or cracked a book all semester. Which is NOT how I ever operated in real life.
I like being prepared (actually, I prefer overprepared). I want to be ready for whatever is to come.
But life isn’t that way.
It often calls on us to do things outside of the time we have available or the skills we have learned or the comfort zone we’ve created.
What do we do when we’re not ready, but it’s time to go?
I’ve been sharing my Four Agreements this month. Today is the last one, and it’s possibly my favorite and most useful:
# 4. Just show up.
3 Ways to Just Show Up
1. Show up imperfect.
I don’t like being called on to do something I’m bad at. (I quit bowling years ago because it was no fun getting gutter balls.) Not having the skills or knowledge or preparation can make us not want to show up at all. Perfectionism can shut us down before we get to yes.
But what better way to learn something new than to show up with your inadequacy?
Want to learn carpentry skills? Show up with CASA to build a wheelchair ramp; other volunteers will be glad to show you the ropes. Want to be a better mom? Spend time with a mom you admire and see how she does it. Want to change job positions? Visit your HR office and listen to what they say.
- You don’t have to know the full plan.
- You don’t have to have every answer.
- You don’t have to be the most skilled.
You just have to be available.
You can love people without being perfect. Actually, you might love them even better when you lead with humility.
When we show up with our weaknesses, we get an opportunity to grow a new strength.
Don’t underestimate the power of your presence.
2. Show up scared.
Ugh. I’m scared of a lot of things: looking stupid, getting hurt, even being bored. But being afraid isn’t a good reason to not show up.
I’m learning this more and more: If I’ll just get my body in place, my spirit will follow.
I’ve bargained with myself on many occasions: If I agree to show up, that in itself is enough. And it usually is.
Putting our bodies in actual physical locations where we’re needed is important. Rely less on your abilities and more on your opportunities.
When we show up scared, we leave with more courage.
3. Show up empty.
Do you ever talk yourself out of showing up because you’re not “important” enough?
- They don’t need me anyway.
- Nobody will know if I’m there or not.
- I won’t make a difference.
- They can do it without me.
While, yes, many jobs can be accomplished with or without us, life is better when we partner together.
Not just for the job’s sake. But for our sake, too.
When we show up empty, we may be even more helpful than we realize.
Through our limited human bodies, we can still serve with fullness. When we have nothing to prove, we are more flexible to help however we’re needed.
As Richard Rohr says, “It seems that we Christians have been worshipping Jesus’ journey instead of doing his journey.”
When we show up among others with love, everyone benefits.
Pass the Test
When I dream about being late for school or forgetting the combination to my locker, I usually wake up before I actually get to the classroom to take the test.
That’s okay for a dream, but I don’t want an “Incomplete” grade in real life.
- Even though I may make a mess when I get there, I want to show up and grow.
- Even though I may have missed many classes, I want to take the test anyway.
- And even though I may be the least skilled person in the room, I still want to be present with others.
That’s more than enough reason to show up.
* * *
Do you have a recurring nightmare? When have you hesitated to show up, but were glad you did? Please share in the comments.
See all 4 agreements (click on individual infographics)
- When You Show Up, You Bring Heat
Don’t doubt the potential of your presence. Showing up matters.
- What? No Plan?
We don’t have to know the plan, just the presence. With a dash of our faith, God will do the rest.
- 3 Reasons to Let Go of Perfectionism
Perfectionism makes us say no when the Spirit wants us to say yes.
- Dear Risk, I Know We’re Not Friends
But like it or not, we’re in this together. Just for today, we’ve got things to do. Let’s get going.
- When You’re Anxious about Praying – Book Review of “Flee, Be Silent, Pray”
- 4 Books I Recommend – June 2017