Saturday, September 05, 2015

Out Loud

If you know me or follow me at all on social media, you know that I am not exactly quiet about my feelings. I am definitely a “sharer,” and if we are getting gut-honest, I’m really more of an “over-sharer.”

This means that if you ask me how things are going and we have a few minutes to catch up, you will likely get a long-winded answer that will make your eyes glaze over about 10 minutes in. It also means that if you vacation with me in Florida, I will make you put down your lighthearted People magazine so I can fill you in on the horrors of sex trafficking I just learned about in the not-so-lighthearted book I brought with me. (I have very patient friends.) I have been known to confide in total strangers, and I absolutely love it when they feel comfortable enough to confide in me. And my poor, poor husband…let’s just say communication is NOT a problem in our marriage.

On the plus side, it also means that if you are on my heart, you will likely get a text or some other form of message from me because I just can’t keep that stuff to myself. If I come across a song, a Bible verse, a saying, or a prayer that makes me think of you, I will send it on—even if I only know about your life from social media. That might be where the word “over” comes into play.

For as long as I can remember, I have been a communicator. (If your mother also encouraged you as a young child to become a lawyer or TV reporter, you are probably one, too.) Like anything, this has its advantages and disadvantages. On my best day, I might encourage someone. On my worst day, I might make someone want to lock themselves inside their bedroom so they can watch mindless TV because I have emotionally exhausted them 5 minutes after they’ve walked in the door—hypothetically speaking, of course.

Honesty, vulnerability, transparency…these things come fairly easy for me. I definitely have perfectionist tendencies (ask my siblings), but putting up the fa├žade that I am actually perfect is just way too exhausting. I’d rather just tell you my flaws upfront so we can cut through the fake and move on to real.

This, I've concluded, is just how I am wired. If I experience it, I want to tell you. If I learn it, I want to teach you. If I don’t understand it, I want to ask lots of questions and talk it out until it makes sense to me.

So naturally, when I found out about Brooklyn’s Spina Bifida, my instinct was to share. It just felt like the next right thing. I started writing on my blog (free therapy), and a few times, I also shared our testimony out loud—during a few church services, at a women’s event, and twice at a moms’ group at my church. It was all very healing and empowering, and it also helped me find perspective and meaning. Words always do that for me.

Fast forward to today. I still feel led to share about lots of things -- my feelings, our story, God’s goodness -- but life is busy and work is necessary, and I am often lost about where and how I should share. Social media is usually not the right place for big feelings, and I also understand that my children and my family may not fall into the “over-sharer” category and don’t want their lives chronicled on my blog. So instead of doing the obvious, logical thing – write in a journal that is never published – I do mostly nothing, leaving me conflicted and frustrated and full of way too many feelings most of the time. (Go ahead and say a quick prayer for my husband right now.)

A sweet friend put it to me this way:
“Everyone has a story. You just need to write it.”

Those words resonate so deeply with my heart because they remind me that this little personality trait of mine -- one that makes me feel like I’m a bit “too much” for most people -- is part my unique design and maybe, just maybe, God could use it for His glory if I’d just get over myself.  

Perhaps this nagging feeling to share is God telling me to go and share. Of course, maybe it isn’t, but I am choosing to believe that God can do anything, even through me.

Last spring, one of my steps of Faith was sending out a flyer to local MOPS groups that might be looking for a guest speaker. The opportunity totally came to me and wasn’t anything I pursued, so I walked through the door—and now I have 9 speaking engagements scheduled over the next 6 months.

Eeek!!!!

Now, the mature, business-savvy person would take this all in stride. They probably wouldn’t write about it, and they certainly would not send out group text messages with half a dozen emojis every time they got a new request. I mean, I sent out flyers and people responded—get it together, sister. But remember that I’m an over-sharer so I’ll just go ahead and admit that I am not taking this in stride, and although I am excited and humbled to take on this new venture, I am also pretty freaked out. But Paul told us to work out our salvation with fear and trembling, so I’m just banking on the fact that this is just what it feels like when God moves in your life.

I also have a few more “steps” in the works, but as someone has wisely advised me, I am being careful not to knock down any doors. This doesn’t mean I won’t work hard, it just means I am following His lead. Honestly, I think that is the only way I can do this and keep myself in check.

I do, however, need to follow the advice of another friend and get back to writing. Hence, this rambling post. I knew that if I waited for the prefect blog post to brew, it would be three more months before I showed up on here. Plus, if my goal is to be honest, then it only makes sense that I give you the full scoop on this new journey I am about to embark on.

And, really, who am I kidding… I’ve been dying to tell you all about it!!! :) :) :)

Artwork by my talented friend, Nicole.