I’ve always referred to myself as a quiet person. But I’m realizing there’s a difference between being quiet and choosing quietness to avoid facing that which terrifies me. In retreating from Facebook for a short break, after having had my eyes opened to its eating away of my confidence, I’ve now discovered something surprising.
In the past two years, I have learnt to recognize and move away from my craving to be loved and accepted by humans, to replace idol-worship with the worship of a living Saviour. But, in learning to rest in my new identity as a daughter of the King, I am also still learning to release the strings I’m so used to holding tight.
You see, I look at other bloggers and authors on Facebook and I don’t long to be accepted by them as worthy, rather, I look at them and their following and retreat back into my shell. I begin to doubt the path God has called me onto and hold tight to it, rather than walk in it. I begin to believe the mockery and criticism that have been directed at me from close quarters throughout the book publishing process. Lies spoken over me become truth.
And at the root of it all lies fear, fear that I’ll be made into even more of a laughing stock, rejected and turned away. So, I turn to protect myself. When unbelieving friends ask me about my book, I play it down and tell them I’m not expecting much of it. In the back of my head are those lies, rooting deep.
And when I look at other bloggers and authors, I cringe inwardly, telling myself that unlike them, I’m just a fraud…what am I even doing here. You see, I’m used to being the one holding the strings. This, this is all so new.
This blogging and book journey was never the path I chose for myself. I was repeatedly nudged forward to do so, when I’d have much rather just hidden, kept it all to myself. You see eyes directed at me scare me. For where eyes rest, so do memories of rejection.
Cold shoulders, cutting words, singling out, laughter. Every change in my life, and there were many, have been accompanied by the memories of that little foreign girl. “Go home where you came from.” A kiwi girl, child of missionaries, as different as could be from those little German girls in clothing, accent, mother-tongue and faith, the perfect target for mockery and verbal bullying. And with each change, the untruths spoken over me became truths: fourteen houses, seven towns, two countries before my eighteenth birthday. The truth became: you don’t belong here, you’re strange, you’re odd. And my calling became: hide, don’t open your mouth, stop being you because that’s not who they want, you’re an embarrassment. And when my hurting heart, the girl given the gift of feeling others’ pain, was turned away in her own home in trying to protect the one she loved, the rejection piled on as a little girl just cemented tight.
And even though I’m no longer that little girl, or the preteen turned away, those untruths linger and cripple even now…and so I turn to hide. “Don’t say too much about the book, Anna, then there’s less chance of being humiliated.” “Don’t put yourself out there, Anna, because then they’ll see that you don’t belong.” “Don’t ask for help, Anna, because then you’ll look like the failure you are.” “Don’t promote your book, Anna, because you don’t want to steal the limelight from those whose words are much more important.”
And so I keep holding tight to what I’ve been called to release in trust. But I don’t want to live like this. I want to walk in confidence, in strength and in the truth of my identity in Christ. I don’t want to hide the lamp He has called me to shine in the Light of His Truth.
Do you struggle with similar crippling untruths? If so, will you join me in speaking the Truth of God’s Word against them? Let’s walk together, heads held high, as sons and daughters of the Most High King to the Glory of His Name:
Psalm 139:13-17 “You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so complex! Your workmanship is marvelous- how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered!”
TRUTH: God has made me as His unique and treasured creation, His masterpiece. I am loved and accepted just as I am. I do not have to change or hide who God has made and called me to be.
Romans 8:14-17 “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when He adopted you as His own children. Now we call Him, “Abba, Father.” For His spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. And since we are His children, we are His HEIRS. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share His glory, we must also share His suffering.”
TRUTH: Rejection and hurtful words do not take away the embrace of Christ. I am His child, His heir, His beloved. Nobody can take me away from His Love. I have nothing to fear.
John 15:16 “You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit…”
TRUTH: He has called me to walk in this path. He has poured out His Love into my book and I am called to release it, so it may produce lasting fruit in the lives of those who read it.
Romans 12:6 “In His grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well….”
TRUTH: God has given me the gift of writing. He has given me the ability to do it well, an ability I am not called to hide, but to release into the world for His Glory.
Jeremiah 31:3 “I have loved you with an everlasting love!”
TRUTH: He has loved me since before time began. Even when those hurtful words of rejection first hit, He was there, holding out His Love, longing to take me in His arms and speak His Truth over me. I am unique, precious, called, equipped, safe and so powerfully loved by my Abba Father, who will never, ever let me go.
Abba Father, open our eyes to Your Truth. Lead us in Your confidence, Your strength and Your wisdom. Help us to release the gifts you have given us, so that they may produce lasting fruit in You. Lord, break the hold of fear and rejection upon our lives. Let us walk boldly along the path You have called us, our body, mind and soul tethered to Your Truth, to the Glory of Your Kingdom.
Not one of us is immune to suffering. So many of us have experienced loss, rejection, trauma and/or deep hurt. But often we decide to keep working, to keep going and to keep numbing that which we are terribly scared will break us into tiny little pieces. Love Embraced, released on Amazon May 5th, records the author’s own journey through such suffering, in: caring for her mother dying of cancer, grieving her mother’s death, her diagnosis of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and working through repressed childhood memories.
But, it also reveals how in starting to face that which she was too frightened to face, she began to embrace and be embraced by a mighty God into: freedom, hope, comfort, peace, strength and deep joy.
Anna’s dear friend Emily Stephenson is also promoting the book with beautiful handmade jewelry, inspired by #LoveEmbraced. Below is an example of what you can find at The Wildflower Heart: