First things first, prepare yourself, this is going to be long. I’m doing my best to organize my thoughts chronologically and cohesively but it’s all still mostly wibbly wobbly, timey wimey. Partly because the things I want to share have been happening in me for a while so it can be hard to organize all the moments into a timeline. And partly because, for me, it’s so big that I want to talk about all of it at once. And partly because it’s humiliating, I’m embarrassed of myself and my failings, it’s taking time to just lay them bare and not try to justify them or explain them. So if you’re reading this, be patient. Grab some coffee, and settle in.
In February 2015, on a whim, I watched the IF:Gathering, the session videos were available for a few hours between when the conference happened and when you had to buy them. I watched it on my iPad in my living room into the middle of the night. I marathon watched almost all four sessions, I cried and worshipped and was so moved. The theme running through the whole thing was the idea of stepping into the Jordan River, that first step is in water, before the waves part, it’s a step of faith saying “I believe that the Lord has this for me and I will step out in faith toward that.” The months leading up to this moment I’d been on a journey of giving up something I’d held dear. Writing has always been in me, writing has always been my favorite form of therapy, my best shot at expressing myself clearly, the expression of my truest self, it’s always been the thing that made me calm and helped me process. I can remember heading down to our basement as a 6th grader, with notebooks and clipboards and fake glasses in my hands, telling my mom I was sitting down to get some writing done. Writing was always THE PLAN. In the months leading up to that IF:Gathering 2015 the Lord had asked me to give up THE PLAN. He asked me to be okay with never having anything to say to anyone, with not having a platform or an audience. He told me that I needed to let my dream die and there was no promise that he would ever revive it again. And after months of struggling and fighting and learning new ways to process and feel calm, after dismantling my dreams for myself and laying them at the feet of Jesus and being okay with my life never looking like that, I sat in front of my iPad and listened as Jennie Allen asked us to take a rock and write what our next step would be. What's the thing God is asking of you, what faith step is he asking you to take into what looks like an impassable river? I closed my eyes and sat in silence and asked God to show me what he wanted my step to be.
The thing about God is that he can be a real jerk sometimes. The only way to explain how I felt in that moment is that it was like getting an “I love you” text from an ex boyfriend you were FINALLY over.
In the weeks that came after that I took more steps that the Lord pushed me toward: “Buy an actual website”, so I did; “print business cards”, so I have; “start writing a book”, so I am; “submit articles”, so I did. I was ecstatic that the love of my life was back a part of me and it all felt so right, so commissioned and so holy because I was doing it under the direct instruction of God!
That was a year ago. To date I have published two articles, written 12 blog posts, and gotten five pages of this so called “book” written out (in case you’re confused, this is not me bragging, this is me confessing that that’s all I did in 12 freaking months).
Guys I started so strong. I started with a fire in my belly, not a fire to write and be known, but a fire to obey. And then this thing happened. See I think we can all agree that a fire to obey is a target for the enemy. So I guarded that fire and every time I felt the Lord urge me toward something I said yes and went after it with everything I had. But it turns out Satan is sneakier than we think. He didn’t go after my fire, not in the way I was anticipating. Instead of hitting burnout or frustration or having my will to obey be attacked, I simply got helpful. If I’m meant to write a book, it will be easier to pitch it if I have a built in audience, I should grow my platform, I told myself. So I created a Facebook page, I started calculatedly Instagramming. I posted at optimal times, I used all the relevant and popular hashtags, I engaged with the people who came through and liked my pictures. I started to do the branding equivalent of dressing for the job you want. I started to focus my efforts on enacting the plan God had for me instead of just doing the next thing God told me to do. I was trying to force God’s hand except I honestly didn’t see it that way. In my head if God wanted A and B would help A, then I could help God by making B a thing.
I COULD HELP GOD.
Cause ya know, that’s something we all have to do from time to time, he can be a bit helpless.
Worse than trying to help God by doing things he hadn’t asked me to do, I also stopped doing the things he did ask me to do, more specifically I stopped saying things he asked me to say. I started to live in fear. My biggest anxiety, the thing I struggle with the most is being misunderstood. I hate when someone misunderstands my heart, when they take something I’ve said wrong and internalize it negatively and believe something untrue about me or my intentions. I can’t say this, I would worry, people will misunderstand me. I can’t say that, I’m Facebook friends with too many people who disagree with that, they’ll be so offended, I thought. I can’t say that, I worried, my husband is on staff at a church and that could really rock some of our people, I don’t want my husband to lose his job. I told myself, I can’t say that, my family will be so angry with me if I put that out into the world. But again I didn’t see what I was doing, I didn’t set out to argue with God or disobey, I convinced myself that he wasn’t really asking me to say those things, it was just my own opinions, I actually managed to convince myself that by holding my tongue as often as I did I was honoring God, having self control, honoring my family and my church.
