As I began to write this post, sitting off in a corner by myself at the Declare Conference in Dallas, Texas, I wasn’t sure what I really wanted to say. I tried writing it in such a way that no one would know my heart. I could gush over all of the wonderfulness of the conference and be perfectly safe. After all, I’d had some mighty aspirations for what I would learn surrounded by so many remarkable sponsors, inspiring writers, and women of various realms of creativity.
But I just couldn’t get past the feeling I had inside. My seams were splitting from the tension that I’d brought with me on that long car ride from Missouri.
For those of you who have graciously listened to my anxious spirit for the last year I’m sure you’ve worked out the fact that God’s been on the verge of breaking me. And I would like to be the first to admit that I’ve been in some major denial over this.
While the process began in August of 2013, I can confess that I refused to look it full in the face until a few weeks before I left on a family vacation to the Gulf. Upon returning, I already knew that I was in a half broken state.
But I was headed to a conference in just over a week. I needed a resolution and I needed it now. I was coming undone but I couldn’t make myself discuss my in-depth thoughts with anyone. This time, it was just safer to keep it between me and God.
My foolish pride just wouldn’t allow me to give voice to something that I fully intended to ignore.
It was my intent to return home, take a few convictions I was feeling and put those into practice. By doing so, surely it would give me enough distraction to allow the emotions to die down during which I could say “we can talk about this soon. I just need more time to pray about it.”
But sometimes prayer is a crutch for me. It buys me moments so that I don’t have to face up to Someone’s voice that I’ve already heard.
It’s then, when I’m left alone to “pray,” that I’m able to extend my fingers, loosening the grasp on the very thing He wants me to hold onto. What an innocent scheme – used in such a way to be forgotten by those who have moved on to other prayers and no longer worry about whether or not I received my message from God. That smile on my face certainly lends proof that I did.
There. I’ve said it. And if you were unable to read through the lines I’ll make it quite plain.
I didn’t want anyone to know that I intended to disobey God.
Fear fools. It paralyzes. It tricks me into thinking that what God has for me is a grave mistake and I must respectfully decline.
So here I was, back at home, and I was stirred up enough to think that maybe I’d want to hold on this time. I told myself I didn’t want to come back and be sucked into the routine of day-to-day life and forget how God was speaking to me.
But in all actuality, the deepest parts of me knew that was exactly what I hoped would happen. I didn’t want this, but deep down I was afraid to move big. After all, it’s not that I’m disobeying God in other areas of my life. I’m doing good things for His kingdom! So I could afford to let this one thing slip through the cracks.
I am so foolish.
I have only to flip open the pages of my Bible – the one covered in gel pen scribbles – to the book of Jonah.
Is it a coincidence that this entire section of my Bible has no extra color on the pages? No marks of any kind. It’s void of my hand, as though my eyes had never seen the text.
Oh, but I’ve read it. I’ve read it a lot, actually. And I, like Jonah, was running just as hard and as far from Nineveh as I could manage.
I write this with sweaty palms as I continue to speak…
“Stop bluffing, Jennifer. God’s called it. He already knows.”
And it was in that moment that I pushed my pile of chips toward God. Not to gamble, but to surrender. To hand Him those last two or three cards shoved up my sleeve because I’d been too afraid to trust. Too afraid that, in this game called life, things wouldn’t fall in my favor. Reserving those cards meant that if He didn’t make good on a promise, at least I still had a chance to cheat my way through to the end.
This moment was real. I had no bluff left in me.
The conference would start in a week and someone had to know what a wreck I was.
I let my emotions get so involved that I took an entire lunch hour to craft a letter to the founder of a much admired non-profit organization and I poured my heart out to this woman. I clicked send and I waited. I had absolutely nothing to lose.
Today I’m linking up with the following authors to share my story: