November 20, 2014.
I am marking last night as one of the times in my life when I felt the earth shift, the internal structures of my heart made utterly NEW.
This is years of process — this rejecting of lies, this saying yes to God’s ways for me — but I’m saying yes really big this time. Not only for the next step the way I usually try to do with fear and trembling, but to all of it — regardless of outcomes, my picture of success or the risk required. I’m willing to look a fool.
When Christal Jenkins spoke right to my core last night: “Your idea coming out is connected to someone else’s purpose,” I saw for the first time my denial of the seemingly crazy God ideas in me as an outright rejection of someone else in need.
Because who am I to say my bread is not good enough for her table when she’s hungry? Who am I to say my words or thoughts are not complete enough when you’re right starving for hope? Who are any of us, drawn up in love and imbued with holy gifts, to deny another what and Whom we have to share?
I’ve been terrified of failing in the spoken and written word, but last night I knew it. I’m done placing my performance on the throne. I surrender.
This is the night I bowed down to the beauty of this God who plucked me from the pit and for the first time fully embraced the gifts he’s given me — this God who sits high and bends low. I receive with joy my call to communicate hope, to bring light, to call people into the purposes for which they’ve been made, to herald joy has come and so has the love. It’s already come, actually. The love is yours.
On my drive home last night, I told God that I often feel like I’m seeing words through muddy film, and I want that to change. I want words to flow from my tongue and fingers. I want to live, speak and write loosed, in freedom. And as I spoke that from my mouth, I recalled the many times I’ve said to Michael, or to friends and family, and to God himself, that I don’t want the words, the vulnerability and embarrassment anymore. That I don’t want this hard, scary, unknown road — that I would choose another way, another gift.
And my heart sank with knowing how by denying the gift I’ve diminished its power. So last night, as I pulled up in front of my house and turned off the car, I put fear and insecurity and rejection on notice. I laid them down again, for REAL this time.
I felt the tears and strength well up (because you know how often strength and vulnerability walk hand in hand), and I knew it, this newness of life that felt like foot stomping freedom. I walked right into my house like a woman on a mission and wrote my gratitude in messy scrawl and put it in our thankfulness box, so I could remember. I asked Michael to pray for me, to seal in what I’d heard, what I now know.
I told God I’m thankful for how You made me, and I meant my sensitivity and the way I see and the voice I’ve been given and all of it — and I told God thank you that I get to operate from that place to bless precious humans and glorify my beautiful Maker. What a privilege. And that call is to each of us. To you, friend, sitting there in front of your computer or in the glow of your smart phone — you are made, as Christal said last night, for a purpose on purpose. Not just parts of you, but all of you, called into the wondrous light to be the gift you are.
Over the last years, I’ve accepted the calling, but not embraced it. Obeyed, but not rejoiced. Tonight, I declare that I will no longer reject the shape of my heart, the ways I see, the ways I notice. I’m choosing to see the gift of communication, of writing and speaking as a gift prepared for me, in my skin, for this time. Whatever that means, whatever the reason.
I’m going to stop with my reluctant examining of the package, and I’m going to open the gift with gusto, tugging ribbons, tearing paper and waiting to see how God will make himself known from within all the mysterious folds.
As you might guess, this was more like 30 Minute Friday for me, but when a sister’s seen Jesus, she’s got to keep writing! Joining with the Five Minute Friday community at Kate’s with today’s prompt: NOTICE.
Also joining the #givemegrace community at the beautiful Lisha Epperson’s.
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Wow, stunning post. I’ve come to some very similar conclusions myself recently and am ‘letting go’ and putting it all in His hands. Love your post: so beautiful.
I always appreciate seeing you here. Praying for you this morning, that you will walk in the freedom of your sacred surrender, your holy release unto God. Bless you.
I feel you with me, sister. I love you.
Thank you. I needed these words today. I too am afraid of the vulnerability that comes with writing. But I am slowly learning to see it as an act of love, of loving others more than I love my own self. Your words filled a need today. Bless you.
Writing is not for the faint of heart, is it, Rebekah? It makes me think of this quote by Hemingway: “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” And actually, until just now and your comment, I never realized how closely that is connected with the sacrifices of Love.
Praying you are filled as you pour out, that you know your belovedness as you give love, that the Living Word would fill you as you let your words go. Love and peace for your day.