Now listen, don’t go looking back through my blog and dismissing everything I’ve said in the last year, I still believe a lot of it, most of it. In fact all of it. Me not believing what I said isn’t the issue. The issue was there was so much more to say that I refused to say because it wouldn’t get me more hits, it wouldn’t grow my platform, it would make someone mad, challenge them too much, people wouldn’t like it, they wouldn’t like me and no one wants to hear about Jesus from someone they don’t like so I kept my mouth shut and I said things that were middle of the road at best. I challenged no one, not even myself. I played nice for the sake of my potential readership and my husband's potential job security and I tried to force God’s plan into a mold that I was more comfortable with and I honestly didn’t realize I was doing any of it.
In October I bought two tickets for IF:Gathering 2016 and asked a friend to come with me, I was so excited, I knew God would do good things there, but if I’m honest I mostly looked at it like a girls weekend in Austin with a sprinkle of Jesus. In exchange she asked me to go to Donald Miller’s Storyline conference in November. In the weeks leading up to Storyline I had a family member, with a complicated history, who was on the verge of making a decision I didn’t agree with. My hesitancy was born in love and concern, a desire to see this person thrive. But it was received as judgement and bitterness, a demand for my own way. People that I loved dearly and valued my relationship to and valued their opinion of me called me immature and selfish. The anxiety I felt at being misunderstood, the frustration I felt at not being able to effectively communicate my intentions and feelings was literally written all over my face. I attended Storyline broken hearted, with eyes nearly swollen shut from stress, and almost zero understanding of what this conference was or what I would get out of it. It turns out that it was an orchestrated by God, defining moment in my life. I walked into Storyline with almost no idea that I was living in bondage to fear of being honest, fear of being disloyal. How much can you say when the Lord tells you to tell your story? How far is too far? What am I allowed to tell without making the other people involved in my story mad? How can I tell my story while protecting them? How can I tell my story while protecting me from them?
Guys, it turns out you can’t tell your story or speak the truth and also protect yourself or anyone else from the truth. That’s the incredibly radical thing about total honesty, it leaves you totally vulnerable, vulnerable to anger, to misunderstanding, to pain. But it also leaves you totally vulnerable to the Holy Spirit, to encounters with people who needed to hear what you said, to know what you now know. I walked into Storyline afraid of my own story but I walked out (okay I actually sort of stumbled out blindly because I was crying so hard I couldn’t see) with the resolve to handle being misunderstood. It sounds so small, so small. But it was huge. And I remember thinking, Okay, now, now I’m ready to really live this mission for the Lord.
I’m so dumb.
Despite my new found theoretical freedom in telling my story I was still too busy helping God build my platform for it to happen. I sponsored a post on Facebook (meaning I paid to get it seen by more people - BLECH, I feel dirty just saying that). I hosted a giveaway on this blog, not because I was so keen to give something away, but because free stuff attracts people and people attracted to my site equals an audience, an audience equals a readership, a readership equals THE LORD’S PLAN FOR MY LIFE (man, so simple, so lucky God had me to help him).
Through November my pastor did a series called More, the idea being getting more of God, more of the Holy Spirit, of doing things WITH God instead of FOR God (and no I didn’t catch that God was trying to get my attention with that because as I’ve mentioned I am dumb). Then In January my church hosted a weekend conference with Gary Best (author of Naturally Supernatural and all around best Canadian ever) to further that idea of more of God. As a church our direction has been shifting for a while, from one of a more seeker friendly area to a more Spirit led and directed place. It’s been incredible to watch. Having grown up in the 1990’s boom of borderline Pentecostalism this was not new territory for me, this was my home turf and man did I sit haughtily in my chair and applaud as the people around me finally got with the program.
Guys. I’m so, SO dumb.
