We’ve all heard the advice, and many of us have shared it…
Know your limitations.
“No” is the most important word you’ll ever learn to use.
You can do anything but you can’t do everything.
I certainly have.
In fact, I’m really great at being lippy about all the things I will do and won’t do and how I will or won’t do them and how I will stand firm on my resolutions and such as and so forth.
But then, just recently, a real-life opportunity actually arose for me, and I was blinded. Stunned into forgetfulness. Stupefied by the option in front of me.
A wonderful church in my husband’s old stomping ground asked me to come and speak to them. Me! Silly ol’ Mrs. Gore, a stay-at-home nobody in tiny-town Oklahoma.
It was not my first request to speak to a group of women, but it was my first when I was not pregnant, nursing, hot flashing or insane.
In other words, this was one I could actually consider.
And, all of a sudden, in the face of this request, all of my lip service about maintaining my schedule and being content to devote my life to the homefront flew right out the window.
Granted, my immediate reaction was a resounding “NO WAY!”, but this was quickly followed by a nudge to at least pray about it.
And in the weeks that followed, my internal responses were all across the board….
I didn’t want to, not at all.
I wanted to, so much.
I didn’t want to for spiritual reasons.
I did want to for spiritual reasons.
I didn’t want to for sinful reasons.
I did want to for sinful reasons.
There were good things at play, for sure. I wanted to obey God in my decision, first and foremost. I wanted to help the Church, with a passion. I wanted to meet some of the precious readers who have so deeply encouraged me in my writing and in my personal life. I wanted to see some of the faces of sisters that I would be spending eternity with and know their names and hear their stories. Golly, I wanted to have a morning with grown-ups and free food!
But, as ever, in the nuanced heart of a sinful-but-God-loving woman, there were also intentions in motion that, even though I was feeling timid at the thought of public speaking after so many years away from the microphone, frightened me more than stage-fright ever could…
you, see, if I’m being honest, there is this deep and hidden part of me that still sometimes wants to see how far this ship will sail.
If I go, perhaps I can get more blog followers.
It will be good for my chances at publication if I have more “fans”.
And…they want to pay me??? I could make real money for my family without having to make granola??
Maybe I could make a career out of this. Who knows?! The sky’s the limit!
And the only thing that was clear in the face of all of these thoughts and questions is that I did not know what to do.
I so adore Augustine’s famous quotation: “Love God and do as you please”. But sometimes, our hearts are so complicated that we’re not even sure if we’re purely loving God, nor are we sure what would please us!
And so I prayed.
For weeks, I prayed.
And this very week, when I was still squirming from the indecisiveness of my decision, with one day left to give my answer, I used another great tool that God has given the Church and I sought advice from many trusted and God-fearing friends.
Well, God is faithful, and before the night was up, I had my answer.
This time? During this season in my life? I was going to need to decline.
There were many factors that contributed to my decision, but the words that truly sealed the deal actually came from an Ann Voskamp article that was sent to me by a dear friend (to read it, click here).
I clicked on the link, I began to read, and through the words and example of this far-away sister in the faith, all of the swirling and tumbling thoughts that I hadn’t even realized were captivating me began to subside, the fog of all of my hidden and unhidden motivations and desires cleared, and I was set free.
Not free from this church and the opportunity to speak to them – how I LONG, in the purest regions of my heart, to spend a morning with these sisters and talk to them about all the amazing things that God has done in my life!
But free from myself.
Free from my drive and ambition.
Free to be who God has made me to be during this season of my life.
Free to release the pressure of trying to build, trying to maintain, trying to fuel the machine of my own industry and creativity.
Free to rest in the sweet and joyful pursuit of the hearts that have been entrusted to me, for now…
And so I’ve learned something big this month: God is sovereign even over the possibilities.
How He grew me this month! I found Him in every step of this decision, illuminating aspirations in my heart that I thought were long ago mortified, tweaking my love for the Church, wooing my heart into even considering doing something out of my area of expertise for His glory, using the body to teach and advise me, but most importantly…
before the clock struck midnight on my deadline…
gifting me with a renewed contentment in my personal calling and a fresh purpose concerning what my life needs to be about.
Sometimes you forget how happy you are until something seemingly bigger and better comes ’round the bend. You wrestle with your heart in the dark for a bit, the haze finally lifts and you are reminded that it’s okay to choose the small stuff…
and you wake up the next morning feeling like you could fly.
Shout-out to First Baptist, Choctaw, for extending such a gracious invitation for me to come and speak (even after I told you I might be the worst public speaker ever), and for allowing God to work in my heart through this process. You have been an important part of my sanctification and there will always be a special place in my heart for you! As I told Daina, should I ever pursue the public speaking realm, you guys are at the top of the list. <3