Silence flooded the room and even though my eyes were squeezed shut as tightly as possible, I was certain all heads were turned my way. Not to be cliche, but—you could have heard a pin drop. I was stuck between not wanting to staying in this fetal position forever, and also not wanting to face the judgement I knew was coming for me the moment my eyes were pried open.
Fortunately my alarm went off before I had to make that haunting decision. Or did it? Everyday I feel like I’m caught in this mental battle. I feel like people are watching my every move, waiting for me to mess up, expecting me to fail. Or on the other hand, maybe they are following my story, wanting to see how I’m thriving, the lessons I’m learning, so on and so forth. Point is- I always think people are watching my every move. I’ve realized that along the road, I started living as if other’s held a magnify glass up to my life and just sat there, waiting for something to happen. Maybe I need a consistent reminder that my life is no more significant than yours. I’ve known this, but I didn’t live like it. What does it even look like to live free from other people’s opinions? What would be life look like if I danced freely before my creator, without thinking in the back of my mind- “Someone is watching me right now.” There would be a lot more authenticity. It’s certainly not that I think I’m better than others. It’s just that I’ve developed this unhealthy mentality. Everyone has their own set of battles, and more times than not, no one is busy analyzing why I wore my black boots instead of the brown ones, and why I smiled with a more demure smile instead of an over the top smile. I’m exhausted from caring what you think of me. At the end of the day, I want Jesus to be the one that you see. But sometimes that desire is pushed aside with more fleeting desires such as having an impressive Facebook profile or looking good when I go through the drive thru at Subway. (Yes, some Subways have drive thrus!) Living for others approval, especially when I don’t receive feedback half the time, has become idolatry in my life. I’m calling this out right now because I know I’m not alone. I’m currently reading “Nothing to Prove” by Jennie Allen, and she is full of incredible insights regarding this topic. To care more about what another human thinks of me, than what God’s opinion of me is- must be so offensive to God. It’s easy to breeze through life, one thing to the next, without stopping to look at the impact it is making.
As I enter 2018, I’ve made several different goals for myself. All of them are good and well.. (like rock climbing at least 3 times a week, reading two books a month, not drinking soda, spend time writing each day, etc) but I know the ones that are going to make a deeper difference are starting my knees in prayer each morning, adding something to my gratitude box each day, sitting with someone who sits alone each Sunday at church, etc. These are goals I’ve made that will make an eternal impact if I stick to them. As I sat home alone on New Years Eve, reflecting on 2017 and praying victorious prayers for 2018, I kept asking God- “Are you SURE that’s my word??” Last year the Lord gave me the word “grace,” and while I’m still learning so much about what that looks like, I dove into grace in such a new and fresh way.
This year though, the Lord gave me the word “Wait.” Wait as He prepares me to be a wife and a mother. Wait as He prepares me to take on bigger responsibilities and career goals HE has for me in the future. Wait as he prepares me to be a humbler, kinder and more gentle person so I can love HIS people better. Now is a time of preparation, so me and my own agenda need to sit down and wait, and trust, and persevere. As someone who rushes into absolutely everything- a year of waiting sounds like death itself. Strangely though, I find myself anticipating this new season. It’s a time where I will have to be diligent and dedicated. I can’t fall back into old ways (such as serially dating men.) Slow growth. Not instant gratification. That is going to be a theme this year. I can feel it in my bones- God is getting ready to roar so beautifully. Looking into Scripture, “waiting” is a common theme. Joseph waited 13 years for his bride. Abraham waited 25 years for his promised child. Moses waited 40 years to see a glimpse of the promise land. Men of valor waited, and God acted. What happens during the wait is just as important as what I had been waiting for in the first place. Joseph, Abraham, and Moses sure learned a whole lot about trusting God as they waited in anticipation for the promises of God to be fulfilled. As I was stuck in traffic Thursday night, I had a thought. I’ve been guilty of saying, “God will someday use me in big ways!” or “Dang- God’s moving in huge ways with _____________.” You get the picture. But I feel challenged by that. Every day is just as significant as the next. Each day plays a purpose in the end goal- but the end goal is impossible without each day leading up to it. All this to say, as 2018 progresses and I learn how to be still, I hope you are breathing in sweet moments with God, and learning how to abide and trust in Him however He has challenged you to live this year. To close, here’s a piece of me. I sat down to write a prayer last night, but it turned more into a piece of poetry. It couldn’t describe the state of my heart any better.
Purge me, strip me, envelop me. Oh to be more like you! Oh to drink of your love with purity. Pure in heart and mind- redeemed, restored, and rescued. Oh to tingle because of your nearness, oh to fall down out of sheer desperation for the one who chooses me. You, Almighty Ruler- you recklessly and perfectly claim me. It was for me you were slaughtered. How can I do anything but weep at your feet? Now you cast off my shame, my labels, and my earthly identity, and whisper, “My beloved daughter.” You draw me out of my self-glorification and place me in front of an empty tomb. My thoughts wander as I begin dwelling on what you’ve already finished. May I stay focused on who you are and what you’ve done and how that changes absolutely everything. Release me from my fear and push me into the victory that is already here. The chasm is gone- yes the gap is no more. You erased the divide; it’s not like it was before. I’m a vessel of honor-that’s what you’ve called me to be. Satan screams I’m unworthy, but you’re silencing him with your glory. I can’t understand why you are so enthralled with me. You find deep delight in this- in us. So I know it’s time I stop putting up a fuss.
But to choose you is to reject all else; so I slip back into the self-glorification and sin and manipulations, the lies and the immorality. I’m ruined, I say! I’ve done it now- I see death as finality. But now I hear your voice again, “My beautiful bride, I am still on your side.” And I crumple at your feet. You caress me with your love and humble me with your voice. Oh my Maker and my Husband, may you always be my favorite choice. Redeemed, restored, and rescued- you’ve brought me home once more.
But the story doesn’t stop now! I physically ache to serve you. I am your clay so give me shape. May others see you in me. Now a bearer of your name, from ashes I’ve come, and to you goes all fame. Who says I have to be broken? For in you I am made whole- carrying a revived and revitalized soul. Oh no, my story’s just getting started- and it’s all about this grace my Savior’s imparted.