The Lord moved in incredible ways at this conference, it was awesome to see. I cheerfully went through it thinking Yay, what a good thing for our church and the people in our church who really need this, I’m so glad this could happen for them, I should Instagram something about this! I want to be really clear here, I’m being super transparent, I know how I come off right now, I’m not worried about being misunderstood, you’re all understanding me just fine, I sound like a horse’s rear end and I ABSOLUTELY was being one. I could water it down, soften it with all the other things happening in my life where I was being obedient and honoring God (because yes, we can be acing some things and tanking others simultaneously) and make myself sound better but the truth is this post is as much confession as it is exposition. I am as much confessing my sins to you all as I am telling you the story of how God changed me. So I sat in that conference, moved by other people being moved, thanking God for showing up for those other people that needed Him. Towards the end of the conference there was a time where Gary Best encouraged the people in the room to let the Lord lead us to someone and to pray for them, to minister God’s presence and power and love to them. As he commissioned us to do this I saw, out of the corner of my eye, my pastor’s wife basically sprinting toward me. I’m sure that’s not true, I’m sure she was just walking, but I knew that out of the 600 people in this room she was coming for me and so it felt like she was sprinting. Just as she got close, out of the corner of my eye I saw someone approach her and ask to pray for her, she took a few steps back and while she was occupied I almost bolted. In that moment all the seeds from the past couple days, from the More series in November, from the Storyline conference, they all sprouted, the first blooms began to ease open the tiniest bit, and all at once and I realized I’M DOING ALL THE THINGS WRONG. And I was terrified. And I knew that whatever my pastor’s wife was about to say to me was only going to be confirmation that I was doing all the things wrong. Before I could decide to leave she ended her prayer with the other person and came and stood next to me, “I was on my way to you,” she told me and I wanted to be like “YES I KNOW.”
She stood with me for a minute, she prayed quickly and gently. She said, “Lord I pray that you would give Abbey words, that you show her what to say so that she would stop trying, that your power and timing would be in control.”
Have you ever been stabbed? Because now I’m pretty sure I know what it feels like. I was totally exposed. She knew that I had been trying, I hate to use this over used cliche but it was a total Wizard of Oz moment. She knew I was standing behind the curtain manufacturing something instead of it just happening. I wanted to run. The truth is I have no idea if I was quite as exposed as I believed, she maybe had no idea just how much those words stung or how deeply I needed to be told to stop trying. Just a week before I’d said to my friend “I feel like when I write fluff it’s always better received than anything truly, deeply challenging and I don’t know how to balance fluff with actually directing people towards God, I think I have to write fluff to hook them, I can’t direct them to God if they’re not listening, right?.” Just the day before she’d prayed this prayer I’d written in my notes from the conference that I didn’t know where the line was between hustling for my dream job of being a writer and waiting on God’s timing and maybe, was it at all possible, could I perhaps be trying to push God’s timing into my own?
After that prayer my pastor’s wife walked away and I sat down. I felt like I had gotten the wind knocked out of me. Literally. I kept trying to sing the worship song being played and every time I opened my mouth I couldn’t form words, I couldn’t even breathe. I got the distinct impression that the Lord was ever so lovingly saying “Shut up”. A few minutes later a young girl came over to me, probably about 13 or 14. She sat down and asked if she could pray for me. I smiled and nodded, and she prayed exactly how I anticipated she would. She was sweet and unsure, she prayed that my difficult time of hardships and problems would pass and that I would, like, maybe, like, find Jesus. When she was done I hugged her and thanked her and waited for her to stand up and go so I could get back to the misery of having the crap kicked out of me by God. But it didn’t happen. Instead she stayed sitting next to me. I will never forget what God said to me as we awkwardly sat next to each other, this little girl and me. He said:
“You think that you’ve done something for her by hugging her and thanking her, you think you’ve encouraged her. You haven’t. You are not the lesson to her, she is the lesson to you. I said speak and she spoke, I said pray and she prayed, I said stay and she’s still there. The win here wasn’t going to be that she did it perfectly or that she changed your life, the win here was only ever going to be that she obeyed. Why won’t you just obey? Stop making it about you. If I have something for you to do it is not to be clever, it is not to be insightful for the sake of stirring the pot, it is not to be sharp or divisive, it is not to be fluffy and trivial. If I have something for you it is to simply show people that you’ve tasted of the sweetest of love, it is to simply obey. Your words are not the gift, I AM THE GIFT. The thing you have to share will never be words, it will always be me and you’ll never get to do that if you don’t shut up and stop TRYING and be silent and listen! I WILL give you words, but they will never be yours, they will always be mine. Your job will only ever be to be a conduit, never the source. Stop living in fear of what YOUR words will do, they’re not your words, they’re mine and I’m not afraid of their impact. Stop being defensive and judgemental, it’s my decision who I will use and how I will use them and it’s your choice to rejoice in the furthering of my kingdom or judge who I pick in prideful arrogance. You are beloved, but you are not special. I WANT to do this with you, I want to use you, but I don’t need you, I can do it with anyone, I can use anyone, and if you won’t do it my way I will go find someone who will. Seek me, not an audience.”
Have you ever been punched in the gut by the Holy Spirit?
If you have little kids you know that when they do something wrong there’s almost this sort of formula to how we as parents handle it. Depending on the severity and danger of what they’ve done, you react (sometimes well, sometimes not), after you react you discipline, they get a time out or a spanking or a toy taken away or some kind of consequence and you explain WHY, you tell them what they’ve done wrong and why it’s not okay and why this is the consequence. Once they’ve lived in that consequence you bring it in for a hug, you reassure them that you know they can do better, that they can obey better, and you tell them that you still love them, still value them. I spent about two weeks living in the consequence. The Lord took something from me that he had shown me I value almost more than anything. I kid you not that within a few days of that conference I had completely lost my voice, not only that but I’d completely lost my capacity to think. I mixed up words and blanked when I was trying to say something, I forgot what I was saying and lost my train of thought. As I packed to go to the IF:Gathering I started to laugh at the circumstances. The friend I was supposed to attend with had backed out, I hadn’t found someone to share a room with so I’d booked a room by myself, and I couldn’t speak or think anyway, so I most likely wasn’t going to actually make friends while I was there. God had systematically broken down everything I was planning for the weekend of IF. I kept jokingly praying “okay God, anytime you want to bring closure to this thing happening between us, I’m in, I totally pick up what you’re putting down and I am absolutely going to change but can we please get to the hug it out part??” And I did get it, he’d made himself clear and I really did want to be different, but there was also this part of me that wanted the reassurance that my call hadn’t changed, that I would still get to write, heck that I would still get to use my vocal chords! It’s no joke man, I have a friend who lost her voice for nearly six years for literally no reason at all, it was medically astounding. I’m packing for IF and I’m having panic attacks that I’m never going to be able to say another word louder than a whisper.
In an effort to try and force some kind of closure moment I started trying to read through the Psalms, if David knew about anything it was how to regain footing with God after having screwed up royally. I only made it through three verses of one single Psalm before my fuzzy, broken brain stopped focusing:
“Who can discern his errors? Forgive my hidden faults. Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then will I be blameless, innocent of great transgression. May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” Psalm 19:12-14
Every time I tried to venture off this passage all I could focus on was one single, inconsequential, overlooked word that shows up over and over in the Psalms - selah.
No one is entirely sure what “selah” means, but the possible meanings all fit into the same vein. Whatever the specific meaning, the idea is that it adds emphasis, it’s meant for us to pause before jumping straight into the next thing so that we can sit in the space we’re in, uncomfortable or painful or joyful as it may be. Selah - the writer's instruction to the reader to pause and exalt the Lord, to measure what's just been said; a term used to stress the truth and importance of the preceding passage. Selah: direction to stop and listen.
And so I prepared for IF, living in the consequence of prideful disobedience, terrified of how the Lord had set it up that I would be alone and at his mercy as he continued to put me through the ringer. After almost a week and a half of not having a voice, the day before I left for IF, I resigned myself to silence and obedience (those of you who know me well just hit the floor cause truly, not my strong suits). That night I attended a Bible study at my church and for the first time in what truly felt like years, was able to think clearly and speak above a whisper.
My husband and I left for the airport Friday morning at about 3am. We talked a little on the way there, me mostly just to double check that I was still able to. I anxiously boarded my plane and prayed the whole way to Houston. I got to my gate in Houston and sat down and anxiously prayed some more. I don’t totally remember what I was praying, I just knew that whatever work the Lord had begun in me was going to reach maximum impact in Austin and I think I was just praying for peace, pledging my obedience, and pleading for mercy. As I sat in the Houston airport I looked down the row from me and nearly laughed my head off. There, sitting by the window, was Ann Voskamp, one of IF’s leading ladies. I am as familiar with Ann Voskamp as the next girl, but I confess, I have never read her book and save a few random visits, I don’t follow her blog (sorry Ann!!!). It’s just one of those things. She’s in good company, I have a whole book shelf devoted to well known evangelical teachers and authors I want to read and follow and just have yet to make it happen. Because I haven’t read her book or followed her blog I didn’t see any reason for the growing, burning push inside me to go speak to her. It made zero sense. I text a friend of mine who said “Go talk to her!” and I responded, “Yeah I’ll just go say ‘Hi Ann, I’m not really familiar with much of your work, but I know you’re a Godly woman and I just thought I’d come say hey,’ that sounds like a good interaction.” But still the push and burn were there. As the gate attendant began preboarding calls the Lord said “I thought we agreed you were going to just obey?” and I felt myself stand to my feet and walk down to where she was sitting. I made awkward small talk, told her I appreciated all the work she and others were putting into IF, and how much I was looking forward to the weekend (I left out the part about my paralyzing fear of being clobbered by the hammer of God). We boarded the plane talking about the weather back in Chicago and our gold bar necklaces. She was seated in the row directly in front of me, the window seat whereas I was aisle. The flight from Houston to Austin is short and sweet and I settled in to plead for mercy some more, and even began to feel a twinge of pride. Hey look God, I said. You said to do something and I did it! I could almost feel the pat on my head as the Lord of all creation whispered “Aw that’s cute”.
