Being Confident of This

Grace for the work-in-progress woman

One Simple Way to Meet Your Goals

I’ll admit, I tend to resist goals.

My perfectionist nature resists setting a standard for fear that I might fail. It’s one of the reasons I had such a hard time finding my “one word.”

I don’t like to be wrong.

I don’t like to fall short.

But the flip side of that is never stretching myself, never reaching for something more, never giving myself a chance to succeed.

It’s not that I don’t have any goals for myself at all for; it’s just that I don’t often claim them, don’t voice them aloud, don’t share them with others, don’t hold myself accountable.  I’m guilty of keeping my goals general rather than specific because that makes them easier to meet.

However, this year I recognize the need to risk a little more, step out in faith while trusting in the God who is at work in us and promises to complete that work (Phil. 1:6).  I recognize the need to put some of the goals I hold in my mind and heart into actual words and to share them here with you all.

So, here goes – goals for 2015. 🙂

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One of my goals for the year is to do my part in restoring my health. I need more sleep. I need more exercise. I need to eat more balanced meals and to take in less sugar. This past month or so of illness has been eye-opening. I need to do these things in order to be healthy, but more importantly to honor the Father with my body, to walk in obedience with Him.

I’m not sure how to make those goals specific other than to say I aim to eat the recommended daily values of fruits and veggies and to also limit myself to those daily values in other areas where I tend to eat as I wish. I started using My Fitness Pal to help me keep track of both my activity and my eating habits.  I also aim to be in bed by 11 p.m. at the latest! Pray for me, sisters!

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Another goal for the year is to use my time more wisely through better planning.  Time management affects so many areas of my life, but to be specific, I plan to spend at least two mornings a week writing and working on this blog. Previously, I’ve squeezed writing in here and there, but I’m finding lately that if I don’t plan time to write, it just doesn’t happen. And then I lay awake at night with all of these great ideas and phrases and sometimes whole sentences or paragraphs swirling around in my mind. Anyone else? 🙂

I want to obey the Lord in best using this gift of writing. I don’t want to put that on hold unless He asks that of me, and lately He seems to be asking more in this area. So, I want to be faithful even if it means saying a firm “no” to other things that occupy my time.

Women everywhere understand this pull to be involved in ALL of the good things, but often in our attempts to do so, we miss out on the best things. Especially as a pastor’s wife, I’m learning that over-scheduling is rampant in our world and creates unnecessary stress. If I want the best for me and for my family, I have to learn to follow the Holy Spirit’s leading and not man’s wisdom. I make it my goal to please Christ.

“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

Gal. 1:10

A final goal is to love my husband as Christ does.  It’s been a really tough year for both of us. The trials have been nearly constant and there is always the temptation to withdraw into oneself in order to survive the refining fires. But we cannot! For the sake of our marriage and our family, we must learn to suffer together, to support one another even when we already feel the weight of our own burdens. I see already how the Father is working that understanding into us, teaching us a better way. I know He will be faithful to complete the work in our marriage, as well.

he makes all things beautiful verse, goals in marriage, setting goals for the year

One practical way I can love my husband better is to consistently reach out to him, whether through words or actions or touch. I can hug and kiss him when he leaves for the day and when he comes home. I can look at him and ask him how his day was even if I’m busy when he comes in the door. My goal is to intentionally seek connection with him, to encourage him, and to help him feel loved – every day.

Whew!

When I read all of the words above, I am easily overwhelmed!  I see all of the flaws, the areas that need work. There are so many and I…I am only one. Do you feel that same lacking, sisters?  That same inadequacy?

However, the Father reminds me that I can accomplish these goals by doing one simple thing: abide in Him.

It’s true! If I focus on abiding in Him, I will be sensitive to His leading and these other areas of life will fall into place so much easier than if I try to work towards these goals all on my own.  If I get up with this long list of “must do’s” each day, I’ll be worn out and discouraged before lunchtime. But if I get up with the goal of abiding in Him and following His leading, I can be at peace. You can too!

It comes back to that work-in-progress truth, my sisters in Christ.

He promises.

And I believe Him.

