What have I written about for the last seven months? Can you narrow it down? That’s right. I’ve written about faith, trust, freedom, love, courage, strength, dreams, etc. However, if you haven’t noticed there’s one thing I haven’t talked about. Before we go any further with this blog, lets scroll back and find out where all this encouragement comes from.
Okay. So we know that all the things I listed above come from Jesus. And they only work if we do them with Jesus. But what comes before that? Before I explain let me do some story telling. For this weekend I planned to either write about shyness or giving out light. But I figured out that I couldn’t do that until I wrote about realism. That’s what we’ll call it, because before we can face these things we have to be real with ourselves.
While I kept writing about strength, love, purpose, and dreams, I didn’t live up to what I wrote. What I wrote I meant and believed, I still do. And while I learned the truth in those things, I shared them with you. Because I still believe we need encouragement, we need to realize the truth in them. The problem with it though is they sound cliché. We hear stuff like, “Don’t give up on your dreams” all the time. Children’s TV shows, books and movies focus a lot on dreams, love, and friendship. Yet when we get older the world says we’ve out grown those topics, it says we need to watch “adult” movies. But we all know what they contain and the truth is, we have no place near them. With all the things the world slams in our face, we forget that these things really do apply to life. At any age.
While hope and love might work without realism, shyness does not. And neither can we be a light to other people before we’re real with ourselves. Not to long ago, I sat in church, discouraged. I scanned the crowd a bit and in that crowd I saw one woman who stood out to me. She looked straight up to the preacher, with her bright eyes wide open and her lips formed in a straight line. She listened. And in that moment I saw a light in her. People have often inspired me, yet this time I saw a light shining from her face. And later that evening I thought of what she had to feel in order to shine like that.
That night when I opened the book Live Fearless by Sadie Robertson it happened that where I left off was just what I needed to read that night. I felt discouraged all over again–about something else. And what she wrote in that paragraph opened my heart to a whole new understanding. While I continued to read I began to understand how the woman I saw in church could shine like she did. What’s so amazing about this is that the author of Live Fearless had no idea she would be a light to me. When she wrote that book she hoped that it would help someone–hopefully a lot of people. Yet she had no idea it would speak to me. Neither did the woman I saw in church. She had no clue that at that moment, while she did what she always does, she would be a light to me. These girls let their light shine in a way that can only come through Christ. And before that, they had to be real with themselves.
While I believed all I wrote about, it was really hard for me to live by some of it. I tried really hard. I reminded myself everyday. Yet, it wasn’t enough. I didn’t know what I was missing. Then I realized I lived a lie. I wrote articles of encouragement . . . of truth, truth that I failed to use for myself. I always felt like I wasn’t enough. Like a person like me wasn’t qualified to spread the Word. I conquered fear of failing, I let go of all my fear, I stepped out of my comfort zone, I knew where my strength came from, I knew Who my faith and trust was in– I knew all these things, I believed and lived by all these things. But I didn’t believe that I was enough. I kept that hidden in the caves of my heart. I barred the cave without me knowing.
I wasn’t real with myself. I taught all these things of hope, freedom and love, while I missed one thing. The part where I needed to face what scared me the most. Where I needed to dig up that hurt, and bring it to Christ. I realized unless I did that, I would never fully live out what I believed. Before I could share the loving truth of the Gospel, before I could be a light to someone, I had to give my hurt completely to Christ.
This hurt was small compared to others. But it hurt me. It haunted me and I didn’t even know it. But the truth is, I am good enough, and I am worthy. I brought those terrible thoughts to Christ and He lifted them from me. Like Sadie Robertson says in her book, nothing happened. When I gave those thoughts to Christ, no shouts of victory cried out. The cat still slept, my phone still charged and the clock still ticked. But my heart felt lighter, my joy felt deeper, my peace felt real. If you have something living in your heart, and it isn’t God’s truth, then I encourage you to dig it up and bring it to Christ. And this time, I truly mean it.