Wednesday, September 12, 2012

stepping aside

Declining opportunity is sometimes essential to living our personal and unique story.

I've had to do that recently. Twice. In the same day.

Opportunities to make a difference that appeared as why-not, therefore must-do, acts of service quickly became sour. They just didn't settle well on my heart even though I wanted them to.

Even though I knew what was best, I still lived with an uncomfortable and unsettled feeling. It took a long time for me to be readied for stepping aside, longer than my pride cares to admit, quite honestly.

I'm learning that not every thing is for every One. 

Your mission does not need to be my mission. This is truth I must remember. Truth that reunites me with Peace.

Pizza is one way I am learning this. Though it's one of my favorite foods, pizza often makes my stomach do flips and leaves me feeling slightly incredibly uncomfortable. I have lived this way for so long that I just count it as a given.

Doesn't everyone get a belly ache from pizza?

I've have been readied to make choices that are more right for me. 

So I have begun to pack my own lunch in anticipation for the possibility that there might be pizza served at an office lunch retreat since it's what is most frequently chosen.

I've decided that dieting and cleansing's aren't right for me, at least not at this stage in my life. These are important choices for me, though perhaps not for you. And that's okay.

Colleagues comment that I am "so disciplined," as they know that I live a life committed to overall health and wellness. Those suggestions make me feel embarrassed because they don't know the whole story.

     They don't know how often I've eaten pizza and felt ill, yet done it anyway--
          how I torture my body so often.
     They don't know what I sometimes I eat in the comfort of my home--
          how I overindulge and end up feeling full of regret.

     They don't know the tendencies I have to abuse myself--
          how I can easily become obsessed with food and workout and body.

I struggle to limit what I enjoy but that isn't particularly best for me.

A financial gain was offered to me for time I was giving to serve an organization that I love, by pioneering their presence on a social media network. I hadn't been particularly familiar with the specific network I was charged to explore and so dabbling in it for awhile and learning about it was fun.

Though I found the work enjoyable and understood its importance, I felt a gap in my daily rhythm.

I felt a tug to step aside. But I stayed anyway, for two months. And every day I felt this nagging Knowing.

I prayed for clarity and understanding of why I would need to step aside and when I came up empty with answers, I kept on anyway. Time rubbed my heart like sandpaper. The more I did what didn't feel right for me, the more my days felt mislived.

But, *shouldn't* everyone step up where there's a need?

Obedience is sometimes a hard choosing. It always leads to freedom. 

Where there are opportunities for me to personally connect with individuals one-on-one, to reach into hearts and share stories, my heart swells. I am pregnant with hope for His purposes. It's a strength of mine to develop people through encouragement and to connect people with the passions He gives them to live meaningful lives for Him.

What this looks like is varied and I don't always know the exact definition of what roles support my strengths. As I get into something, He gives me a knowing of what is most right for me.

The challenge He gives me is to be obedient to the knowing.
     Sometimes it means stepping aside.

At the moment pay was offered for my pioneer work, I knew this hobby was just that. It wasn't a passion and it was lacking a substance of relationship-building that my heart craved. The pressure to perform mounted. And suddenly it felt like a job when it hadn't before.

I felt compelled to work harder at something because I was getting paid when really, I was getting paid for the hard work I was already doing. When we're living in our strengths zone, hard work doesn't feel like Work. It just feels right. And this didn't.

I'm a writer. I have a lot of work to do yet to improve this craft, but at the core of who I am is a writer. I also have a passion to encourage people. If I were to get paid for what I feel called to do, it might be different. Though, I fear it might feel awkward and expectation-like. I don't write to meet deadlines and I don't follow the steps on self-marketing to increase an audience. I write because it's a must do for me. A living obedience. Writing is my worship.

The way I've been serving hasn't been allowing me to engage with a community in a more personal way. I've felt divided and almost sliced off from what matters most to my heart.

Was it wrong for me to step up and raise my hand for something without being confident it would stick?

Grace tells me All. Is. For. Purpose. 

It honors Him when we want to serve and we step out in boldness. Taking a risk for Him is never a failure.
*Willingness* is worship.

I've been connected with people who I wouldn't have otherwise know and it pains me to give that up because I wonder what I might miss out on. I truly want to remain on the team of the organization I have been involved with. And by saying "no" to this might leave me standing in the corner, alone and with an empty inbox.

Fear of missing out can't be what propels me to keep on. 

I have to step aside and trust that I honor Him most by saying, "It was good to serve you and I appreciated the opportunity, but this specific role isn't the right one for me. I'm going to step aside."

     I need to use the time He gives me wisely.

     I need to live my passions out loud and not hide behind obligation.

     I need to choose courage to trust that I won't miss out.

     I need to Wait upon the Lord for what He leads me to next.

     I need to trust that He will use my gifts for His glory.

It honors Him when we know our time on a project is through and we've brought it as far as our role is meant to take it.

When we step out of the way and obey, we are living out worship.

By way of stepping aside from this, He will accomplish so much more in me for His heart to be revealed more fully.