I’m so dumb.
About five minutes into the flight God nudged me again, “Share your blog with her, give her a way to get in touch with you.”
YOU WANT ME TO DO WHAT LORD???????? Ann Voskamp has zero interest in my blog or my contact info! This is NOT how to get exposure!! I’d be better off sharing my blog with the actual women I talk to at IF then to pass it off to Ann Voskamp in some cockimany hope of it going somewhere!!
Mind you I am having this conversation with the Lord while the Crossfit coach next to me is showing me videos of para-athletes performing mind boggling Crossfit workouts and telling me how people call him The Pitbull and growling, and talking about his “mega babe” wife who’s a few rows back.
“I didn’t say anything about your blog going anywhere, not everything is about exposure. I said share it with her. That’s all. Zero expectations, zero agenda. Simple obedience.”
I don’t have a pen Lord, I don’t have any paper to write this all down on, what do you want me to do? Write my web address in coffee on my napkin? ON MY NAPKIN LORD???
Have you ever experienced the Lord getting sassy? Sometimes we have this image of him as Darth Vader James Earl Jones, deep voiced and powerful and sovereign and serious. But sometimes he’s totally Sandlot James Earl Jones, snarky and agitated at our immaturity as we're doing something the hard way when all he wants to do is help us and talk with us.
“If only there was something I’d asked you to have made that already had your contact info and website written on it that you could just hand people when I tell you to.”
...like a business card?
“Like a business card.”
So with shaking fingers I took a business card out of my bag and when the plane landed and I ended up out the walkway and in through the gate before Ann Voskamp, I stopped, I rehearsed what I would say as I waited. And when she walked towards me I said “Mrs. Voskamp, I’m so sorry, but can I do something really obnoxious? I’m sure you get this all time and just know I do it with zero expectation or agenda, but can I give you my card? I’m sort of kind of a “writer” and just if you ever wanted to stop in to see it, I would love your feedback.”
And Ann Voskamp took my card and hugged me and said “You did so good, good job.”
Now listen, I have no idea if she knew what she was saying to me. I have no idea if the Lord had like pregamed with her and told her he was going to make me do this. But I immediately felt the tension of living in the consequences crumble inside me. If she knew it or not, in those few words she spoke a fathers reassurance over me, “I still love you, I still value you, I know you can do this better than you have been, I know you can obey me.”
I didn’t see Ann in person again through the weekend, and I have no idea if she’ll come here. I hope she does but mostly only so she can know what she did for me in that moment.
At this point I was feeling pretty good, not prideful good, just lighter and ready for whatever God would do through the weekend. And yes, maybe I felt like I was finally out of the woods. As I’ve mentioned, I’m really dumb. I know this is long, and you’re now like “WHAT?! You’re not done yet???????????” I’m so sorry, I’m not. Feel free to come back in a while and finish it up, or don’t, whatever. It’ll be here either way because the next part is important.
The IF:Gathering was incredible. There were hundreds of tiny ways that the Lord took care of me and reinforced that I was meant to be in that room this weekend and I would love to go into all of them but I honestly am trying to keep this under novel length, so those stories can be for another time.
