Love > fear
Whoa- it’s already almost mid-September.
This is my first blog post since the end of June.
And I gotta tell you, this summer went by fast and was one for the memory books.
It was rich with time spent as a family, meaningful trips and staycations, pleasant weather, and a (mostly joyful) day-to-day chaos that is the heartbeat of our home.
It was intentional, precious time.
Also during these summer weeks, I have been praying for direction. I spent hours brainstorming podcast ideas, preparing materials, processing out loud with my husband, and creating a work schedule.
August was going to be my month of getting a podcast off the ground and a book proposal revamped but it became more like a month of school year preparations followed by a whole lot of mental gymnastics.
Mental gymnastics like guilt, procrastination, insecurity, pride and fear.
Guilt and procrastination.
If I say I’m going to do something I want to do it. I said I would have emails out during July and August. I said I would probably have a podcast started up by the end of August. But I didn’t send emails out and I didn’t get a podcast started by the end of August. And for that, I’m sorry. But it turns out guilt is a pretty terrible motivator except when it comes to procrastination. Guilt just motivated me to stay stagnant.
because a podcast? Who do I think I am? Am I just trying to make a name for myself? There’s already lots of podcasts out there- why even bother?
because what if I try something and it fails? What if everyone knows I’m a failure?
because what if my project succeeds and people I don’t know actually listen and judge me? Do I want that? Fear because what if I say the wrong thing? Fear because my business cards now say “Writer. Speaker. Podcaster” and what if someone finds out I’m just this middle-aged girl who doesn’t know what she’s doing?
All of these things swirled in my head all summer. I kept telling God I wanted to use the gifts He’s given, kept chipping away at the work I felt compelled to do, but honestly, it was hard silencing all the noise in my head.
And I wondered, “God, is this really something I should pursue? I mean, I just don’t feel settled about this. I don’t know what to do.”
And sometimes that unsettled feeling is a pause button. And for me, these past couple months have definitely provided pause and margin that I needed with my family.
But mental gymnastics created with feelings of guilt, procrastination, insecurity, pride and fear?
Yeah, probably not the voice of God.
You know how we can know that? Because the fruit of the Spirit (or the nourishment that comes from God) is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5). The command not to fear is one of the most prevalent in all Scripture.
God’s voice never sounds like confusion or despair.
So knowing that, I’ve reminded myself over and over again that stepping out in this project is just an offering to God and even if it encourages just one person, it will be worth it. I’ve told myself it’s not about me and I can just get over myself already.
But yeah, per usual, it’s been a struggle.
Praying. Trying to stay in the moment with my family. And fighting off the mental obstacles that I shouldn’t be doing this podcast project and the whole thing is pointless and…
Then Friday evening happened.
I put on a grubby outfit including oversized sweatpants, glasses, and the stained faux UGGs I love so much. Our kids piled into the minivan that’s on the verge of littering whenever we open the doors. We drove into town with two vehicles because we had another exchange student visiting and we couldn’t all fit in the van. We were going to an end-of-the-summer outdoor movie night in the park and it was just going to be a relaxing evening- the kind of thing where you come as you are and hopefully don’t see anyone you’re trying to impress.
God has a sense of humor.
That evening, I ran into a young woman I photographed seven years ago. When I photographed her back when she was in high school, she wasn’t a Christian. In fact, I personally, never talked with her about my faith. But during college, she found Jesus Christ and is now passionate about sharing what He’s done in her life.
She was absolutely radiant.
I asked her if I could share her story via my podcast.
And she said yes.
And I may have looked to heaven later and said, “You’ve got to be kidding me!”
I mean I don’t know what the chances are of running into someone you know who lives four hours away and just happens to be visiting your town, who happens to have a similar desire to share Jesus with others and is a direct answer to prayer…But that was a divine appointment.
And all I did was show up in my pajama pants, dirty minivan and with my loud, wonderful family, and God orchestrated the whole thing.
As one of my writer friends says, I didn’t have to try so hard.
Friends, there is a lot of hurt and suffering in this world.
Today, a friend reminded me of the orphan crisis.
This afternoon, news broke that a well-known and beloved Christian pastor killed himself.
Tonight, a friend posted that eighteen years ago 3,000 people were saying goodnight to their loved ones for the last time.
We don’t have to scroll very far, leave our streaming devices on for too long, or turn a channel more than once to recognize that there’s something urgent about this living thing.
We have the choice to live this life to the fullest and love as much as we can with whatever we have today.
Or we can allow things like guilt, insecurity, pride, procrastination and fear to consume us and keep us stagnant.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be stagnant in the things I want to do in love.
Maybe one day that looks like a podcast. Maybe another day it looks like coffee with a friend. Maybe it means making dinner, doing laundry, or texting someone who’s been on my mind.
Maybe we just need to be willing to show up, just as we are.
Sweatpants, dirty minivan and all… No matter how we show up, if we just show up… Maybe He takes care of the rest.
None of us know what tomorrow brings. But one day at a time…
We can say “get lost” to the crap that tries to entangle us and do the best we have with the time we’ve been given.
So that said, if I can figure out the last technology pieces of the puzzle, you’ll likely be seeing some podcasting happening soon. There will probably be the occasional blog post still. And if you’re on the list, there may be an email with details coming out soon as well.
One day at a time- moving past mental gymnastics- choosing to press forward in love.