From the Urban Dictionary:
Someone or something that appears dwarfed by a challenge, but more than compensates for seeming inadequacies through will, persistence and heart.
Have you read Chip Gaines’ book, Capital Gaines: Smart Things I Learned Doing Stupid Stuff? I read it last year and expected a funny, lighthearted read. And it totally was. But it was so much more. What I didn’t expect was for it to completely change my life perspective. I didn’t realize this book would shake me awake out of fear, into freedom and bravery, and…scrappiness.
By “scrappy,” I don’t mean argumentative, or in a constant stage of being ready to punch someone in the face. I mean exactly what the above definition says, because “appearing dwarfed by a challenge” is the story of pretty much my entire life.
Time and again, I’ve shrunken down from challenges, or I’ve walked away from them altogether saying, “It’s just too hard.” I wasn’t good at hitting in softball? I’m done with that. I’m slow at running track? Bye bye. I even quit a job as a hostess at Houston’s Restaurant one summer during college because it was just too stinkin’ hard AND PEOPLE WERE YELLING IN MY FACE ALL NIGHT. After the final straw when a lady chewed me out during the busiest dinner rush one evening, I lied and told them I was going back to college sooner than I thought and then got a job folding clothes at Old Navy instead. True story.
After college I started to hone in on my gifts just a little bit, and I took initiative to go after my goals and dreams of working in the music industry, but I still struggled with being in leadership roles or pushing through hard times. I didn’t know then that God had already begun leading me on a journey to becoming more brave, as He’s called me to be.
I was soon paired with a headstrong, forward-moving, autonomous, inspiring, visionary man for a husband. We couldn’t be more different, and that’s wonderful, because we each have our own unique gifts. We stretch and balance each other in good ways. Steven (enneagram 8w7, “The Maverick”) will always be an entrepreneur at heart who’s extremely driven, fast-paced, optimistic, living life full-tilt. As an enneagram 9w1 (“The Dreamer”), I’ll always be the calmer, slower-paced, more grounded force, considering the details and others’ perspectives.
Steven is honestly my biggest cheerleader, believing in me as a writer and podcaster and farmer and homeschooling mom. And over the last few years particularly (becoming a farmer and turning 40 helped!), I’m learning how to actually be brave and face challenges on my own, not just because someone is prodding me. I’m finding my own voice and learning to be a fighter in the best possible way.
I’m learning to be more scrappy.
Admittedly, will and perseverance just don’t come naturally to me. But I desperately want - and need - more of it in my life. Here are some parts I underlined in Chip’s book…
“Life isn’t safe, remember. But life can be wonderful if you choose adventure rather than fear.”
“When others bail from challenges, we’re just getting warmed up.”
“When something seems insurmountable to most, we shrug, because we eat ‘insurmountable’ for breakfast.”
Hmm, that sounds familiar. Just a few days ago when we were moving our chickens to new pasture and I was worried about ticks in the tall grass, Steven said, “Whatever. I eat ticks for breakfast.” Meanwhile, I was obsessively dousing myself with essential oil spray.
Seriously though? On the farm, without scrappiness, you just don’t survive for very long.
Yes, this whole 17 acres of land might seem too much for two people to handle.
We might sound crazy to sell tickets for 150 people (5 times now!) to come eat dinner on our land.
It might be insane to get up every Saturday morning at 5:30am and sweat down to our underwear by 7:30am, planting 100 feet of lettuce while most people are still sleeping.
The blisters, aching muscles, the multitude of bug bites and mounds of not just dirty, but muddy laundry - all of it sounds TOO HARD, right?
But we’ve made a firm choice to do it together and to rise to the challenges, and we’re not going back. We’re not going to let them dwarf us. I’m not going to let them dwarf me.
And at the end of the day, I’m rewarded with pockets full of tomatoes, armfuls of zinnias, children catching fireflies and harvesting bouquets barefoot. There’s no lovely without the contrast of the hard. There just isn’t.
This morning was a true test. I found myself in the position of having to lift an enormous, bulky 50 lb bag of pelleted chicken fertilizer, which, I promise, you don’t want spilling on your clothes. Steven had left for work to cook for one of his clients, and no one else was around except for my 8-year-old and 5-year-old daughters, and we know they weren’t going to be much help when it comes to heavy lifting. This was a crucial step in laying a new lettuce row, so I had to get it done.
So you know what I did? I dug deep, I channeled “scrappy,” grunting louder than was probably necessary, and I lifted that sucker.
I propped the unopened end of the colossal bag on a bucket which helped brace it while I used every muscle in my arms and abs to slowly position the opening to pour the fertilizer into another bucket.
My arms were trembling when it was done, but it worked! And I actually yelled, “HECK YEAH! GIRL POWER!” really loudly in the middle of our produce field, although no one heard it but me.
And that action that I overcame will make all the difference in the way the lettuce grows.
Will. Persistence. Heart.
Three things I really want more of in my life. What about you?
~ ~ ~
P.S. Here’s Chip’s book on Amazon - this is an affiliate link, so if you purchase it, I get a small commission. :)