Live Your Life, Don’t Play Small
My Own Worst Enemy “The Unimagined Life”
Are you your own worst enemy? From My Own Worst Enemy:
Most of us want to believe that we live our lives in a fairly self-aware, consciously chosen fashion. Unfortunately, in the busyness and noise of our culture, that is often not the case. Self-awareness is a particular challenge for many women. (p. 29)
Are you living the only life you imagined?
I want you to discover your full worth. Please don’t settle for less. If you have that sneaky little gremlin perched on your shoulder whispering nasty nagging messages in your ear, knock him off!
As a freshman in college I jumped as a big fish from the small pond into the large pond of talent at a highly regarded, though small, college known for its theatre department. I found myself surrounded by students already experienced on professional stages in Houston. The first talent I met was Amanda McBroom, later to become well-known as the singer and songwriter who wrote “The Rose.”
I had been a shining star in my hometown. Now I didn’t shine so brightly.
Growing up in a home where compliments were rare I yearned for the recognition that I received from audiences. I treasured the trophies, but would have held acknowledgement from my parents more tightly than any award. I did not receive their praise. Their generation avoided vanity at all costs. They were proud of that.
In college I worked after hours as a seamstress in the theatre department to cover some of the tuition. When the theatre director learned what a competent seamstress I was I worked all day on Saturdays as well, appliqueing patches on costumes for Lil Abner. I later learned the costumes were so well made the college rented them to other theatres.
I was the small sewing fish in the pond with larger and more colorful ones.
No wonder I returned home after my freshman year. Still majoring in theatre at a local university. Still sewing costumes to earn a few dollars.
My little light was dimmer. I had no sense of direction or idea of the path I was to take or the part I was to play.
I was living an “unimagined life.”
I did not know what I wanted to be.
I did not know what I wanted to do.
I did not know where I wanted to go.
I lived life by default.
My dad didn’t care for theatre. He equated it with Hollywood, and Hollywood with immorality. My boyfriend, who later became my first husband, didn’t like my theatrical friends. They were “weird” from his point of view.
It was okay for me to teach drama—okay by my dad and okay by my husband.
Thinking (as I was so well taught) life can’t always be fun or fulfilling, I became the teacher others wanted me to become.
I lived the “unimagined life.”
We sang the song as children: “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.” Were we taught to do that? Matthew wrote in chapter 5, verses 14-16,
You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
It is okay-friends, to let your light shine, to imagine a life filled with hope, to move towards it one step at a time each day.
Now, many years later, I’ve learned to not live “an imposed identity from the past” as Janet Davis puts it. To live looking ahead. And as Jesus said, “No procrastination. No backward looks. You can’t put God’s kingdom off till tomorrow. Seize the day” Luke 9:62 (Msg.).
From My Own Worst Enemy:
So many women spend their lives playing small. I call it ungodly contentment. We find a safe little corner in the world and spend our days maintaining a comfortable nest. Though, of course, such work can be a holy endeavor, it can also be an escape, an unholy refusal to live the life of transformation and faith God is calling us to live. Our penchant for playing small can sabotage our growth and our calling to shine. (p. 231)
I hope you will – Stay on the path with the light at the end.
I raised three children as a single mother before I remarried. I have experienced the potholes, pests, and perils of being the single head-of-household. As an educator in regular and special education for twenty years I know a great deal about child development and how to handle kids. I am the founder of SMORE for Women, a nonprofit whose goal is Single Moms, Overjoyed, Rejuvenated, and Empowered. I’m also a Certified Professional Coach and my stories have been published in several Christian books and magazines. My book, Living Learning Loving is available on Amazon.