Learning to Show Up

by Andrea Kolber


A long time ago, it feels like another lifetime now, I played a whole lot of basketball. I was the tomboy girl who went and played every ‘pick up’ game I could find.  By 3rd grade, I had to sit my mom down and gently tell her I couldn’t do ballet anymore, I loved basketball too much. I loved playing against guys. I just loved the game.

There was something about basketball that allowed me to be completely present in the moment. I wasn’t worried about grades, my family or friends. I was just there, enjoying it. Occasionally though, I would have an off day.

And I mean off.

Those types of days catapulted me out of the moment and would often times make me feel terrible. Why couldn’t I make a shot? Another bad pass?

So as I got older and more mature in my game, I learned something. Certain things got me in the rhythm of my game quicker than others. Sometimes it was a prayer that caused me to remember that I was playing to honor God, sometimes it was a bit of a ritual; but always it was my own acceptance that my last shot did not define me, that it was worth it to keep playing.

Lately I’ve been noticing the same thing in life. We all have a rhythm, and when we’re out of it, it feels wrong. Not only that, but when we are outside of our rhythm we can get very critical of the fact that it’s happening, rather than graciously allowing ourselves to step back into it. This was also true for me in basketball, each time I became overly critical of myself, I played worse. But when I acknowledged that 'yes, I’m playing crappy,' but continued to look for opportunities to step back in my rhythm, good things often happened.

 In my experience this is the key: courage to show up to your life and leaving the critic behind allows us to find our rhythm.

This is the ability to see our failures, acknowledge them, but refusing to give them more weight than they’re worth.  Ask any good athlete what they do in the face of missed shots or opportunities. Do they sit themselves down and yell in the mirror (I hope not)?  No way, they may be more selective of their opportunities, but they keep showing up.

So what allows us to show up? For me, it’s the knowledge that I am deeply loved (and loveable) by a Savior who was willing to take my sin. You see, our identity is not based on our performance. Let me say that again (for myself!), our value is not based on performance.  It’s easy to say this, but if your story has shaped you in such a way that does not feel true, know that you are not alone. As a counselor, I have learned that in order for some of these truths to feel experientially true, we have to literally re-wire parts of our brain. There is a reason it doesn’t feel true. The encouraging piece is that it can be done. We can change the way our brain operates around this idea. And the core of the change is centered in this, keep showing up.

If you need support, ask for it. If you need counseling, seek it. If you need community, be intentional with it. But, keep showing up.

I know that may sound overwhelming; but dear one, hear this, it is possible and it is worth it.

I love the way that Brene Brown discusses the idea of value here. She says, “You either walk inside your story and own it or you stand outside of it and hustle for you worthiness.”

Anybody else ready to stop hustling and find their rhythm?