I'm also learning that though this all sounds good, our obedience is based on his readying of us. Choosing grace for where we are Now is worship.

     ...trusting that He will complete what He has begun in us...

     ...remembering He is developing our faith, and...

     ...we will never *arrive* at perfect obedience this side of Heaven.

He's changing my heart from I want to make a difference, to trusting that He will make the difference He wants to make through me, just the way I am

Anyone can do some thing. But there's a job for us each. A specific job designed to match the abilities He gives us each. Our passions. Our gifts. The ways we contribute are unique. Our living is art and it's not the same.

We aren't expected to do it all. We're gently invited to respond to His prompting.

These invitations to live obediently to His unique design for my life are radical shifts in my perspective.
     They are the fault-line of where my will and His intersect.

He's readying my heart for a quaking.


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  1. This is my first visit to your site; you linked up ahead of me at Holy Experience today. This is indeed a {Grace}full post, full of thoughts I need to hear over and over but don't often. The approval of people has ensnared me before; that's most often what keeps me serving beyond God's time in a particular role or entices me to serve to begin with. Thank you for sharing your struggle so poignantly and sincerely. I especially appreciated the phrase, "the fault-line of where my will and His intersect."

    I'm glad God led me here today. May He prove your steady rock when everything around and within you seems to quake. May He guide you and give courage to say yes to all the right things and no to everything else. Grace to you in Jesus Christ, Amy.

    1. I have to say, I was completely *led* to link up at Ann's place and hadn't intended on doing so. It blesses my heart so much to see how He touches people through words He allows me to write. That approval thing you's a tough one for me, too. I appreciate your words today. So much.

      Rich blessings, friend.

  2. Yeah.

    You are DEFINITELY a writer.

    And I love that top image. Had to pin that one. Such truth, sister.

    This is a rich, rich post. And I'll take this line away with me tonight: "...we will never *arrive* at perfect obedience this side of Heaven."

    1. Jennifer, your words mean so much to me today. I so much appreciate you and what you had to say.

      Love you, friend.

  3. This is beautiful. Love your pics and images. How did you get the pin it button below each pic? Love your words - I'm ready for a quakening too! YES!!

    1. That 'pin it button'...I can tell you, send me an email. ;)

      Praying a quakening for you, friend.

  4. Hi Amy-thank you so much for commenting today and for sharing your post ... I've been clicking around between several of your posts and even your about page, trying to decide where to comment, because it's all so beautiful. What a heart ...

    I can so relate to what you say: "The challenge He gives me is to be obedient to the knowing. Sometimes it means stepping aside." Three years ago there was an opportunity to get involved in our church's women's prison ministry. It felt like a no-brainer. Of course I wanted to go to the prison! But there was a firm "No" in my spirit. I didn't understand it, so I said No, but I couldn't quite let it go, so I committed to praying for the ministry for one month. A few months after that summer, SheLovesmagazine took off and I wouldn't have been able to manage both. It seemed like such a good thing at the time--and it is--but God had something else for me *specifically* to do.

    Like you said, "Not every thing is for every one."

    Thank you so much for connecting today ...

    1. Idelette, I appreciate your thoughtful comments, and for looking around in my little space here. The heart you mentioned...gosh, how people can deny there's a God just astounds me--He's working so much in me and I am so amazed and humbled.

      Interesting that our paths crossed. Especially because of a nagging dream I keep having about a magazine, actually. About blog posts becoming real and images of women sitting dock-side with some of their favorite bloggers' words sprawled out in print. It's crazy and I'm not sure why *I* would be connected to this, but makes me smile.

    2. Oh, and that same sermon yesterday? He said the very words, "not every opportunity is for everyone." Or something like that. :)

  5. i am so glad to meet you here, friend, and love your words. your honest heart, the way you're seeking a full life, amidst the brokenness. i'm wondering--would you be open to me re-posting this at my eating disorder blog, if so, could you email me at so glad you linked. bless you.

  6. Amy, I tried to leave a comment earlier today from my phone, but it cut off the captcha and then I gave up until now. I had to come back, first to thank you for your work at The High Calling. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, for writing words I needed to hear - words I need to say in at least two instances, maybe three. It takes courage to say no to really good things in favor of following God's call more radically. Thank you for leading by example, and for sharing from the heart, the less than "prettied up" parts of who you are. Compelling storytelling!

    Just yesterday, the minister at the church we've been attending preached about "opportunity," from Galatians 6. The context was slightly different, but the two are related for this reason: When I looked up "opportunity," in the Greek it is "Kairos."

    You are right, smack dab in the middle of a huge God moment. Thank you again for sharing.

  7. Beautiful, friend. Just like you. I'm glad for your obedience. Grateful for your courage. I'm looking forward to seeing what kind of plans the Lord has for you, Amy.

  8. I wanted to add something eloquent, about how much I agree and how I am learning this same thing, in the same ways, right now. But you said it all. You took every word that my heart keeps thrumming and I have never let escape through my fingers or my lips. Thank you, thank you, thank you. You have affirmed me in so many ways. Blessings on your for the use of your words to let God tough my heart today.