I was always a very obedient young child. I asked for permission. I listened to my parents. I mostly did as I was told.
When you grow up as a pastor’s kid and a missionary kid you learn very quickly that people are watching and you will be doubly judged for your misdeeds – once by God and once by the church people who observe your every move.
So asking for permission was the norm growing up.
And if my parents said no – like they did to my request to join a modern dance class with my two friends – then you simply cry yourself to sleep for a week and give up on your dream.
Was my dream of dancing on stage and moving my body to the rhythms and beats wrong? In my bed I would lay very still with my Walkman blaring my 80s music, and I would choreograph in my mind dance after dance. I would work on the moves night after night until I could do the whole song in my head. I pursued my dream covertly. But I never danced out loud.
As an adult I often meet with the same dilemma.
For whatever reason – the kids, the job, the finances – I find myself being denied permission to do what I want. My desires get “deferred” until the kids are grown, or the thing is paid off, or the next year when I will have more time. I lay there in the dark and confine my dreams to my mind. I play it out in my head but never out loud.
I am still waiting for permission.
Who is it that gets the final say in my life? Why exactly do I need permission?
I have learned that there are times when I do need to consider if my idea is feasible and a healthy addition to my life – but then there are times when I need to say Heck yeah and just GO FO IT. Stop waiting for the blessing. Just give yourself permission and do it!
So how to tell the difference?
I like to ask myself a few questions.
First – (because I am Oh-so considerate) who does this impact? If I am joining a Jiu-Jitsu class, will this take time away from my husband? Or from my kids? Will this add a larger burden of responsibility to someone else? I need to look good and hard at the impact this will have on my surroundings.
Secondly – How will this enrich me? Is this something that is going to bring me closer to one of my goals? Is this something I have wanted for a long time but has been deferred due to cost or timing? Is this something that brings me insane amounts of joy? When I picture my life with this in it – is it a more fulfilling life? If this has been a long-time goal and dream then make sure it is STILL something that makes your heart beat faster. Don’t do it just to get it off the list of possible regrets. Be sure it is still worthy of being pursued at this stage of the game.
Third – Can I afford (in time and money) to do this now? I hate this one. Honestly, this is the dang adult-like thinking that puts an end to so many of my wonderful plans. But this disheartening dose of reality doesn’t necessarily mean NO. It just means that to make it happen will require some planning. Some saving, some time off, some goal setting…it’s OK to plan it out. It’s OK to take steps to slowly get closer to the goal – even if we can’t make it happen right away.
But if nothing is physically standing in the way, answering this third question can bring us peace of mind and embolden us to answer the last question…
Fourth – What am I waiting for??? If I have the money, if I can make the time, if it brings me joy and is something that I have wanted to try for some time – then I need to just GIVE MYSELF PERMISSION and DO IT!!!
This fourth question is where I often realize that I have been waiting for someone else to give me permission. To say Green light! To allow me to pursue my goal.
If you were raised to ask and obey, then you also might have an inner child that waits around for others to give her permission. This was fine when we were 8 years old. This NO LONGER APPLIES in our adult lives! I don’t need ANYONE’s permission or blessing to sign up for a dance class. Or to book a vacation. Or to get weekly massages. Or to buy a motorcycle.
I just need to go for it.
This year my word is BOLD.
I haven’t quite figured out exactly why or how that will come into play but I do know that it is awakening my desires that have been shushed, reasoned with and deferred up until now.
What have I taken off the list because I can’t get someone else’s blessing? And why am I still waiting for permission from them?
I need to give myself permission to pursue the things that are meaningful to me – whether others get it or not.
In the end, I want to know that I was true to myself, and that if a dream was left undone, it was NOT for lack of trying and certainly NOT because I denied it to myself.
I will be the one to give myself a bold and resounding YES – go for it Girl!
The truth is we already have all the permission we need. I just need the guts to own our decisions and desires and to invite them into our lives.
Living boldly requires that I dig deeper and GO when the light turns green.