“I have literally nothing together about my life.” -Me, in an Instagram story this week
Currently, there are more questions than answers, unknowns looming around every corner and piling up every time the calendar flips.
On Wednesday night I felt led to share about this on Instagram stories. Which, honestly, was about the last thing I wanted to do.
Be vulnerable in front of a camera, with no idea what the response might look like? Speak instead of write, knowing that I ramble and words can’t be backspaced? No thank you. Even the timing didn’t make sense. 11:30pm on a Wednesday night, long past anyone flips through social media…
But the thought wouldn’t go away. I don’t know how to explain it beyond a knowing in my heart, a pressing thought that wouldn’t let up no matter how many excuses I offered. This, for me, is often how I sense the Holy Spirit’s leading in my life. The places that seem just beyond my comfort zone, the promptings to do or say something that would never have originated with me (because it leaves me feeling vulnerable), and the blog posts that come straight from my heart, posted without any edits or hesitation (lest I think twice and let the words die a slow death in the Drafts folder)…
…these are often the times I grow the most, rely on Him for strength, and see His work in and through me.
Because it’s His doing, not mine. His idea, His courage, His words, His strength to leave it up when I wake the next morning with a vulnerability hangover.
Instagram stories only last for 24 hours, but there are messages in my inbox from friends and strangers, women who viewed the (many) fifteen-seconds-long stories as I rambled and tried to put words around the idea that even when it seems like we’ve been buried, perhaps we’ve actually been planted.
There’s a difference, you know.
Both are dark, quiet spaces… But in one of those situations, the story is only just beginning.
Growing often happens underground, behind the scenes. It’s a slow process; it can’t be rushed. Before a flower blooms, a seed must break open.
Being planted requires the hard work of choosing to dig deep instead of dig up. It means accepting that time must have its way and for everything there is a season. It requires faith and trust, even amidst the unknowns of the end result, in the One who has done the planting, the One who daily prunes and waters and tends.
I’m in process, smack in the middle of the story, and I certainly don’t have a big red bow to tie up the loose ends. This is the messy middle, the in between. I wrote an entire book about living, loving, and learning in the in between… and apparently that never really ends, does it?
I hope you know I mean that in the best way, because all of it is a gift. Even the unknown, even the quiet days (weeks/months/years) before there’s anything to show for the deep, slow, daily work of showing up and loving well and remaining faithful.
Maybe you feel buried today, like everything has piled up and now rests on your shoulders. Maybe you’re worried, worn down, or weary from too many late-night phone calls that never bring good news. Perhaps you’ve simply forgotten how to rest.
Here are some things you should know, though:
You are seen. You are known. You are valued.
What you do matters. The ordinary of your right-now life is beautiful. (Breathtaking, even.)
Faithfulness in the mundane counts. It adds up, every seemingly unseen moment that feels too small to mean a thing at the end of the day.
Your story matters today, right in this moment. So don’t dig up in doubt what you’ve planted in faith, friend. Because you haven’t been buried, you’ve been planted.
Sit still, stand firm, keep showing up, speak the truth, love much and love well, keep your eyes fixed on Him. Say “no” to more and “yes” to less, if you need to. Welcome a slower pace. Choose rest. And then keep watch because otherwise you might miss it, the in process beauty of the broken beginning to bloom.
Last night I went to bed asking God “Was that really the right thing to do? Did I hear correctly? Because I’m almost certain nothing I said made sense and I’m positive that I feel exposed and vulnerable, as if I welcomed people in before I showered or cleared off the countertops or prepared anything to eat. What was Your purpose in the sharing, in the rambling mess of words that I can’t take back?”
I woke up this morning and those thoughts remained, but this was there too: “I see you. I know you. Your obedience, even when uncomfortable, is a gift. You don’t have to have the answers; I am the Answer. Plant your feet. I’ll be faithful to complete my work in You.”
Unbeknownst to me, dozens and dozens of people watched those rambling videos while I slept. I woke up to several messages each saying some version of “Thank you, I really needed to hear this tonight.”
I won’t pretend to know God’s timetable. I won’t attempt to put words around all He’s up to. But I can tell you this: You haven’t been buried, you’ve been planted. He’s weaving together a story that will tell of His faithfulness.
Although the stories have disappeared from Instagram, I was able to save the entire thing before the 24 hours expired. I already feel a vulnerability hangover coming on all over again, but in case you’d like to watch the videos… click here.
The blog post that I mentioned in the video is this one — My Word for 2017: Planted.
These posts might be helpful/interesting to you as well, if you’d like to read more of my in-process thoughts on this messy middle place. Roots before branches // Trust Me, I Won’t Miss the Flowers This Time // Amaryllis. (P.S. Out of absolutely no where, totally overnight, the amaryllis shot up and started blooming this week. It has literally sat in a dark closet for several months. So, okay. Thanks for the message God. I hear You loud and clear.)
I don’t want to bury the lead, so let me say real quick that DaySpring is offering 25% off everything on their site. Now through July 31st, be sure to use the code THANKYOU at checkout.
Okay. So the kit I’m working through/talking about in the video is the newest Illustrated Faith kit from DaySpring. I’ve written about several of the kits before, as I’m beginning to “try out” Bible journaling. This month they’ve released a brand new format for the kits and I have to say, I’m a big fan. (Clearly, if you couldn’t tell from the Instagram stories.)
A few things I want to be sure to mention in case you’re considering Bible journaling: First, the new kit format is cheaper (this post-grad girl says a big “thank you” to that). Instead of the previous $30 price-point, the kits are new $20. Second, the kits now include 25 pre-cut paper pieces, translucent stickers, and devotional cards. Personally, these new items work much better for me than the cardboard pieces (I never remembered to cut them out) and the 14-day devotional.
Although the 14-day devotional was full of great content, I never made it all the way through. The 4 devotional cards (one per week) and 4 journaling cards (with beautiful artwork on the front) not only make it accessible to everyone, but they provide an easy way to dwell on Scripture each day.
The packaging is smaller and more portable, which is a big plus if you want to take everything with you on a summer road trip. Personally, though, the washi and journaling cards are my favorite. (The words about story? And the “plant your feet” messaging? Yes, yes, yes.)
I’ll keep a couple journaling cards and use them as artwork in my apartment, but I’m planning to give the other journaling cards away. Each one has plenty of room for writing a short note of encouragement… and can be kept as artwork instead of thrown away or placed in a drawer… so they’ll be great to include in “just because” gifts.
You can learn more about the new kit (and everything that’s included) by clicking right here. As I mentioned, the new kit format is now $20 instead of $30… but through the end of July, DaySpring is offering 25% off everything on their site. Be sure to use the code THANKYOU at checkout!
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