Jen 🙂

Sharing with: The Loft, Grace and Truth,

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A Fond Farewell ~ #TheLoft

Hello, faithful readers and my favorite Lofters! 🙂

It’s with mixed feelings that I type these words for The Loft this week.  This space has been good to me and good for me. The Loft came along at a time when I needed the push to get back to regular writing and blogging. After spending the summer with my children, I found it hard to get back into the swing of things here at Being Confident of This. Then, when I was asked to co-host here, I almost said no!

I suppose I feared the responsibility some and the commitment. I also feared technology because I’m still a newbie in so many ways.  But I have learned so much in these past months and grown in several areas, not just spiritually, not just technologically, but more than that. Along the way, I’ve made new friends, too.

So, I’m thankful. I’m thankful for the weekly topics, the small yet friendly community, and the many encouraging words I’ve read both here in the comments and from our fellow Lofters on their various blogs.

And I think what we are all experiencing now is some growth pains. Just as the transition to the Loft took time and many adjustments, I know the birth of what we are heading into now will be the same – uncomfortable at times, yet necessary for growth.

The best thing about growth, about new birth? It’s exciting and filled with opportunity! So, I hope you will all come with us on this new journey!

Jen 🙂

The Loft is open, come on up!

 

The Loft: A weekly Hangout and Link Up for Christian bloggers
Graphic by Kerry Messer

 

Before we get to this week’s topic, we have an important and exciting announcement to make!

After this week, #The Loft is merging with another brand new link up for Christian bloggers.

It has been a pleasure to open The Loft and connect with you all since we started back in August. At that time, we wanted a place to connect, converse, and grow.

I am proud to say that we have done all of those things well. Many linkups are “link and leaves.” The Loft is not by design. I have heard this sob story from multitudes of hosts: they end up having so little interaction that the hosts either call it quits or spend hours upon hours each week trying to maintain it.

We have never had those problems… because you all are the best, hands down! As far as click throughs go, we are one of the best out there.

Now we want to serve you all even more. We want to focus on the “network” part of our goal. We want to open the doors even wider and get our linkers even more exposure.

So after much prayer and discussion, The Loft hosts have decided to merge with Grace and Truth Linkup, a brand new linkup that will launch later this week. YOU have the opportunity to be part of this from the beginning!

 

Here are the main differences and reasons why we are merging:

Grace and Truth will be a Christian Living linkup. Having a weekly topic has been great. It has defined us and for those who love it, well, we love it! But it does greatly restrict participation. We know that many of you would link more often if you could choose your own post. At this point in our growth we believe this change, although significant, will serve our community of bloggers best.

Grace and Truth will have a few more hosts. Links will appear on nine different blogs. That is EXCELLENT exposure for a blogger. A no-brainer there!

Grace and Truth will do “featured posts.” That means if selected, your post will be a shared on social media and featured on the following week’s link-y. More great exposure!

Grace and Truth will be on Fridays. Bloggers can link up any post from their week (or their archives!)

Also, there will be a $100 gift card giveaway this week for the kick off of Grace and Truth so you don’t want to miss it! Go ahead and link up your Loft post today (we’ll still be visiting and reading!) and then come back here Friday at 6am and link up any Christian living post.

Grace&Truth Christian Living Link-up on Fridays

 

We are committed to you and your growth as a Christian blogger and are so thankful for this community. We hope you continue to connect, converse, grow and network with us!

 

This Week’s Topic: “Goals” (Share a goal you have for 2015 or about your goal setting process? Anything to do with goals!)

 

About #TheLoft

 

The Loft is the place for conversation, community, networking, and Christian growth.

Each week we provide a topic to start the conversation.

 

While there are many link and leave blog hops out there, we are different in that we ask that your link stick to the weekly topic. This fosters community and conversation. It also helps us practice “topic” writing as bloggers. Please mention The Loft in your post so we can find each other. Thank you so much!


Monday night, at 9pm Eastern, the linky goes live and all week you can link up your post on that week’s topic.

 

To Participate:

 

1. Be creative. Feel free to use words, photos, video, audio, your family pet, whatever, to communicate on the weekly topic. But please stick to the weekly topic 🙂

2. Listen twice as much as you talk. If you leave one link, visit two. Trust us on this one~wink.

3. Be a community. Include #TheLoft graphic and/or link back in your post so we can find and share with each other. Also, share the great stuff you find when you visit around…we’ll be doing the same.