Oh my goodness. Girl, God used you today. You wrote these beautiful 30 minutes so He could speak to my heart. Thanks!
“I’m choosing to see the gift of communication, of writing and speaking as a gift prepared for me, in my skin, for this time. Whatever that means, whatever the reason.
I’m going to stop with my reluctant examining of the package, and I’m going to open the gift with gusto, tugging ribbons, tearing paper and waiting to see how God will make himself known from within all the mysterious folds.”
Carmen, thank you for your encouraging words this morning! I have a feeling you know what it means when God’s prompting to you — his gift for you — becomes a blessing for someone else. Thank you for sharing that with me today. May you walk in new hope and freedom today!
Oh friend… I love it when you see Jesus – because then we all get to see Him too! I could go on and on and on here… but I won’t. You’ve already heard me say it so many times! I am so thankful for you and the gifts He put in you and girl, if you have been holding back – I cannot WAIT to see what is next! Love you bunches!
You bless me over and over again, friend. Grateful to walk this crazy journey with you. You are such a gift.
A message came to me years ago: You’re not hiding because you’re scared– you’re scared because you’re hiding. The truth of you has always shined, bright as the very sun. Even when you thought you were hiding.
This is so the voice of Jesus to me today, my friend. I love you. I value your heart and friendship and I need your fully-alive-ness – your wholehearted embracing of the shape of your soul. Bring your whole self to bear, sister. All of you. Cheering you on and so humbled and grateful to bear witness to your heart-journey.
Yippee!!!!! What a great night you had! I’m sure it was slightly terrifying for you – but all of the great things in life usually are! I’m so glad to see you claim this gift that you have and to embrace it fully. And yes, sister, preaching to this choir on how strength and vulnerability walk hand in hand! AMEN. Love you, Ash.
This is just so powerful! Thank you, thank you, thank you for the reminder to live fully in the gifts we’ve been given!
Wow – I was just talking to my spiritual director last month about how it was hitting me that not bringing my true self into the open not only let myself down, but others. I so need this breakthrough… I think I’m in process with it… though I’m not sure what it looks like for me. Just wanted to let you know your post was very powerful for me and is encouraging me on my journey. It’s so great how God uses us in each other’s lives like this! The words you heard and the words you’re sharing, they’re life!
you stepping into your TRUTH is amazing to witness…
speak it out my dear one!
I want to respond to your post with something meaningful, something wise, but all I can think to say is “YAY! HIP HIP HURRAY!” You’re something real, something special, God’s anointing can only be on the real you, so go be you fully and freely!
“I’m going to stop with my reluctant examining of the package, and I’m going to open the gift with gusto, tugging ribbons, tearing paper and waiting to see how God will make himself known from within all the mysterious folds.” Oh, sister in Christ, this is powerful and beautiful and LIFE CHANGING. I am sitting in a coffee shop, and I’m supposed to be working on a writing deadline, but feeling weary of spinning words, tired of wondering if what I’m saying even matters- and then THIS- this post from your heart to mine, from Oregon to Michigan… YES, YES, PLEASE unwrap the gift. And relish it. Because I relish you and adore you and “get it”.. that obedience without joy or obedience without full surrender- it’s where I find myself over and over again. And your words make me want to unleash a different kind of surrender. So thankful for your faithfulness in the journey. Praying FRESH FREEDOM and IMMEASURABLE JOY over you, my sweet friend. Love you so!
Yeah Ashley! Thank you for sharing these words and for being there at Writers Connection last night – thanks to you and Bethany for holding up the fort while I was away. That means the world to me! – your words here about what you learned from our dear mutual writer friend Christal speak to me too: when you wrote: “And my heart sank with knowing how by denying the gift I’ve diminished its power.” – Thank you heart friend- See you soon for some more important real-live-breathing-fellowship that is Writers Connection ; ) – love ya from Europe : ) – cornelia
i am in awe and utter excitement watching you on this journey. I’m so proud to be your sister and share this beautiful, messy life together. Speak loud—we are so proud sister!!
Beautiful and inspiring post! Exciting to think what God will do next with your deeper commitment and embrace of your gifts!
I am so very thankful for who God made you & how he is using you! Keep fulfilling His calling & purpose on your life through your written & spoken word!