“Be the kind of woman,” Joanne Collins writes, “who, when your feet hit the floor each morning, the devil says “Oh, no! She’s up.”
I want to be that kind of woman, the kind who wakes up with gusto, ready to take ownership of the day. Me? I press the snooze button, convince myself my dog needs me to stay in bed to cuddle him, and eventually make a slow roll out of the warm covers, not without some wildly dramatic groans and sighs. I do get out of bed each morning, but not necessarily with the kind of determination and intensity that would intimidate the devil.
“But still,” in the words of Maya Angelou, “I rise.” When we rise, we are showing up, becoming visible, and facing what is true.
I know we don’t always show up perfectly—we simply can’t. Just look at the sun, rising every day, though sometimes covered with dark, threatening clouds; similarly, there are some days when we rise clouded by our own troubles or insecurities.
A few years ago, those clouds settled in over my life. As daylight was lengthening with the approach of summer, I was weeks out from graduating with my master’s degree. This would have been exciting news, except that I was seemingly years out from completing my thesis project for said degree. I was tired, anxious, and writer’s blocked—exhausted in every way. Rising up out of bed was enough of a feat; how could I write and present this all-important piece of work?
Maybe I need to extend my graduation date. Maybe I need to start my project over from scratch. Maybe I need to admit defeat; who, after all, am I to think that I could actually get a master’s degree?
The longer I “maybe’d” the more convinced I became that I could not rise up for this moment; I could not show up, be visible, and face the work I had felt called to do. And so, I suppose the devil laughed—and my feet did not hit the floor.
So although my feet weren’t hitting the floor, my fingers hit the screen of my smartphone. “I need help,” I texted to my small-but-mighty circle of women. “I’m coming over,” they each replied.
And they did. That night, four women rose up and showed up for me. They battled my dark clouds to find me, scared and overwhelmed, and they helped to expose my light again.
We sat in my living room as I read through each chapter of my thesis project, one by one. After each chapter was read aloud, there would be a pause—it was silence or breath or a moment of listening to the devil saying, “Oh, no.” Whatever it was, it was holy.
Then, my women toasted to me. After every chapter, we raised our glasses and celebrated to the work I had done before we dove into the practicalities of constructive criticism. I scribbled notes and clarified edits while knowing, in these moments, I was slowly rising back to life.
It was in those holy pauses, those moments of celebrating in the midst of the fear, that I learned we can be women who rise, even when we’re covered with clouds of exhaustion, uncertainty, and fear. We will rise, out of our warm beds or painful breakups or the terror that who we are is not good enough.
We can rise up, even in the face of anxiety, fear, exhaustion, and naysayers, because we have enough grit, grace, and God in us to do the things we can’t quite believe we can do. But we will need each other. We need our people to come over, grab us by the elbows and try to get us out of bed; or, we need them to sit in our living room, encouraging, celebrating and refining our work.
If we are called to have a faith that can move mountains, imagine how much farther those mountains will move in a community of faith. And if our faith can move mountains, then surely it can move our bodies to rise and our clouds to dissipate. And together, we will rise higher.
To show up, become visible, and face what is true—there is nothing small or easy about it. It’s work, every day, and some days it’s harder than others. Some days we will charge out of bed, ready body and spirit. (It’s okay if this looks more like a slow roll.) Other days when our hearts and minds are struggling to follow suit, we need to call on our communities for help.
So gather together, though you are tired and afraid. Say you are scared, of course, but then what? Keep going! What do you have to say; what do you have to offer the world? Share it, celebrate it, pause for the holiness of it all, and put it into action. Then, look at you soar—as the devil says a petrified, “Oh, no.”
I am Mallory—a wife, a writer, and a dog mom to Roger. I love dry humor, clean sheets, sunny days, and frequent reminders of grace. These days, I hang out at malloryredmond.com, where I tell my stories with the hope of uncovering places of connection in our humanity.