Last week I told someone I just felt so “invalidated”. Now, I don’t know if the passage about the man held back for 38 years by his disability was planted in my mind OR if God knew on this day, I would wake up and read John 5 and understand it more clearly.
More clearly as in, it is time to stop taking on the burden of others’ behaviors and spoken words. It is time to stop owning the responsibilities of anyone’s choices other than your own. It is time to move on and sin no more, look on to new things. No if’s or buts like the man who said everyone either beats me to it or is blocking my way.
Jesus was ridiculed for leading this man to healing on a Sunday. Jesus wanted them to know that God is always working and so will be He. (vs. 17). The chapter continues with the questioning of his authority. Jesus told them even greater things will happen, things they will marvel over.
Chapter 5 is about Jesus doing His Father’s will regardless of naysayers and critics. It is still God’s desire that we be healed, changed, walk towards new life because of Jesus.
The Chapter closes with lines I underlined two or three times. About what I seek and through whom. Convicting for me!
“You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life. I do not receive glory from people.”
John 5:39-41 ESV
We can’t wait for people around us to move us from our helpless places to the healing pool. We move from being invalids when we know our validity is through Christ. We can read every self-help book on our shelves and even daily sit with our scriptures. We’re surrounded by good and well meaning advisers who we may want to impress, gain their approval. We won’t know liberation from the oppression of our maladies until we seek the glory that only comes from God. At least, I believe God is saying, Lisa Anne…this truth is for you.
Maybe you too.
The Book of John is a powerful book, a great read if you want to be closer to Jesus.
I have an unfulfilled desire to be a swimmer, strong and freeing I long to be the one swimming laps at end of the day in our pool.
I long to be a singer too, one of those people with no concern over those around me or before me, just belting out a lyric from the bottom of my belly and resting my hand at my heart as I am fulfilled in the joy from within.
I’ve heard both are possible, with training and time and I tell myself it’s surely a crazy desire, Lisa Anne.
Clearly, you have more than enough on your plate! I’ll stick with art and words for now, come June I may try swimming again. I will.
Two things are pending, waiting for me to take a grand plunge and with time and training get them just right this time.
I won’t grow if I don’t continue to try. This one thing I do know.
I am the most ill equipped marketer when it comes to marketing me.
I’m embarrassed to ask for help and I get all bent out of shape when I believe people can’t believe I cannot figure it out on my own.
This is my perception.
When it comes to confidence in myself in this area I have none.
But, I am committed to trying.
I will update my blog today or tomorrow, keep my name on the front end, the uncomfortable place that says find her, read her words, and I’m adding a Sunday evening newsletter to all who want to hear my thoughts at end of the day, the end of a week. I know what I want to call it and I feel God leading me to what he wants me to say.
I may change my confidence, it may not say “quiet” or “confidence” at all.
I just need to continue. It may say continue.
I’ve deleted my art page. It had only three followers 😊 and I’ll incorporate hopefully a more professional look with links to connect interested buyers.
Yes, today I will begin, hopefully be complete by tomorrow.
I get confused over confidence the more I travel this writing and painting road. I make it bigger than it is, the challenge of trying and then following where God wants it to go.
Look it up, the dictionary says confidence depends on ourselves.
That can’t be so.
If it’s all me it becomes either reward or rejection and it goes back to being all about me, chubby little brown haired girl longing to be noticed.
I love the words to this song that keeps circling back to find me:
Thomas asked Jesus where on earth they were going and how can we get there if I don’t know the way and Jesus answered saying stay with me, go with me, I’ll show you.
I am the way, the truth,
the life. John 14: 6
Last week one gentleman told me he was proud of me for “stepping out” and that our paths may cross again. He’s a retired magazine publicist.
Another who was formerly my boss; but, always my friend listened as I shared my current “leaps of faith” and later ended his kind note with “I admire your faith.”
Both of them I sat with and shared my coming changes, my uncertainty of what will be and my peace that I am choosing rightly, to move into a new season and allow God to develop the rest of my story.
Be patient til your wings are grown. St. Francis de Sauls
Kate Motaung and Shannon Popkin have responded to the question agonized over by me and other writers hoping to gain an audience, hoping for eventual publication.
Their new book is an important one for naive and introverted women like me, ones who are known to be quiet.
Influence, Building a Platform that Elevates Jesus, Not Me
How to navigate the work of making yourself known so that others will know what you know of Jesus.
Some time ago I was on the launch team for Kate’s Book, A Place to Land, a Story of Longing and Belonging.
I knew of Kate because I participated in her 5 minute Friday link-ups as a way to conjure up words for writing and deep down inside, hope somebody, just anybody might notice me, my words.
Occasionally they did and occasionally they still do.
I’m not really the “community” type one, I keep to myself. I’m known for saying I am so tired of “peopling”.
I am believing this will be different in my new season people.
I have continued to read Kate’s work, posts and the helpful encouragement in my mailbox. She responds to my questions about writing. She responds so promptly! (Something I personally love)
I’ve gone from yearning to have a writing life similar to hers (sorry, Kate, for a little bit, I was jealous) to believing her advice and seeing I can have a writing life of my own.
Kate Motaung has influenced me.
But, back to the question over putting myself out there or just cowering in my corner hoping somehow some reader might stumble upon me, my words and pronounce me worthy of reading…
This is the imprint of my childhood. Do not ask for anything, pretend you can do life without attention or recognition, don’t seek to be noticed or noteworthy.
In a time when we are inundated with attention seekers, social media places becoming outlets and a grasping for just one other person to know, there’s new pressure of deciding to stay quiet, to stay in “our own lanes”, at least I feel it is so.
I am learning slowly, the best way, not everyone cares about what I say.
And that is okay.
Some do and tell you so, adding comments like “please don’t stop, you’re the first thing I read everyday!”.
But, the curious, voyeur-type readers of my instagram or my blog who scope me out and quietly slink away…
These are the ones that hinder me.
That cause me to question my goals.
These are the ones that read and I imagine are saying, “Why does she think she is supposed to write this way or who is she to think she has something important for others to know?”
I’m afraid these are people by whom I am personally known.
Is it this way for others? I wonder.
They’re probably just busy; but my little girl unnoticed feels insignificant so often, the imprint of insignificance trying to hold on.
Less often and increasingly so, I have readers leave comments or people who say “I needed that.” or “How did you know?”
They thank me for being brave, honest, for saying and writing about a pain they may have known or know.
These readers encourage me to continue, to grow.
To grow in ways like joining Hope*Writers, being brave enough to be with others.
To believe the words God gives me from my experiences and my perspective are mine and mine alone; but, they are words someone else may need.
That someone might have a similar heartache, a breakthrough type epiphany on grace or even may find a new way to connect with Jesus through my interpretation of a parable or passage something to which we both relate.
Kate wrote of her mother’s death.
She and I have a similar story although vastly different.
My mother passed away nine years ago yesterday. I was in a fairly new position and living two hours away. Kate was in another country, airline flights away. We both set other things aside to be with our mamas.
Gut wrenching and emergent interrupted days, we held onto the time we had left even though our hearts longed for more. For me, at least, I always longed for and thought there would be more.
I treasure our bonding through her words, her description of the drawing of her heart to be beside her mother, the angst over not being able to be constantly near and the utter helplessness and surrender to our lack of control.
The realization of this lack when I had returned home too early and I got “the call”.
Others may have read Kate’s story and gained so much more or been impacted in a different way.
That’s the power of our stories.
Today, I am trying to lean in to where God wants my writing to go.
The balance between letting go and continuing are much like my battle of being known and staying in my place.
Much like stepping out to wait.
I know that if I continue I won’t even look the same because my heart will be open to where God takes me, the story He is developing no longer hidden.
I’ll be different, I’ll be the me that God has always seen, has kept purposely through so much trauma and self-destructive “dis” grace.
My note to self of late?
Continue and Believe. me
A good starting place for a newsletter or a book title, I perceive.
