I know I’m super lucky, but I actually know Cara Meredith in real life. Like, see-her-every-Wednesday-at-Mom’s-Group kind of real life. Like, sit-next-to-her-at-the-Beauty-and-the-Beast-sing-along real life. Before we ever met, Cara and I had the same job for the same youth ministry. And we both left after having babies and we both pursued writing. And I adore being her friend. She’s smart and funny and warm and I’m so excited to share her with you today. If you haven’t discovered her blog yet, it’s your lucky day, friend.
I shouted it out the window this morning, seconds after the husband bounded out of the car, renewed bounce in his steps. Amid the bustling of people and the honks and revving of engines, he turned around and winked, ushering forth that perfect, heart-wrenching smile. Today, this first day of his new job, was his.
I yelled it in the face of my baby a couple weeks ago, at that moment when his little legs began waddling and toddling three, then four, then five steps from Mama to Dada. My excitement was far from a gentle coo of a voice, soon crumpling his excited smile into a scared and worried frown, but still, the miracle of those eight seconds hung in the air, permeating and delighting and stilling our hearts.
I suppose all good phrases from somewhere, from some memory or instance or place.
I remember Claudia and I were sitting in her living room, its comfy, displaced southern charm a reminder of this Georgia Peach’s uprooting to the West Coast. She was Eve, body an invitation to life, belly full and beautiful, hope radiating.
“I’m gonna do this without any drugs,” she drawled, eyes twinkling with possibility. “And when my husband sees me in pain and wants to help, he knows that the best thing he can do is utter my mantra: You got this. You got this.
“Because…” and she paused, “I got this.”
Birthing analogies aside, that is where the stolen phrase began – and where it now squeezes its way into my life, its exhortation incited out car windows and onto round, toddling faces, over text and e-mail and in conversation to friends and family and my own heart alike.
But its truth is simple and far from the self-reliant connotations I initially assumed it to mean.
You see, for years, I lived my life in fear, scared to step out of the chalk-drawn boundaries of my driveway’s own hopscotch game. At its deepest root, I feared failing, so I only pursued that which I knew would elicit success.
In high school, I secretly harbored a desire to be a cheerleader, peppy pompoms and short skirts and haunting rhymes included. But, quite frankly, I hadn’t taken dance lessons since I was five, and whenever the flexibility test came around in P.E., I came dangerously close to flunking. So, white girl rhythm and general lack of bendiness aside, I didn’t even try out.You got this was far from my periphery.
The process of storytelling – of writing and creating and breathing soul to paper – has always given me life, so in college, I decided to give the weekly paper a try. Granted, I’d never written an article in my life, and the piece was rejected for “lack of journalistic understanding.” But for the academic research papers that followed, I stopped writing altogether.
I could have used a punch in the arm with accompanying reminder: you got this.
Finally, as a young adult in the fields of education and then ministry, I spent so much head-time worrying about whether or not I was where I was supposed to be vocationally – if I was where God most wanted and desired me – that I neglected being present to the moment, to the now, and even to not knowing.
I neglected to rest in you got this for a good while there.
Because now whenever the phrase is uttered, there is a reminder of the elimination of fear, although not an elimination of God. For if perfect love casts out all fear, then who am I to continue in such fright-filled paralysis? If, in my heart of hearts I believe that this Hope of Glory in you and in me, has captured and conquered the greatest of all fears, then isn’t His present love and truth and beauty enough for me to live and lean into today?
I’m trusting it is.
So, go. Go, knowing that you got this. Breathe into that fear, knowing that Christ is beside you and behind you, beneath you and above you, invading every inch around you. You are not alone. You got this.
As do I – but I’m still not going to try out for the cheerleading squad.
Former high school English teacher turned youth minister, Cara is now learning what it means to be as a full-time mama and free-lance writer and speaker. She loves pretending to be a foodie, being outdoors and trying to read seven books at a time (although never very successfully). She lives in San Francisco with her HBH (Hot Black Husband) and their 13-month-old son, “Cancan.” She writes at “be, mama. be” (carameredith.com), and tweets here and there under the handle, @caramac54.