I’m Fragile Today

That was what I was going to call a recent blog. That day, I was weepy and terribly fragile. I had it all written up in my head but never sat down to write it. Why do we rarely admit when we’re feeling fragile and vulnerable? For me, more often than not, I just don’t want people to worry. Though there’s nearly always some level of pride involved in our reluctance to admit when we’re weak, for me, I was pretty sure that wasn’t the issue that day. I admit so much junk about myself, what’s a little weakness thrown in there, right?

Maybe, if I really do search out my motive in not posting it, it will somehow come back to pride. I have people who depend on me, so when I say I’m fragile or that maybe my faith is a bit shaky for a moment, then I fear it’ll cause them to feel shaky too. I s’pose that’s pride, fearing that their faith is in any way dependent on mine. Who do I think I am? Okay, so let’s go with pride. When I said I admit so much about myself that this was not a big deal, I know now I was wrong. It’s easier to admit the failures of our past, ones we appear to have overcome, than to admit our weaknesses of today, because in doing so, we are admitting we still don’t have it all together. News flash: I don’t have it all together.

It’s nothing more than pride that causes me to say, “I’m fine” when I’m really not. I was doing that week after week for quite some time. Truly, I was a volatile mess on the inside, yet I portrayed myself as being calm and collected on the outside. I was a candy-coated shell with a gooey mess inside. – I must be having sugar cravings since I’m picturing myself as an M&M. – For that season, though, because of pride, I was faking it, barely getting by.

For one thing, I was overcommitted, my reach extending into several areas, and I was losing my ability to keep up. I was stressed and pulled in too many different directions, and I knew without question that the Lord, and my protective husband, was calling me to step away from some things. I was taking care of many good things while ignoring some of the better things, those quieter things that needed my attention but didn’t loudly demand it.

Ultimately, though, I discovered that the reason I was such a mess was that I wasn’t trusting God in a particular area. I was focusing on the seen rather than the unseen, which led to my faith being shaken. The only way I found peace again was in trust. I had to come to a place of trust, a place where I remembered His love for me is perfect and that He will allow nothing into my life that is not first filtered through His love for me. So I sat with Jesus and said, “Okay, I don’t understand this, but I don’t have to. I feel You’ve said one thing yet I’m seeing just the opposite. Still, I trust You.” The very second I returned to a place of trust, my peace returned and the vulnerability and volatility I was feeling vanished.

Now, the phrase I’m walking away with is, love and trust go hand-in-hand. If I truly believe He loves me, then I can trust anything – everything – He allows into my life. I’m not sure what you may take away from this, but if nothing else, you see I’m real and I’m in process and I definitely don’t have it all together. But I trust Him to get me where I need to be.

Passionately Apathetic

A recent review for one of my books said, “It was just okay.” On the upside, at least she didn’t hate it, but her comment got me thinking. How can you be so apathetic about something, yet passionate enough in your apathy to take the time to leave a review?

I’ve tried to stop reading reviews. Really, I have. These days, most times I think I read them more out of habit or boredom. At first, I rose and fell with ever positive and negative comment. With each five star review, I was relieved and felt validated, but let one scathing review come in and my confidence plummeted, and I was certain I should just throw in the towel.

Over the course of this past year, what the reviews have accomplished in me is this: I’ve become thicker skinned. I’ve had to. Christian women, especially behind the veil of anonymity online, will say some really mean things, forgetting that there’s a person attached on the others side. I’m finally okay with that. I’ve learned that we are all different and have varied tastes. How likely is it that we all like the same books? Not likely. So I’m finally comfortable that some don’t.

Here’s my point, I could have buckled after my first bad reviews, and honestly, if it weren’t for the good reviews far outweighing the bad, I likely would have. Most likely, I would have quit writing altogether. But I didn’t. I keep pressing on. Especially now, with my latest novel soon to release, I feel the pressure of meeting expectations set by the first. I wonder if you’ll like the book and the direction it takes. Because I’m way too in my head, I could allow that to cause me to truly fear, but God reminds me: I’ve written the story exactly as He’s given it to me. Truly, I first have to write for an audience of One. I can place it before Him in full confidence, knowing it’s my offering to Him and hope that it will touch lives. Maybe, somewhere tucked amidst the bazillion pages (it seems), something will touch your heart and draw you into the deeper waters with Him. May we never settle with being women who wade in the shallows.

So now, revisiting the term passionately apathetic, ask yourself: Is that you? Do you talk a good game, yet deep down feel more apathetic about your walk with Jesus? (That came outta nowhere and wasn’t the direction I saw this blog taking.) But are you? The new novel, Beyond 4/20, follows Chelsea’s journey from unknown apathy to true passion. I hope it will, in some way, encourage you to seek the same journey.

Blessings to you, and may you ever swim in the deep places.