Our group is almost done reading the Best Yes, and we had an interesting discussion last night. One in which I was pretty vulnerable.
If you know me, you know I tend to do that. But as we were discussing the chapter on the Awkward Disappointment of Saying No, I really resonated with Lysa’s example of being at an award’s show where she simply didn’t fit. It would have been so much more comfortable to turn around and go home. It’s where she belonged after all. Not at this elegant event where she was a disappointment to the red carpet crowd.
Because I was a first generation homeschooler, I know well the feeling of just not fitting. I didn’t have a place in a world that didn’t get homeschooling — at all! In fact, I knew most people didn’t understand why my parents choose the schooling structure they did. And those who thought they did were usually very wrong.
Then in college I never quite fit because I was two years younger than my peers. I just soldiered on and didn’t let it bother me. In that people — mostly — forgot, but not completely. And I want to be really clear that I wouldn’t change a thing. I am who I am because I was homeschooled and because I started college early.
Yet at certain times that awkward excluded feeling rears its head. The feeling that I’ll never quite fit anywhere. Even when my heart knows it’s a lie. And when my head can spin out a series of reasons to ignore the feeling. If you’ve seen Inside Out, it’s one of those important foundational experiences that has impacted me.
This week I was reminded again that I often feel a bit like the outsider. I was at a legal conference. In fact I’d applied for and been accepted to the advanced track. In large part because of that when I introduced myself to the group, I framed myself as the nontraditional attorney. Instead of practicing full-time — which is what I assumed the expectation would be — I don’t. I’m the homeschooling mom of four who teaches graduate classes at a Big Ten university, writes novels, and practices a bit of law. Awkward? Afraid of disappointing people’s expectations? Subconsciously feeling out of place? I don’t know.
It was the way I framed me.
If I’d stayed in that place, I would have missed the dozens of opportunities I had to interact with people, draw them out, learn their stories, and hopefully encourage them. I would have missed the opportunity to demonstrate what this nontraditional attorney can do. And I would have missed vivid encounters with God.
So I return today far from rested — I worked way too hard for that and I have a book to turn in on Wednesday. But because I stepped out of my comfort zone to be fully in a legal community, I experienced some amazing Best Yes moments.
How have you embraced the Best Yes?