Sunday, June 14, 2015

What if We Were the Voices?

Consider that.

What if we were the voices?

I think back on my life, even just the past few years, & oh, those voices. Those significant voices that may not have had any idea the weight of what they were saying. Or maybe they did, & they were brave & loving & willing to be the hands, feet & voice of Jesus in another's life. Unafraid of the transformation that might occur.

A speaker I heard once said about guys ... that they will become whatever you call them. That if you choose to speak blessing over them, they will rise up to the challenge. They will want to be the man you say you see them as.

I don't think it's just true for men.

I know it isn't.

It may not always be accurate, but, oh, what if it is?

Do we realize the possible impact our words could have on any given person? What if your condescending voice was the one that stood out in the crowd & turned into a landmark of shame in a person's life? Do we comprehend the responsibility that is ours as believers? We have such opportunity for impact. We must steward it.

What if we were the voices that souls remember as leading them out of darkness? As inspiring them to dream of greater things?

I have been blessed.

I have had so many voices in my life.

How am I stewarding the wealth of blessing that has been bestowed upon me? What can I be doing with my sphere of influence?

I could be the voice.

I think of those that I remember ... the ones I see as plainly foundational to my life. Even if they were a little silly sounding.

My father, who commented on my piano fingers, & takes me with him to prayer meetings. Who always errs on the side of over-estimating me.

My mama, who has been speaking blessing over my ministry for years, before it even was the sprout it is now. Who always dared me to shoot for the big things I thought were unattainable.

The friend who saved the first chapter of a failed fiction novel I had tried to write when I was so small & full of stories of castles. She told me she was saving it for whenever I became a famous writer, because she knew it would be worth something. She didn't think my writing was worthless. How small those words were, but oh, how they have stuck with me.

The one who always reminds me of how the children flocked to me in the Dominican Republic, & tells me that she believes I can do whatever I set my mind to, & it's going to have an impact. That she knows I can get through this & do this big thing, but she loves me even if my path goes elsewhere.

The librarian who thought I would be great at her job.

The women's ministry leader that entrusted her group to me for one evening.

That whole group ... how they welcomed in their youngest member ever, I'm sure, with open arms. Invited me back. Adopted me, but as an equal. How crazy is that?

That pastor's wife who always nudges me when she thinks I need to speak up already. She always stands as a reminder that there are people who are for me & believe in me.

The mamas of the littles I watch. They trust their babies into my care & they lavish love on me. They inspire me & lift me up. They take such good care of this heart that's been placed in their midst.

Then there's this one woman who speaks nothing but big things over me when I feel so small. Dared me to pick up a guitar when my hands were feeble & fragile ... not to mention pain-filled. There is blessing in her eyes whenever she looks at me.

Those people who still say they want to see me whenever I get on a stage.

The one who dares think I'll be Speaking from it.

So many voices, so many ...

& they've stuck with me for years. These are the voices I remember when I feel I can't go on. When I'm struggling, I am reminded of my sister who said, "You can do it. I know you can." These people saw something in me that I didn't see, & they spoke into it. They blessed it. They believed in it. They believed in me. Relentlessly. & I am forever changed. Some of those voices led me down paths I wouldn't have tread otherwise.

What if we decided to be those voices? To speak light whenever we see the faintest glimmer. Let's no longer be the ones who tell others what is impossible. Let's remind them how far they've come already. Let's dare them to press on. Let's remind them of what beauty we see in their souls.

One word could have the power to change a life. So let's make our words ones of blessing.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Small One

(photo by Caleb Hart)

I'd be understating if I didn't say ... I'm a little bit undone right now.

Maybe it's still an understatement.

Forgive me, but I must speak. How could one contain such a thing?

As you might have read in my last post, I've been doing a lot of self-exploration.

I realized recently that if I don't know who I am, I probably won't be able to grow very much. I need to be self-aware, but even more so aware of who I am in Christ.

I oscillate between extremes, & I have to admit, the idea of following these trains of thought scared me. They made me freeze with fear & eventually turn passive. I guess you could say that, knowing what I knew of myself & my nature, I didn't want to know more. I feared either being crushed by the weight of my sin & shame, or choosing pride instead. The former tends to be my response. Shame. Shame everywhere. I paint my walls with shame, & I would probably tattoo shame all over myself if that was my thing. I drink shame smoothies for breakfast.

