My dad is the really best. I remember going to visit a friend before her prom and her dad was joking how he had to hide the candy jar so she could fit into her dress. Her whole family, including her, laughed. I was traumatized. I’m also a bit more sensitive, and my dad has probably learned that jokes about weight are never funny.
My dad literally thinks I could do anything. Sometimes I’ll talk about the things I have on my plate or the conversations I’ve had to navigate. “You know most people don’t know how to phrase that don’t you? Do you know that most people never have to have that kind of conversation, ever? Did they train you on how to say that?” etc, etc.
Like I said, this is a huge confidence booster. I’m like you’re so right. How did I know how to do that? I'M SO GREAT. Then I remember I forgot to get my oil changed like a month ago which is why my car is making a weird noise and I come back down to earth real fast.
That’s the thing about my dad. He just believes I can do it. He doesn’t see the fear of failure or the flaws that hold me back because he sees this girl who he raised. He just has it in his head I can do whatever I really set my mind up to do.
Now because he’s my earthly father and not my Heavenly one, he is not perfect. Which is evidenced by my bedding that’s currently spread across I-285, but that’s a whole different story.
However, one thing my dad knows about me is that sometimes, I need a little push in the right direction. I need him to be loving and kind and encouraging to me, but in the moments where I just want to have a pity party, he refuses to let me stay there.
One memorable moment came in 2009 when I was trying to get into nursing school. Yes - for a good three years I tried desperately to be a nurse. Looking back I’m not sure why I didn’t at least shadow one before I wasted a large amount of time striving after it. Because I think if someone had just clearly explained to me what a bedpan was and that I would have to clean it, my parents could have saved a lot of money and I could have saved a lot of heartache.
So *spoiler alert* I am not a nurse.
I hadn’t been accepted into Auburn’s nursing program and I was trying to decide what my next plan was. My parents wanted me to go to a junior college in Auburn so that I could build up my GPA and apply to other schools. Something I should mention is while I was very committed to the scrubs and Danskos I would get to wear if I was a nurse, I was less committed to the actual go to class and make good grades thing. The library was more of a social activity and I could be found closer to the coffee shop than the study tables.
Anyway my mom, dad, and I started to walk through all my options when I started to get a little teary. I should also let you know my dad usually starts off hard conversations like these with “Okay, we are just talking about this. No one needs to get upset, and no one needs to cry.” Because my mom and I have a tendency to well, get really upset and cry. This, in my defense, has gotten me pretty far in the past. I once convinced my chemistry teacher to switch my final grade from a D to C with just a few (hundred) tears. Hopefully you are starting to understanding why nursing school didn’t work out for me.
So I am trying to have this conversation with my parents and show them the true mature, 20 year old adult I am when my dad finally ask me what’s wrong. Through sobs I begin to inform him that if I go to this other school and then get into another nursing school and have to move, I may not have any friends at my new school and no one is thinking about how hard this will be for me.
As you can imagine this went over super well with my father, who was paying a lot of money only to find out his daughter was more concerned with her social life than what she was going to do with her actual life. #proud.
And while it wasn’t funny in the moment, we are able to laugh now about the time dad just snapped. I believe his exact words were “Rebecca, I will be happy if you don’t make another DANG friend in your life!!” ( Which he totally regrets saying now because the friends I went on to make friends have let me live in their apartments, moved me in and out of homes, helped with my grandparents, found him Auburn tickets, and much, much more. Seriously, he’s really grateful for y’all. Just in the moment he wasn’t super happy with me. Oh and also I can assume we all know that he used another four letter word right? Okay I thought so, y’all are smart.)
So while I was still recovery from my dad’s rant, it was also very clear to me just how important this was. I could and would make friends wherever I ended up. But I had to get my priorities straight, pick a major and decide what I would do.
A few months ago I landed myself in another pit of believing the lies that the enemy was telling me. That I wasn’t good enough. That things weren’t working out the way I’d planned. I played the comparison game and was losing. I didn’t mean to let it all out to my dad, but he started asking about my plans and it all just kind of came out. My dad is usually a safe person to cry to, seeing as he doesn’t really know what to do other than assure me that I’m awesome.
And I’m not sure what got into him but that day, he was not having it.
He told me I was too old (wow, thanks.) and too smart (okay, I'll take that one) and had too much going for me to let this drag me down. I was jumping the gun and assuming things that weren’t really even true. And by the end I was crying harder, but the message was clear: I was far too capable to let these crazy ideas of what people thought of me get in the way of what I was called to do.
Sometimes I think our Heavenly Father is a lot like that. He so desperately wants us to hear “My sweet child, I have given you so much talent and passion and heart and purpose and it’s so disappointing when you only focus on this tiny crack in the window."
Because the Lord views you through the lens of Christ. He doesn’t continue to see your failures and shame like you do, he sees His masterpiece designed for a specific purpose here on earth.
So if there’s a lie you get caught believing over and over - consider this gentle push to let it go.
To gain some perspective and to start to believe the Truth again.
Run, with perseverance, the race marked out for you. Throw off all the things that hinder you from using your talents to further His kingdom. Realize now that your life really is a vapor and we only get a short amount of time here.
And surround yourself with people along the way, who’ll remind you when you forget.