 

The Loft Link Up

 

When you link up at The Loft, your link will appear on 4 blogs! We’d love for you to visit The Loft co-hosts and know who we are: Jen, Rebekah, Leah, Arabah

 

 

Now it’s time to link your posts up!

This Week’s Topic: “Goals” 

 

2 Comments »

Reader Favorites ~ 2014

I’m so thankful for you, my faithful readers, my sisters in Christ (and let’s not forget the brothers, too).  You have made this space a friendly zone for sharing my most personal writings, and 2014 was just the year for it.  All year long, the Father has been challenging me to “Take Courage.” and having encouraging readers certainly helps me to do just that!

Often this space is mostly for me, a place to share what is on my heart, what I want to write about and hear about. But today I want to share YOUR favorites from 2014.  If you haven’t read these top posts before, just click on the individual pictures. Perhaps you’ll find a new favorite. 🙂

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Most time in the #1 spot:

marriage, Christian marriage, how to love an unloving spouse, feeling unloved, want to feel loved, loving a difficult spouse

“I’ll be honest. As a busy mom of four, I wrestle with this idea that God should be my sole supply. After all, God cannot help with the bedtime routine or sweep the kitchen or sign permissions slips or pay the bills, at least not in a physical sense.  I wrestle, too, with feelings of disappointment and unkind thoughts toward a husband whom I truly wish to respect.

So, how can I demonstrate love for my husband even when he’s not demonstrating love for me?”

Most comments in 2014:

confidence, fat girl insecurities, insecure, overweight, fat, trying to lose weight, obese, heavy, healthy body image, health

“I’ll never forget the first time I heard the word aimed at me.  He spewed it out like vomit, his eyes filled with disgust. “Fat,”  the boy accused me, and I believed it even though I wasn’t anywhere near “fat” back then.

I always was a…”

Runner-up for most comments in 2014:

That New Girl: Finding Confidence

confidence, finding confidence, that new girl, no condemnation, identity, loving yourself, identity in Christ, self-acceptance, imperfect progress

“Sin temporarily hijacks our child-of-God identity, the world teaches us that we will never be enough, and the pride and insecurity of self often confirms the lies. But the truth, sisters, the amazing truth is that we don’t have to be enough because He is already everything for us. It’s this Christ-confidence that sets us free!”

Most comments of all (even though it’s from 2013):

marriage, imperfect progress, perfectionism, grace, through my grace-colored glasses, work in progress

“Last night I had a little run-in with Perfectionism again.  He just won’t leave me alone.

He follows me wherever I go, pointing out flaws in my house-keeping, my parenting, my marriage relationship, even my walk with the Lord… He whispers lies to me: “you’ll never change” or “you’re never going to be good enough” or “why even bother anymore.”

I’ve been enslaved by his words before, but last night was different…”

The Top 5 written in 2014:

#1

big list of energetic indoor fun, high-energy kids, boys with energy, stuck indoors, cabin fever, school break, I'm bored, kids bored, get energy out

Are the kids driving you crazy? Do your boys have too much energy to stay cooped up indoors? Need a cure for cabin fever?  Is the weather outside frightful?  This huge list of ideas for expending pent-up energy while stuck indoors will help you stay sane!

#2

7 ways to teach bible verses to kids, teaching bible verses to kids, memory verse, preschool, toddler, children, homeschool, church, creative ways to learn memory verses, scripture

For moms, dads, Sunday School teachers, homeschooling families, Children’s Church leaders and anyone else who works with little ones – here’s how to help them hide the Word away in their hearts.

#3

dollar store deals, cheap homeschool supplies, early childhood education, preschool, toddler, preschooling with dollar store deals, what to buy at the dollar store for homeschool

This isn’t just a list of what to buy for the littles at the dollar store. It’s also a list of how to use the items you buy!  Great deals + great activities=happy learners.

#4

Saving money on kid's clothes, clothing budget, frugal, stewardship, single income family, clothing budget, tight budget, saving money, frugal living

This is part one of two posts on how to save money when buying clothes for a large family.  With three boys and one girl in the house, our tight budget really gets stretched when it comes to purchasing clothes and shoes for the kids. Over the years, I’ve learned quite a few tricks for working within our small clothing budget to make the most of it.

