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The Audience of One…

Have you ever heard that saying, “You’re getting too big for your britches?”

I heard it A LOT from my great-grandmother, Mrs. Hildegard Hentschke Reid ~ my sweet little German grandma ~ “Little girl, you are getting too big for your britches.  You need to mind your grandma right now.” Let’s just say I think I was born was a sassy attitude!

So where is this all coming from?

Well, as I was driving around in my car today, listening to a fantastic podcast (shout out to @wearedeclare @declarepodcast) on getting your goals organized in the new year, I started to wonder why I haven’t been writing. Like, writing anything. Before yesterday, I hadn’t posted since the end of October 2018. I’ve got two book proposals that have sat untouched since the about the same time as well. Why? I have plenty of ideas that I jot down in my “Blog Ideas” Notes app. Everyday, there is something the Lord brings to mind that I think could easily become a blog or Instagram post. But why do I choose to watch tv or play word search games on my phone?

Fear and Pride. Plain and simple…that’s the answer. But where did that come from?

Well, back to my drive in the car that prompted all of this.

I clearly heard the Lord speak to my heart and say, “You must remove that last post from your account. But keep it in the ‘trash’ section to remind yourself that you are always one temptation away from thinking you can live this calling on your own.”

Whoa!

So when I got home, I did just that. And I’ll tell you why.

Back in October of last year, I had listened to a podcast where a speaker/writer wrote a blog that unexpectedly went viral. She didn’t have a lot of readers on her blog as it was so it was a complete shock that this was happening. Her friends and family were clogging up her text feed with tons of comments and “Whoa, you broke your blogsite! Congrats!” And within a short period of time, she was being booked on podcasts, being interviewed in magazines and the local paper, and published her first book. The book publisher came to her…not the other way around. Part of her encouragement to the listeners was to write/speak what God was putting on your heart because you never know what will happen with it and who will read it.

Well, if she could do it, by golly, so could I!

I will say that the topic I wrote about was something that had been really bothering me (basically, all the ways we as Christians are not acting like the global body of Christ that He intends us to be).

But here’s where pride came in…

The whole time I was writing, I was NOT writing to my “audience of One” ~ nope ~ I was writing to the “hoped for audience of thousands”.

Honestly, I wanted to be discovered. I wanted to be known.

I wanted my blog post to go viral. I think I even posted links to the blog a few times via my IG and FB accounts. So much pride that what I wrote was going to turn the tide of insincere Christianity. Yet, I was being incredibly insincere with every key stroke in that blog post.

Then came in the fear…

No responses came in for that post. What if people were reading it but thought I was off my rocker and decided to not like my posts anymore. So I checked, and there were only two views. TWO!

{I’m pretty sure one of them was my own when I went in to copy the url address to add that to some IG posts and a few texts.}

When I first started blogging back in August of 2015, each post idea was prayed over and prayed over again before publishing.  I had a banner first year! {Go figure!}. The following May, my middle daughter was home from her time at YWAM and she said that she noticed I checked my WordPress stats all the time. I was a bit defensive at first (that should’ve told me something right then!) but I knew the Lord was using her to speak to me. She asked me that all important question, “Who are your writing for?” We talked a lot then about the “Audience of One” ~ the fact that it was the Lord who’d given me the talent to write and He would be the one to do something with it or not. My daughter then challenged me to not look at my WordPress stats for the entire month of June and to return to my first love…return to writing for the Lord…my audience of One.

By the end of that month, I had recaptured my joy of writing and was completely confident that if no one read what I wrote, I was still being obedient to the Lord because this is something He has called me to do for Him. And that was perfectly fine with me.

Fast forward a few years and I have admittedly gotten wrapped up in the numbers…again! If God keeps giving me ideas and things to write about, why don’t other people read it? I mean, my close friends and family read it but it’s not like I’m getting hundreds of people every day reading my posts. I allowed dissatisfaction to creep in. I allowed fear of failure to settle over my mind. And for all intense-and-purposes, I stopped writing.

September/October 2018 were great in that I began to edit my book proposal in order to prepare for a writer’s conference I was going to. I knew I needed to make it worth the time and money spent ~ and boy oh boy was it! (Thank you @declareconference) The speakers and the attendees I met there were phenomenal! So what happened to all that enthusiasm when I got home?

I allowed the enthusiasm to turn into pride.

I absolutely want to go to this conference again, but before I make the commitment to go, I must maintain my commitment to what God has asked me to do. To stick with my calling as He gives it, is what matters.

I’m thankful that the Lord has given me grace while I walked around “too big for my britches” for most of 2018, and has shown my heart mercy. I’m thankful for His discipline and His instructions today as I drove around doing errands. I know that one day He’ll lead me to permanently “empty the trash” in my WordPress account, but for today, it is a beautiful reminder to me ~ when I removed God from the calling, the calling becomes a resounding gong…and nobody wants to listen to that.

My friends, through this window of vulnerability, may I encourage you to see what you need to “put in the trash” and what you need to do to return to the joy of the calling that God has on your life. We all have different gifts and talents, but here’s a little secret…as Believers, we ALL have the same calling ~

To know God, and to make Him known.

How am I doing that today? How are YOU going to do that today? I’d love to hear from you…to encourage you and pray for you! And even if I don’t hear from a single human being…I am truly okay with that too!

Live out your calling to the Audience of One!

 

Blessings,

René

 

psalm 89 verse 1

 

Women's Ministries

Trusting God…

I recently heard a quote that was spoken by Ernest Hemingway, who said, “The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.”

Sounds easy enough, right?

But trust is one of the most difficult attributes to give to others.

