God has been dealing with my heart in the silences lately. As I said before, summer time and having kids home all day every day puts a huge damper on my quiet times. I’ve been pressing on though, actively seeking, but struggling to hear Him. My brain has been on over-drive and instead of hearing Him, I keep thinking about all the things I need Him to speak to me about. I have had a long list for months: “Things to Talk to God About.”
Finally, the other day, with the help of a dear friend who’s not good at hearing any B.S., I was able to dial back some of the noise in my brain and ask the Lord some hard questions, and get some hard answers. Now I see that in the times when I’ve been the one doing all the talking, God has been depositing things into my heart and brain, and leading me down the path He has been laying for me.
Here’s where I’ve ended up: There is a constant struggle in my life between being Julie and trying to be successful. Sometimes that word, “trying,” is really my worst enemy at accomplishing anything. I’ve done a whole lot of trying in the past year. Trying to get noticed, that is.
Blech. I’d like to delete that last sentence and not going any further with this. But the truth is that this is a very normal thing for humans to struggle with, on any level. I’m not the worst person in the world because I want to be successful. But I’m starting to see how some of my attempts at being noticed may have actually hindered me, or led me in directions that weren’t charted on the path I’m supposed to be walking.
There are opportunities, gigs, and people that I’ve pursued somewhat relentlessly, in attempts to further my own career. I’ve even tried to reformat myself to be more like some of these other successful women who I envy. I stepped up to cofound a ministry and looked into the future and saw it being a springboard for my platform. Without realizing it, I expected that being in such a position would get me an audience with the people I’d been seeking, mimicking, and idolizing.
Let’s delete that last sentence too, shall we? Blerg.
I did a WHOLE lot of trying, and did not very much of “Julie-ing” in the last year. I ran hard after other people’s examples of success and after awhile, I started to feel a little gross about myself. I compared myself endlessly, and I always came up short. I felt left out and inadequate, and then when I looked at some of my antics, I felt more than a little embarrassed.
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” Psalm 139:23-24
I read this passage of scripture endlessly because it is where my Bible falls open almost every single time I sit down to read. From trusting in the Father’s plans, to finding my identity, feeling known by Him . . . this chapter gets to the heart of who I am in every single season I find myself in.
But those last two verses . . . I always cringe when I get to them. “Search me, know me, know my thoughts, and tell me where I’m going wrong.” Thanks a lot David. I think if I had written this verse it would sound more like, “Search me and don’t look at all of that ick I’ve got going on. Just ignore that, and we’re good.”
God has been pointing out what’s offensive to Him in my heart lately, and I’m not proud of what has been revealed. All of that seeking, mimicking, and idolizing of other successful women has been to my detriment, on many levels. You may not have seen the affects of it here, or on social media because it has been a very internal struggle, but I can see the affects of it everywhere.
On the flip side, once I stopped seeking, and mimicking, more out of discouragement than freedom, I saw that the Lord had been doing what He does best: working behind the scenes, building the foundation for the platform He desires for me to have, based on who I really am, not who I may be trying to imitate.
The idolizing bit took a little longer to come to the surface. It was just yesterday, in fact. As soon as it was revealed that I’d been looking to someone else for my value and approval, and I’d been waiting for a human hand to reach down and say, “Come sit beside me here on this stage,” the noise, the struggle, the stagnancy of some things in my life all made sense.
I am on a continuous journey of trying to figure this whole being alive thing out, and as I think of how to wrap up this post, I’m being reminded of so many other posts that are basically on the same topic, so I know it’s obvious that I have not arrived yet. I’m just putting one foot in front of the other and sometimes retracing my steps to see where I went wrong and to get back on course. Aren’t we all?
Here’s what I want to leave you with today:
In an age where social media feeds us fascinating tidbits of people’s lives, we can look at other people’s success and see the shine of fame, the big numbers of likes and followers, and the relationships that seem to feed off of one another, spurring each others success rates higher and higher. None of those things are bad, but they can sure make us feel bad about ourselves. Our own lives in comparison can seem boring and mundane, and our small successes might look pitiful next to theirs. Here is the truth:
God is doing something in you, and it’s not what He is doing in someone else. What He is doing should never 1. make you feel less than, 2. cause you to feel gross or bad about who you are , and 3. put your value in anyone else’s hands but His.
If any one of those things applies to something you are dealing with in your life, then you might be trying to make something happen outside of what God is doing. The great thing is that all you need to do is turn your eyes back to Jesus. Repent of idolizing something or someone, and ask the Father for the truth about what He has for you. What He is building for us is much more solid, and will be WAY more successful than anything we attempt to build on our own.
The very last thing I have to tell you is that because of all of this, after many months of struggling, it’s become clear that my season of leadership with Dauntless Grace Ministries has come to an end. I still love the people and the mission of DGM, and I will always cheer them on. God allowed me to help birth this ministry, and now He is allowing me to take my hands off of it so that others can
foster it’s growth.
If this post has resonated with you at all, please feel free to share it, and leave a comment below. If you’d like to chat privately, you can message me through my Facebook page. I would love to hear from you!