Welcome to Week Two of our study of the book Anything by Jennie Allen. If you haven’t ordered it yet, you can snag your copy here or at any bookstore near you. A full outline of how we will be breaking this book down can be found here. Much like the study we did of Fervent, I’ll simply be posting all of the hard truths that God shows me throughout this study. Can’t wait to walk this journey of faith with you!
For as long as I can remember, I have been a people pleaser.
A yes woman. I don’t like to disappoint people. If that means that I say yes to all of the things, all of the time, then so be it. As long as everyone sees me working hard and not letting anyone down, I’m good to go.
I’m also flat exhausted.
People pleasing is taxing, guys. It will wear you down and run you ragged. Between loving my husband well and raising my littles to be God-fearing men who love the Lord something fierce and running a business, there’s very little of me left at the end of the day. Typically, there is very little of me left by lunch time. We are all fighting this battle. Some of us naively refuse to admit it. We put on a happy face for social media…for friends…for employees or coworkers…for family…acting and seeming like everything in our world is perfect.
When in fact, it’s crumbling around us and we haven’t the slightest idea how to hold the walls up.
About this time last year, I had a total and complete breakdown.
Between work, school (at the time), slowly discovering that our oldest has some special needs that we weren’t entirely aware of, a rocky marriage and a slew of unhealthy relationships surrounding me, I had abandoned God and was putting on a front that my life was all amazing. I finally just hit a wall and threw my hands up. Tired of living that lie. Tired of pretending. I came out about my long time struggle with depression and made a vow to never again live a life that led people to think that my life was perfect.
There are no words for what a relief that was. To get to the point where the weight of pretending your world isn’t a hot mess isn’t on your shoulders.
That’s not saying that I share every single detail of my life here for everyone and their brother to stumble upon. Heck no. That borders on foolish and I have two kids and a husband whose privacy I respect.
However, that doesn’t mean that I need to spend all day every single day putting up only the happiest photos on Instagram and never admitting that I’m flawed. Because, y’all. We are all flawed.
I don’t find it ironic that as I type this on a Sunday night (because these posts always turn out best when I wait until the night before publishing so my heart has time to think about what I’ve read) we spent the entire church service today talking about Spiritual Gifts. I have known for many years now that my spiritual gift is writing. I know I am not the best at it, but words are my love language. It’s something that I’m told by many I do well and I’ve had the opportunity to have some writing published online and in publications. But guys…it scares the ever-loving daylights out of me.
I was no different from Jonah running from God’s clear call to share him with Nineveh. I was not going. I’m thankful he didn’t have me eaten by a whale. I did wonder sometimes, when I closed my eyes and let it get scary quiet, if I was missing the best things, the things that matter most because I was afraid (p. 39).
I struggle with this every single day. I wonder every single day if I’m not just wasting the gift that God gave me because I’m terrified. I know in my heart that nothing would bring me more joy (aside from the obvious like my family) than spending my days writing and having the opportunity to travel and speak and tell others about this amazing God that we serve and all that he has done for me (In fact, Jennie Allen if you ever stumble over here and read this…long term goal is to have the chance to speak at IF:Gathering. Just an FYI…). But there is something so scary about vulnerability. There is something utterly horrific about this thing called vulnerability. Opening up, sharing the raw parts of who we are and the mess that lives inside of us, it’s bigger to us…scarier to us…than following in the steps of Jesus Christ and obeying the one true God.Opening up is scarier to us than obeying the one true God. Click To Tweet
I think one of the most powerful chapters in this whole book is Chapter Five. I have read this book three times now already and every single time I come to this part of the book, I feel convicted. I feel God tugging at my heart and forcing me to look inward at the person that I am verses the person that I want to be. If you are reading along, I encourage you to read slowly through this chapter. Really let these words resonate. Because, if you are anything like me, they’ll hit you hard.
Money and a good latte protect us from a lot of things. It is too easy in the country for blessings to become rights, for stuff and money to become what calls the shots in our lives. And before we know it, God’s gifts have replaced God himself.
There is nothing more disheartening to me than to see someone put money and stuff above people and relationships. I look around at our world, how far we’ve fallen, the materialism that builds around us, the entitlement filtering rapidly through our nation and my heart jerks at the idea of living a life that way. Yet, I have to force myself way more often than I would like to admit to step back, reanalyze and recenter. The things and the money and the piles of crap that we allow to rule our lives and rule our hearts are the very things that are pushing God out. Taking our eyes off of him and putting them on those things are the things holding us back from living a fulfilled life.
One that may not necessarily look like we want it to look. Heaven knows I never expected to be doing what I’m doing right now. I never expected to be raising two kids living in North Carolina and just waiting on the day that we are told it’s time to pack up and move again. I never expected to be running my own business. I had other plans…bigger plans (in my mind) than what I have right now. But, it’s these “unseen” and “unexpected” things that were placed in my path that have brought me the most joy.
I can’t help but wonder, what else might God have planned if only I surrender wholly to him instead of limiting his opportunities to bless me?
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