I think the path to living the life you were created to live often looks like being willing to suffer the pain of exposure, being willing to admit, at least to yourself, that things are not as they should be—that you often fail to measure up to the standards that you or society or your church has set for you. That you’re still a mess of epic proportions.
Often what we do instead is hide away. Hide our emotions, hide our sins, hide our stories, hide somewhere safe behind the thin veil of religion, pride, status, wealth, a job, a degree, an addiction, or the self-obsesssion that often comes with trying to so hard to be what we think the world wants.
And we all do it.
This week I had my own bout with it.
I’m down the final edits to my book, as in dotting the last i’s and writing the dedication page. In the past two weeks, I’ve had a complete melt down and actually tried to calculate how much money it would cost per month for me to pay the publisher back the money they gave me as an advance.
I couldn’t sleep for night’s on end. My editor talked me down off the ledge all week. Why all the internal drama? I’m scared about telling my story. I’m worried that I won’t be able handle the exposure and the vulnerability it will inevitably bring. Over and over, I said to myself, “You have a great life, why would purposely inflict this kind of stress and angst on yourself.”
My best self answered, trying to remember the verse about giving an account of the hope that is within you. (1 Peter 3:15). Then I looked that verse up and it says at the end that when you speak of the hope that is within you, do it with fear and humility.
He knew we’d be afraid. He’s knew we’d fear ridicule and misunderstanding. He knew it would be humbling, maybe even at times humiliating.
Then I read this quote:
“What shames us, what we fear most to tell, does not set us apart from others; it binds us together, if only we take the risk to speak it.” Starhawk
The subtitle for my book, maybe my life is: The story of a girl who walked through fire to find her way home.
It’s so true. I have the scars to prove it. And the hardest truth? I was sometimes the one holding the match. Those are the chapters that are so very difficult to share.
I’ve hidden behind so many things in my life, but I’m here to tell you that what awaits on the other side of that thin scary veil is the freedom and abundance and life that only Christ can give, when we’re willing to make ourselves completely vulnerable to His loving fire.
He didn’t come to make us comfortable, He came to make us holy and he’ll have a lot of chaff to burn off in order to do that. We submit ourselves to Him, trusting in His mercy that comforts, His grace that sustains, His righteousness that covers, His cross that saves.
All that to say, you’ve been given work to do, a story to tell, and people to serve.
Don’t let fear keep you from doing in the world what only you can do. Yes, there will be fire and yes, there will be pain.
The alternative is to stay closed and stuck.
BUT. If you open yourself, your mouth, your heart up—in the process, you will learn to live fully alive in your giftings, free from what has shamed you and caused you to hide yourself, free to finally love and serve the people God has put right in front of you with everything that is in you, free to walk through fire to find your way home.
I’m so thankful to walk this stretch of road with you— fear, fire and all.
My spiritual memoir, All the Pretty Things, is now available for preorder. Keep your receipt number to claim your preorder bonuses once they are released!