Inconvenient Edges

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By: Gabriela Yareliz

We are only three days into the new month, but so much is racing through my mind. These are the mains that stand out (and yes, I am quoting T.I.). I absolutely loved Ed Mylett’s book on The Power of One More. (I am a big fan of his generally). These quotes struck a chord because of what I have been meditating on elsewhere.

Our unofficial class song was Live Your Life by T.I. So yeah, we were an ambitious bunch. If there is anything in me that I feel has not changed, it is that. I am always hungry. I am always ready for change and challenge. I don’t like being bored. I am always striving to maximize potential and carve out new systems. The motto is always how can we do/be better to help others do/be better. We live once, and what a shame to waste that one life.

I’m the opposite of moderate, immaculately polished with
The spirit of a hustler and the swagger of a college kid
Allergic to the counterfeit, impartial to the politics
Articulate, but still I’ll grab (one) by the collar quick

Life is full of levels. People are different. We reach points of satisfaction in different places. That is fine and normal. We are all so different. People I admire say that those who keep achieving and transforming reassess their lives constantly, not annually. I like to sit down weekly and take inventory. When I sit down, think and dream, I am constantly asking myself… what is next? And don’t get me wrong, I am always grateful. If tiny me or high school me (or even law school me) saw me now, she would be proud and grateful for God’s incredible blessings. But the lives I have found most interesting are those that have about 20 lives in them. These kinds of people carry an interesting worldview because they have seen and experienced so much. Full life and an ability to move past fear.

Something I have been reflecting on is what makes a life great? Jesus lays out some of those parameters for us. Faithfulness, love, and service. Beyond that, what is an indicator of greatness as we shape our decisions and choices?

Ed Mylett had some thoughts that resonated with me:

Convenience and greatness cannot co-exist. When you decide to do something great with your life, get ready. You’re going to be controversial. Controversy is inconvenient. Inconvenience ruffles feathers. […] When you live a life of convenience, you are at odds with living a life of greatness.

Convenience or ease will never be a part of a life of greatness. And apparently, equanimity is an ingredient for those chasing greatness.

“Equanimity is achieving serenity and mental calmness in a world filled with stressors,” Ed Mylett wrote. I was listening to Erwin McManus today, and he was talking about how reactivity is what the world is filled with, but calm in crisis is a superpower. It beats talent and elevates leadership.

Also, shameless plug for the Battle Ready conference conversation. It moved me so much. Aaron and Erwin always make me laugh and think. Erwin has a way of communicating that always clicks with my soul. We are on the same wave length or something. One of my favorite parts of his talk was the idea of what he is reclaiming in this time:

“I started Mosaic because I wanted to reclaim a space for people who didn’t fit. The church likes round edges. It doesn’t like sharp edges. The church likes people who are good people, nice people, compliant people, cooperative people, safe people. The church doesn’t like people that are edgy, questioning, different, and I am married to a very different person. She is very unique. I have never met the drummer that hits the drums at which she travels. You know when they say people march to the beat of a different drummer? I have never met that drummer. Kim is just out there in a whole different way, and she is going to want to touch the world in ways that I can’t even predict. I want a church who has room for someone like her.(…) I want to reclaim the edges.”

Erwin McManus

I am grateful to people like McManus who make space for those of us with edges. The ones who never fit in with the community at large, even the communities we were “supposed” to click with. Growing up, I felt that deeply, and I don’t know why, but I thought that was going to change when I turned into an adult. What a joke. Maybe that is why I feel something when I hear Erwin speak. He was the first speaker who made me feel like I belonged and was understood in the fullness of my life experience. And that, reminds me of Jesus because in Jesus, I have always felt belonging.

I am on a journey like the next person. Learning a lot with each passing day. I have a feeling it is the edges who are inconvenient and in their eccentric experiences and spaces, they hold storms and calm within them. They are one in the same. It is no surprise Erwin McManus and Ed Mylett are friends. I feel like they both communicated the same thing to me, this week.

I don’t know what 2023 has in store for us, but we keep moving, praying, seeking and paving.

In T.I.’s words:

“And I’m not goin’ away
So keep on gettin’ your paper, and keep on climbin’
Look in the mirror, and keep on shinin’

Until the game ends, ’til the clock stop
We gon’ post up on the top spot”

I am not stopping.

Published by Gabriela Yareliz

Gabriela is a writer, editor and attorney. She loves the art of storytelling, and she is based in NYC.

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