When you're stuck between living big and living small.

2014-04-14 06 So our feeds are firing a mile a minute with all this talk about dreaming big and reaching for the stars. And every now and then, my stomach flutters a bit with the idea that I could do something really grand and important, something that impacts the world and the Kingdom. I imagine seeing my books in Barnes & Noble, being interviewed, speaking in front of churches, going viral. And I have to admit, it sounds delicious and enticing.

I hear just as much from the opposite end of the spectrum: people who claim they just want to stay under the radar, who feel great about doing the small things, who never want to leave home, and say that anonymity helps them sleep better at night. Strange as it may be, this option sounds every bit as attractive to me as the idea of seeing my name in lights.

Most days I feel quite torn between being a candle and being a firework.

There's a phrase I hear over and over when I tell strangers what I do for a living, a phrase I wish for the love I could just wipe right off the face of the earth. 

It takes a special person, they say. It makes me shudder to even type.

As if my work is somehow inherently better than anyone else's.

What I don't tell them is that I come home exhausted and shaky more nights than not, and there are weeks that make me want to walk out the door and never look back, except for the fact that it has been ingrained in me that if I can't hack it at this job, I am not a special person.

Yeah, the struggle is real.

But there are words that I come back to -- words that speak life to me and lighten the burden that so often buries me.

Live the truest thing you know. 

It came from a Hemingway quote that I found when I was facing a bit of writer's block and (obviously) avoiding sitting down to push through it. And the truth is, I was also facing life block -- I would take a step, make a move, only to find myself wishing some cosmic backspace key would come swiftly to the rescue when I realized it was all just an epic farce.

When you don't know what to write, just write the truest thing you know.

My breath caught in my chest. Could it really be that simple?

Maybe we're asking the wrong question when we ponder living big or small. Maybe there's an entirely different third door that stands open and inviting. 

A third door that whispers come to me, all you who are weary and heavy laden. 

[Tweet "What if there's a third door that whispers "come to me, all you who are weary?""]

A door where size doesn't matter because nothing is ever wasted, and authenticity counts for more than efficiency.

Because at the end of the day, the candle and the firework serve the same purpose: to give light.

When you're living the truest thing, you're living God's grace. The God who delights in multiplying the seemingly mundane and small, the God whose joy it is to accomplish the immeasurable.

When you're living the truest thing, you're living out a willingness to trust that God really is who he says he is, living in a constant posture of worship.

This, this, is how I want to make a life.

A Letter to my Sisters {Five Minute Friday}

rp_five-minute-friday.jpg Dearest, most wonderful Sisters,

Professors had warned me that life outside of my small Christian college would be lonely. They told me that I would never again have that sort of genuine community. In many ways, though this past summer was joyous, it was also one of the loneliest times of my life. I was newly graduated and married, in a new town, and without a job or  a car. Even though family and friends were still close by, I felt heartbreakingly disconnected.

And then, I met Hannah. I don't even remember the circumstances of our introduction, but despite being half a world away from each other at the time, she made me feel right at home. And she invited me to a party one Friday night that would change not only my writing, but the heart that those words flowed from.

For out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. -- Luke 6:45 (NKJV)

In the beginning, I must admit I was shamefully wary -- worried that whatever community I found here would be shallow at best, and that life and faith would be portrayed in a woefully unrealistic manner. I thought I would find snide perfectionism,  even competition, and I assumed that no one would want anything to do with life and God as I knew them.

I had beautiful community  in college, but the last semester was laced with hurt at the hands of someone I was hesitant to let in in the beginning. The wound was deeper than she knew and I struggled to let go of the pain and forgive.

But what I found here was everything humble and broken and life at its very best. What I found here was Jesus, again, between the lines of tweets and blogs and comments. I found genuine community to come alongside me in my joy and in my frustration. I found sisters encouraging each other in the wee hours, holding fast to the promises of God. And now there's hardly a Friday night when I don't weep over 140 characters of pure, unadulterated grace.

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. -- Hebrews 10:23-25 (ESV)

It filled me past the brim. Oh, that we can take part in the restoration of souls. In the past six months, I have made friends that will be kept for a lifetime.

A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. -- Ecclesiastes 4:12 (NLT)

You all are a gift. Living proof that the Lord knows what we need and His timing is perfect. Each of your lives are brimming with evidence of His goodness.

You, mothers, who saturate every character with love for your children. You, wives, who strive to serve your husbands in all that you do. You, who struggle deeply with insecurity and every word is infused with your need for Jesus. You are so important, so magnificent in all of your everyday grit and hope. I admire each of you so deeply for faithfully coming to the altar every Thursday and Friday night. You have made me better.

Jacqui, your testimony of loss and redemption has been such an incredible example to me. Your friendship has made my life so much richer. And Sarah, its hard to paint a more realistic picture of life than you have. I so deeply appreciate your willingness to be broken before the Lord and before others. Dana, your calling to open your home to the broken -- the orphan -- you are doing the Lord's work. And you write it all out with such an incredible, tangible passion. Lisa-Jo, all of this is really because of you -- your faithfulness has brought all of us together. Fridays on the internet are like holy ground.  None of this goes unnoticed. So if you haven't heard the words thank you in awhile, please don't ever forget that your willingness to put your life into such beautiful words has changed mine. 

I could literally go on forever -- there are over two hundred of you. Even as I punch these keys, salty liquid joy spills across my cheeks. I so wish there was space and time to mention each and every one of you by name.

Lisa-Jo wrote this week about how much our words matter. And its so, so true. Another professor of mine frequently spoke of the power of our communication. Our words hold the ability to image the Father.

Because in the beginning, God spoke, and all that is went through the process of becoming. And He's still in the business of collecting the dust and creating something beautiful. He's still the God of miracles -- each of you is evidence of that. He declared that everything He made was good, and He is singing goodness over you, even now. He's so in love with you.

Thank you. Thank you for taking me in, and for being so faithful to encourage me in this journey. Not a day goes by that my prayers are not for you, that Yahweh would come alive in you, that you would sense His presence in your lives and the lives of your families.

Surely, no eye has seen and no ear has heard -- but every Friday night, I see glimpses and hear whispers.

Psst! Obviously this took a little more than five minutes to put together, but it was so worth it. You are so worth it. Back in August, I didn't know the first thing about "linking up." If you're a blogger in search of constructive community, stop by Lisa-Jo's place. You'll find that Five Minute Fridays are about so much more than weekly writing prompts. Linking up this week with 200+ of the most fabulous, brave women on the planet.