This is going to be a rather humbling post. You see, I have grown immensely in my faith and I am so much closer to the Cross of Jesus than I have ever been in my life. No girl is more thankful for the healing grace of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit. than this girl
And yet…and yet… I am still a fallible, broken, insecure girl living in this human body. As far as I have come, I still have a road ahead of me and there are still big boulders that plop themselves smack dab in front of me. I know the Holy Spirit is within me to crash those boulders and enable me to live onward in my human state. I tell that truth to the many people I serve on a regular basis. And yet… at times I still find myself curled up on the road staring at that boulder that I think is immovable.
I have discovered over the past several years that I enjoy writing. Writing in my journal, writing what I hear from God, writing about my story, writing my thoughts on other people's writings. Others have encouraged me to write a book about my own experiences in the story of my life with Jesus. A few years ago, I got excited and challenged by that prospect and have even written little blurbs for my 'future book'. My journaling, blogging, and sermons are all a part of what will also be added. I have even been taking on-line seminars on improving story telling and learning writing tips from published authors. All of this in preparation of penning my auto-biography.
Or so I thought. I have recently not been so excited by the dream of a published book. You see, I have this life long struggle of perfectionism and insecurity and a few months ago it began rearing its ugly voice in my head. It goes something like this...
"Other people are way better writers than you." "Your story is not anything special. Who would buy a book about a story that thousands of others have already written?" "Seriously, a book?" "You aren't that great of a writer." "You are too busy and getting too old to do something new." "You don't have thousands of blog followers so why do you think anyone would buy a book?" "Why bother, nothing will come of it."
And that was just the beginning...
"You are an ok speaker, but even that isn't so great." "You've got nothing to offer.""You know you will just be rejected by publishers." And the final straw… "YOU are no good. YOU are not enough." Just typing that last one makes me cry. It is a voice I have fought my whole life.
How did these voices of old get back into my head? Amidst my tears is anger that I am back to this place. I wish I could say that I recognized it as the enemy of my soul building that boulder in my path. But I did not.. I heard it as the practical Tress just being honest with her Self - telling it like it is.
God and I have been talking a lot about all of this these past weeks. The frigid Ohio weather has provided extended opportunities for these conversations. A common theme amongst my journaling is "What's next?" What's next at GO? What's next at Union? What's next for me as a pastor? As a Disciple? I have tossed out words like dreams, passions, boldness for the glory of God, God's plans, and the desire of Him releasing His Spirit to take me to edge of the limits in my service.
Every time the conversation our conversation moves to the topic of writing, however, I shut down. The voices start and I resolve that sharing a written testimony of my faith is 'just not for me.' When I dared broach the topic with God, such words as "Insecurity" and "pride" have lingered in my soul. A deep sense of fear of rejection and the insecurity of who I am in Christ fills my soul. Thom Gardner writes "Fear is like a sentinel at the frontier of all things new that we could do or experience in God." Ain't that the sad truth!
I also wonder if pride has planted itself in there as well… only wanting to do things that I am comfortable with, will get accolades for, and that I won't be stretch too far so as not to excel at them. If so, I pray against that with every ounce of my being!
Today, however, may be a turning point for me. A Sister in Christ I had the joy of spending a week with a few years back, posted this devotion on Facebook today. It practically leapt off the screen at me.
Step Into The Deep Waters. Friend, you and I were created to do business in Deep Waters. In other words, we're not supposed to have little dreams or little plans. We're supposed to get out there and have big dreams. We are supposed to go out into the deep things God has for us. But understand when you're out there in the deep waters, you can't touch the ground. You can't see the shoreline. And at times, it can get a little rocky. You may not always see how things are going to work out. But scripture tells us 'deep calls to deep'. In other words, God is the One who called you to the deep waters. He is with you and He knows there are deep things on the inside of you. When you are in those deep waters, you are not alone. God is with you and He's causing those deep things inside of you to come forth."
I know that I know those words were for me. Writing is very deep water for me and God is calling me into it because there are deep things to brought forth. Be it more blogging or a novel never published, there is a story to be told. I have said time and again that if sharing the ugly, nasty story of my life brings just one person to the knowledge of Jesus Christ, then my humble sharing of it is all worth it. Maybe that one person is the one and only person to buy my book.
Who am I to swim gasping for air from the deep waters to the safe shallow shores?
Most Big Dreams require doggy paddling in the deep waters of life. Lord, if your will is for me to write my story and my journey, I plead with you to silence the voices of old, to reignite the excitement of a challenge, and to remove the shackles of insecurity and pride.
And then, Lord, toss me in the deep end!