I literally just shuddered in my chair as the eerie past whispers of ex-boyfriends haunted my ears. “Just trust me….” they would say. Trying to convince me to give in to physical desires and cross the boundaries I had set for myself. I wanted to wait until marriage to enter into a physical relationship and it was extremely important to me. How like the devil to make me feel shame in telling those boys “NO!” How ridiculous was my high school self to allow their dishonor of me, make me feel unworthy!  Seriously people…that’s twisted!!!  It took a long time to realize that I had nothing to feel shame about. On the day of my wedding (28 years ago thank you very much!), I knew that I would give all of myself to my new husband and I was proud of that. And God washed away all that shame!

{FYI to any of you reading this who are holding strong to your convictions to remain a virgin until you get married…keep holding strong! Anyone who makes you feel less than for your convictions is not someone you need to put your trust in. Walk. Away! And if you have crossed those boundaries, you can still come back from them. It only takes one step toward the Lord to reconnect with Him. When you feel far from Him, quite frankly my friend, it is you that have walked away. The courage to bring yourself back to the Lord is worth it!}

And giving our trust and putting complete trust in God, the Creator of the Universe, our salvation ~ that can be downright scary sometimes! And that’s if we actually believe that there is a God in heaven who created the world and is a part of the Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

And how do we trust someone we cannot see? So many questions and so many doubts can be raised on a daily basis. But for every question, there is an answer.

The Bible is full of examples of what happens when we trust God and what happens when we don’t. One of most oft quoted verses in the Bible regarding trust are these:  Proverbs 3:5-6  AMP ~ “Trust in and rely confidently on the Lord with all your heart and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know and acknowledge and recognize Him, And He will make your paths straight and smooth [removing obstacles that block your way].”

But how do we trust in the Lord with our OWN heart but not rely on our OWN insights?

Psalm 40:8 ~ “I delight to do Your will, O my God; Your law is within my heart.”

Psalm 51:10 ~ “Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a right and steadfast spirit within me.”
Psalm 73:26 ~ “My flesh and my heart may fail, But God is the rock and strength of my heart and my portion forever.”

When our heart is aligned with the Lord and what He teaches us and how we obey Him is what makes it possible to trust in the Lord with our whole heart ~ because our heart is filled with Him and not our own prideful attitudes when we surrender our life to Him.

When reading the verses in Proverbs 3, I think you really need to read the whole chapter but at least the two verses that follow (vs. 7-8), Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord [with reverent awe and obedience] and turn [entirely] away from evil. It will be health to your body [your marrow, your nerves, your sinews, your muscles—all your inner parts] and refreshment (physical well-being) to your bones.

Our family watches a lot of movies (A LOT!) and I will unabashedly admit that I truly enjoy all of the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies. When I’m cleaning house or folding laundry, I’ll flip on the tv and find something that can just be playing in the background while I putter around the house. And if there is one of those movies playing, on it goes! So this past Saturday, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies came on and I let it play. I stopped during one of the scenes and had an interesting bit of insight between that scene in the movie and how my relationship with the Lord is sometimes.

The dwarves are fighting the orcs and the orcs appear to be winning. The dwarves have been cornered on tree filled precipice on the mountain with no where to go. So up into the trees they go. Oh, and the area is also on fire. The main dwarf is making sure his comrades are safe and he stays on the ground to fight the main orc and actually cuts off the hand of said orc. But he still receives a blow from that disgusting creature that slams him to the ground, unconscious. The orc thinks he has won.

Okay…do you need a break for a minute from my “Hobbit” geekdom? It’s okay, I get that a lot.

Just as you hear the crackling of the trees because they are on fire and you think the poor dwarf warriors are going to be cast down over the cliff and die, these HUGE eagles fly in and gently pick each of them off their precarious perches and fly to safety. Relief! The orcs of course are livid but you can imagine how thankful the dwarves are to have been rescued. But wait, after flying for a bit, one by one the eagles set each one down on the level area of a very tall mountain top. Really? They couldn’t have put them down on the ground amidst the green grass and the flowing river. That doesn’t seem like such a great rescue after all. Until one of the dwarves remarks, “Well, would you look at that!” Because of where they are standing, and how high up in the sky they are positioned, they are able to see clearly to a far off mountain and proclaim, “Home.”

So why did I share this with you? Well, I love it when movies tie into something the Lord is trying to teach me. Having a visual representation of the point I’m trying to get across helps too.

How many times in our life, or maybe just this week, does the Lord allows us to be fighting a battle. One where we feel that at any moment we will not make it to the next day. We have nothing left in our heart and soul to fight the evil principalities. We feel so small while we fight the intensity of the spiritual realms. Let me be clear….

Satan. Never. Ever. Ever. Wants. You. To. Win. Ever.

You ARE fighting a battle ~ but you ARE already victorious!!  You WILL win!!

Trusting in the Lord is how He rescues us; “with wings of eagles” He comes to us and whisks us away. He gives us the respite we need and we feel the calming breeze of the Holy Spirit wash over us. We are His delight and we can feel it as He rescues us.

But how quickly we can forget those feelings when God sets us down somewhere we don’t think is fair and right! We just fought a battle…we seriously don’t want to have to climb DOWN a steep mountain of emotions and difficult circumstances.

Oh, but the view!

The Lord doesn’t waste anything my friend! He will “set us down” in a new place most often because He wants us to gain a new perspective on our situation. One that we hadn’t noticed before, but has more than likely been there all along.

The Lord is mostly assuredly trustworthy. He will never lead you astray or convince you to do something you shouldn’t. If you’ve never trusted the Lord before, or if you are having some trouble currently in trusting Him, give it a shot. You’ll never the joy of wholeheartedly trusting in the Lord if you don’t take that first step…and trust Him!

Trust me…it’s worth it!

Blessings,

René

proverbs 3 v 5 and 6 with eagles