The thing that amazed me most of all about my time at IF was that God addressed every single thing I’ve been struggling with, and many times using language that had already been used in those previous God moments. It was like one giant affirmation after another. My fear of other people being offended because we believe differently: “Jesus wasn’t worried about if people thought he agreed with what they believed.” - Jo Saxton. My constant TRYING and taking over: “When you have nothing to lose and nothing to protect you will so dangerous. If you want to experience freedom STOP TRYING SO HARD. Stop doing things FOR God and start doing things WITH God.” - Jennie Allen. Being envious of other people’s platforms and audience: “The grass is always greener on the other side, it’s true! Someone else's relationship is greener, someone else's church is greener, someone else's platform is greener, but maybe when you think that someone else’s grass is greener it’s the Holy Spirit telling you to water the grass you’re standing on.” - Eugene Cho; “The cost of following Jesus is that we have to leave our water jar at the well.” - Lindsey Chandler. My belief that my words were the thing that would bless people and that to bless anyone I needed an audience, without it I wouldn’t know if I was blessing anyone: “The fruit is not the blessing, the fruit is a byproduct of the blessing, the blessing is abiding in Christ.” - Vivian Mabuni; “What would happen if our generation didn’t care about being known and just cared about making Jesus known.” - Esther Havens. My concerns about what I say being too much for people, being misunderstood or disliked: “Being criticized and not liked is the most powerful deterrent to being like Jesus.” - Jen Hatmaker. My misunderstanding of what it means to be called by God: “You don’t have to start a big ministry, you don’t have to have a great blog, you don’t have to write a book, JUST MAKE A DISCIPLE.” - David Platt
There’s so much more, this is just the tip of the iceberg, but the whole weekend was like living inside an echo of what God had planted in my heart in the months leading up to it. And again, all weekend, this small word etched in my mind, selah, stop and listen, take this in, measure the weight of what you’re being told.
Undoubtedly the best part of the weekend for me was Friday afternoon. In the very first session, Jennie Allen, the second speaker and founder of IF, initiated a time of confession, even as she laughed that smarter people would say it was too early in the conference to do this. As the band played, different phrases of confession and repentance were read and displayed and we were asked to bring into the light the shame we held in secret by holding up our lit phones each time a confession we identified with was read. It was big and scary and powerful. The thing about confession is that it breaks down every defense you’ve built against being vulnerable. You cannot confess without being vulnerable, without trusting people with your mess, risking being misunderstood or disliked. And you cannot repent without confession. As I sat at that table on Friday and weighed out the things I needed to confess and repent of the Lord made one more ask for obedience, “Share these. Whatever “audience” you have, whoever is listening, they deserve to hear your confession, you need to repent to them.” In my great wisdom and obedience, and after all that I had learned and been through, I responded with an exceedingly mature “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!” Because at the end of the day I don’t believe that God can use me if I’m not perfect. And since I am so clearly NOT perfect, I have to portray that image so that God can use me. Makes perfect sense, right. If I confess to you you will see just how imperfect I am and I'll lose all credibility.
But the thing is, before she led in confession, Jennie Allen talked about Peter. “He was the best of them and the worst of them,” she said. She talked about his hesitancy to expose his muddy feet for Jesus to wash and how Jesus longs for us, longs to cleanse us and use us and it’s up to us to turn in to that, to expose our mess, our dirt, to repent and believe that we are enough but ONLY because Jesus is enough. She read, “Jesus says ‘I wash your performance that you think you must produce. I wash your striving for your own name,” and asked us to lean in to confession, to repentance, and tho she was speaking to half a million women, she was speaking to directly to me.
So to any of you who have been around a while (although if you’ve never been to my blog before but you’ve read this post all the way from the beginning that counts as a while cause this sucker’s long!) here are the things that I confessed and repented of over the weekend, the things that I need to confess to you:
I confess that I have clung to the opinions of others instead of God’s opinion of me. I have built my identity on the applause and acceptance of the world instead of the grace and forgiveness of Jesus.
I confess that I mask my pain with anger, humor, sarcasm and isolation.
I confess that I carry a spirit of judgement into my relationships. Even if I don’t say it - I let it live in my mind and it controls my thoughts.
I confess that I choose pride as my normal mode of operation.
And this one, from my own heart: I confess that I have tried to do God’s job and force his hand and mold his plan and timing into my own.
Of these things I repent, and ask that you would all pray for me as I give these things over to God EVERY DAY, and battle against these sins EVERY DAY.Gosh, if you’ve made it this far you deserve a cookie. We’re almost to the end, I promise. Saturday night I wandered around downtown Austin, looking for a place to get a tattoo, something to commemorate my commitment to change, something to remind me of all the ways I’d been failing, of God’s immeasurable grace, of my need to obey, unquestioningly and of the ways God was faithful to me, even as I failed him. It’s simple and small and perfect and beautiful. It hurt and I cried, but it came out exactly what I wanted it to be. Hopefully God can say the same about me someday.