Throw Off the Tiny Ropes

Gulliver’s Travels

“Be strong and courageous, do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”


Today has been a L O N G day. Not for any particular culminating event, we’re all just tired from the holiday week and trying to accomplish one million items in 2.3 seconds.


Like that’s ever going to happen!


Tonight I was making dinner, thinking about my swollen toes (which are the size of JUMBO Cheetos tonight), and fretting about how on Earth we are going to survive with four kids instead of three.


I wonder this a lot. We went from man-on-man defense to zone defense when Tres was born but the odds will be clearly stacked against us as soon as Bubby is born.


Even though I am anxious about this I know there is a simple answer: you don’t know what you’re capable of doing until you have a need to do it. One child requires all of the time and attention you can possibly give them. Four children require all of the time and attention you can give them.


Simple. Real.


I still worry in the back of my head while I go about my day.

In the other room I could hear the kids talking to one another as I prepared their plates; it sounded like Uno and Dos were “teaching” Tres how to say something.


On any given day the big girls teaching Tres to say something could be dangerous or charming.


(Just yesterday she walked up to a woman and asked her if she had nipples. Dangerous result of an expanding vocabulary. It was not a proud moment.)


So I approached the dinner table with apprehension. And this is what I heard:


“Be strong and courageous…” “ee tong eh rage! Yay!” {claps}

“Good job! Do not be dismayed…” “no be maid!” {finger shaking}

“Yes! For the Lord your God…” “Jesus!” {claps}

“No, Lord your God… aw, never mind… is with you wherever you go!” “Go! Go! Go! Jesus!” {hands in the air, cheering}


To hear our girls teaching each other a technique for bravery… something in my chest filled up and I think I lost a few buttons.


Why did this matter to me so much?


The most debilitating condition in our world is not poverty or disability or lack of opportunity, though those realities certainly play into personal success.


I believe the biggest reason we see pain and brokenness is fear. We are terribly afraid that we might succeed at what we are called to do. I believe we are technically more afraid of success than failure.


Failure is easy. Everybody fails.


Not everyone succeeds.


Every person has a calling (and this is not a specifically spiritual statement… I believe humans are created to do something and cannot find peace unless they pursue that task). Yet, many, many people search for excuses and put-offs instead of mustering the courage in the face of the unknown to change the world.


We have an internal dialogue of quibbling:

  • If I post a controversial opinion on Facebook, who will unfriend me?
  • If I leave my secure, boring job to pursue my passion, will I lose all financial security?
  • If I tell my kids I’m sorry for the way I acted will they take advantage of me in the future?
  • If I admit I have a dream, will people try to crush it with negativity?
  • What if people misunderstand my motives and my success is considered selfish?


We are a terribly frightened mess of humanity, held down by an internal dialogue of disaster as thoroughly as Gulliver was pinned by the tiny ropes of the Lilliputians.


Yet we are not designed to live tied down by our fears!


If my children, in a world that is blatantly complicated for girls to navigate, can learn to be strong and courageous, buoyed by the absolute strength of their Creator… I will call that success. That’s a tool they need in their life skills toolbox!


(And a philosophy I will let them reinforce in me… because I have no desire to role model timidity.)


Be Strong! Be Courageous!


Who is the bravest person you know? Why?

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