Friday, May 31, 2019

Pursuing Authenticity

Coffee dates with girlfriends are one of my most favorite activities. Those two hours because they always tends to be at least two hours in length are such a time of blessing and encouragement. And I'd like to believe we both walk away equally encouraged, although I often fear I do too much of the talking and need to practice listening more.

The topic of writing came up at a recent coffee date. My sweet friend extended words of affirmation regarding my writing and encouraged me to be in prayer about returning to writing.

Honestly... I have discovered I have a fear of writing. Maybe not a fear of actually writing but a fear of the emotions that tend to come when I write -- a fear of returning to another place where I allow "not good enough" to reign. I also question if God is calling me to write. What if God is saying no to something I want? But what if this is something God is calling me to and I am letting fear win?

Could I put those questions aside, for now, and simply write? I raised the topic with my therapist and she asked, "could writing be an avenue towards healing, and could you write without placing any expectations on yourself and simply write for you?"

I think the question I need to answer is, could I simply be me and not allow writing to be another wrestle for worthiness?

Months ago I received two copies of the Magnolia Journal in the mail. On the front of the cover it read, "The World Needs Who You Were Made To Be." I saw God's hand in delivering two copies of this issue to my mailbox. He knows my thoughts - He knows exactly where they go -- the world needs someone else, not me.

I have read three Brené Brown books over the past seven months, and I'm currently reading #4.

Braving the Wilderness—Belonging.
The Gifts of Imperfection—Be you.
Daring Greatly—Be all in.
Rising Strong—Fall. Get up. Try again.

In her book Rising Strong as she writes about how one of the "truisms" for living wholeheartedly, she say,“You either walk inside your story and own it or you stand outside your story and hustle for your worthiness.” ~ Brené Brown

Friends, I need to be done with the hustle for worthiness. For me that comes with being authentic about the struggle (depression, anxiety and an eating disorder) but also having the courage to show up and simply be who God made me to be. As Brené also says, "to let go of who I think I'm supposed to be and embrace who I am."

But to embrace who I am - who God created me to be - I know that involves getting to know my deepest, most authentic self, and doing the hard work of engaging (or reckoning and rumbling) with my emotions. There are so many layers to break through. At the core though, as Michelle DeRusha writes in her book True You, "my identity as a child of God is everything. I know without that, I have nothing; without that, I am nothing."

Our church recently did a sermon series on 2 Corinthians. In the first chapter of 2 Corinthians we see the God of All Comfort in the first several versus. We see how suffering is an opportunity for God to work through us - that His strength is made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).

But we have a choice to make - will our principle identity be found in God or in our suffering? For me, I've allowed my identify to be placed in not-enough. But God says I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14) and that I am more valuable than many sparrows (Matthew 10:31). Faith is believing Him - trusting in Him. I am who He says I am!

There is a connection in all this that I am trying to make. If only the words would pour out more clearly. Maybe it's in what I said to my pastor following his sermon, "The enemy is attacking me from every angle but he will not win. Though I may be stumbling, I know God will not let me fall. He continues to uphold me. I know in this season of suffering (where the lies are louder than the truth) He is doing something in and through me. I know and trust He will do a new thing. For I know our God is good and He is faithful to all that He promises.

I feel like much is left unsaid when I make the attempt to express myself. I tend to think I'm not making sense but I have been told my perception in that thinking is not accurate. Oh how I'm working on trusting -- trusting in Him -- trusting He will do more than I can ask or imagine with this offering.

Can I end with this? Words from the beautiful Ann Voskamp -- "God is good and you are always loved."