Thursday, December 15, 2011

Why You Shouldn't Read My Blog Unless You're Friends With Me

Okay, well. I didn't really mean that. I adore that people come to this little space and listen to my rants, my confessions, and my lessons. It is nothing short of a gift to me, and truly - I covet your time here. So thank you.

But, I had an epiphany today, and I want to share it with you.

I've been struggling this month, kind of a lot. Yep. Because saying Yes to God this year for me meant marrying an amazing new man in my life, leaving everything behind to travel the country, and starting Good Women Project.

Oh, I know how blessed I am. My life sounds perfect in that pretty sentence. And my life is incredible, because grace makes it so, even when I can't see it that way. Because Jesus daily gives me the life that is everlasting. The life that I cannot find in the gaps of an imperfect marriage, an imperfect life plan, and my imperfect leadership skills.

And so, I am so grateful. I am.

But it's still really, really hard. Did you know that? I want to talk about it.

Did you know that no matter how amazing something seems from the outside, it gets pretty un-amazing really fast when you take responsibility for things that are God's?

The potential of my life is infinite with God, but it has been dying quickly with a lie that I've bought into.

A little lie that says "this depends on you."

I fell back into that lie's little sister that says, "you delivered something people love, now it's your job to deliver it every single day."

But it doesn't depend on me. It depends on God, because He is the one who promised to carry out on to completion the good work that HE began in me. (Philippians 1:6) And when we focus on the "me," everyone and everything else fades out from our periphery. When we focus on the "me," we begin to isolate ourselves, and the expectation falls on ourself alone.

I accidentally put the burden back on my shoulders, for the hundredth time in my life.

I forgot that there is a world of Life behind the dullness of the digital to come alongside me and shout out that they've found the same Source of all this Life.

I've used the I-Can't-Be-Your-Friend-Because-I'm-In-A-New-City-Every-Week excuse for not investing in the unbelievable women I've brushed fingers with in my life. And the We-Can't-Talk-Because-I-Have-Too-Many-Emails thing, too.

I've had the joy seared out of me with the disagreements, fights, hate, differences, conflict, misunderstandings and crap that comes so easily from people that we've never known personally.

And man. I'm exhausted. My heart is pretty worn out. You guys, it took me three hours to get out of bed this morning. Two more hours to get off the sofa. I don't want to write today. I don't want to edit posts, and I don't want to design, and I don't want to answer people's questions, and I don't want to sift through the bottomless pit of the Internet that daily reminds me I haven't learned even 0.0001% of what I wish I knew.

I don't mean to complain, but today is the day that I have found no life in anything I am doing.

And there we have it.

There is no life in anything I do.

There is only life in what God does through us.

There is no life in what we do alone.

There is only life in what we do with others.

My heart needs a witness to all its good and all its bad, just to be alive. Can I get an amen?

So, I chose to accomplish nothing today.

Instead, I unloaded my problems and my complaints on Haley and Kelly. I sat at the table with my husband and we dug and scraped pieces of debris out of one another's hearts as best we knew how. I picked up my phone and called - YES CALLED - sweet Amber to ask her advice on an issue with Good Women Project because I can't do this alone. And I emailed back and forth with Lore about the busy-ness of life and the beauty in resting, while I struggled to silence the voice in my head that was wrangling me back into believing I had too many other emails to reply to.

And in that, I found SO MUCH LIFE that I had to write, and tell someone out there about it.

Somewhere in the midst of my mistakes and mis-prioritizing, God has given me the grace of women (and an incredible husband) who have made their hearts and love and support available to me, even when I don't return it well. Even when I've put so much weight on my own shoulders that I've had no more joy left to give. Even when the dread of unwelcome comments has kept me from writing what has been trying to push its way out of my heart.

So really, what I said about not reading this blog unless you're my friend? I just meant that friends you can unload on are necessary to survival. That asking for advice is exponentially better than making a decision on your own. That talking to someone - real, human connection - is much more beautiful and life-giving than we give it credit for. I meant that no amount of reading other's stories of healing can come close to the rawness of sitting in someone's presence and putting your own heart on the table. I meant that your friends' opinions of you mean infinitely more than an anonymous commenter.

I meant that I've been reading and doing more than I've been being and loving - and if you're overwhelmed and feel alone, if you feel that the online world has sand-papered your heart - maybe you have too?

- - -

They asked him, "What must we do to do the works God requires?" Jesus answered them, "the work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent." John 6:28-29

17 comments:

Emily Hornburg said...

I wish I could give you a hug right now.

Feeling like you have to give of yourself all of the time IS exhausting. It can completely drain you if you try to do it alone without God. It's a lesson I have to learn the hard way EVERY DAY, and it sucks.

