Apparently, I am making a habit of sending letters to famous people. OK, so two in two weeks is not exactly a habit. Still, it's two more than I've probably ever sent in my life.
For my second Risk Rejection, I sent a letter to another author/speaker/minister/amazing woman asking her to be my mentor. Very scary.
Yes, another actual in-the-mailbox-with-a-stamp letter. Who does that anymore? But see, the thing about famous people is, you can't get to their contact information unless you're an NSA employee. Or know one really well. So, what you get are agent's emails, booking people's emails, and those stupid contact forms on websites that no one in the history of websites ever looks at to see who has contacted them.
I did have her husband's email, but that felt so . . . inappropriate. “Hey, hi there, how are you? I don't actually want to talk to you because you're NOBODY but if you could just forward this message to your wife since I know you don't mind being her personal secretary . . .” No, just, not. So I opted for the church address and pray that some assistant there doesn't recycle it before the spit on the stamp is dry. (Oh wait, no one licks stamps anymore, either. Wow, remember that?)
Several months ago, a group leader asked me if I had a writing mentor. No, I hadn't really thought about that. I mean, writing is rather a solitary thing by nature. It's not a team sport. Which is good, because I kind of suck at team sports. But we were talking about goals and focus and reaching where I believe God has for me on this journey of writing, and he was right. That I could use some help with from someone who's been there.
So while in this season of RiskingRejection (which I hope lasts far longer than January), I realized God was bringing it again to the front of my mind. (Things can sit on my back burner for a looong time, chiefly because I forget they're there and leave the stove on. It gets messy.) Not only that, but he was telling me whom to ask. And I got scared. And humbled.
She is well known. She is about twelve years younger than I am. She has done exactly what I am wanting to do—leaving an established, safe writing audience and following God into the deeper, scarier, unknown. Even down to helping with a church plant, she is doing well what I want to do.
Not so long ago I don't think I could have turned to someone that young and said, “You could teach me so much. Would you please consider it?” I thought I had the answers. Then, I went through a pruning season where a number of much younger people taught me a lot I didn't know. A LOT. I realized I had wasted many opportunities by allowing my insecurities to box me into a world of “I'm not listening. I'm not listening.” If I don't listen, I don't have to accept that I'm flawed and messed up and needy, and if I don't accept that, I can carry on my neat little life as planned without any scary alterations.
Yes. I can imagine God banging his head on the table right now.
Life alters around us. We either learn from it and change or we die. That's basic biology. Despite A's in biology, I didn't grasp that.
Hence, this risk this week is twofold. One, I'm asking something of someone who is an uber-busy successful person who is very likely to turn me down simply based on that time factor. But possibly also based on my own shortcomings as a professional, and I'll have to deal with that. Two, I'm asking to learn from someone who, in another context, I would be teaching. The funny thing is, I'm not bothered by that anymore. I absolutely love it. I am dying to find out what younger generations have to teach me.
Because the real risk? The real risk is not learning all you can from everyone you can.
It's not opening yourself to the possibilities that you can be taught by (and teach) anyone, anywhere. It's believing the lie that you have to know all the answers, or at least look like you do, in order to preserve the mask of security. Heck, people in the Old Testament had to learn from donkeys on occasion. Being schooled by thirty-something ladies seems downright respectable after that.
So this Jesus thing is. . . a team sport. Guess I'd better brush up on those stupid dribbling/passing skills. I'm still bad at it. But I'm willing to learn.
Join us in risking this month? Big or small--anything is fair game. Please come along for the exciting ride over at Amy's place.