A few years ago, I was a speaker on the Women of Faith tour.
Each event was held in an arena and the stage was always in the round. When it was the other speakers’ turn to share, they would skillfully navigate the stage, walking around the entire perimeter so they could engage the audience.
But, when you can’t see—like me—that’s dangerous, right? (If you’re new to the 4:13 Podcast, I should let you know I’m blind.)
I didn’t want to just hover in the middle of the stage, though. I wanted to engage the audience in a similar way. So, my husband, Phil, and the crew got creative.
It happened when I was flying to Houston alone. The older I get, the less brave I feel flying alone.
I have to be on high alert, always listening and keeping completely aware of my surroundings. The airlines change gates and delay flights. And there I sit at a gate, alone and having to find a way to adapt. Girl, it is flat out draining.
I didn’t use to, but now I fight anxiety every time I fly alone. (Oh, in case you are a new reader, I am blind. That’s why flying alone is more challenging.)
When I landed in Dallas to change planes, an assistant from the airlines walked me to my gate. There I sat — eating some string cheese I had tucked in my backpack. As I waited, I sipped from my water bottle and prayed for bladder grace. (When you’re blind, you can’t just walk to the ladies room any old time you need to!)
“Jennifer, you are just so confident.” I cannot even begin to tell you how many times some wonderful woman has said that to me. Every time it happens, I cringe on the inside and think, Yeah, right!Girl, I’ve got no real confidence. Me?
I over-think everything and it leads to insecurities, fears, and self-doubt… but, confidence? Not so much. When women tell me how confident I am, what they are really commenting on is courage.
Courage. Confidence. Do you realize how often those two concepts are mistaken for each other?
One of the highlights of my whole entire life was getting to pet lion cubs in South Africa! Yes, I got to get down on the ground with those cute little… well, chunky… big guys! They were just 6-month-old cubs and they were sleepy from the warm sun and their full bellies after lunch! I got to cradle their huge paws in my hands and stroke their ears!
They were so docile and sweet – as cuddly and compliant as a harmless stuffed animal in a baby’s crib!!
They aren’t always going to be so docile and snuggly. Nope. If I had hung out in their den for even another hour, giving them time to wake up from their naps, they would have been intimidating. And, if I gave them even a few weeks or months, they would eventually become snarly and fierce beasts that any sane adult should avoid.