Monday, 14 May 2012
By Tom Zuniga
My One Word 365 for 2012 is courageous.
After five months of this slightly less sparkly new year, I wanted to check in with my spring progress. Not in a puff-myself-up kind of way, but more of a trying-to-stay-accountable sort of way.
In short, it’s been a life-changing year.
I met with one of the most inspiring people I may ever meet. He’s a phenomenal writer and an even better person. Just been so blessed by this guy. I’m glad I battled the suicidal butterflies inside my stomach and accepted his offer to meet in person at a Hollywood Starbucks. I also recently interviewed him, so be on the lookout for that TMZ EXCLUSIVE in the coming weeks!
I pursued mentoring with my church. Heading into an insane summer of camp counseling, I thought it’d be wise to seek any “extra” wisdom I could glean. Connecting with a mentor week after week has done wonders for my self-confidence and self-worth. Been such an affirming experience.
I volunteered at a local middle school. Since the conclusion of my YouthWorks summer, I’d been wanting to volunteer somewhere on a regular basis. And while “tutoring for free” didn’t bring me any closer to paying off my credit card, I’m pretty sure meeting all these amazing kids (including one who did these awesome magic tricks) was far more priceless.
I completed my first half-marathon. While I’ve run somewhat consistently since high school, I’d never come close to running 13.1 continuous miles before. Crossing that finish line was easily the greatest physical accomplishment of my life — even greater than that time I nearly died in the desert.
I got baptized on my 25th birthday. I’ve been a Christian all my life, but truthfully, I never thought baptism would be in the cards for me, having always resigned myself to an inescapable disconnect to any local church. Then ROCKHARBOR happened, and well, cue the tears:
And finally, I spoke at my church service last Sunday. Yes, you read that right. Truthfully, I can’t begin explaining it in human terms. Only in spiritual ones.
I met with my pastor a couple weeks back, and after sharing much of my story with him, he suggested my sharing it at church that Sunday.
“Uh, I’ll pray about it,” I said with a huge invisible WINK, since that sounded like a proper Christian response to my pastor’s INSANE request.
Me? Speak in church? DID YOU NOT HEAR THE PART WHERE I TOLD YOU I’M INTROVERTED AND SCARED TO DEATH OF PEOPLE?
All weekend, though, I couldn’t escape this call to courageously stand before hundreds and simply tell the story of my long, wandering journey into community. Not as an impossible feat to etch into my own personal mantle, but as an encouragement to at least one person who felt similar feelings of isolation within the church.
I just couldn’t not go up there and speak. So I prayed for more of the Spirit, because I certainly wasn’t capable of this.
I’m a writer, not a speaker.
I’ll summarize the night by simply saying this: it wasn’t me up there. I most definitely wasn’t the one speaking more confidently than ever before. I didn’t stutter, didn’t say “like” or “um” once, didn’t look down or tear up or lose my voice at all. In short, it was, um, like, the complete opposite of, um, the speech from my baptism video.
IT MAKES NO SENSE. Even in simple small-scale conversation, I fidget and stumble over my words. I’m uncomfortable with the spotlight. There’s just no explainable way that I stood before hundreds and spoke with such fluidity and peace.
For the first time in my life, I clearly witnessed the Spirit filling me in my weakness.
It was easily one of the most defining moments of my life. The encouragement I received afterward was indescribable. I’m so glad I went up there; I’ll never forget it.
Yet for all the awesome courageous moments this spring, I’ve experienced plenty cowardly ones too.
I gave in to temptation.
I doubted God’s power.
I avoided others instead of reaching out to them.
As the year continues, I pray the cowardly is more and more overtaken by the courageous. By summer’s end, I’ll check in again with my continued One Word 365 progress.
Be bold, be brave. Let God carry you through the impossible. There’s truly nothing like it.
How is your 2012 to this point? What was your One Word 365?