You’re Not An ‘Aspiring’ Anything
This clip from Sister Act 2: Back In The Habit has taken up permanent residence in the back of my mind. It floats forward every now and then when I question if I should continue doing what I love to do. Lauryn Hill’s character, Rita, puts on a mask of nonchalance, denying her desire to sing. Whoopi Goldberg’s character, Sister Mary Clarence, makes it her mission for the better part of the film to encourage young Rita into her destiny, against all odds. Some of those odds are external, like her mother’s aversion to her becoming a singer. But a lot of it is internal. Rita struggles with believing she can do what she loves to do. Sister Mary Clarence’s aggressive pursuit draws her out of hiding until she steps fully into who she always was.
It’s a beautiful illustration of how we should lovingly encourage ourselves and others into our callings.
I only recently stopped calling myself an “aspiring” anything.
I’d been an aspiring writer, an aspiring educator, an aspiring producer.
I looked up and I had been ‘aspiring’ for 10 years. I thought,
“How do you aspire to do something you’re already doing, silly?
How do you keep aspiring to be who you already are?
It’s simple, really: You just have to think less of yourself than God does.
We get stuck ‘aspiring’ when we’re afraid to do the work of becoming who we were created to be.
I kept ‘aspiring’ prefixed to my name because I was terrified of the power and responsibility attached to my callings. I didn’t see myself as powerful. I wasn’t sure I could handle the responsibility. I was doing what we all do so many times. I was letting fear lead. We’re fearful we can’t sustain. We don’t want to bite off more than we can chew.
If I call myself an author with confidence, the world will be expecting authorship. But what if I do the work and my book sucks? What if writer’s block jams me up? What if I can’t do it as well as I did it the last time?
There are a million “What ifs” that we can ask ourselves until our golden years; the point is to push through them to welcome the glory of the work to become.
By clinging to the training wheels of being an ‘aspiring’ anything, we lock ourselves into indefinite infancy. It’s like playing in the kiddie pool when you’re 45.
It’s safe and it’s also weird.
Instead of being afraid of the power and responsibility of fully stepping into our callings — what if we welcomed it with grace and gusto? What if we welcomed it with the assurance that God had when He assigned us a space in this life?
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. — Jeremiah 29:11
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you.” — Jeremiah 1:5
God knows who He made us to be. He knows the unique creative DNA running through our bodies. He knows the unique thoughts, ideas, inventions we have the capacity to bring to fruition. It’s just a matter of us knowing what He knows about us. And that can only happen through communion with Him, reading what He says about us in His word, and exercising our right and privilege to BE what He created us to be.
We get stuck ‘aspiring’ when we wait for others to validate our value.
For a long time someone else had to call me something before I believed I was that and not just trying to be that. Other people had to say I was good before I believed I was a decent writer. Other people had to call me beautiful before I believed I could model. And while I waited for them to validate me, opportunities passed me by. Growth was delayed. Confidence was eroded by doubt.
We don’t have to wait for someone else to validate that we are here for a specific purpose. We just need throw our whole selves at whatever our passion and become who we are. Focus in. DO it. Wholeheartedly. Withhold nothing.
It’s a tragedy to waste another moment allowing fear to pilfer bits of your confidence. If you write, you’re a writer. If you sing, you’re a singer. If you preach, you’re a preacher. To accept anything less is to deny the miracle standing up within you.
Give your life permission to be full. Give yourself permission to walk heavy in your gifts.
What is that you’re ‘aspiring’ to?
Your gift has made room for you.