As my feet find their way across the stretch of the airport, I can feel the old insecurities beginning to rise up, awakening from deep inside of me. I want to tell them to gooooooooo awaaaaaaay, but in this foreign new world of writers and blogging and books and reviews, they feel familiar to me, and sometimes in my newness I long for familiarity.
The group of us, all (in)courage writers, were in Arkansas for a retreat - a time to renew, to refresh, to really get to know one another in the quiet. And I'm the youngest of them. I don't have a book, and I don't have a husband, and I don't juggle a full time job while mothering eight tiny children. As I sat there, I hoped that simply by being near them I might learn. I wanted to sponge up their wisdom, to soak in their greatness. Because the deep down truth is, I wanted to be great, too.
It's funny, the things you learn about yourself when you're in a room full of other women.
You see, in my head, I believed that in order to be accepted, I needed to be equivalent. I wanted to impress these (in)courage writers. I wanted to be their equal. I wanted them to think me so very smart and so utterly talented.
Instead, I felt small and young and vastly inexperienced. And then, on the Sunday evening, I realized something.
I am each one of these things. I always thought them burdens, that they hindered me from being something more. But then, I finally realized, they're gifts. They're who I am right now.
Emily Freeman teaches me to lean into my smallness. Through her words and her living she tells me: small isn't a flaw - its freedom. My age isn't a weakness, but a number. My inexperience isn't a limitation, it's an opportunity.
I desperately wanted more: to be older, to be wiser, to be thought of as great. I thought to be enough, I needed to have this checklist of things completed, this idea of grandeur achieved.
I thought all of these women had something I didn't and never would have, and I put them on a pedestal that reached high beyond me. But what I realized, after spending five days laughing and talking and crying alongside them, is that they're just people. Extraordinarily lovely people, yes, but people nonetheless. And they, each with their own little index of insecurities, accepted me fully. Accepted me as I am. Small, and young, and inexperienced.
Where I am now? That's where I'm supposed to be. And maybe you've figured that out about yourself already - that where you are now, is exactly where you're supposed to be. I wouldn't be surprised if you've known that for years.
I've found such freedom when embracing my smallness.
I believe this fully, whole heartedly, 100%: there is freedom that comes with being small. And we can all be small. Emily's teaching me that.
There is freedom here, where I am. Because I am enough - right here, right now, exactly where I'm standing.