December 18, 2014

Protection and Fear and Unbelief

I read somewhere that the root of all sin is unbelief and that we choose responses to get us through in place of belief, things like fear and worry and anger. I think my personal flavor of unbelief is isolation, putting walls up, or getting defensively protective of myself. Standing at a distance.
In some ways, this fall has been really great. I've enjoyed God's answers to prayers I've prayed for a whole long time. My heart has settled where once it was jumping around crazy. And we continue to be happily overwhelmed at what God has given us to do in our city.

Because of this, there have been other things, not necessarily bad things, but just a feeling of life clicking into high gear. I sometimes feel like I live three lives: a family life, a ministry life, and a writing life. My family/ministry/friend/social lives intersect frequently, but my writing life often stands separate. A good portion of people in our church don't know that I have this little blog thing going or that there are some books with my name on it out there in the world. And I very much like it that way. It feels protective of me in some way, like if it was a "thing", I would not only be the weirdo pastor's wife but the even-more weirdo writing pastor's wife.

I guess I'm telling you this because I realize this isn't such a great thing that I try to protect parts of myself. I'm not saying I shouldn't have boundaries and live according to limits and all that, but just that protection is a form of unbelief for me. I like to feel like I'm controlling my narrative and controlling my life, and well, that's just not working for me any longer. My three lives are getting busier, fuller, and more out of my grasp. I can't control my narrative, because I can't control what God calls me to do. He's challenging my unbelief in the face of feelings of inadequacy. And He's challenging me to not necessarily look for ways to slow life down but for ways to trust Him more as it kicks into high gear.

In praying ahead to 2015, this is most what I'm praying about. More faith. More freefall without my typical self-protection. More hands-wide-open and life-wide-open. What about you? What do you tend to replace belief with and how does God want to work in your life regarding this tendency in 2015?

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I am taking some time off from writing and blogging until after the new year. I invite you in the meantime to enjoy my top 10 most-read blog posts from 2014, which are linked below. Merry Christmas!

1. What People Who Are New To Your Church Want You to Know: A friend gives us eyes to see what it's like to be a visitor at church and what she needs most in her new community and church.

2. How to be a Good Sounding Board For Your Husband: As a pastor's wife, I have tremendous influence on the church because I have tremendous influence on my husband. I share a few lessons I've learned on how to use my influence well.

3. Push Through the Awkward: The advice I give most to myself and to other women, especially in regard to friendship.

4. In Her Shoes: Ministering to Women Who Have Lost a Child: A friend shares practical ways she was comforted by her church and friends after losing a child. Very helpful.

5. Seven Things I Wish I'd Known Earlier About Being a Pastor's Wife: As a young, green pastor's wife, I didn't know these things. Now I do. And I'm sharing them with you.

6. When Someone Reaches Out, Reach Back: This is a follow-up post to the most-read post on the blog this year, in which I give advice to the newbies at church.

7. Mothering While Churching: Stephanie wrote and asked how to be a mom while also being the pastor's wife on a Sunday morning. This post is my answer.

8. Unrealistic Expectations (and Where They Come From): What happens when the enemy's accusations have become so consistent and so believed in our life.

9. What Jesus Might Say About Social Media: So much of life is moving onto social media that it's hard to distinguish between reality and faux-reality. I thought about this for my own life and this post was a result.

10. When You Wonder Who is Thinking of You: Some Sundays I am sullen and quick to complain and I find myself wondering who is thinking of me.