snarkiness and glass slippers and zip lining

Terrifying. And Fun. I did this too, I promise you.
But did anyone think to take pictures other
than mom? Of course not.

If you give a girl a challenge, she’s going to want to take it on. And if she takes it on, she’s going to feel gutsy. And if she feels gutsy, she’s going to want more challenges. And if she wants more challenges . . . she writes more blogs. Do you have any idea what you’ve started, friend Amy?

Especially if you give me a challenge. The girl who once told her entire church, at age 19, that she thought she would be a pastor. Given the denomination of that particular church, let’s just say it did not go over well. Very nervous silence. Most people would consider that a caution. I considered it a challenge.

Good thing I usually know the difference between an impossible challenge and a stupid dare, or I might have ended up like my brothers, putting a principal’s car on a roof somewhere, and I do not do a “who me?” poker face well.

Oops. I just outed my brothers. I hope the statue of limitations has run out on that one.

So, at this point, the RiskRejection challenge has me working on three different risks:

OneRetooland revise my work to reach the audience God has for me. Don’t play it safe with safe topics, safe ideas, feel good stories.

TwoWorkon the snark quotient. No critical words or thoughts this Lenten season. Yeah, like that’s going to happen. Wait, was that snark I just detected?

ThreeLosethirty pounds and donate thirty pounds of food to the local food bank. Working on it. Working….working…working. I think this is going to be a lot of . . . work.

And . . . and . . . I know there are at least two more out there on the horizon which you will hear about in the near future. Can this be done, please? I never thought I’d say this. I. Cant. Take. Any. More. Challenges. Full up here. Challenge quota reached. That, by the way, is probably a very bad thing to say to God. It’s like telling Chicago I’ve had enough snow this winter.

Note: It’s the first day of spring. It snowed this morning.

There are so many things it would be comforting to say about challenge. It’s easy. It’s fun. It’s . . . comfortable. But it is none of those things. And the funny thing is? I don’t want it to be. I used to want that. But through challenge I’ve discovered something radical.

There is something better than easy.

Joy is better than fun. Fulfilling is better than easy. Purpose is better than comfortable.

Most people become adrenaline junkies at a much younger age.

Today, the update report will be on Challenge #2. The challenge? Recite Philippians 2.3-4 every time I made a critical remark or had a critical thought. At first, this seemed kind of rote. What was the point? I just learned one Bible verse really, really well. It didn’t change the feelings.

Until it did. Until I found myself stopping in mid-thought and thinking about all the reasons that person could be going twenty miles an hour, or might have cut in front of me in the express lane–with twenty-one items. Until, wonder of wonders, I found myself about to say something critical and then Just. Not. Saying it. Wow. Never saw that coming.

Another surprise? It feels so good to just not say it. Freeing. Like I was bound in whatever misplaced pride or certainty and couldn’t stop the tongue from flapping. Oh wait. I was. That’s called sin. The Bible has a few things to say about how powerful its straightjacket can be.

It’s a risky decision to admit to these things. It’s not pretty, not neat, not a sweet story with a happy God-blessed ending. But it is real. And unlike happy-happy-joy-God-blessed fairy tales, it’s completely up to me whether or not I want a happy ending. He’ll supply the power; I have to supply the want to. When you’re a natural born snark, there is no glass slipper fix. It’s work. And it’s joy. And it’s more of both.

Challenge. Like the freedom of that idea? I’m not asking you to put a car on the roof. I mean, unless in some cosmic way that’s something God has in mind for you. But please, I beg you. Open up to challenge. Find out exactly how freeing and joyful it is to look away from easy and stare challenge in the eye.

What’s your challenge right now? Big or small. What are you going to do about it?

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