Yesterday I was waiting at a stop sign when a huge, enormous, gigantic classic car roared past me up the hill. It was shiny and sassy and loud. Audaciously so.

the audacity of a 73 ThunderbirdMy van regularly registers 4 miles per gallon on that same hill, so I can only imagine what that 1970s beast was getting– .0005 miles per gallon, perhaps? A number so low that oil sheiks are getting heart palpitations from the joy of it?

From the grin on the driver’s face, he didn’t care. He was wildly in love with his sassy, huge car. The vanity plate on the back read MITEALNG, which I take to mean Mighty Long, and I hope to heavens that’s a reference to the car itself or we’ve just stepped into very uncomfortable territory on this blog post.

Ahem. Let us continue. Back to the vehicle, shall we?

I’ve been married to a gearhead for enough years to recognize a classic car from the 70s when I see one, but I couldn’t pinpoint the model. So when Eric got home I said, “What’s the biggest car from the 70s you can think of?”

He calculated for a nanosecond and said, “Ford Thunderbird.” I Googled Thunderbird and KABOOM. I think it’s exactly the car. Long enough to barely fit into our living room, wide enough to need two parking spaces (if I’m the person doing the parking).

I’ve been reading Brazen by Leanna Tankersley, where she encourages readers to brazenly be who God has made them to be. To take the time to connect with their God-given, God-honoring desires and to then boldly be those individuals.

Audaciously so. Like a 1973 Thunderbird.

Some of us are trying our best to be sleek little compact cars with efficient, tidy engines when really we were designed to be giant, sassy broads (or gents). We’ve traded our big personalities in for quietness, meekness, and a slow, gentle march to our deaths. We’ve traded our gifts and joys for responsibility and social acceptability.

I’ve recently gotten to know the sweetest woman. She’s in her sixties and really one of the most gentle, kind creatures to grace earth. I love her. She stands as tall as my 5th grader and weighs about 82 pounds. A stiff wind could snatch her away before anyone could catch her. She apologizes for interrupting, never gives unsolicited advice, and serves with a smile. She’s wonderful.

Except sometimes I want to bring her in, sit her down, and feed her about six or twenty cupcakes. I want to say to her, “Go ahead. Speak your mind. Yell a little, if you need to. Because you deserve a place on earth, too. You get to take up room here like everyone else.”

And maybe even in those circumstances she’d be exactly the same person. Maybe her audacious personality takes the form of a tiny woman who listens and serves with joy. That’s great too.

The older I get, the more I’m convinced that being exactly who we’re designed to be is what brings God glory. When we go out into the world to be car lovers or cat lovers or quiet book readers, and bring the love of Christ along with us, then we’re going to be able to reach the world. We have enough people trying to be something admirable, but not being themselves. I don’t think that helps anyone, frankly.

I think the world is looking for real people who serve a real God. Imperfectly, but audaciously.

So, you. You out there on the interweb– go and be audaciously you today. Whether that means you’re as huge and loud as a Thunderbird or quiet and zippy as a Fiat 500, go do it.


Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part. If the foot says, “I am not a part of the body because I am not a hand, that does not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear says, “I am not part of the body because I am not an eye,” would that make it any less a part of the body? If the whole body were an eye, how would you hear? Or if your whole body were an ear, how would you smell anything? But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it. (I Corinthians 12:14-18, NLT)


7 Comments on The audacity of a 1973 Thunderbird

  1. Robin Hamilton Fogle
    May 27, 2016 at 1:48 pm (2 years ago)

    Jessie, thank you for always bringing me a smile or a chuckle! I have to laugh about spiritual lessons related to cars…. My husband who is over 6 feet tall just brought home a new-to-us Ford Focus. I also have one teenage son who is over 6 feet tall, and a second who is close on his brother’s heels. When we all ride in the Focus, it is a sight to behold. It’s sort of like a strange and funny math problem: “How many Fogles will fit in a clown car?” And I am sure there is a probably a spiritual lesson in that, but I think I’ll leave the car lessons in your capable hands! 🙂

  2. Andrew Gilmore
    May 27, 2016 at 2:39 pm (2 years ago)

    “being exactly who we’re designed to be is what brings God glory.” Agreed! We’re made in His image so our strengths are also traits of God.

    Enjoyed this post.

    May 27, 2016 at 5:50 pm (2 years ago)

    Some laughs with that intro Clemence.
    Cool pic – bummer it wasn’t yours.
    Being exactly who we’re designed to be sounds like a good thing to be. Figuring out it what’s so tough.

  4. Jessie Clemence
    May 27, 2016 at 6:33 pm (2 years ago)

    It is tough! And just when I get it figured out, I get older and have to figure it out again.

  5. Jessie Clemence
    May 27, 2016 at 6:34 pm (2 years ago)

    I don’t know about capable, but I’m really on a run here. What’s next? I don’t have any spiritual lessons about our old Corolla!

    And I’m so glad you like the post– good luck fitting everyone in the Focus!

  6. Kristen E
    May 29, 2016 at 8:18 pm (2 years ago)

    Well said. . . And funny!