Tag Archives: relax

Using the “F” Word

Sherri singing

I sang at church two weeks ago, less than twenty-four hours after receiving some interesting news. I found out that a pathologist who reviewed my mammogram and biopsy determined that the abnormal mass in my body was no bueno after all. It needed to be removed. The sweet monotone voice on the other end of the phone told me I needed to see a surgeon for a consultation. That was on Friday. She made the appointment for Monday.

In between those two wonderful days, I was set to sing one of my all-time favorite worship songs at church that weekend; one I’d been dying to sing for months. And all I kept thinking was, Really? This weekend?

Everything in me wanted to cancel. I didn’t think I’d be able to make it through the song without bawling like a baby. I wanted it to be awesome. I wanted to sing my little heart out without my voice cracking and causing everybody to squirm in their seats, unable to focus on worship.

But as much as I wanted to, I couldn’t back out. It would have been the wrong thing to do. So, I sang my heart out anyway, fighting back tears each service, praying that the audience didn’t notice all of my “off” notes or worn-out vocals. Oh, there were some great vocal moments, but there were some not-so-great ones too.

Which is why it happened. That’s what finally did me in and prompted me to use the word. It was after Saturday night’s service when my husband asked me how it went, that the word came out of me with a surprising confidence and deep-felt conviction I didn’t realize had been growing inside of me over the past few years. I was so depleted, so tired, so worn out, so done trying to do and be all things to all people, in all ways . . .that I finally had had enough. And gave in. And said the four-letter “f” word: Fine.

It was glorious.

Instead of describing in detail, like I usually do, which note I hit, missed, where I did great or didn’t do so great, how I felt, what people said, what people didn’t say – I simply said to my wonderful man, It was fine. And smiled a big, fat smile. And ate my dinner.

I’d forgotten what a great word “fine” is. You see, I always strive for awesome. Excellent. Incredible. But that night, that weekend, something snapped. I no longer wanted to care if things were awesome or not. I just wanted to be able to live with “fine” and be really, really good with it.

How freeing! Instead of wallowing in anxiety about upcoming singing and speaking engagements, I have been preparing my best and then letting myself rest, knowing that the outcome will be good enough – no matter what that turns out to be. Yes. Do my best then let it rest. It will be just fine.

There is so much freedom in wrapping our efforts in the blanket of God’s grace. And self-grace.

I’ve noticed myself daring a bit more, saying “yes” to more engagements, and living a bit more courageously.

How about you? Where could you use a little more “fine”? Maybe you need to be fine with not being able to exercise as much as you want to right now, or fine with some relationship you’ve been waiting to turn into “awesome” someday.

For me, I’m going to start giving myself permission to use the “f” word a whole lot more often. You might want to start using it a little more too; allowing yourself to be exactly who you are without any apologies or unnecessary confessions.

Oh, and just to keep you up to speed, I saw the surgeon and will be having surgery sometime in May to remove this mass. I’ll keep you updated and would appreciate your prayers. I’m counting on everything being just fine. :)




See the above picture? That’s it. That is the actual doorknob that caused so much panic, fear and frustration at my house over a week ago. (Not to mention a few, good belly laughs from yours truly.)

It was hysterical. I had warned people when they first showed up for the party. I had shown them how to use these new doorknobs that were stiffer than molasses on a cold winters night in Alaska. I told them not to worry, that they would not be locked in, even though it would feel like it. They just needed to relax – and get the feel for the doorknob. Once they did, they would be able to open the door and walk freely.

But they didn’t listen. Or perhaps didn’t believe me. And so they panicked and, in the process, got stuck in the bathroom. Like I said, hysterical. Picture it . . .

  • People were banging on the door, yelling for help because the bathroom was far from the party and they feared no one could hear them.
  • One person actually unscrewed the door lock thinking that was the culprit.
  • Another group decided not to close the bathroom door so they wouldn’t have to use the doorknob and instead, had their peeps stand outside the door on lookout.
  • Someone else argued with me that he really had been locked in – until I gently showed him otherwise.

I laughed my head off (with great empathy, of course). That precious doorknob made a mockery of even the most secure adult.

In everybody’s panic it probably felt like they were going to be stuck there forever; or at least until the next person would need to use the bathroom, (neither of which would give much consolation). The more stuck they felt, the more fervent they became at trying to force that knob to turn and set them free.

As I was thinking about these scenes the other day and getting a good chuckle on, it got me thinking: Isn’t this how we are?

  • God tells us not to worry about our needs. He will provide. (Matt. 6:25-34)
  • He tells us we’re never alone; He will always be with us. (Heb. 13:5)
  • He says He will work everything out for good in our lives. (Rom. 8:28)
  • He reminds us we don’t have to be anxious because He cares deeply for us. (1 Peter 5:7)
  • He says anytime we need mercy and grace we can boldly ask Him. (Heb. 4:16)

On and on, God gives us promise after promise. And yet, when we’re in the middle of our crisis, we don’t listen. Or we don’t believe Him. And so we freak out. We pound on doors. We yell for others to help us. We try to force situations which only makes matters worse. We break out in cold sweats, feeling like we’ll be stuck forever.

Do you know the real problem with stiff doorknobs? The more freaked out a person is, the less chance they have of getting out. Panic, by its very nature, cannot produce calm, right thinking or action. Just as well, the more frantic we are, the more stuck we will feel, and the harder it will be for us to move into freedom.

People trying too hard to get out of the bathroom ended up going nowhere. If they would have just trusted me and relaxed and let the doorknob do its job instead of trying to coerce it, force it, or dismantle it, they could have gotten out very easily. And walked free.

We can walk free anytime, too. Even in the middle of our predicament. If we relax. And trust God. He says, I am the doorkeeper. Rest in me and you will be free. Free indeed.