A few weeks ago, I was invited by Adriana Segovia, the Spanish language editor of La Palabra Diaria (Daily Word), to read the day’s message to guests visiting Unity Village for the En el Corazón de la Oración (In the Heart of Prayer) retreat.
I love greeting visitors to Unity Village, so I felt excited about meeting these retreatants and sharing the day’s Daily Word message with them. There was just one little hiccup. This was a Spanish-language retreat, and I don’t speak Spanish.
I accepted the invitation, thinking that reciting a message in a foreign language wouldn’t be too hard. After all, I already knew some Spanish words and phrases, plus I had several days to practice the message I would be reading.
I tried reading it aloud. I stumbled over the long, unfamiliar words. I didn’t understand what I was looking at. By the time I got to the end, I felt frustrated and scared. I wanted to back out, to say, “No, I just can’t do it.” I can’t risk looking silly, doing a bad job, or embarrassing myself.
Expanding My World
I have reached that point many times before about one endeavor or another. Sometimes I have quit, but other times I’ve made myself keep up the effort, power through the frustration, and look less than perfect in the process.
In those instances, I became proficient with practice, but my earliest attempts at cooking, public speaking, and dancing (to name a few) were downright pitiful. Still, I summoned the will and determination to keep going, and every time I’ve been glad I did. It wasn’t because I’m great at everything I do but because each time I’ve pushed my limits my world has gotten bigger.
There are many inspirational stories and quotations about courage, and my favorite, attributed to writer Anaïs Nin, is “Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.”
Consider for a moment how small life is when we don’t venture beyond the familiar and the easy, and how expansive and exciting the world becomes when we rise to our challenges and risk our comfort.
From left, Adriana Segovia, editor of La Palabra Diaria, and Teresa Burton, editor of Daily Word. (Courtesy Gabriela Moreno)
I did rise to the challenge of reciting a Daily Word message in Spanish. My fellow editor Adriana encouraged me and helped me sound out the more difficult words as I practiced, assuring me that I would do well. I delivered the message on a Monday morning to a kind and receptive audience, and for the remainder of that day I stood a little taller, not because of my flawless execution but because I had found the courage to try something new.
Now it’s your turn. Try that thing that scares you. Let yourself be challenged. Give yourself permission to mess up. Seek the help and support of a friend, colleague, or group. Be okay with not being perfect. You have nothing to lose but your limitations.
Teresa Burton, Daily Word Editor
PS: Want to allow the presence of God to help you expand your world? Request the free booklet Living on Purpose: Creating a Life You Love with articles to inspire you to let go of your limitations and fully express who you can be.