Reclaiming my voice

You’ll notice that this makes three posts from me this week! Have I been inhabited by aliens? Sheesh!

I’ll never be able to sustain this pace, nor will I try to. But here’s the ironic thing: I may have published three posts in a week, but this is the first one in which I have something new to say. My first post was an excerpt from Designed to Pray and a coloring page. The second was a guest post. In the midst of putting those together, and uploading a post for Internet Café Devotions, I realized a truth I’ve been hiding from. Well, that’s it, I guess: I’ve been hiding. But now it’s time to come clean.

I feel like I’ve lost my voice.

I want to bring hope and encouragement, not despair and criticism. And over the past few months, I’ve struggled. What I’ve had to say hasn’t been popular, and knowing that several people will unsubscribe as a result of each of those posts has silenced me. (I’m not kidding: while I typed this post a few days ago (just after posting a different post), I received a notice of four new unsubscribes.)

I’m not complaining, I promise; I’m just being real.

I’ve struggled through the election and aftermath, knowing that my opinions are not popular ones, including among many within the Church. I’ve wrestled with what to say and how to say it. I’ve tried to stay focused on God and not politics, to only voice opinions if they’re backed by the Word of God. To only talk about it if there’s a bigger issues—living as a Christian, and what Christianity is about—not about a political issue. I’ve wondered if I have an obligation to use what little “platform” I have to try to effect change, or if I should just shush.

I’m certain that I’ve offended people, in spite of very sincere efforts not to. If you’re one of those people, please accept my apology.

The unfortunate consequence of it all is that now I feel as though who I am, what I think, and how I try to live my faith are not acceptable to a bunch of people I like and admire. (Please know that I’m not asking for affirmation. Truly, I regularly hear from people expressing gratitude for what I do and say and I’m moved by every one of those messages.)

But I’m human, and I want people to like me. Even more than that, though, I want to write and remain true to my God and my faith. And I’ve let myself go silent.

So consider this my public confession. What is kept secret often holds a kind of power over us and brings shame, but I want God’s light to fall on this. So I’m revealing my insecurities to you, trusting that this is a safe place for me to be real. I’m asking God to start fresh in me. To ignite new passion and point me in the right direction.

I’m asking Him questions like: What do I write next? What do people want to hear from me? And more important even than that: what does He want me to say?

Now I’m bringing this to you to ask for your prayers. To thank you for walking this road with me. And to admit that I don’t have it all together.

Yet I know who does have it all together—and in spite of my cynicism and disillusionment and lack of direction, I’m entrusting this to God. Because His will is my deepest desire. I don’t want to do anything if I’m not doing it with and for Him. And I’m not accomplishing anything of value on my own.

Pray with me? (And then leave a comment to let me know how I can pray for you, or what struggle you want to reveal in order to let God prevail over it.)

Dear Lord, I find that I’m withdrawing into myself, even though I’ve experienced firsthand the truth that healing is found in the company of friends, in the sounds of laughter and tears, in the breaking of bread together and the sharing of lives. Expand my view, Lord. Let me look beyond myself, reach past my emotions and opinions and ego and instead lean on Your truth. Let me remember Who You are… All that You are… All that You have been to me—and all that You want to be to me. Give me the desire to embrace it, and let me be willing to change. Even if it’s painful or embarrassing or complicated. Because I don’t want there to be a wall between You and me. You came to remove those barriers, to give us unlimited access, to build intimacy with us and to share our lives. This is one gift that I don’t want to throw away—or leave in a gift bag stacked in a corner. I want to use every gift You’ve given me to its full extent. I want to come alive again, to be used by You, to be revived by You, and to be Your instrument, fully obedient and passionately dedicated and weary from overuse, not lack of use. I offer my life to You, again, fully surrendered and releasing control. I walk forward in obedience, not sure yet where I’m going, but doing my part to keep moving forward until I get clear direction. And I feel my hopes rising up as I anticipate finding You on this path in a deeper way. I am Yours, Lord, in every breath, every thought, every dream, every hope. Yours and Yours alone. Because there is no One else like You. Thank You for wanting me. Thank You for hearing. And thank You for the answer I know You have for me. Amen.

Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good. As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him— you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. ~1 Peter 2:1-5, NIV

18 Responses to “Reclaiming my voice”

  1. Dear friend
    Confession is a beautiful (painful) thing. It opens the door for all sorts of things to change, the least of which is us and our view of self. I love and thank you for explaining your absence as I have truly missed you. Now my turn. I need prayer too, deeply and often. My husband opened a painful truth to me last night about my why, Why do I want to live? What do I have to live for anymore? He asked that because I have been in so much pain (of every kind) for so many years that I hang by a tether to this earth. I have become isolated with a disease that has threatened everything that I am. I have looked at my feeble attempts to make a difference in this world and my trying again and again to find my worth and value. I intellectually understand Gods word and I KNOW what he says about me, about all of us, that our worth and value is in him who loves us perfectly. But honestly, now that my health has put on the brakes of my life, I lay day after day in a room and the phone doesn’t ring, and the quiet is about to drive this type A gal to the brink.My despair at the world and the choices our country recently made and the revealing of so many dark secrets in our body of Christ,(we agree on it all) have driven a nail deep into my already bleeding hands on the cross of life. The truth is I once thought I had some amazing destiny and today? I live moment by moment at times, day by day…seeking and hurting and wanting to be alive again in the manner by which I have been accustomed. Indifference to my suffering is all around and I understand why (Many people do not understand) BUT compassion seems lacking when there is fear, whether on the world stage or my little corner of life. I am indeed a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God through Jesus Christ and I wait, embracing the change that has come, walking out a very uncertain future with the courage and grace that can only come from above. “Rejected by humans but chosen of God and precious to him” I walk by faith.
    Praying for you sister
    Dr Lynn

