When you realize that you’re worth fighting for yourself

If you ever were to ask me where a lot of my inspiration comes from, I’d tell you that it’s quite often from little kids.

They’re such geniuses and probably don’t even know it.

I was in Texas over the weekend for a visit with family and some friends I haven’t been able to see in a while. Much of my time was spent with my nieces—those two little girls have captured my heart more than I thought anyone ever could.

Olivia was excited to show off her food.

I babysat Olivia and Evie on Saturday night so that my brother and sister-in-law could have a nice date night out together. The girls and I watched football (we won’t discuss the outcome of the Cowboys game right now—it’s still too soon), and after Olivia saw me eating Wheat Thins with my dinner, she later grabbed the box and ate them while we were watching the game. I’ve clearly taught her well. Prior to the disaster that occurred at LA Memorial Coliseum that night, Olivia (who is almost 2 1/2) was playing with everything in site while Evie (a little more than 8 months) sat and watched in glee and occasionally attempted to crawl toward something—she’s SOOOO close to crawling!

At one point, Olivia was standing on the fireplace ledge and then squatted down. I’ve always told her to be careful whenever she gets up there (it’s not high from the ground at all, but she’s also still a tiny human), but that night, she looked over at me and said “I be careful. No get hurt. Dangerous.” It was as precious as you might imagine, and I told her that she was right.

Besties for life

The next morning, I was over at my brother’s and sister-in-law’s house again, and Olivia showed off her new talent (that I wasn’t expecting) of jumping off of the couch into my arms. Unlike the night before, there was zero hesitation—she got up on that couch and went for it, regardless of whether or not I was ready for her. I think she knew I would catch her, no matter what, so there was no fear there. There was security and comfort, which helped to increase her level of confidence. On Saturday night, though, she didn’t have me right there in front of her, and she knew what might happen if she tried to jump on her own.

If I were standing on that ledge, of course I would jump. Yes, it would probably technically be more of simply a step off, but still—there wouldn’t be any holding back or worrying about getting hurt. I’m confident that nothing would be likely to happen.

I started thinking about that while I was on my flight home Sunday afternoon and realized that those childlike tendencies don’t necessarily leave us when we become adults. We still seem to be able to jump when we know that there’s complete security, but we’re a lot more hesitant when we’re unsure of the outcomes ahead.

If I’m being perfectly honest, though, that’s not how I always want to live. Sure, there are certainly times when you shouldn’t just jump at something without thinking or considering the consequences and potential outcomes, but there are many times when it’s better (even if it is incredibly scary) to take chances and step into the unknown. For me, when I have those strong tuggings at my heart that are pushing me to do something that frightens the Capri Sun out of me—especially when I’m being taken out of my comfort zone—I try to remind myself that I’m not actually jumping off of a fireplace ledge onto the hardwood floor like a 2-year-old.

Because I do have Someone there who will catch me.

That doesn’t mean that every chance I take is going to end like I want it to end. I’ve had plenty of failures and broken hearts to remind me of that. But it does mean that, even when those setbacks and heartaches happen after making a risky jump, I know that I’m still going to be OK. Those things can’t defeat me, and I don’t need to let them try. My God is a lot stronger than that.

This girl has been through it all with me.

During middle school, high school, college, and even some of my 20s, I was the girl standing on the fireplace ledge who was afraid to jump. Unlike in Olivia’s case, though, there wasn’t any real physical danger for me—it was simply the risk of getting my heart hurt. I think my fear stemmed from the fact that a broken heart, for me, hurts far worse than any physical pain I could ever face (and I’ve endured quite a bit of physical pain). You know what, though? I’ve survived each heartache I’ve had, and I truly believe that I’m stronger because of it. I think that the trials we face in life have ways of building us and growing us in ways we might never have thought possible. We’re usually not grateful for them while we’re going through them, but hopefully we can look back at those times and know that they were part of our journeys—part of the paths we needed to take to get us to where we are today and help us to become the individuals we have become.

I hated the color of my rental car. Naturally, my dad wanted to take my pic in front of it.

I don’t know where you are in your life today. Maybe you’re standing on that fireplace ledge with more reservations than you can count. Or maybe you’re on that sofa and about to take a leap of faith. I’m rooting for it to be the latter, because I’m rooting for you.

You’re worth taking chances and doing the things that might make you a little queasy. You’re worth letting your heart feel deeply and love intentionally. You’re worth pursuing the passions that set your heart into motion. You’re worth running full force ahead toward your dreams. You’re worth the investment of time and energy. You’re worth being loved.

And you’re worth fighting for yourself.

Jumping straight into the flip

Great moments can happen when you least expect them.

Like when you’re in a harness and jumping on a trampoline.

There’s a lot of stuff going on in the world—some of it closer to home than we might prefer—and it makes you realize how real life is.

And how precious it is.

pony
I also broke the rules and rode a miniature pony. It was not a happy camper.

Our company had a fun family event over the weekend, and there were a lot of activities available for kids and adults alike. One of those was a trampoline contraption thing that you were harnessed into and then could jump up and down as high as you could go, and you could also attempt flips and whatnot if you wanted. I decided to try this one out, and I really wanted to try the flip thing. After I started bouncing really high, though, I wasn’t so sure the flip sounded like a good idea. It seemed scary. The guy running the contraption assured me it was safe, but I didn’t know him and wasn’t sure how trustworthy he was.

He wasn’t even jumping.

After a little while, I sort of tried to flip backward, but it was more difficult than I expected—probably because it was only a halfhearted attempt. And then I realized something: I’m going to regret it if I walk away from this trampoline without doing the freaking flip. So that was it. My mind was made up, and I was going to flip. I flung myself backward, and that first attempt nearly ended in a disaster. I didn’t go quickly enough, and I almost landed on my head or face on the trampoline. The second attempt was much better (at least I think it was), and the flip was complete.

And I wasn’t scared anymore.

I know it was a pretty small feat, but it was also a reminder that sometimes you simply have to jump and go all in when you do. You can’t do the halfhearted thing if you want what you really want to be a reality. Otherwise, you’ll be jumping up and down where it feels completely safe forever.

But safe isn’t always good—there has to be risk every now and then.

If you’ve watched anything in the news lately, you’ve probably been reminded that way too many unexpected things happen in this world, and you only get one life. Why waste it not doing the things you know you need to do simply because a little fear gets in the way? I’m not always brave. I wish I were, but I definitely have moments when I’m a complete pansy. There are people out there who are brave every single day, and it shows in the way they treat people—like those who willingly put themselves in the face of danger to protect others. To me, that’s one way to live out love.

That’s jumping straight into the flip.

It would be great if Pollyanna’s vision of never-ending gratefulness and people genuinely loving one another all the time were reality, but it’s not. Life is rough sometimes, and that thankfulness isn’t always there. And that love isn’t always there. There’s pain and loneliness and fear and anxiety and heartache and tears and anger and sadness and guilt—and so many other things that keep us from having constant smiles on our faces.

But those things shouldn’t stop us from trying.

In the movie Center Stage, Jody has more than one moment when she fears she isn’t good enough for the dance academy and that she might not make it as a dancer. When she attends a class in the city away from the academy, one of the best bits of advice the instructor gave the class was simple: “Forget about the steps—just dance the s*** out of it!”

Because doing so is jumping straight into the flip.