June 22, 2017
God has been calling me into a new space these last few months. He is leading me somewhere I have never been, into a new way of living. Everything is brand new and scary, and some days it’s all I can do to put one foot in front of the other.
It all started because of Shauna Niequist. Her book, Present Over Perfect, is what began my demise to the bottom of the well. She gently nudged me over and over again, with each chapter, closer to the edge until a Holy Wind blew me right down into the uncertainty. What I’m learning now, the more time I spend down here, is that this is where Jesus is.
I fell headlong into the well of living water Jesus told the Samaritan woman about: this space is where the water which becomes in us a spring of water welling up to eternal life flows.
I have experienced an exorbitant amount of change this year: new state, new job, new church, new car, new role in my household. I signed with a literary agent in April. I became responsible for two tiny humans who suddenly rely on me most of the time most days. I am learning in which areas I will serve within this new church. It has all been exciting and exhilarating and so good.
And it has also all been done with a bit of fear and trembling. It has all happened among the terror of a barrage of “what-if” situations from me and even more grace from God.
Shauna Niequist writes about how activity – any activity – that keeps us from feeling becomes a drug. Not only is it alcohol and other drugs; it is also our careers, television, housework, music – even ministry. Even the things to which we are called, even good and true things, even that which makes us, well, us can become the very thing that destroys us.
I let my determination, my refusal to fail, my work ethic destroy my soul.
She goes on to say that the best thing we can offer to this world is not our force or energy, but a well-tended spirit, a wise a brave soul.
I believe that we are called to live like this: Intentional. Compassionate. Loved. Wholehearted.
I have been living the opposite: Rushed. Stressed. Anxious. Fearful.
I know that this is not what God has called me to and yet I continue running full-force down this path because, what if?
What if I miss something I was supposed to do?
What if I fail?
What if I cannot make this work like I should be able to?
What if I make a mistake?
What if I find myself in new, uncharted territory?
And all the while, God is whispering: What if you miss what I am calling you to because you’re too busy with everything everyone else has asked of you?
What if we miss the forest of God’s legacy for the trees of the world’s approval?
I sat on my porch last week, praying, reading my Bible, seeking God—hoping He would show up. I don’t know why I’m still not convinced: He always shows up, every single time. So I asked God what I’m called to, I begged Him to make clear to me to which corner He has commissioned me in His Kingdom on earth.
His answer was very clear and His answer is very hard. I know what He is asking of me and I would rather say no. I would rather do this my own way because I am stubborn and strong-willed, and I think I know what’s best for myself. But I have tried that before and it didn’t go well.
So I begin surrendering: Stress. Anxiety. Wasted time. Past mistakes. Shame.
In exchange for my unhealthy coping mechanisms, this is what I receive: Grace. Peace. A quiet mind and a settled heart. Jesus.
When we surrender ourselves, we receive Jesus, in all his glory.
It is hard and messy and confusing. Most days, I still want to plop down on the couch and binge Netflix with a glass of wine in hand because it is easier. But it is not better.
And each day, this space becomes a little more like home; the darkness becomes a bit lighter, the quiet seems a little less deafening.
I can hear the birds chirping and I can feel the wind through my hair and I can finally hear that still, small Voice within again—I haven’t heard Him in a long time.