For all my writing, I have chosen 3 themes that guide me.
I want to explain why I chose this and what it means to me.
As a woman in today’s culture, it is hard to live out your faith. I need to be reminded to live with big, loud faith. Faith that does not stop; faith that does not give up in disappointment or in the face of defeat. Faith that does not become mundane or routine, faith that is RELENTLESS. If I am not careful or do not intentionally fill my mind and heart with the words of Jesus, my faith weakens and shrivels. I wake up and wonder how I got to this point, and the truth is one unintentional step after another, whether on purpose or simply in autopilot I allowed my faith to coast without feeding it or nurturing it. Then I wonder why God is not showing up in my life. The answer is always so simple. I have not been showing up in my faith! So my desire is to live with a big, deep relentless faith and to inspire those around me to live with this same measure of faith!
But I can only do this if I am being honest with myself. And this is where daily authenticity comes in. How can I live with big, audacious faith, if I am not willing to step out and be seen? Or choose to be brave enough to speak out and be heard? I have learned that the best connections and friendships come when one person is willing to be authentic in the areas they are vulnerable, then others can breathe out and say, “yes, me too.”
I have chosen to live with authenticity. Many times this scares me. It opens me to the judgements of others. But I have learned that it is terribly lonely living oh-so-safely behind the brick walls I put up. Nothing can hurt me behind those walls, but you know what else? It is very hard to be loved and let in love when we are locked in a fortress. The walls have to come down, and you have to step out into territory that is new and unknown, and there is where the healing and the growth happen. But this is a choice we have to choose daily, to be seen as we really are, scars and flaws included because they have shaped us and made us who we are.
And you want to know something? The first time I chose to be vulnerable, I shook I was so scared. I chose to get up in front of 50 women and share my story of my deep, dark addiction to bulimia when I was in college. It is a story that for so long held me captive in shame and disgust. I hated my addiction and all the lies that went along with it but yet it ruled me. And through Jesus and a LOT of hard work I overcame this dark addiction and found freedom and after I shared my story, it opened the door for so many others so share theirs. When we choose to be vulnerable and authentic, it releases us. That dark thing that held you there no longer can hold on when you open up and let others in. If we want to live victorious lives as women of faith, we must choose to be authentic daily.
And the third piece of my mantra is servant leadership. We must lead the way, but lead with a serving and gentle heart. We must live with audacious faith and an outlook of authenticity and go into our communities and neighborhoods and friend groups, our world and be the hands and feet of Jesus. For what good are we if we have faith but do not share it or use it? So I want to challenge us as women to step out in our faith, love on those hard to love people. Pray for the ones that are hard to tolerate. Show up in your work places and friend groups ready to love and help and listen. Buy some groceries for the mom who is having a hard month. Share some baking just because. May we love like Jesus loved, and may the people around us see and know that we are followers of Jesus by our actions and the way we speak and love and show up.