Continued from When God Calls Your Bluff – Part 1…
Kristen Welch is someone I never thought I’d meet. She’s a woman with her own space carved out on the Net that is miles away from my own. I sit back, soaking up her words each week as the thoughts tumble from her head, and I realize just how brave this woman is. Obedient. An incredible heart for humanity – and a little unbelievable at times.
And for whatever reason her life stuck with me in a not-so-casual way. I’d wake up thinking about Mercy House. I wondered what it would be like to be more than just the money behind organizations like this.
What if…we dared to do something radically different? What if we stepped out of the comfort zone of hiding behind anonymous donations and lifted with these people?
This is when sensible me starts telling the I-want-be-brave-and-follow-Christ me to simmer down. Risks are bad and safe is better. I live in familiar. Comfort. Known. Give me new and unsure and I’m a little bit of a wreck.
Ok, a lot a bit of a wreck.
So as I dismissed the thoughts about all things outside my area of comfort, I packed my bags for the Gulf and conveniently left an unread copy of Rhinestone Jesus on my dresser. It wasn’t coming with me.
And as hard as I tried to shake the feelings from my head, He wouldn’t allow me to shake it from my heart.
I spent that entire family vacation outside my own self. My physical being was there, enjoying the waves and the sand, but mentally I was wondering if I could change it all. Let go of securities. Embrace talents.
I wanted to stop flying under the radar and move up above the clouds where the light is the strongest and darkness simply can’t hide.
Could I trust?
Could I let go of things?
Could I walk away from the hindrances?
The process of being wrecked isn’t a good one. Especially when you try to prevent it for the better part of a year. So you can imagine my frustration when I hit send on the email to this woman and then the moment sunk in that she would be at the conference. I knew this, of course, but temporary insanity and senseless denial got the better of me.
There was nothing I could do about it now. It was time to pick up my courage and head to the conference…
I’ve been blogging for over 10 years now. It’s gone in stages and I’ve been involved in various communities before settling on the faith-based entries that I tend to focus on now. But I seldom bear my soul. In case you’re skimming and you already missed it – safe is good for me. Drawing attention to myself is a no-no. And I hate public speaking because I’m the center of attention.
But courage decided to surface and I stepped out during the later part of 2013 to begin promoting the blog. I wanted to stick out my hand to other women across this vast Internet to shake hands and greet them with “Hi, I’m Jennifer – what do you blog about?”
The conference was supposed to help me do this.
So was the public speaking class I found myself sitting in at the insistence of two of my friends. Speaking causes me to sweat in places I didn’t know existed, my heart rate to rapidly increase and, in some cases, the earth seems to briefly stop moving.
If you experienced the latter, I apologize. My fear probably caused that. 😉
Little did I know what I was going to find in Shaun’s class. He weaved this conversation about public speaking into the very fibers of an organization I’d just signed up to advocate through my words. Compassion International. I’d been second guessing this decision, however, because that same fear had me wondering if I could commit to this type of writing.
Yet the more he talked, the more the feelings came out that I’d worked so hard to suppress before leaving on this trip.
Shaun saw me hours later, sitting in that corner where I began hacking out the words to part 1 of this novel I’m leaving you with now.
We chatted. About this wreck I was in. I held it together pretty well, though, until he said the words that I was terrified to hear.
“Jennifer, have you talked to Kristen Welch? She will know how to pray for you.”
So there I was, spilling my private story to the most trustworthy stranger I’d ever laid eyes on. He was encouraging and I was so miserable inside that I knew what I had to do. Once again, God called my bluff…