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Breaking Through the Earth

| written by Karissa Knox Sorrell | 6 comments


My one word for 2014 is GROW. I’m three months into the year, and I’m wondering if I’m really growing, or if I’m still being held back by my fears. 

My fear is rejection. My fear is people disagreeing with me, and then not liking me, and then not wanting me as a friend anymore. My fear is being put down. My fear is being valueless. 

So for a long time I have said what I thought would make everyone happy. I have avoided speaking my true thoughts and beliefs and questions because I was afraid of the result. I didn’t want conflict. I didn’t want anyone to be mad at me. I wanted to have worth, and I felt like I had to agree with everyone in order for them to see my worthiness.  

The problem is that I often felt buried, like my true self was hidden. 

A recent study shows that women apologize far more than men do. I find myself saying “I’m sorry” pretty often. I’ll say, “I’m sorry, but I disagree,” or, “I’m sorry, but I won’t be able to help you.” This is part of that need to please people and keep the peace in my relationships. But it’s also feeling like I have to apologize for my opinions, my words, and my successes. If I am too confident or talk about myself too much, I worry that I’ll be seen as prideful. There is this idea that I must have a good dose of humility in everything I do.  

So every time I want to speak my truth, I hesitate. How will people respond? Will I hurt anyone? Am I being a jerk here? What if someone un-friends me? 

Yet I also feel the desire to put my words out there. I want to stand up and speak up and encourage.  

Is that tug-of-war between the two the same as growing?  

I feel like a seed, positioned just under the surface, the hint of green stem almost ready to burst out into the light. 

Writer Esther Emery, in a recent piece about women and bragging rights, said that even Christian women don’t have to apologize for their accomplishments:

It means being a little more courageous about saying, “This is my work. I can see that I’m doing it. I can see that these things that I’m doing are having an effect on the world. And, by the will of God, I am the one who is making this happen.”

This is a difficult thing for us women to believe, isn’t it? That we can have pride in ourselves, our words, and our work. However, I propose that maybe it’s not actually pride. Maybe it’s believing in our own worthiness. Maybe it’s not having to wait for someone else to tell us we have value. Maybe it’s claiming our identity as beloved, valuable, talented people who have something to offer to the world. 

I am still afraid. 

But I am speaking my truth.  

I am telling the world that my faith isn’t built on certainty anymore. 

I am saying that it’s okay if life feels like wrestling sometimes. 

I am admitting that I think showing Love goes so much farther than shouting Truth.  

Guess what? Some people have disagreed with me. Some people have argued with me. I’ve had a few uncomfortable conversations. I’ve had to nurture a few wounds. But no one has un-friended me, on Facebook or in person. And most of the responses to my truth-telling have been positive and encouraging. 

I am learning that GROW means I don’t tie my worth to the way people respond to me. I don’t tie my worth to the number of Facebook Likes or Twitter retweets. I don’t tie my worth to how many people think I’m wrong. I have worth because I am a human being created by God. My truth may not be the same as someone else’s truth, but that doesn’t mean I have to hide it. 

I am breaking through the earth and reaching for the sky.  

How is your one word for 2014 helping you grow? 

{Photo from Wikimedia Commons}

Karissa Knox Sorrell is a writer and educator from Nashville, Tennessee. At 4 AM, you can find her writing. At 1 PM, she is training ESL teachers. At 6 PM, she is wrangling her two adorable children. At 9 PM, she is working out on her elliptical usually fast asleep. Read more of her writing on her blog and follow her on Twitter