You need a day off. Sometimes - you need those days when you don't get out of bed for three hours, or lay around on the couch for hours at a time. That was exactly the advice a friend gave me at the end of the summer. Summer is my busiest time, and this year it completely sucked me dry. Things that usually energize me and set me on fire for Christ drained my soul. A friend told me that I needed to just lay around one day, not get out of my pajamas, and watch stupid movies. So I did.

And I'm glad you have people you can unload to. There have been a lot of times (just today too actually) I've had to get off of my "I'm perfect and can handle everyone's problems" high horse and talk to someone. Some of the best choices I've ever made in the last 6 months. Not even joking.

So go rest. All of those emails can wait. If you need to delegate some Good Women Project stuff to someone - do it.

God will take care of the rest.

Amber Maheu said...

I absolutely LOVE this post. Amen. Seriously, we can't do it all and I love how you vent on here but you also do such a great job bringing it back to the one that matters: Jesus. This post makes me happy and I'm so glad I read it.

Phoebe Lau said...

Lauren, I really needed to hear this today...I've been feeling particularly hermit-ish for the past week and have been thinking very similar thoughts as the ones you've so wonderfully put out for us.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Kate said...

What a great realization. How often do I feel unnecessarily "bogged down" with responsibilities and crap because I try to do it in my own strength...? Way to often, unfortunately.
Thanks for using your platform to share what He is teaching you.

april said...

I am so relieved vwcause when I read that heading, I thought you were going to require friending you on fb in order to read your blog. I just defriended fb so I wouldn't be able to do that. Seriously. I thought that. Not making this up.

Lore Ferguson said...

It was good talk, eh?

Say no to one thing a day. I'm on board. Yessir.

abi said...

THIS. So, so much!! I have been feeling this recently. This feeling that what God has called me to should feel more like living rather than work. Then I realise that actually I am doing this thing called "life/job/ministry" all in my strength rather than God. Thank you for letting me know it's not just my own crazy in my head.

bethanytwrites said...

I'm not your "friend" but I love reading your blog and totally agree with you! One of my mottos this year has been

"You can do whatever you want to do and be whoever you want to be."

I am slowly learning that my friends, family, and God won't stop loving me when I'm not perfect, and no one ever wanted me to be. To sit in someone's presence, be it God or a friend, and simply be present, instead of being perfect. That things in the world will be accomplished even if I'm not the one accomplishing them, and I was never meant to be all things to all people.

This is a timely reminder to keep growing.

kelly summers said...

of course, since we were both unloading on each other, i completely identify with this. we run a freaking Christian business every day and somehow i still act like a large part of its success is on me, when it's clearly not. thank you for putting my stress and anxiety into words so that i can address it and move forward. love you.

Brittany said...

Yes, this. Love your honesty, encouraged by His truth. Thank you.

megangoingwest said...

Oh wow. Thank you for sharing this, Lauren. What you've shared is quite similar to what I'm wrestling with the Lord in this month.

I fell on my knees last week in pure exhaustion & helplessness because I was so tired and weak. All I could do was rest physically and spiritually on the Lord--there was nothing left inside of me that allowed myself to do anything on my own.

I realized that I had been relying on my own strength & wisdom to do the things the Lord has called me to do daily...and because of this, I wasn't doing a great job, nor could I even do it at all. God reminded me that although I had been saying yes to Him, I was still following my agenda. Instead of saying yes to Him & leaving myself behind.

"And he said to all, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? "
Luke 9:23-25

Thanks for your encouragement today!

Mrs. T said...

Real honesty. Very proud of you sister in Christ! Way to come to the end of yourself and find that God is all there is. Sometimes it takes complete exhaustion to get there, I've been there. Get rest! Enjoy the day. Human connection is SO IMPORTANT. Something I have learned these past few months. Love you!!!

Linda Wagner - Nutrition to Invigorate Mind, Body, and Spirit said...

WOW, I just found you and this post expresses my feelings exactly. I left my job one year ago, started my website/nutrition practice/blog and although it is amazing and it looks beautiful and perfect from the outside, yes, you are right. It's HARD. Even in all the beauty life is hard and we block "the flow" of spirit with fear, expectations, doubt.

Really glad I found your blog. Will check out the Good Women Project. I love what you're doing and would love to work together some day!

Anonymous said...

exactly why I've tried communicating with you and tried to not let you drop out of my life. I agree with this post and wholeheartedly believe that human contact with people who truly know and love you is the most important thing. I'm your friend and always will be, even if our relationship is rocky at the moment.

Love, Lydia

princessbrittanyann said...

Amen Amen and Amen.
You need your sisters and brothers and more importantly your Father. It's hard to remember that sometimes.

KerryRose said...

Love this.

busana muslim said...

I like that that you say {as|like} my friend thanks

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