You get the picture.

I'm not exactly Miss Confidence. But I try to be. & then am ashamed of That. Ugh. Vicious cycles, vicious cycles.

There are some who know this about me, & they've spoken Love so much over me that it has become another voice in my head, competing with the lies Satan feeds me, & the lies I feed myself.

In the midst of my sin, they would drown out the darkness, aware of the goriest details of who I am, & hush me with words like, "you are loved."
To which I respond, "But, you have no idea, I've ruined everything & I keep on falling down, & --"
"You are loved."

Sometimes I don't want to listen. Sometimes it hurts to listen.
Sometimes I am so grace-deficient that my ability to receive is just broken, & I doubt that I could ever believe such things.

She told me I was strong. Strong with a capital "S," even.

Silly one, have you seen me? I'd have thought it was a joke, but I know her too well for that.

She would repeat, every time I was faced with obstacles, doubts, fears, or such things, "you are So big."

I laughed, feeling at times that she was encouraging me in potty training, & at times, feeling like she was lying ... like I was a tot in my mama's high heels.

It felt wrong.

It felt so contrary to everything I had ever felt or told myself.

I am the youngest. In my family. I was the youngest in my grade. Most of my friends are older than me. Most people have done bigger things than me.

I feel small, all the time.

Like I could never fill the shoes set before me.

So I always duck beneath gazes & look for smaller, more realistic shoes.

I avoid talking to people for long if I think they're too "big" to want me around. I hate to impose on their precious time. They deserve better.

That's just how I think. I get passive at times, forgetting to pray, because what good can anything from such a wee one be? I panic when asked to speak up. I may make myself seem big on paper, but the me in my mind is very, very small.

So these words didn't exactly hit home.

I had elevated my lies to a platform disguised as truth, & told myself that it was a part of me decreasing, so Jesus could increase.

Let me let you in on a secret that I recently learned:

HUMILITY LOOKS NOTHING LIKE THAT.

I minimized the power birthed within me by the Spirit when I benched myself, time & time again, when I should have been fighting.

My friend told me that I segregated His power outside of myself ... that I would never realize how massive I am until I allowed for the unity of Spirit & self.

I got a little upset.

Because my heart felt the truth of that, while at the same time, my entire being rejected it. I told her as much.

So she was kind & Pounded It Into My Brain.

Every other day or so.

"You are so Strong. You've got this."

"You are so big."

"You are massive."

Until I nigh went insane.

She persisted in love anyway.

& then Sunday happened. &, my brain being in tune to the "you are strong" wavelength, the pastor completely had my attention at, "in Jesus, you are stronger than you realize."

Um, have you been spying on our text conversations? Crazy. The Holy Spirit freaks me out when He does stuff like that sometimes.

The sermon was on Jesus' temptation.

I had fallen into an old sin & temptation habit in the past weeks, & basically every word that was preached, I so needed. It was uncanny. I cried, because that's what I do.

It made perfect sense.

What a field day the devil had been having with me.

I let all the stress, busyness, trials, & frustrations make me panicked, & then the fear led to my passivity ... Trying not to feel, & eventually becoming so good at it (for a bit) that I completely failed to actively respond when a battle raged. & found myself bleeding in the trenches. Again & again. & I kind of fell apart. I was horrified. & ashamed. I couldn't believe I had let that happen, yet was still blind as to why it had.

I fell because I was so blind. I didn't see myself as big enough to stand up, so I sat back down. I didn't think I was strong enough to win the battle, so I lost. I took the blows in a battle already won on the cross, instead of just releasing it to Jesus.

It is not my job to wrestle down every temptation, every shame, every demon.

It is my responsibility to dismiss them, & let them pass into the grace won for me on the cross.

I am free. It's time I stepped out of the prison.

I  have been redeemed. It's time I shook off the shame.

I have a new name. It's time I claimed it.

I have a new identity. It's time I walked in it.

I have the power of the Spirit invested in my very heart. It's time I released control to Him, & in that power, stepped up as the warrior I am.

I am filled with my Lord's love & His Spirit.

& in Him ...

I  am So big.