You know the feeling. That tug on your heart when you are being called to step into a new chapter, or to go to the next step in an existing chapter of life.
We can try to ignore it, escape it, but it continues to pop up at every turn, in your dreams, during random times of the day. Until finally, you give it the attention it requires.
Lately, for me, that’s been the tug back to writing and speaking.
A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to share my story at a women’s retreat at my church. I shared the stage with four other women who all have their own powerful stories of redemption. After hearing the first two speakers I had to pause for a moment — what was I doing up here? My story isn’t anything like theirs. But you know what? Even though the stories are told differently, they all spoke to the same theme – God’s loving grace and our redemption through Christ.
God has been teaching me so much about His grace lately. Just when I thought I had exhausted the topic, I have come to understand volumes more. And through this new found learning and understanding, I am finding myself invigorated, awakened, free.
I chose the word ‘Rest’ for 2022. I chose it mainly because I was so tired. Exhausted. From doing all the things. I have lived my life by a giant ‘to-do’ list for so long, I couldn’t comprehend there being another way to live and get anything done. Crossing off the items gives me a sense of accomplishment, achievement, self-worth. And therein lies the problem. That, in a nutshell, is leaning on me. My own understanding. The things that are in my power. And that list is limited — the things in my power. And trying to do it all myself, is tiring. Assessing my worth, my success by what I’ve crossed off my list, especially when I realize how long the list of “have to’s” that remain is just flat out exhausting. But God is faithful, and carrying me, as he always does, showing me a better way.
The tug I have felt from God lately is a resurgence that I need to share my story more widely. I’ve had mixed feelings about that, which I’ll most likely address in a separate post, but suffice to say even when God calls me and equips me, I sometimes still go kicking and mumbling all the way. But since this nagging idea won’t leave me alone, I figured I should seek out support rather than just wing it (as I usually do).
I’ve recently started meeting with a speaking coach. The first step in widening a speaking or writing platform is to create a website. In this tech-age, everyone seems to start there. Amy is walking me through the content development of my site. We’re starting at the beginning, with a “tagline.”
Now, I have had a tagline for a while, “Embracing Grace”. My story, though evolving has always come back to that — God’s grace over and through my life. And that tagline, though over used today and common place, felt right in the moment. I was even a little annoyed when Amy suggested we start there. I offered to her that I already had a tagline, but something in my voice told her to push the idea with me. I didn’t sound excited when I shared it. Interesting.
The homework for that week delved into all sorts of activity around exploring my message to the world and how to sum that up, prayerfully, in just a few words or a phrase.
I was getting frustrated, because of course once you have a phrase in your mind already, it’s hard to think of anything else. I just kept coming back to the starting point. And then I went to my weekly class at our church. The class is called ‘Transformed’ and it covers so much about our identity in Christ.
Wouldn’t you know — we opened to week 8 and there it was — the entire class was the difference between laws and grace. And as we walked through it all, my mind was literally blown.
For every “law” we cast on ourselves, there was a biblical statement of grace (or several) to counteract it. The law was not replaced by Christ, it was literally fulfilled by it. And when I accepted Christ I died, literally…my old self died and I rose with Christ. Through His grace I was washed clean. The list of laws, the have-to’s, those were washed away as well. There’s not another thing I have to do.
Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace.Romans 6:14 (NLT)
But there is so much I want to do. And that is indeed different.
In many ways I feel like a “new” Christian all over again. Like I felt after finding Christ and leaving Mormonism in the first place. I’m reinvigorated, excited. I want to share Christ with everyone I see. I just want others to feel this love, this peace, this freedom, this rest.
This is the feeling I was searching for when I chose rest as my word this year. I thought I needed literal rest – naps, sleep, etc., but coming to understand that my to-do list was self-imposed and the way I was satisfying the bucket of my self-worth has lifted the weight of a thousand pounds from my shoulders and has renewed my soul. I am ready to trust in how God sees me. God sees me as whole already. He sees Christ in me. His beautiful, sinless, perfect son.
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.Ephesians 2:10 (NLT)
So, I am ready to embrace the next step, to answer the tugging that God is placing on my heart. I am ready to share this understanding of grace with others through my story in hopes that others, too, may release their heavy burdens and rest in Christ.
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.Mathew 11:28-30 (NLT)