Welcome to Week One 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!
I don’t like surprises. At all. I am a plan everything out kind of person. I keep more than one planner and I like to know what’s going on before it happens. The unknown and the unexpected leave me feeling anxious and panicky.
You could probably guess then that big acts of faith are a struggle for me.
Big steps scare me. Moving with the military as many times as we have, still scares me. I don’t like unknown. I don’t like to be in new places with people who aren’t in my “bubble.” I don’t trust people very easily. I’ve been burned so many times and vulnerability scares me. I have less than a full handful of people who know me for me and even that terrifies me sometimes.
I hate that there is still so much of who I am that is uncomfortable with my identity and who I am. In truth, I’m most comfortable here behind a screen typing out truth verses entertaining it and acting it in person. It’s easy for me to put truth into words, but dealing with people in the flesh makes me really socially awkward.
I was never uber-popular in school. I was always relatively average. I think a part of me competed and did so well in beauty pageants when I was younger because that was a “best foot forward” type thing. It’s easy to be someone else and display all kinds of confidence in a setting where you don’t really know the people that you’re talking to. Like here…online…I will most likely never meet most of you. It’s simple for me to talk and open up because I will most likely never make eye to eye contact with you.
We don’t like uncomfortable. We don’t like vulnerability.
I’m having to learn, slowly but surely, that God demands vulnerability if we are ever going to walk within his will. He doesn’t want our timidity. He doesn’t want us to be hesitant or afraid or unwilling to step forward in faith and go where he tells us to go.
I fear judgement.
I’ve opened up to people in the past and felt the weight of their judgment come crashing down around me. It’s one thing to encourage and uplift, but judgement is something totally different.
The places that hold grace should be the safest places to unveil our humanity. But they usually aren’t (p. 27).
As sad and unfortunate as it is, there is so much truth in that statement. Some of the most painful experiences in my life came from within the walls of a church…from a place where people were supposed to love me for my mistakes and encourage me despite my sin. Instead, some of the things in my life that I wasn’t proud of brought about wreckage and contempt for “christianity” that I am still working to overcome.
I’m learning, though, that grace doesn’t come from other people any more than my identity does. Grace is found only in Christ. He’s the only one who can offer grace…offer forgiveness…and offer freedom from the past that sometimes still feels like it’s suffocating me.
As I learn more and more about who the real Jesus is…not the mini-series version or the paperback version we stick to the felt board in a children’s Sunday School class…but the real, sinner-loving, miracle working Jesus who was nailed to a tree, the more I realize that I am always right where I need to be when I’m within His presence. When I’m running toward him rather than running from him out of fear of judgement, I feel freedom.
I feel weightless.
I feel like I’m right where I’m supposed to be. And that feeling of freedom is what leads me further down these roads of uncertainty and leave me certain that no matter what comes up…no matter what happens….I’m going to be ok.
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