    • Kelly O'Dell Stanley says:

      Oh, Lynn, my heart breaks at all the pain you’re feeling. I will continue to lift you up in prayer and ask God to help you find meaning and beauty and friendship and companionship and comfort and relief in your new phase of life. (You’d think I could use a few commas and skip all those “ands” but that’s how my mind works.) Love to you!

  2. Anita Klein says:

    Well said:)

  3. Kris Williams says:

    Oh sweet friend,
    As with so many of your posts in which you share your heart, I spent the entire time reading this nodding my head. I get it. I really do. The things that silence me are a little different, but the outcome is the same and the feeling behind the silence is the same.
    I am always amazed at how on the same page we are. Thank you for this wonderful reminder that God has something for us to say and that we should seek HIS message, popular or not.
    I will tell you the same thing another friend told me just this week.
    “Just write. That’s what you do. Stop over-complicating it. Write so that it brings you joy and satisfaction. Stop worrying about what others WANT to read and write what’s in your heart. SOMEONE needs to read that. That someone is who you are writing for today.”
    Love you much and hope you had an amazing Christmas! Looking forward to what the New Year will bring!
    Hugs!
    Kris

    • Kelly O'Dell Stanley says:

      Kris, thank you for always being so supportive. And for so often bringing me just what I need to hear. That’s perfect advice, and honestly, once I “came clean” by writing this post (before I even published it), words started to flow.

  4. Pam says:

    I don’t read a lot of self-described faith or Christian writers. That’s probably because much of my experience as a person who isn’t Christian is with people using their religion to exclude, judge, or even condemn others. You don’t do that, and it’s why I make time, now and then, to read what you’ve posted.

    Please don’t shush. We need voices like yours.

  5. ann says:

    Rejection is hard. We all want to be liked. I’m reminded of the story of Elijah and how he laid down under a bush, wishing to die because he felt ineffective as a prophet–the people had turned their backs on God. But God sent food and drink to strengthen him, spoke to him in a still small voice, and sent a helper (1 Kings 19). I wish the same things for you, my friend.

    • Kelly O'Dell Stanley says:

      Thanks, Ann. I’m getting lots of “food and drink” to strengthen me today. It truly wasn’t my intent, but I’m so grateful for the words people are sending. xo

  6. Susan says:

    Kelly,

    I have the same way as you. It’s hard to be silent when it crushes your spirit or creates a sense of hiding or trying
    to please. There are many articles written today about many of us Christians who are incredibly torn and saddened by the politics and climate of our nation. I too have been praying and working very hard to reconcile my faith life and the faith life or voices of other Christians who believe our President-elect is a messenger from God. That he speaks truth for them as they quote interpretations of the Bible or other passages to condone his rhetoric, behavior, lies, blasphemy, adultery, hatred, exclusion, unforgicrness, honoring the poor, the weak and the
    disadvantaged. How do we keep our voices silent around the true meaning of love for mankind – all of mankind when the most powerful man to be in our country along with a theocratic VP are manipulating faith to fit policy, an agenda, exclusionary love and grace for all mankind? With as many unsubscribes you get – the more subscribes I hope you get from not being silent. From writimg and speaking from a truth seeking center. I am not judge and jury – only God has that power so I’ve let go of my own God like power I’ve been feeling about what I feel and believe but seeking truth, pointing out hypocrisy, manipulating God’s love for a select few to purport your holiness as being the messenger from God is just wrong and we must speak of it. Thank you.

    • Kelly O'Dell Stanley says:

      It’s encouraging to know that others feel similarly… seems like many of these voices have been drowned out lately. Thank you.

  7. Kristie says:

    Kelly, your voice is an inspiration to me. Your posts have often come at what seems to be the exact right time — in the midst of despair you write something that speaks to my heart and reaffirms my faith. Please don’t silence your voice!

  8. Keep writing Kelly. You inspire and encourage me. 🙂

  9. Gosh, I wish I could hug you. I am a Christian writer as well (although not all of my books are steeped in the Christian faith). I share your political leanings. And I cannot tell you how much your voice, your books, your posts have meant to me. My own faith has been questioned when I share my political thoughts. Seeing a kindred political spirit who is also a kindred sister is such a great boost for me. Don’t shush. Don’t apologize. I’m praying for you to find your voice again and tofir it to be made stronger. ❤️

Leave a Reply

This website and its content are copyright of Kelly O'Dell Stanley  | © Kelly O'Dell Stanley 2017. All rights reserved.

Site design by 801red