If you read my last post and still want in, let’s do this.
I previously alluded to being “in hiding” this past year. Hiding is my fancy way of describing fear. It’s important that I start with this because I believe that for faith to grow, fear must be faced.
A year ago I stepped out of a role that I had filled for 10 years when I sold my online website Mom 4 Life. At the time, I looked forward to the change of pace. God had things on the horizon and as I began to see glimpses of His new plan unfolding, I longed to share my new discoveries and struggles through writing. However, the “platform” from which I used to share was no longer mine. I wanted to flush out my thoughts with words, but without readers to share them with, the purpose felt flat. Or was it more than that? I began to question: had my purpose been too tightly tied to “my platform” and “my readers”? Why the desire to share with others rather than just journal for myself? Perhaps it was all a fancy way of saying that I missed being on stage. Was it all pride? Self glorification? I felt conflicted. I wanted to bring God glory but perhaps that was getting muddled? I couldn’t be sure and because of that, I couldn’t move forward with writing for an audience. Doing something good for the wrong reasons felt worse than doing nothing at all. The deceiver manipulated eloquently. Fear crept in. I set down my pen and closed the book.
At the end of May, I began leading a small weekly bible study in my home. The study (Restless by Jennie Allen) focuses on the story of Joseph in the Old Testament and weaves in truths from his story into our own. We have been identifying our natural and spiritual gifts and discovering how our pain and suffering is all closely connected to the unique way that we are made to fit into God’s story. While examining the area of our gifts, we read about Eric Liddell who was born into the home of missionaries to the Chinese people in 1902. As explained by author Jennie Allen, “His story is retold in the epic film Chariots of Fire. Eric felt called to give his life to God and in that pursuit he trained and planned to become a missionary, like his parents. But Eric had a gift. He could run, and every door was opening for him to do it. Doors opened all the way to the Olympics. As the film portrays Eric processing his calling and his gifts with his sister, he said these famous words: “I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel his pleasure.”
We were then asked to identify when we feel God’s pleasure. I knew. It wasn’t in feeling my feet pound against the dirty road as it was for Eric, but rather feeling my fingers pound on the keys of my computer. Wrestling with words, crafting sentences, composing thoughts, that is when I feel His pleasure.
I was challenged to reflect on Joseph’s gift of leadership and dream interpretation and the generation of people who were saved because he submitted his gifts to be used for God’s glory, rather than hide them out of fear (Genesis 39). I needed to revisit the closed book. God gives us talents and gifts to use, not hide. I believe He wants us to use them to bring Him glory and in doing so we will feel His pleasure. Likewise, Satan (the deceiver) wants to distract us from the focus of God’s plan and convince us that we don’t have any genuine gifts to share or if we do, that we would be prideful to use them. Once we do begin using them he is right there to reason that the purpose of our gifts are to bring us glory. Satan’s lies created fear within me. Rather than taking that fear to God, I had allowed it to stop me from using my gift entirely. I shared my conflict with the ladies in our study and asked them to pray for me in this area and I asked God to make it clear if He wanted me to begin writing again. Specifically, I asked God to confirm His desire though a person I didn’t know. Within an hour of praying, I found a message waiting in my “other” folder on Facebook from a former customer and blog reader. She said, “Just writing a note to say I miss hearing about your family, life and faith. I really enjoyed your Mom 4 Life newsletters and emails. Do you write a blog now or keep people up to date on y’all? Praying you and your family are well.” I felt confident that God was asking me to begin writing my part in His story again. I had a hard time falling asleep that night.
I had a handful of posts swimming though my mind waiting to be written. I was feeling His pleasure. The next day I shared my plan to blog again with my Facebook friends and someone commented, “Oh, Heather! I was just thinking yesterday and talking to God about how much I miss your blog posts and wisdom and ideas. Wow! God sure is awesome.” It felt as though God was smiling at the explanation point He had just added to the plan.
I’ll be honest. I don’t want to write if I can’t be real, if I can’t be transparent about the process. There are aspects to blogging that can be difficult. The deceiver tries to whisper, “Don’t share that part about yourself, they won’t like you anymore.” and “If no one comments, it means they don’t care, it means your voice doesn’t matter.” However, for every lie there is a truth. I know that God encourages us to confess our sins one to another (James 5:16) and that all things were created by Him and for Him (Colossians 1:16). Therefore, our gifts do matter when we are giving them back to the one who gave them to us. I commit to continue resisting the lies in exchange for the truth. I encourage you to do the same so that together we can feel His pleasure.
What are your gifts? When do you feel God’s pleasure? Has the deceiver been whispering lies to you?
*This post contains an affiliate link to the bible study on Amazon that I am currently reading.