This is a PG post.
Because I know what Scripture says about swearing, the last several years, I've been trying to find a term that means the same as "bad ass." Because it's one of my favorite terms.
Christian friends have suggested things like, "tough chick" and "warrior," but they just don't have the same ring of joy, freedom, and toughness.
And then last year, I was getting up to teach and one of my sisters in 12-step recovery introduced me to the group as "a bad-ass for Jesus." That's it. I gave up the struggle with the phrase. One of my friends from Bible study gave me a key chain she bought in a fancy boutique that says, BADASS. I carry it proudly.
I just looked up Urban Dictionary's top two definitions for bad ass ten minutes ago, and it moved me to tears.
1. A general term used to describe behavior that is fearless, authentic, compassionate, and ethical. 2. Well above the social standard for "normal" behavior.
Yes and yes. These are the qualities I most want! If this is what Bad Ass means, call me that. All. Day. Long.
Lest you think I'm getting prideful, keep reading. Because the best way I act Bad Ass is to ask God to take over.
A week after the first key chain gift, one of my besties gave me another key chain. It says, "Be still."
So now, I walk around every day carrying this key phrase in my purse: Be still, Bad Ass.
Stillness itself -- the practice of being present to reality, to the moment, to the people in front of us, and to the inner workings of our own hearts -- can help us live "well above the social standard of normal behavior."
In stillness, I -- and you -- can do the most bad ass thing a human being can do: Feel our feelings and allow God to help us see ourselves as we are: fragile, anxious and flawed -- but dearly loved and empowered by Him.
I spent last weekend teaching a women's retreat in the mountains, where the attendees allowed themselves some time to be still. And you know what happened? They cried a lot. And do you know why they cried a lot? Because in the busyness of life, they don't take the time to be present to their emotions, to tend to their hearts, and to examine themselves. When they get away from daily tasks and the audience of spouses, kids and coworkers, they invite God, as David did in Psalm 139, to "test them and know their anxious thoughts." They cry things out. Then they start to feel -- and be -- better because of it.
You may not have time to get up a mountain anytime soon. So here's a couple suggestions to try stillness in your daily life:
Don't look at your phone while you're standing in line at Starbucks, Target, the grocery store. Be present to the people around you.
Put your phone away at meal times with family and friends. Turn the ringer OFF for thirty minutes.
Turn off the radio, the podcast, the playlist in the car. Listen to your own thoughts; listen for God's voice.
Before you look at your Instagram account or e-mail, write in a journal.
For five minutes every day until Easter, go sit outside. Listen to the sounds around you.
It's hard, holding still. But try it. Stillness is where we get free from things like perfectionism, anxiety, lack of self-awareness, fear, and shame. Live beyond the social norm and let God meet you as you hold still. Be as free and bad ass as He can can help you to be.