#5

keeping Christ in Christmas, kid friendly advent free printables, The Christmas Adventure Box, family advent activity, homeschool, church, AWANA, youth group, easy advent, flexible advent, advent fun

Kid-friendly Advent with Free Printables!  I created these as a companion to the Christmas ADVENTure Box that we do each year as an advent activity with our children. Our boys especially love the adventure aspect of it.  It’s an easy, flexible way to keep Christ in Christmas!

Thanks for making 2014 a great year for Being Confident of This!  And even though this isn’t a reader favorite (yet!), I want to leave you with one last post as you head into the new year. It’s close to my heart and really sums up what this year has been about for us.

Courage to Face a Giant

courage quote, fail or succeed, take courage in the Lord, be strong and courageous, facing a giant

Take Courage in the new year, my sisters!

Jen 🙂

Sharing with: The Pin-it Party, Grace and Truth,

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Best of 2014 ~ #TheLoft

Hello, Loft crew!  We made it through another week – whew! 🙂  Did you find it hard to choose a favorite from 2014 to share?  I certainly did.

I think I’m finding myself as a writer more this year, and so the choosing was difficult because I actually like some of what was written.  That’s an exciting thought, but also a little scary because it means I’m putting more of my real self out there.

In the end, it was a close tie between the post where I talked about my fat-girl insecurities and another one.

Since I’ve already shared about my fat-girl insecurities with The Loft crew, I decided to share something from earlier this year about choosing the struggle, fighting the fight, even when it feels like we might not be winning.  Look for it in the link-up.

I can’t wait to read YOUR best from this year, too!

Jen 🙂

If you are new here and want to join in, it’s an easy week to do so.

Just follow the instructions below.

We’d be happy to have you as part of our community of writers!

The Loft is open, come on up!

 

The Loft: A weekly Hangout and Link Up for Christian bloggers
Graphic by Kerry Messer

 

This Week’s Topic: “Potluck: Best of 2014” (Link up your best post of 2014. “Best” is defined loosely!)

Next Week’s Topic: “Christmas Traditions” (Tell us how you celebrate this rich holiday.)

 

About #TheLoft

 

The Loft is the place for conversation, community, networking, and Christian growth.

Each week we provide a topic to start the conversation.

 

While there are many link and leave blog hops out there, we are different in that we ask that your link stick to the weekly topic. This fosters community and conversation. It also helps us practice “topic” writing as bloggers. Please mention The Loft in your post so we can find each other. Thank you so much!


Monday night, at 9pm Eastern, the linky goes live and all week you can link up your post on that week’s topic.

We’ll have fun topics, serious topics, practical, soul-ful, holiday, and so, so much more…we can’t wait to get started! This is not only a great way to connect with others, it’s also a fun and easy way to establish a writing habit. If you aren’t a blogger, you are welcome to join in by leaving your comments in the comment section.

So grab your coffee mug and come on up! Hang out for a bit. We betcha you’ll be glad you did.

 

To Participate:

 

1. Be creative. Feel free to use words, photos, video, audio, your family pet, whatever, to communicate on the weekly topic. But please stick to the weekly topic 🙂

2. Listen twice as much as you talk. If you leave one link, visit two. Trust us on this one~wink.

3. Be a community. Include #TheLoft graphic and/or link back in your post so we can find and share with each other. Also, share the great stuff you find when you visit around…we’ll be doing the same.

 

The Loft Link Up

 

When you link up at The Loft, your link will appear on 4 blogs! We’d love for you to visit The Loft co-hosts and know who we are: Jen, Rebekah, Leah, Arabah

 

 

Now it’s time to link up!

 

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Best Blogging Tips

Faithful readers, I promised you a post earlier this week and life just got in the way.  However, I do have some great tips to pass along to those of you who are bloggers, so even though I’m very late with this post, I want to be sure it gets to you.  Better late than never, right? 🙂

When I first began blogging, I really had no idea what a huge industry the blogosphere is. I never “followed” any blogs before that time. I had no idea bloggers could earn income from their posts. I hardly even knew what a blog was.  So, why create a blog?

It was purely out of obedience to the Lord, honestly. No, He did not speak in a loud clear voice saying, “Jen, I want you to create a blog.”  However, He did use the Holy Spirit to convict me of neglecting one of the gifts He had given to me.  I was too overwhelmed to imagine writing a book or for any other sort of publication right away since I had not “practiced” writing in such a long time.  Thus, from what little I knew about blogs, creating one of my own seemed a simple, inexpensive, and the least terrifying way to walk forward in obedience.

