Charles and I were taking a walk the other day and saw a really large turtle in a field... probably the biggest we've ever seen in the "wilds". The turtle was off the path quite a ways, and what struck me, even from a distance, was his outstretched head and neck. In fact, it was the long neck sticking out from the shell that probably caused us to even notice the turtle at all.
Being quite a distance from us, the turtle felt quite safe. It was a good time to stick his neck out. Had something come nearer, I'm quite sure the turtle would have felt threatened and immediately retreated into his shell.
It made me think about how easy it is to stick our neck out there when everything seems safe. And how quickly we can retreat at the nearest perceived threat. I recently read a blog post by Seth Godin that said this:
You will be judged (or you will be ignored). Those are pretty much the only two choices. Being judged is uncomfortable.....The alternative, of course, is much safer. To be ignored. Up to you.
I don't know about you, but I do not like being misunderstood or rejected. I recognize in myself a tendency to play it safe, so that I'm not rejected, judged, or misunderstood. Maybe its human nature. We don't step out because we're afraid. Yet, the alternative may mean that we don't get to live out our sense of call, courageously being true to who we are and what we are to bring to the world. And we miss the blessing of the joy and fruit that comes with pursuing our calls and our destinies.
Every time I write something and post it publicly, I am acutely aware of the two ends of the spectrum- judged or ignored. What if people don't like what I write? What will they think? What if I'm misunderstood? Will people think less of me? Even though I love writing and believe I am called to write, it would be much easier, safer and more convenient to just keep writing in my journal, as I have done for years. There, no one else sees what I write. There's no risk of rejection or being misunderstood or judged. Journal writing was safe. Writing here is not safe.
Steven Pressfield calls this battle within "resistance". Everyone who has ever stepped out towards a better future has experienced it. Some learn to act in spite of the resistance and do extraordinary things, and some let the resistance determine whether they ever act or not. And you can be sure that if resistance has its way, there will be no action.
You and I were created for more. Let's stick our necks out there together for all of the right reasons! Yes, we may be misunderstood, judged, and even rejected. But in the end it seems to be a better alternative to being safe and never have stepped out courageously to pursue our callings, passions, and dreams. Acting, in spite of the resistance, can lead to new and exciting places of fruitfulness, joy and growth.
What, for you, takes a determined will to do even at the risk of being misunderstood, judged or rejected? I would love to hear!