On the Establishment


Away for the weekend again, I’m heading to my in-laws house partly to visit Seth’s almost 93-year-old grandma who longs to lay a new set of feet on a street of gold. She has time here yet, but being near someone at the end of life is like a great big waving flag to follow hard after what sticks. Last time I was there, she writhed in pain and said, “This is the day that the LORD has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.” It’s a thin place there.

I’ll hole up to finish this proposal, too, and my mother-in-law said she’d take me out for Indian food as a prize. Though my sample chapters for it are complete, it seems like I’m dragging it out forever.

I’ve loathed thinking about the business parts of a book proposal, how to sell it and who would want to buy it. For a while I let myself believe it’s contrary to what I’m writing to set my mind to the actual selling of a book He’s given me to write. The stick-it-to-the-man in me says that if the book is good, then it will sell on its own, so let’s leave it at that.

Let me tell you what a big load of Poor-Pride that is, and I know it. If God gives the message, and we all have one from Him, then why would I not ask His near Spirit to give me wisdom, humility, and creativity to shout it from the mountains? Why would I not call His message in me good? (His message, by the way, is gospel.)

This is the verse that has helped me figure out between humility and pride, and I reckon I’ll unravel it for a long time:

“For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness” (Romans 10:3).

Following His voice is not a matter of establishing any agenda, selling a message, or planning an outcome. I am not ignorant of the righteousness of God, so following Him in whatever He’s called me is a matter ONLY of submission. When my proposal begins to feel like I’m establishing my own greatness, that’s what the delete button’s for.

There is so much to lay down, so much to pour out. There’s an emptying of self that says I can’t do this that then allows Spirit to fill me, and there’s a kind of emptying that says I won’t do this that protests God’s good intention for a broken life. Knowing my depravity does not mean to be self-loathing. It means that on my own, I have no power, but that also means exactly that He’s made me with the capacity for Himself.

This weekend we all journey to either establish our own greatness or to submit to the righteousness of God. The Spirit establishes. I submit.

Please pray the Spirit establishes the humility of Christ in me. I would love to hear what He’s establishing in you, especially, too, as you pour out your own self-loathing.

About me


When We All Speak a Foreign Language
January 20, 2017
What’s Up: New Year and a New Plan
January 13, 2017
What do you taste?
November 08, 2016
An Uncooked Story
January 10, 2016
Learning to Bend: A Wild in the Hollow Guest Post from Diana Trautwein
September 14, 2015
Celebrating Wild in the Hollow
August 04, 2015
The Myrrh Bearer, the Message Bearer, and Me
July 25, 2015
The Barbarian’s Heart
February 11, 2015
Be the child, then revolution.
June 02, 2014


Reply March 22, 2013

Save travels, friend. March, Sister, march.

Lori Harris
Reply March 22, 2013

Following His voice is not a matter of establishing any agenda, selling a message, or planning an outcome. I am not ignorant of the righteousness of God, so following Him in whatever He’s called me is a matter ONLY of submission.

Love these words.

Walking this same road with you-not in writing a book, but in reaching a city in an unconventional way. Thank you for putting words on my inner turmoil and easing some of the angst this morning.

Praying for you while you're away.

Reply March 22, 2013

Shout it from the mountain, friend. And we'll be a-shoutin' with you, for you, for that glory-soaked message.

Book proposals aren't fun, no. Agreed. But ... (and this is what I have tried to remind myself when wrestling with this one ...)

If, for instance, we'd have been given a recipe for some really amazing fried chicken ever -- like buttermilk-soaked, tender, can't-keep-it-a-secret chicken -- we would never dream of keeping that to ourselves, right? We'd want to tell our friends, and we'd want those friends to tell their friends, and we'd be smiling because lots of people would be eating some really great chicken. Because we believed in that-there chicken. :)

Keep cookin', sweet Amber. And pass the chicken.

Love you.

(P.S. -- Go read that story in 2 Kings 7, where the four men with leprosy show up at the city gate hungry, rejected and certain they would die. But then, the miracle: They discovered a deserted camp and entered the tents to find a feast. They ate and drank and carried away great riches, planning to hoard what they’d found. But then they froze in their steps, with their bellies and arms still full. They remembered that so many others were still starving in the city. They looked at each other and said, “We’re not doing right. This is a day of good news and we are keeping it to ourselves.” ... So, I think, it's better to share what you've found, in that feast of words. Hungry people need to know where the feast is. )

Reply March 22, 2013

Somehow you strike an amazing balance of letting people know where you're at - but not about it being about you, but all about Him, and for this I really admire you. More importantly, because of your writing I admire how good our God is and how very talented we can be, if we let ourselves be vessels.

Addie Zierman
Reply March 22, 2013

Love this. Beautifully said.

Don Sartain
Reply March 22, 2013

It's amazing how God always shows me someone going through or thinking through the same thing I am. Thanks for sharing, Amber.

Annie Barnett
Reply March 22, 2013

I've struggled with that balance with the painting more than I can tell, Amber. I'm grateful for Ted, who challenges my thinking on it, but I still want to just give all the art away. I'm not sure I've figured it out at all, but what you've said here helps my thinking.

I love the way you write about the Lord establishing things - that right there was a gift today. Here, I sense the Lord establishing quiet and I'm sometimes leaning in, and sometimes not so much. Grateful, always for the way your words challenge and encourage, Amber. Happy weekend.

Reply March 22, 2013

Praying for you, of course Amber.
May you feel the assurance of knowing His work is and will continue to be done in you and through you.
Release what He gives you and it will fly on wings He provides, with power.

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