Shrinking, Shirking and Shutting Down

20130726-181414.jpgSo this whole self-image and self-importance thing has been a theme here lately on the blog. What I thought was going to be a simple post about a little snippet of The Deaconess Litany has turned into a mini-series complete with lots of my own drama.

Dana Hanson, one of my fellow contributors at Life and Liberty had a sermon about “Self-Forgetfulness” that made me really wish I could get myself out of my own way! (Have I mentioned what an extraordinary tribe it is that I’ve found there?) But I’m not quite able to forget myself just yet.

I gotta keep writing about this stuff because it is exactly what God is doing in my life right now. And working through this is part of how I am living out my faith (which, of course is the tagline of this very site). Also, I think that awareness and mindfull release of unhealthy self-focus is better than pretending I’ve already got this figured out.

So far I’ve shared about my desire for fame and glory (that bit from The Deaconess Litany about thinking too highly of myself). But I haven’t said as much about the other side of me that wants to hide, to shrink away from what God has called me to do.

The Deaconess Litany requests “the mind of Christ” that we not “deprecate ourselves in unbelief, calling common what you have called clean.” The temptation to dismiss my own gifts has been all too great over the years.

I’ve found myself relegating my creativity to paper crafts that hardly anyone sees instead of putting words on paper to share as widely as possible as God put on my heart in high school.

I have kept many of my ideas quiet instead of using the speaking ability that God has given me.

Why? Because I didn’t think it mattered. I didn’t think I mattered. What good is it to write if nobody wants to read it? What good is it to speak if nobody wants to hear it?

In a lot of ways, I just shut down. I shirked my calling because I decided for the world that my voice was better off muted.

A funny thing happens when you don’t write or speak, nobody knows that you have something to say. And if you’re not saying it, they’re not listening because there’s nothing to hear!

It is only in daring to share that you can have any sense of whether what you want to say matters. So for my lost years when I was busy hiding and assuming nobody cares, I was getting zero actual feedback.

There may have been a time or two that I tried to pipe up but was given a gag order. But to universalize that negative feedback was to do myself and my gifts a disservice. And ultimately to not do what God was calling me to, was indeed an act of “unbelief.” I was “calling common” or unimportant what God had already blessed and set before me.

So then, if I am walking with God, submitting my will and my ego to Jesus, and praying in the Spirit that other people will hear the Gospel through me, maybe I will indeed soon forget myself after all!

Thanks be to God!

What about you? Are there things that you feel drawn by God to do, but you’re dragging your feet? What is holding you back?

6 responses to this post.

  1. Well said. I’d also say be alert as you begin to share what God is doing because there will be opposition. (Fun times!)

  2. Posted by kristenburkholder on July 27, 2013 at 8:31 pm

    Oh my God. Are we living the same life in parallel?? I’ve been getting quieter and quieter (except for my blog, I’m holding on to that for dear life) and I think what’s behind it is just good old-fashioned sulking that I wasn’t given more attention when I was at the top of my game (with singing….long story) ….and sulking is ego, plain and simple.
    Anyway: ye gads. Yet another well crafted and thought-out blog by the likes of you, and thanks again for putting words to what I’ve been feeling. (You have a real knack for that you know.)

  3. Posted by Dick Brueserhoff on July 29, 2013 at 8:54 am

    Jennifer, thanks for taking the initiative/risk of putting into words what it seems like MANY of us are thinking. And my sense is that one of the marks of authentic leadership these days is taking that risk in the midst of the communities of which we are part! Thank you!

    • Thank you for that. After hiding my words for so long it feels weird to have so much of my baggage available to others at the click of an URL. It is good to know it is serving a larger purpose.

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