(Cover art courtesy of Zondervan)
Just Show Up
Taken from Fighting Forward by Hannah Brencher. Copyright © 2021 by Hannah Brencher. Used by permission of Zondervan. www.zondervan.com.
You never know when you’re showing up somewhere because someone else needs you. Because they have questions. Because they walked into that day unsure of how it would unfold. This is the beautiful part of life—we need one another to make it all the way through the story.
I think there is such power in showing up, even when you’re not sure about what you offer or whether you can make an impact. My husband, Lane, is a part of the student ministry at our church. He leads a pack of ninth-grade boys, which I can bet is not an easy age group when it comes to trying to get them to open up and share their feelings. When he made this commitment, he was nervous. Unsure of himself. Unsure of what he had to offer. They’d all been meeting up for a long time, and he was the new one in the group. I can only imagine how hard it is to walk into a group that has already formed a strong bond and insert yourself. Yet he’s been showing up for the last six months.
At the moment of this writing, Lane is somewhere in South Carolina in a minivan packed with those ninth-grade boys on his way to a Weezer concert. The concert doesn’t start until 8:00 p.m., and he likely won’t get back to Atlanta until two or three in the morning. Everything he’s experiencing right now sounds like my personal nightmare, but I can’t tell you how proud I am of him for driving the minivan, for taking those boys through the McDonald’s drive-through at one in the morning.
We grabbed breakfast before he left for the trip, and he opened up to me about how there was a time when the boys didn’t even acknowledge him. How it wasn’t until he spent a weekend with them that he felt like they knew him or wanted to be around him. We talked about how one day, if not this day, it was going to mean something big to them that he was one of those consistent forces in their lives. That they would never forget that one time they got the chance to pile into a minivan to travel one state over to see a band in concert. You don’t forget those experiences. They become a part of your growing up.
“People remember people who stay,” I told him.
I think we all remember the people in our lives who were consistent with us. That’s one of the cool side effects of showing up, no matter the cost. Because eventually, when you get so good at the showing up, you become a person who stayed. And that will mean so much to someone one day. All the good love stories have only ever happened in this world because two people stayed.
All the good friendships have only ever withstood the tough seasons because two people stayed.
All the inspiring transformations have only ever stayed in the “after” instead of slipping back into the “before” because someone stayed.
They became fluent in the art of showing up.
It won’t always be easy. And you may go through times when you feel like you’re the only one who shows up consistently. Keep flexing that muscle. Out of consistency grows trust. Out of trust grows loyalty. Out of loyalty comes the steady ordinary. You may not see it right now, but the ordinary is the gold of this lifetime.
Before we move forward, you need to know this truth: You are not alone. You—at the starting line or picking up where you left off years ago—are not alone. It’s tempting to believe everyone else has it all together and is moving forward with no difficulty at all, but we’re all overcoming hurdles and roadblocks in our own ways. You are surrounded, even if you don’t see it. You are capable of showing up to the things that are right in front of you today.
So here’s to first steps.
To lacing up the shoes and taking that first run. To sending the text or writing that first paragraph. To filling out the application or saying that first prayer. You don’t have to see the whole story of how things will unfold outlined in front of you. It’s much simpler than that. Just decide to show up to this day—this very hour—with everything you have. And then repeat the same thing tomorrow. You never know how close to the breakthrough you actually are. Don’t quit before the miracles start to happen.