For now it’s for stepping forward to see what God has for me to share and to increase my believing so that others will believe.
This, I believe, is what God means by influence.
I’m linking my thoughts up with others on this topic of thoughts and childhood labels and hindrances to pursuing platforms so that our writing voice might grow.
Yesterday, I told someone something in a way that only slightly conveyed the real thing I tried to say.
I told her that I believed it is impossible to imagine what my life might be if I began to believe only in possibility.
We paused and our quiet faces wondered, how on earth do we do this, how do we not stray or get swayed by criticism, cynicism or just the crazy negative noise of our hectic days?
I looked into my precious cousin’s face and I answered that I’d walk with imaginary blinders on both sides of my face.
I’d need to stare intently at the tiniest of light, like the dot of a pin off in the distance, move forward with intention towards hope, off quite a ways.
Avoid the garish glare and naysay of others and other things on my way.
She listened and I gazed past her and through the little tables lining the restaurant. I looked out onto the busy bustling downtown lunchtime street. People passing by, others stopping to speak, I thought of me a year from today, will I be changed by possibility, a soft contrast of me today?
Would my face be lit by possibility, will I carry my hopes in a more confident frame?
Some things I think, must be pursued in a solitary way.
I told her I was certain my life would be different if I became unafraid of possibility and if I just continued towards the tiny light growing brighter as I near.
I would be different if I believed in possibility, if possibility was seen as an option for me.
I think we rarely really live this way.
Pursuing possibility in a peaceful way, a waiting way.
A know as I go quite certain with God kind of way to what God has to show me.
“Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.”
Hebrews 11:1 NLT
Whether it be work or money or art or writing or relationships, I am saying to me:
Do nothing out of desperation.
We continued talking about our longing to be hopeful after life has given us so many reasons to be afraid, to be so silly and naive to think we should be hopeful only to have past experiences slap us back to reality as if to say, “Hope’s not for you, surely, you should’ve known.”
The plot can shift though, we decided, the story line is our story line and we can change the paragraphs and flow.
We can surprise ourselves, readers of our own books by creating a different ending, we can believe in the hopeful development of our life stories.
Believing can come natural, just as naturally as we regularly disbelieve.
If we don’t allow fear to destroy our stories.
How different I would be, we all would be, if we took leaps of faith, if we walked on whatever represents deep waters towards the light that is meant to illuminate our days.
To bring clarity to God’s ways.
God, help me to be an example of someone who has faith.
I wear a bracelet with a charm that encases a mustard seed in a little glass bubble.
A gift I purchased for me.
I need reminding. I need to continuously seek more understanding.
I need to allow my fingers to find and cling to it occasionally, my reminder of faith.
I’ve found a newness of a feeling.
It feels like a treasure, my new enthusiasm for understanding the kingdom of God here on earth and in heaven.
“The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure that a man discovered hidden in a field. In his excitement, he hid it again and sold everything he owned to get enough money to buy the field.”
Matthew 13:44 NLT
Understanding of God that both fulfills my deepest longings and increases with assurance what I believe.
I believe more than before that heaven is better than here. The great mystery of it all confounds me less and absolutely intrigues me more.
The disciples asked Jesus why he spoke in a way that included illustrations, parables?
Jesus told them it was important to him that they see.
Jesus feels the same about you and about me.
He’s intent on the increase of our understanding of him, of getting us as close to heavenly thinking as we can be.
If we only and simply even just a tiny bit in the beginning believe.
“Here is another illustration Jesus used: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed planted in a field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but it becomes the largest of garden plants; it grows into a tree, and birds come and make nests in its branches.”
Matthew 13:31-32 NLT
And then we allow our beliefs to grow, we anticipate heaven while we walk more closely to God here on earth.
I’m getting better at believing, believing in what I can’t see and in the fruition of my journey and the flourishing of my faith and the gifts of God in me.
Getting better at trusting that with quiet fascination and intentional nourishment, I will see my faith and the works of my hands continue to grow.
He’s not finished with me yet. Brandon Heath
Linking up with others who are prompted by “better”