New Book Release Available on Amazon: Chickening In by J.J. Gutierrez
God certainly has a sense of humor because I struggle with fear daily, and it was my 6-year-old daughter who gave me this phrase…a new twist on an old idiom. God was also gracious because he knew I had been struggling with a VERY BIG, life changing decision that I had attempted to make multiple times. The kind of decision that gives your stomach butterflies; both excitement and anxiety at the same time. The kind of decision that requires a leap of faith into unknown territory. I was sitting at Panera Bread with my daughter and her tutor. I was explaining to the tutor that I was afraid of making this life changing decision and with a concerned tone I said, “I chickened out again!” We both giggled, knowing life decisions are difficult. From across the table a sudden, confident, matter of fact voice came from my daughter and said, “Chicken IN mom, just Chicken IN!”
My thoughts stopped in their tracks…I had never heard of such a thing and I had to take it in and process what she just said. Did my daughter just invent a new idiom? The tutor and I both laughed at it, but the truth was, I had spent years struggling to make this one decision. With the help of that phrase, I was able to grow feet to my faith, and in one moment a wise 6-year-old inspired me to stop chickening out and rather to Chicken-IN and have courage to make the decision.
Throughout my life I was very familiar with chickening out! It is a familiar and widely used idiom meaning to back out from fear, lose one’s nerve, cowardly, decide not to act due to fear (The Free Dictionary). Most likely you have heard or even used these phrases: you’re a chicken, chickening out, or don’t chicken out.
The exact opposite is true of Chickening IN. It means to complete or finish in the face of fear, step-up to the plate of your life, follow your dreams, be courageous and bold, live in faith, travel the unknown, and take calculated risks. It means to be who God created you to be and not live life by chance, happenstance, fear, or less than you were made to be. In the simplest terms, Chickening IN means to courageously and intentionally put feet to your faith.