Making your heart public is a very curious and very scary thing. It’s like unzipping your torso and then setting your delicate heart on a stainless-steel table, under the glare of a single bare bulb.
You imagine people standing in the shadows with puzzled looks, scowls and smirks, as they examine your vulnerable heart.
Maybe that’s why I used the word “terrified” the other day when I emailed a writer-friend, begging for prayers. It seemed like the most accurate word for that panicky feeling I was having, as I continue to press forward on this book-writing journey.
I’ve been pecking and tapping at keys, and most days, I sense joyous communion with God. I dig deep into His Word, into my redeemed past, and into my ever-reforming heart toward Christ. Those moments are precious, and I have felt utterly cherished by my Savior. I have felt held.
But occasionally, the enemy whispers in my ears, “What will people think of you?” In those terrifying moments, icy fear courses through my vessels.
On those days, there’s a part of me that wants to keep my fear secret. Maybe you’ve been there–
Maybe you’re a pastor, suffering with depression, and you’re wondering what your flock would think if they knew. So you keep quiet.
Maybe you’re a respected schoolteacher, but your kid is flunking college, and you don’t ask for prayers from anyone because you don’t want to look like a failure as a mother or a teacher.
Or perhaps you’re a counselor, but your very own marriage is on the rocks, but you don’t tell a soul. Because what would people think of you if they knew?
We’ve all felt it, this sense that someone might discover what a wreck we really are. So we keep our mouths shut and paste on a smile.
I’ve been there. I’m a new author, writing a book about people-pleasing and approval seeking, and I’m finding myself smack dab in the middle of that.very.battle, even as I write. I may well fight this battle until I take my last ragged breath. But I tell you, I will fight it. There’s too much at stake. I will not capitulate to the enemy.
Sure. It would be easier to keep it quiet, to tuck that delicate heart back in my chest, add another brick to the wall, and not let anyone know. But that would be a lie.
So I set my heart out there for you, right here at this computer — in my book and in this blog as often as I can. I did the same thing last week on my Facebook page with this:
“We’re friends, right? You and I? So can I get real with you for a sec? I’m terrified. I really need your prayers for this book I’m writing. I have been overwhelmed with a wave of great insecurity and uncertainty these last weeks, despite the fact that the manuscript is nearly finished. I NEED your prayers. I need God to guide, to calm me, to affirm me where things are going well, and to correct where I need corrected. I hate to get so dramatic like this on this Facebook page. I want to be an encouragement to YOU here in this space, not a drain on you, but I also need to be honest. I need prayer. I need Jesus. Thank you for allowing me to be vulnerable like this…”
And when I did that — when I really set my heart out like that on the table — there were no smirkers and mockers in the shadows.
I saw friends, standing in the Light.
I saw friends, shining light on my delicate heart.
I saw you.
Friend, Thank you for being a God-incidence in my life.
Maybe you are experiencing discouragement and fear? Here are some thoughts shared by friends who helped me during my week of worry. I pray these thoughts will minister to your heart as well:
“When I get discouraged and scared, I force my thoughts to focus on God’s love and away from my performance and worries. Rejoice in His overwhelming and unconditional love for you.” ~ Darcy
“Bread must be broken before it can be shared, friend.” ~ Holly
“Vulnerability is where we connect soul deep in this world, where hearts expand and Love seeps in infusing us with His perfect peace…and exquisite hope!” ~ Cindee
“Sing really loud and dance around, declaring His power, goodness and favor towards you as you endeavor to proclaim Him to the world.” ~ Daune
“On my office window it reads: Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you (1 Peter 5:7) Someone shared this with me when I was feeling uncertainty.” ~ Lynda, my sister
“God’s got it.” ~ Scott Lee, the love of my life
And, also, I was encouraged by these words, which were placed before me in the most timely fashion this week —
From Jennie Allen, in her five-star-worthy book Anything: “My life is not my own, and I write to give away what I have been given. I write with no shame fully disclosing my inadequate humanity and God’s upheaval of my wreck of a heart and head, knowing full well it is the plight of every believer. … So, if I make mine public, I sincerely need your grace.” (A highly recommended read for all of my friends.)
“It isn’t in the shallow end where we learn what it feels like to be rescued.” ~ Mick Silva
And this post for new writers from Beth Moore … A worthy read.
We write in community every Wednesday about the God-Things that make you go, “Hmmm…”
Some call them coincidences. We call them God-incidences. And those goosebumps you get sometimes when you know the Holy Spirit is at work? Yep. They’re God-Bumps.
Want to join the chorus of words for our God? Pick either button above, attach it to your post, tell your story. Then, link up here.