Getting Up & Stepping Out
This past weekend, I went to Cannon Beach. I love being there. There’s something special about the fresh ocean air, the rhythm of the waves hitting the sand, the seagulls talking to one another, the pillar of Haystack Rock and the stillness of the morning… Not far from the worn path is a log I tell myself is mine and I look for it whenever I am there (which for the past few years has been about twice a year). And there on that log, I stop to breathe. I consider the size of that ocean, the smallness of me and I talk with Jesus.
That log is a sacred place for me to sit and communicate with my Savior.
But this time, I went out on Saturday morning prepared for my familiar quiet time and that old log was still soaking damp from the night before. Even the sand was wet. Disappointed, I went for a walk instead. And that walk felt sacred, too.
Sometimes in our faith journeys, it’s time to sit. And at other times, it’s time to walk.
A couple years ago, I purposed in my heart to start writing. And when we moved from Othello last year, I wanted to pursue what God had put on my heart. But going to a coffee shop, finding a dark corner and writing a few hundred words every week (from the privacy of your personal computer) is one thing. Starting a book journey and sharing personal thoughts on a blog is totally another. The very idea brought up a whole hot mess of mixed feelings.
The truth is, my natural tendency when faced with stepping out in something is to obsess over my fears, insecurities, faults and if-onlys. I may or may not wallow in a bowl of Peanut Butter M&MS and some serious social media scroll or Netflix binge.
I give up and put my feet up.
Just the other day, I was going to post something encouraging on Facebook and then decided not to because I spent over an hour convincing myself my motives were wrong.
Over. an. hour.
Have you ever been there?
Have you ever felt led to do something but were so focused on yourself you felt frozen? Maybe you had thoughts like me when I started considering writing stories to encourage others. Thoughts like:
“Uh oh. You’re putting yourself out there.”
“It’s just to get attention and likes, you narcissist.”
“You are too extra to do this.”
“If someone criticizes you, it’s going to hurt and that’s risky.”
“What are you going to say that matters? It’s all been done before.”
“The world is noisy enough as it is. Be still already.”
“There is nothing special about your voice. You’re not relevant.”
“You can’t write and also be good at x,y and z.”
“What will people say?”
I wish I could say I have this following Jesus stuff down. But… unchecked, my thought life is pretty ugly sometimes. Obsessing in my head- caught somewhere on a nowhere crazy train between pride and insecurity. I don’t know about you, but anytime I want to step out and do something- even something I believe God might be calling me to, I feel like I’m in a wrestling match... And I’m prone to default mode- pause, overthink everything and stay in the safe zone of do-nothingsville.
God has made me a wife. A mother. A daughter. A sister. A host mom. A friend… I love being all these things. But so often I have looked at what other people are doing with their things instead of looking at my Creator and asking Him what he wants me to do with what he has given me.
Honest confession? I have often pity partied about not being like someone else. Maybe someone else who looks like a supermodel, cooks like Martha Stewart, enjoys camping, has the clean fancy house, perfectly dressed kids or the husband who buys her expensive gifts.
Yet over the past few years, God has graciously been impressing on my heart to be thankful and joyful for who I am and what he’s given. It’s been a season of trusting his character and learning gratitude.
But I’m fleshy and prone to all sorts of pride, insecurity and comparison. So it’s a journey.
The struggle is real.
In August, I attended my first writers’ conference. During an agent panel, I asked a question about intentionally avoiding blogging or social media because it feels like self-promotion. The agent who answered said something along the lines of, “If you feel God has given you a gift or message to share with the world, why wouldn’t you want to share that message with as many people as possible? You need to remember: It’s not about you.”
I don’t know the answer to getting past “paralysis of analysis” -except to keep our eyes on our Savior. The author of Hebrews wrote, “let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith…” (Hebrews 12:1b-2a)
In other words, run your race.
There might always be someone who will question your motives, talk bad about you, or dislike you. I guess if you are doing it for the Lord, then what does it really matter? If your goal in doing something is to love God followed by loving people then you boldly run that path- even if the gutters of pride and insecurity and all sorts of other crap line each side of that road.
The other day, our 9 year-old son, Caleb, wanted to read the Bible out loud. He read from Matthew 5, Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men…” (Matthew 5:14-16a)
Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like God frequently uses my littles to remind me of his truth.
So today, I’m publicly launching this new blog. A blog for sharing a love for God. A love for people. A place to discuss what happens when dreams and reality collide. A place to talk about Jesus – Him before anyone else. A place to ponder what delighting in God is really all about. A place to just be real. Not a perfect place by a perfect person. But I hope, a safe place to come and be encouraged and challenged and know that you’re not alone.
On my walk along the shore the other day, I saw things I would have never seen had I stayed in my one spot. The haze was lifting, the ocean was closer, the beauty even more vivid as I walked nearer to the waves and the rock.
Let’s set our eyes on the rock and walk.
Walk, run, skip, jump. Whatever. Get up, girl.
Run your race and let your light shine.
If you go over to the “Favs” section and click on “YouTube videos worth watching” you’ll see a link for an 8 minute-ish video- that talks about running your race. Watch it if you have the time: It resonates so much with what I’m trying to say here! I cried while watching it.
Also, this blog looks fancy because of my amazing designer friend, Marcia, my talented photographer friend, Carina and some great advice from my tech-savvy friend, Tim. And to my friends, family and especially Ruby, Lieke and Brian who keep reminding me of what matters… Thank you all so so much!!!