For my entire life I have allowed a certain lie to live in my heart unquestioned, unchallenged.
The lie has had an easy existence, and it has dictated the way that I live my life: The entire way that I exist and move in this world.
This lie has actually crippled me in the midst of my pursuit of life and my obedience to God’s nudges and urging in my ministry. It has manipulated my decisions, influencing my “yeses” and “no’s”. I filter all of my moves through the lens of this lie.
The lie states this: My role is one of silence, working behind the scenes, being unnoticed and relatively invisible. My existence is offensive, so it is necessary that I become invisible.
To a certain extent, miraculously and beautifully, God has worked with me to help me move past the root of this lie. This lie is rooted in the belief that I am evil, that my existence is a mistake, and that I should not be a part of this world.
Through the power and direction of the Spirit and though my ever-loving community, I have made vast strides beyond this core belief. As I have experienced the overwhelming love and embrace of God, have fallen in love, built relationships with God and with my loved ones, and seen the evidence of the goodness of God at work through my life, I have come to see that I am valuable, loved, and that God me in His image, for goodness and beauty.
A piece of the lie has relentlessly maintained its attachment to my soul in the midst of all the revelations about myself and my value based on the love of God. It’s almost like God has been teaching me to garden the soil of my soul, uprooting the weeds of lies from the garden of my mind and heart. Though I thought that we pulled the entire weed-lie, a piece of one of the roots maintained it’s grip on the soil of my mind. As I found myself propelled into some intense soul-searching last week, the Lord revealed the remnants of this stubborn little weed-root.
For a few years, God has been speaking through others and during my own personal heart-journey. He has been preparing my heart and mind for a larger scope of ministry. Unfortunately for my remaining lie-root, this ministry appears to be rather public: This is the scariest part of it. It involves speaking: In front of lots of people.
I am not the only one receiving these visions of large-scale ministry. Others have spoken them over me. Many have prayed them over me. Internally, I have wiggled, squirmed, and ducked, questioned and denied, bargained and doubted.
My response usually looks something like this: Not me. I’m not meant to be seen or heard. My voice is worthless. Surely, these people don’t know what they are talking about. No one wants to hear me speak.
As the call has continued and grown, I have softened to the idea. Yet I have postponed: Okay, so this is potentially in my future. But not right now.
I have kicked the can of public ministry further and further down the road.
There’s that nagging call to write a book: That my story is one that needs to be told, my sufferings are mine so that God might be glorified through me and my story.
Next year. Not yet. My brain is scrambled alphabet soup. I can’t come up with an entire book’s worth of material, and if I can, I certainly cannot organize it into something that people can actually take in, swallow, and digest. Maybe I will wait until my healing miracle comes. I just can’t muster up the energy to do this yet.
I hide behind my illness. I hide behind my children and motherhood. I hide behind the labels that others have placed on me. I hide behind the labels I have placed on myself. I hide behind my husband. I hide behind others whom I assess have greater words, wisdom, and creative talent than myself. But in reality, when I am on my knees in the presence of God, I see that the lie dictates my delay.
If I am allowing a lie to dictate my decisions, then I am not living into the fullness of whom God created me to be.
So here I stand, declaring that I will no longer allow the lie of insecurity and self-hate dictate how, when, and where I use my voice.
A few months ago, I experienced a bizarre sensation that seemed to be a hollow tennis-ball in my throat. As I presented it to the Lord and asked that God would illuminate the source of this sensation, it became clear that the ball was my voice, and God was summoning me to use it in a way that I had never before allowed myself. My voice was trapped at the edge of release, and it was time that I allow it to emerge from the shadows.
One cloudy, cool evening in early September, the kids and Jordan were at church. I was home alone, pounding my electric piano keys, singing my heart out, and processing the loss of an individual who had been influential in speaking life into my dream of becoming a worshipper through song-writing, voice, and instrument. As I sat at the piano and played and sang Ascend the Hill’s remix of the old hymn “Oh Love that Will not Let Me Go” in my empty house, I felt the tennis ball emerge from my throat. With tears mixed with grief and joy streaming down my cheeks, I sang with a power, conviction, clarity, and authority that I have never before reached in my experience of singing. It was as though my voice was released, and I was freed to communicate, sing, write, and live with a new freedom that I had ever before experienced.
I experienced that freedom on that singular occasion, and it has yet to emerge to that degree again, but I believe that my new level of ministry is in its birthing stages. My responsibility, in light of this high calling, is to continue to allow the Holy Spirit to garden the soil of my heart and mind.
When we begin to live into God’s vision for our life, we must be actively on guard against the lies that threaten to sabotage the trajectory of our God-given calling.
The lie that I grew to claim as my personal anthem was this: I have no right to speak. I have no place in the spotlight. I have nothing to give the world. I must be as silent and invisible as humanly possible.
God is calling me to live into the opposite of these lies: God says, “I have called to you be a voice of truth, to tell your story with boldness, not to shy away from the spotlight, but to follow Me obediently where I will lead you, to the spotlight or the background, for your story is one of power, healing, freedom, and transformation. Your story is one that will change lives, and it begs to be shared. So get ready.”
For months, I have felt the Spirit’s preparatory work in my body, mind, and spirit, as though I am at the beach, watching the waters draw back as they sometimes do before a tidal wave surges to shore. I feel the waters receding, and I feel the undercurrent tug of the Spirit, drawing forcefully massive quantities of water, or souls that are inclined toward the Holy One, preparing for a magnificent downpour of the Divine onto the thirsty souls of the masses.
And I’m ready. The lies will no longer hold me back. The enemy will no longer cripple me with unquestioned untruths. It’s not about me, anyway. It’s about God working through the lives and speaking through the mouths of those who love Him, who trust Him, and who are hungry for the Kingdom on earth as it is in Heaven. I’m a part of a larger whole: The expanding Kingdom of God on this earth.
I don’t know what it looks like, this calling: It is too great for me to grasp, but isn’t that how God works? He took an insecure stutterer and saved His chosen people through his leadership. He took a guy with an inclination toward drink and a fiery temper to prepare an ark of salvation. He chose a lady who laughed rather than believed the voice of God to be the mother of His chose people. He took a young girl, still a child, to be the earthly mother of God incarnate. He took an impulsive disciple who rarely thought before he acted to be the rock on which He built His church. And that’s only a tiny sample of a larger band of underqualified misfits: The cloud of witnesses.
God calls the unlikely: That’s absolutely me. I’m physically sick, a three-time suicide attempt survivor, with a history of mental illness, trauma, and self-destruction, who still struggles to trust a God who has been infinitely faithful her entire life. I am the one who, if not for the grace of God, would be long dead and cold in the ground.
God uses the unlikely: Because of faith. Because faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen (Hebrews 11:4).
And even the weakest of us can have this kind of faith. Some might say that the weakest of us have greater access to this kind of faith because we know the truth: We cannot do it on our own. We are too weak. This is the downward mobility on which the Kingdom of God runs.
We are in good company, as Hebrews 12, pointing back to the lineup of the faithful cloud of witnesses says:
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin that so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising its shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2)
He’s the author and perfecter of our faith. So He gives us the faith, and He perfects it in us.
Faith is showing up.
And then it is surrender.
Show up and surrender.
I think I can do that. Can you? Let’s go! The tidal wave is coming.