Last February, I went away for a silent retreat, which was an exceptional experience. While I was there, I felt God nudge me to start a blog about my spiritual journey with Him. At the time, He was dealing with me about humility pretty regularly, so I chose the name Humble House Journey.
I knew some things right off the bat about this blog: 1) I could never be concerned about whether people followed it or not, that was not the purpose. 2) I needed to be careful about what I wrote because writing is influential. That part scared me a little. My dream is to trade my rent-raising career for a career in writing, yet I’ve had two fears holding me back: the fear of sucking horribly, and the fear of writing something that is hurtful or can be misconstrued to the point that it would turn someone away from God. I’ve written both sucky things and hateful things in my life, so let this blog at least not be the latter.
I have a confession . . .
When I started the blog a few weeks after the retreat, I laid out my heart in some painfully honest posts. Yet, I immediately felt worried about attaching my real name to it, so I devised a pen name, Alaine Laurel, which is just my middle name and an abbreviation of the street I grew up on as a child.
My fears were no longer my usual writing fears, but they were specifically about writing about God. I worried that my non-Christian friends would laugh, and I worried that my Christian friends would think, “Who does this unqualified baby Christian think she is?” Or maybe I was a little too honest and people wouldn’t like me when they saw my flaws. I feared shame and inadequacy. Yet, I convinced myself that I was right for having a pen name. I told myself that by using a pen name I wasn’t promoting myself, and therefore didn’t have to worry about it becoming about my glory instead of the good work God is doing in my life.
The problem with this logic is that I didn’t share the blog with anyone, which basically means that I created a lavish online journal. A few close friends knew i was writing a blog but didn’t know the name of it. I have p-l-e-n-t-y of journals, but I didn’t feel God’s nudge to write another journal, I felt his nudge to create a blog to share with other people. So what was my hold up?
Liable to be Labeled
The ugly truth is that I’m ashamed of being called a Christian sometimes. Don’t worry, I know all about the verse in Luke 9:26 when Jesus says that he will be ashamed of whoever is ashamed of Him. It has reverberated throughout my mind when people ask me what I did over the weekend, and I felt too embarrassed to say I went to church and enjoyed it, or when people would say how awful Christians are, collectively casting them as one as if we all have the same flaws or political agenda, and instead of speaking my Truth, I stayed silent due to fear. Let alone telling someone about what God has done in my life. Let alone being labeled a *gulp* Christian. Because that label carries so much baggage, some of which I’ve had my own bad experiences with.
The pretty cool thing is (at least I think so) that God knows this about me. He didn’t pull the plug on our relationship. Instead, He has lovingly helped me see how I put too much weight on what other people think. The more I gain victory over this, the less shame I feel.
Because honestly, I’m not ashamed of God. He is wonderful, and He has done great things in my life. I am afraid of what people think of me. Yet, there God is, showing me time after time, that I do not need to worry about what people think. I just need to trust Him.
Just a couple of days ago, I said, “Okay, God, I’m going public with my blog.” If my non-Christian friends think I’m crazy, then that’s cool, who isn’t? If my Christian friends think I should stay silent, then that’s their prerogative. This is my step of faith and no one else’s. Shorty after I decided that, my Aunt sent me a text telling me I should start a blog. I’ve mentioned this in a previous post, but this blog is a big leap of faith. I’ve had no confirmations that this is what I should be doing, no angel came to visit me, no prophet spoke over me, no one even encouraged me. The moment I decided to claim this blog publicly I received a text of encouragement though she had no knowledge of its existence. That’s interesting to me!
Through this, I’m reminded that God knew how weak I am when he called me. Thankfully, He won’t leave me in this state. He gives us grace one day at a time, one victory at a time. His strength shines through our weakness. Take a moment to let the verse below sink in.
I am weak in many areas, and one of those is admitting to weakness. Paul actually celebrated his weakness because He knew that’s where God’s power shows up. I admire that kind of self-esteem, one that rests in God’s goodness.
So here I am, posting not as Alaine Laurel, but as the Jesus-loving, proud-to-be-a-Christian-because-God’s-love-changed-my-life Jessica Abbe.
Today I will embrace my weakness because that is where God shines through.