Wednesday, May 21, 2014

on stepping back and submitting to rest

wo weeks ago I thought I finished a manuscript for a book that I'd actually initially avoided working on for a long time and eventually dove into heart deep.

The words came easy and I knew I had a message to share, though when I stepped back to examine what was there, I noticed that there are pieces missing.

I still believe that I have a message to share, yet I also believe that it isn't quite time.

In a fit of exhaustion I had sent my messy manuscript to a handful of friends, in spite of the fear that they'd cough and say, This? Seriously? This? 

I knew that I had to get what I had away from me.

          The work needed to cease, so I could rest.
               I needed space, so I could see. 

Fear wanted me to keep the words back and hold them tight. I sensed it wasn't quiet time for there to be a book yet, however, I knew without a doubt that my writing on this was complete.

I needed to get what I had in the hands of a few trusted friends. I just didn't know exactly why.

All along, my writing wasn't about the book. It was about honoring the story that I've lived and my heart knows I need to share. It was about honoring who I am and that as a person who processes with words, this writing of what I did was necessary.

Yet, fear told me I needed to know that my hours upon hours of early morning writing wasn't wasted. That the huge amount of space this smallish project took up in my heart and my mind wasn't foolish or meaningless.

Fear gave me a longing to know that it wasn't wrong for me to be sharing so much of myself, to be so divided like I was, so taxed and consumed by the writing for pieces of me to have been so partitioned off from my groom and our son.

Fear wanted me to forget about faith. It wanted me to get my answers from people instead of from Him, so I shared my words with the few people who were with me on many parts of my journey and waited for a response. I tried to tell myself that whatever they thought didn't matter, but convincing myself to wait patient didn't dismiss the restlessness.

I was fighting rest and the fight has left me dogged and ragged. I've been disappointed that I still have a process to work through to see this project through. I worked hard at getting to this place. I wrote and obeyed and honored the call. Still, I can't make it be time for the end product to be.

This is the place in this book writing where I've done all I can do.

I now need to submit to rest and simply let it be.

               I can still pursue hope, but it needs to be as I rest. 

: : : 

Just this morning I said no, thank you when invited to apply for a new job at a big-time university where I'd likely learn a lot and be positioned to really grow my career. I did this because I can't stand the thought of how exhausting that all would be.

What I know is this moment, right now. Not today as a whole, but right now. And right now I know that I feel exhausted even thinking about pursuing something like that.

Tomorrow is a different day and only God knows what feelings it will bring. In this moment, I feel incredibly achy and heavy. I literally have side effects from a fight I've fought for too long.

Fear has had its way with me far too many times. I could portray myself as the victim, though I'd be lying. I've had a role. I enabled it. Nearly every single choice I've ever made in my life has been led or guided or informed by fear.

I've fought the rest God has wanted of me. And . . . now is the time for me to yield to it.

          Now is the time to accept the pain
               . . . to face it head on and to submit to it, as it is. 

For too long in my life I've lived a white-knuckled existence -- fingers gripped tight around everything. If I couldn't control it, I'd try to cajole it or contain it . . . using whatever word I could think of that ultimately still meant control.

I've rushed in making decisions and found my way first in line, standing tall and pretty and all put together, just so that I'd have the opportunity if I wanted it. I didn't actually give much thought to whether I actually did want it until after everything was all positioned just in case.

Yeah, I know how messed up that sounds. Because, it is. It's also exhausting to have to go back and re-position and make adjustments like that.

My biggest fear is that I'll stay this way and never know how to really live.

A leader takes a step back and lets others go first. She carefully considers before she chooses. And she chooses for her first, quietly and contemplative. She doesn't need to tell everyone her process or procedure or predicament. She doesn't rush to conclusions. She comes to her own contentment through making good choices for her-self first. She isn't guided or pushed around by fear.

I have a message to share -- a community to lead. And I've been sharing a bit of it as God leads, but I know now that I need to contemplate it more. Truth tells me that I won't ever fully or perfectly get it. But still, there's a process I've yet to go through and that God's yet to work through in me.

          My worship right now is in the waiting. 
               In the stepping aside and submitting to the rest. 

On the other side of this there will be something richer and fuller, and that is when the message will be clearer and credible.

The only way I know how to loose the grip fear has had on my life is to step back and let me be. And that means to let the pain be, too.

“When you lean into that pain, and lean into the questions, and stop pretending that they’re not there, and stop pretending that everything’s fine, when it’s not . . . there is the release that’s waiting on the other side of that. It’s a new birth all over again.” (Sarah Bessey)

And so, I'm stepping back. I'm putting the manuscript on the shelf, though I assure you I am not boxing it up. And also? I'm putting the crazy, God-sized dream I have of developing a magazine on the shelf, too.

Hope says these things will be . . . as He leads . . . just not today.

I want a faith-driven life instead of a fear-forced life. So, today I'm choosing rest.


Linking with Jennifer and Bonnie


  1. "A faith-driven life instead of a fear-forced life." That's something to chew on....good job, Amy.

    1. My lens is less grey these days and I'm realizing how faith is the only way to peace. It takes a lot to really know this truth.

  2. " She comes to her own contentment through making good choices for her-self first. "
    Amy, I am proud of you. You made a choice for her-self. For you. God chooses *you* over everything and everything else. This is not a step down. This is a step up into the arms of God. This is a step deep into the beautiful journey to rest and feed your soul and take in beauty and live your story.

    "All along, my writing wasn't about the book. It was about honoring the story that I've lived and my heart knows I need to share." You are at the heart of what has been written, and when you rest, you will gain more of that heart you've begun to express though your words. Those words are still live in you, even though you're putting it on the shelf. That's just paper.

    Please share this in the Thursday Whitespace Link up friend! :)

    1. Bonnie,

      "You are at the heart of what has been written, and when you rest, you will gain more of that heart you've begun to express though your words." <-- this one sentence is the most profound way God is opening my eyes to rest today. I so appreciate what you said.


  3. "My worship right now is in the waiting"

    Love this line. Thanks for sharing

    1. Our choice to surrender what's most comfortable and accept what is, simply is that . . . an offering . . . our worship.

  4. Replies
    1. because that's the only way to peace. eh? Thanks, Sandy. ;)

  5. Wonderful post. You are brave and that is not easy. God's path for us sometimes means taking a leap of faith and you are showing us all how to do that.

    1. Nope, definitely not easy. But . . . totally the only way. We throw around "leap of faith" so much that I think often times people think the truth is enough to really know it. But it takes a journey of surrender to really see. To be willing to open our eyes and see. Jesus didn't just heal the blind man and suddenly he could see. He told him he needed to open his eyes. He needed to do something. He needed to do something by faith -- just merely opening his eyes to believe . . . it's kind of like walking on water and leaping off the cliff.

  6. So glad I found you today at Faith Barista! What an encouraging message and confirmation for me in my own waiting. I had taken a retreat last month with the intent of completing my book manuscript, but I kept hearing over and over to wait - to focus on the place where I am in the journey and let the book come when it's ready. Instead, I used my retreat time to just be - to rest and refresh. Love the line - "My worship is in the waiting" Lovely!

    1. I'm with you, Kathryn. Praying for your journey, too. May He take us ever deeper in trust and may we abide in His peace. Amen.

  7. wonderful beginnings... keep pursuing your dream and don't get discouraged.

    1. Thank you so much for your generous encouragement!

  8. Worship in the waiting....great words here. Knowing when to wait, when to important on our journey. Glad I stopped by from Bonnie's.....