To read more about my blogging journey thus far (a year and a half in!), check out the “For the Writers” tab on my sidebar or click here.  I would suggest starting with My Monday Morning Confession as it was my first post ever!  You might also read A Blogger’s Prayer to see what I have learned so far from this faith walk online.

I think I’ve been most surprised that rather than using the material the Lord gives me to encourage others (which is what I first expected), He so often uses the writing to encourage me!  Although others might find the words here encouraging, as is my deepest desire, even if no one else read them, this journey would be well worth it solely for the lessons I’ve learned along the way.

As a “seasoned” blogger of a year and a half (ha!), I do have some more practical blogging tips to pass along to you:

Pinterest – once I learned the value of creating a somewhat “pinnable” image, I began to receive most of my traffic from pinterest. In fact, this past month, I received close to a thousand views daily from a single post (The Pumpkin Gospel) that is doing well on pinterest simply because of Halloween.  I rarely reach that number even on a good day, normally. That’s the power of pinterest, my friends!

What I know about creating “pinnable” images:

The better the lighting, the more attractive they are to the eye, as far as Pinterest goes. Lighter images tend to work more effectively than darker ones.  Also, collage-type images (several pictures together) are more eye-catching. A good description also helps the reader to click through to the actual blog post.  I recently started using hash-tags, as well.

I’m no pro at creating pinnable images, but what little I can do has helped tremendously.  Therefore, I try to always include a photo of some sort in each post for easy sharing on pinterest. Sometimes when I don’t have an image that goes along with the theme of the post, I just include something beautiful from nature.  I keep my camera in my purse to capture scenery along the way; this allows me to avoid the issue of photo rights altogether, which is just easier for me.  Lately, I’ve really enjoyed adding verses to beautiful photos using either picmonkey.com or ribbet.com (photo editing websites).  Someday I would love to learn photoshop! 🙂

Pinterest works well for me because I liked it  and used it even before I started blogging.  Twitter, on the other hand, is another story altogether…

Key-words and phrases – recently I’ve been learning more about how search engines work and am working on including more key-word phrases, especially earlier on in my blog posts.  This helps anyone who is searching for information on a specific topic to find your blog post.  I have one post in particular that does well from searches, and that is How to Love When You Feel Unloved.  I usually receive several hits daily from that post ever since I updated it with a pinnable image and some bolding on key words and phrases.

This is another area in which I have plenty of room to grow, as I’m still learning and probably always will be. 🙂

I just learned this past week NOT to include a picture before the words in your blog post.  If you’ve followed Being Confident of This for very long, you know I’ve been guilty of this, so I have many past posts to make changes to.  Apparently, google and other analytic programs scan the first words of a blog post, and when you include a picture first, they end up reading a bunch of html code rather than the topic of your post.  I read about that here.

For more practical blogging tips, I suggest pinterest as a wealth of information.  I have a board just for Blogging that contains even more information than I have shared here. Some of it I haven’t even had time to look at or use. Some of it is easy to incorporate once you know how. I’m sure some of the other hosts have similar boards, as well. 🙂

 My Best Blogging Tip

My best blogging tip, however, has nothing to do with pinterest or even with the mechanics of blogging. My best tip is to avoid getting caught up in blogging perfectionism. As I mentioned above, I knew so very little about blogging when I first began. My only desire was to have a space to write that wasn’t too intimidating, in obedience to the Lord.

However, once I learned about linky parties and began reading other blogs, I began to realize I knew literally nothing.  And after a month or so, the desire to be “successful” started to creep in. I became concerned about things that I never even knew to be concerned about before.  Blogging became a lot less about glorifying Christ and more about glorifying my own meager abilities.

Don’t get me wrong, learning how to blog well or write well isn’t wrong in and of itself, but I think it can quickly become an “idol” in our lives if we allow it to.

 

best blogging tips, tips for bloggers

 

So my best blogging tip is simply this – fix your eyes on Jesus.

If you have time and the inclination to learn some of the rest of it along the way, great.  But don’t lose the vision He’s given you to the trappings of blogging perfectionism. Write in faith instead.

Trust Him to guide you to the “right” content, my sisters in Christ. Trust Him to bring you the “right” audience.

