2018: The Year to Lean In

The voices in my head told me to walk away.

IMG_7812

me2

Leave.

You’re just too much. 

And never enough.

Two years earlier that’s what I said in an essay I wrote for a class on Biblical womanhood. I don’t remember the question, but I can’t forget my answer.

“I’ve always felt like I’m too much and not enough – all at the same time.”

I will never forget this part of the teacher’s response – “What would life look like for you…if you lived as though you had nothing to prove?” 

I read it and cried.

How do you even live your life that way? 

What would it look like if we lived as though we had nothing to prove? 

IMG_7326

IMG_9677

IMG_0926

Nothing to prove.

Because Jesus doesn’t need – or want – our performance.

His sacrifice would be in utter vain, if Jesus needed us to prove something. He wants our hearts.

And the awesome and holy truth about what happens when God has our hearts? 

We live captivated to the beauty of our unique purpose.

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. – Phil. 1:6

In another version, Phil 1:6 starts by saying “Being confident of this very thing…”

BE confident – that the redemptive work God is doing in your life was begun and will be finished by God.

You won’t get it right all the time. You will hurt others sometimes. You will forget things that you should have remembered. You will wonder why. Things will happen to you – or people that you love – that you will struggle to understand or accept. Life won’t always make sense. Things will happen that shouldn’t.

And you need to get this to live freely

you are confident in the redemption of Jesus Christ.

Your hope is not in answers to your questions, healing for your diseases, miracles for your impossibilities, or solutions for your problems.

Your hope is in Christ.

IMG_4197

 

IMG_4367

A couple of verses after verse 6, Paul says:

And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, 10 so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

Have confidence in God and the redemptive work He is doing in your life, and you are freed from performance and comparison and proving yourself – to be filled with the fruits of righteousness that comes through belonging to Jesus Christ.

12 I want you to know, brothers,[e] that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel.

The Gospel went forth through the life of Paul because of what happened to him. Paul wasn’t – and isn’t – the hero in the story. Paul was the vessel through which God shared a Greater Story.

So are you.

Yes, you too. 

2 Corinthians 4:5-6 says this.

Soak this in.

For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants[c] for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

We do not proclaim ourselves. We do not commend ourselves. Of ourselves, who are we?

But in Christbecause of Jesus, we are the treasured possession of the Most High God who has shown His marvelous light on our darkness.

That is our hope.

The hope that we share is that we have been rescued from sin, from darkness, AND – from ourselves.

You must tell your story.

Not because of who you are, but

because of what Christ has done for you.

sunset_onthelake

When Jesus sat with his disciples and walked upon the earth, He spoke in parables.

par·a·ble
ˈperəb(ə)l/
noun
plural noun: parables
  1. a simple story used to illustrate a moral or spiritual lesson, as told by Jesus in the Gospels.
    synonyms: allegory, moral story/tale

 

Jesus spoke in story form.

And thousands of years later, His stories still speak and change lives for eternity.

You must tell your story.

Fresh out of high school, I took writing classes that instructed me from the standpoint of sharing your story. I am passionate about sharing my story and empowering others to share theirs. Words have the power to change people’s lives. Telling a story can make all the difference in the world.

But I never imagined how hard it would be.

I took some tough feedback from published authors when I took my writing course. We talked about “developing a thick skin”. There was frustration. A lot of erasing and re-do’s. There were tears.

But it was different than when you open up your heart and tell the story of your soul.

That’s a holy kind of hard.

IMG_8252

The snow is falling softly and lazily across a gray sky. It’s hard to tell where the snowflakes even fall, the way they tumble horizontal.

Sometimes its hard to know how your words fall. You speak and you wonder – will you be received?

You are seen, but will your heart be heard?

You are noticed, but will you be known?

Will your sharing be accepted as the invitation you intend it to be?

I first came out on a social media platform, back in XANGA days. I was the “icelebrate” girl and I talked about life and hope and disappointment and Jesus.

How Jesus makes everything better.

And how there’s nothing trite about that at all.

Those days ended and there was a time of silence, before I began again, two years later. I started this blog and I joined Facebook, and eventually Instagram.

It was first just a place for me to connect with people. I love people and connection and hearing their stories. And I don’t know if it was by default, because of who I am and how much I care about story, but secondly, it became a way to share the story of my heart and how Jesus was working there.

There are plenty of words left unspoken, because there’s a time and a place for everything and social media is not the time or the place for it all.

But for me – it has become a significant space for me to speak and share my journey.

Until I almost left, last January.

I turned it all off for a week and I wrestled hard.

I {mostly} quit blogging, for almost a year.

Because the paradox with words is that they’re heavy and cheap.

I was speaking a lot of words…words that I meant with all of my heart.

But you can mean words that you speak with all your heart and hide behind them.

Kind of like how you can believe in the Bible and hide behind it.

Know what I mean?

I wanted to leave – social media, relationships, writing and pretty much everything hard.

You’re too much and not enough. 

The only thing that made me stick around – and I mean, the only thing –

this guy I married. The one who knows me best. He said –

“Don’t stop something just because it gets complicated. Lean in.”

Lean in.

What does that mean? 

I asked him. “What does that even mean?”

“I don’t know what all that looks like…” He said slow, thinking, “but nothing ever comes out of quitting.”

landscape

I ran a lot of miles this year, but I didn’t come close to my year goal.

So I could quit running, or I could reevaluate my goals and start again.

I worked really hard in my home business and my business grew. I earned some great incentives and it has been such a blessing to have the opportunity to help others – but I didn’t succeed in all my ambitions.

So I could see success as the equivalent of a desired rank and throw in the towel because I didn’t get there, or I could see all the good that has grown out of what I have accomplished and continue with perseverance.

My intentions haven’t always been right and sometimes my intentions have been completely misinterpreted and I could allow this to silence me from sharing my life and telling my story, or I could dig deeper in my own heart and ask God for greater humility, and begin again.

Because nothing ever comes from quitting – 2018 is the year to lean in.

Because He who began a good work in you – will complete it.

Because like Paul, you are not the hero of your story – but you should still tell it – because God will tell a greater story through it.

Don’t walk away or leave.

You don’t have to be enough.

And you are never too much.

Redemption is coming, always.

So lean in.

———-> My word for 2018? Stay tuned for January 1.

Advertisements