I Will Not Die an Unlived Life
I have been thinking a lot of late about how much of our lives is shaped by fear – fear of failure, fear of not being enough, fear of not being accepted, fear of falling short. I am plagued by those fears as well, but lately I’ve been caught by a greater fear: the fear of allowing my fears to keep me from enjoying all that God has placed before me. I am afraid, that is, of falling prey to the kind of fear that saps the spirit and reduces one’s creativity and courage and makes the world’s possibilities curve in until all you can see are limitations.
I’m not entirely sure what’s prompting this shift. Maybe it’s that as I approach 50 (a couple years off, I’ll note, but it’s looming!) and as my children grow older (much too quickly!) I realize that time is short and we waste so much of it on needless fears. Or maybe it’s that as I embrace – rather than deny or resist – the fact that I don’t really know what I’m doing – as a parent, teacher, and leader – in this changed and changing world that I begin to realize that the only way I’ll figure things out is by, in fact, failing, falling short, and from time to time coming up empty. Which means that if I want to grow I need to embrace failure, not fear it.
In any event, I wrote my weekly letter to preachers on just this topic and in response one reader shared this poem by Dawna Markova and I enjoyed it so much I wanted in turn to share it with you. I hope that at some moment in the coming weeks you’ll also experience the courage that comes from abandoning the fear of “catching fire” so that you “risk significance.” You’re worth it, and the world needs you to do it!
I will not die an unlived life
I will not live in fear
of falling or catching fire.
I choose to inhabit my days,
to allow my living to open me,
to make me less afraid,
to loosen my heart until it becomes a wing,
a torch, a promise.
I choose to risk my significance;
to live so that which came to me as seed
goes to the next as blossom
and that which came to me as blossom,
goes on as fruit.
Dawna Markova, author of I Will Not Die an Unlived Life: Reclaiming Purpose and Passion.