Fix your eyes on Jesus.

Jen 🙂

4 Comments »

It’s a Blogger’s World ~ TheLoft

It’s that time of week again! Meet you in the link-up?
Jen 🙂

The Loft is open, come on up!

 

The Loft: A weekly Hangout and Link Up for Christian bloggers
Graphic by Kerry Messer

 

This Week’s Topic: “Blogging” I hope you guys have a lot to say! Some ideas are: Tell us why you started blogging, your blogging goals, needs, how we can help you. Share your favorite blogging tips and tricks, the floor’s open!

Get a running start on Next Week’s Topic: “Intimacy with Jesus” (What does that look like for you? How do you abide in the vine? What barriers do you face or victories you’ve discovered in maintaining intimacy with Jesus? Let’s encourage each other!)

 

About #TheLoft

 

The Loft is the place for conversation, community, networking, and Christian growth.

Each week we provide a topic to start the conversation.

 

PLEASE NOTE: We want to foster community and transparent conversation with one another, just like we’d do if we were meeting in real life. So we ask that your link stick to the weekly topic and that you mention The Loft in your post. Thank you so much!


Monday night, at 9pm Eastern, the linky goes live and all week you can link up your post on that week’s topic.

We’ll have fun topics, serious topics, practical, soul-ful, holiday, and so, so much more…we can’t wait to get started! This is not only a great way to connect with others, it’s also a fun and easy way to establish a writing habit. If you aren’t a blogger, you are welcome to join in by leaving your comments in the comment section.

So grab your coffee mug and come on up! Hang out for a bit. We betcha you’ll be glad you did.

 

To Participate:

 

1. Be creative. Feel free to use words, photos, video, audio, your family pet, whatever, to communicate on the weekly topic. But please stick to the weekly topic 🙂

2. Listen twice as much as you talk. If you leave one link, visit two. Trust us on this one~wink.

3. Be a community. Include #TheLoft graphic and/or link back in your post so we can find each other. Also, share the great stuff you find when you visit around…we’ll be doing the same.

 

The Loft Link Up

 

When you link up at The Loft, your link will appear on 4 blogs! We’d love for you to visit The Loft co-hosts and know who we are: Jen, Rebekah, Leah, Arabah

 

 

Now it’s time to link up!

 

 

Add Your Link Here:

2 Comments »

Fear No Evil, Just Write

It’s Five Minute Friday again!

Write.

Writing has been necessary for me from a very young age.  In the early years I wrote for creativity’s sake.  I reveled in developing stories for my pleasure alone, not worrying what anyone else thought.  Even as I grew older, school writing assignments brought a smile to my face while the rest of my classmates groaned.

As a teen, my writing became more introverted – the good old diary was my space of choice.  I could say whatever I wanted to whomever I wanted with no fear of rejection or repercussion.

But at some point in time, we had to start sharing our writing with “peers” in class and suddenly, writing became a little more scary.  I wrote less and less until almost not at all. Although hidden, the urge remained and burst forth in occasional poems, encouraging notes, or impassioned letters to the editor.  I might take it out for a bit, dust it off, and admire the desire to write, yet put it back in the box neatly where it was safe. Safe.

Because the thing about writing is that it’s sort of a portal to the soul, whether you want it to be or not.  A lie detector test.  A forced honesty of character and feeling.

And sometimes I don’t want to be that open with the world.  I fear my words might not be good enough, my ideas not great enough, that I’M not enough.  I fear my failings as a work-in-progress woman.  I fear others might see the real me.  Because as our friend, Lisa-Jo Baker said, control is an illusion, and writing out truths here in this small space breaks that illusion apart bit by bit.

There’s fear in the writing, and sometimes pain in the writing, but also joy, and wonder, and beauty, and peace, and understanding.  Isn’t that the way it is with all things in life? 🙂

I wonder if the psalmist David faced such fears, or if he just wrote because he had to, because it was in him.  Imagine if he had never penned his agonies or his alternating ecstasies.  Imagine if he thought no one would to ever read the words or sing the melodies, so why create them in the first place?  Or worse yet, some might read them and scoff, so why bother?

Fear, Brave, Words, Writing, Blogging

We must write because our Father God has called us to be truth-tellers and truth-spreaders.  We must write because it. is. in us!  We must write because the writing forces honesty, and how can we grow, how can we progress, sisters, if we languish in the illusion that is not?

So, we put on a brave face and just write.

We write happy words and sad words.

We write in victory and also in defeat.

We write hardships and pain and laughter and delight.

We write comfort.

We write, “Me, too.”

We write real.

And we trust Him to do the rest.

Jen 🙂

I’m joining the Five Minute Friday crew again this week over at Lisa-Jo Baker’s place.  We free-write for 5 Minutes on a one-word prompt.  It’s scary; it’s fun; it’s crazy. And so often, it’s oh-so-beautiful.  Join us if you like!

Also sharing with: Wholehearted Home

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When God Says, “Write.”

Often the Lord asks those who are in Christ to do things we aren’t comfortable doing on our own.  Maybe He asks us to talk to someone we don’t really know, invite a neighbor into our home, teach a Sunday School class, or use a gift that He has given in a public setting.  When He asks us to do those things that make us a little afraid, we’re always tempted to say no, at least I am. 🙂

No, Lord, I don’t want to go to Nineveh.

No, Lord, I’m not a good speaker; you should ask someone else to lead your people in exiting Egypt, like my brother.

No, Lord, we cannot take the Promised Land; it’s full of giants and we are small.

promised land

Over and over again in Scripture we find evidence of people just like us, lacking confidence in their God-given, spiritual gifts, or not wanting the responsibility that comes along with using a gift for the Lord’s glory. They feel inadequate or unworthy of the task.

We can look back on their completed lives and marvel at how the Lord worked through them.  We may even call them Heroes of the Bible, but in the moment, they were just ordinary people, afraid of the unkown, afraid of not being “enough.”

I often feel that way, especially about writing.  I’d rather leave it to someone else, after all, others can turn a phrase so much more effectively than I can.  What do I have to offer?

 I’m just an ordinary person.  And I’d rather keep those weaknesses of mine hidden, than be open and vulnerable.  I’d rather not put myself out there for the world to see, and maybe even criticize.  I’d rather avoid, be safe, fly under the radar.

But He commands, “Write.”

A funny thing happens when I obey that still small voice.  (Let’s be honest, sometimes when we don’t listen right away, it becomes a resounding gong that keeps us up ’til 4am!)  I’m the one who benefits.  Me!

It’s exactly the opposite of what I expected when I first started blogging months ago.  I thought He wanted me to share truth with others (and I do think that’s part of it), but I didn’t realize He wanted to share those truths with me, first.

And so I write. I pour it all out, sometimes on pages with pen in hand, sometimes on the keyboard, fingers flying, sometimes in bits and pieces, here and there in my notebook.  On occasion, I try to hold back, tone it down.  I mean, does anyone really need to see ALL of my ugly? 🙂  But He won’t let me.  He requires truth, full disclosure.

“Write, Jen.”

“But this is personal and painful and embarrassing, Father.  I’m so ashamed.  People will know! What will they think?!”

“I said write, Jen.”

“Okay, Father, but are you sure about this part here. Should I really be telling this to the public? I mean, is it really necessary to include? And can I really say this, Lord?  Am I really qualified to write such words?”

I will give you the words, just write.”

“Okay, Father, I’m still not sure about this, but I’ll try.”

And the words pour out. And sometimes the tears do, too.  Because every time He asks me to write, whether about the ugly or the beautiful, He shows me more of Himself, more of myself, and more of who I am becoming in Him.

He teaches me that the best things come when I have nothing to give because then I am an empty vessel for Him.   And I’m the one who is blessed!  Not because the words are so great, but because

the message.

is.

Great.

Not because my gift is so grand, but because writing IS the gift, and it’s for me, and it’s for Him, and it’s for all of us.

More than pretty phrases or clever constructions, the message is what matters.

His message.

So, my sisters in Christ, write, or sing, or teach, or garden, or paint, or mother, or serve, or bake, or whatever He task He lays before you, whether great or small.

Because the blessing is first for you.

Jen 🙂

Join us for Five Minute Fridays over at Lisa-Jo’s place.  We write on a one-word prompt for five minutes – no planning, editing, or stressing. 🙂

I may also be linking up with any of these lovely blogs.

Also sharing with: A Little R &R, Grace and Truth

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