Let the Game Changer Change the Game: Part 1
A few nights ago I got to spend a little time alone with Jennie Allen before we had an awesome girls’ night out, which is something that has become incredibly rare for me. If it’s rare, you may as well make it a good one. I ate creme brûlée with my best friend, ignoring the fact that she is totally allergic to milk. In fact, many of us dug our spoons in, and we ignored germs and reveled in the beauty of new and old friendship. That’s how these things go. We ignore a few things, but we uncover many more things than we ignore.
My time with Jennie before the girls came was at my request, because I feel like I’m stuck, and let me be honest that I wasn’t thinking about the fact that her Bible study is actually called Stuck. I know what the Lord is whispering to my heart. I know my calling is clear, but I do feel that there’s something hindering me from experiencing the fullness of Christ in that calling. I can tell I’m hindered, because I’m watching myself reach out for someone to catch me – like I’ve gone and jumped off a cliff, about to hit the ground.
We did some good laughing and talked about ministry and what it means to be a woman preacher (which kind of makes me nervous laugh, even though it shouldn’t). Then yesterday morning, I got to actually hear her preach. As in, she had no notes and stood in front of a hundred women and delivered what fire God had obviously put in her bones. I’m not even about to put her on a pedestal over it either. She’s a regular person just like the rest of us, but she is ahead of me in her pursuit, so I had about 500 questions for her, which probably felt more to her like one big wild-eyed please-help-me-I’m-hanging-on-for-dear-life.
She said a few things that I need to share here because it has lead me toward some wisdom that may help you, too.
1. Follow Jesus.
Well, duh. And Jennie didn’t actually say this, but Follow Jesus is the root of it. She told me to stop looking to find a set of footstep to follow behind some amazing woman. It’s probably not going to happen. My way is Jesus. And that’s pretty much the end of that.
2. Take up humility
My flailing in this process is for a good reason, for humility and a desperation for God that needs to stick. Jennie actually went through this process, too.
3. Get free.
There’s something pretty spectacular and actually freeing when someone loves you enough to look you in the eyes and tell you that you’re not free, to get free. I know good and well that freedom doesn’t feel how I feel or act how I act right now. I told her that I’ve only caught some extended glimpses of freedom, but I can’t seem to stay there, and she admonished me, explaining that I will be free from what is hindering me. I will live free and from time to time merely glimpse the things that hold me back. She looked me in the eye and said, “BUT, you have work to do.”
4. Name what hinders.
I told her I didn’t really know what was holding me back exactly, and she told me to get counseling and figure it out. Name it, and deal with it. Find Godly women who will walk with me in it. The cool thing about this is that two women at church on Sunday pretty much landed on me and prayed for exactly this to happen. One women begged God that I would be free, and for the first part of it, I stood there thinking that I didn’t know I wasn’t free. That prayer opened me up to how needy I really am. I do indeed have work to do.
I left after praying with Jennie, and my Spirit was groveling to God. I didn’t stop begging Him to show me what it is. It started as an inkling – the thing that has long held me hostage. I even wrote a series here about Chains, trying to get to the bottom of this, and now I know.
I am enslaved to a twisted version of approval called Acceptance. I’m usually okay if you don’t approve of what I say or do, because I’m just enough of a rebel to keep going in spite of that. But I still want you to accept me.
I desperately want you to claim me.
I confess that I have had some serious issues with some charismatics in the Church, so I bet Jesus is about to turn me into one or something. I know right now that the right thing for me to do is call it what it is. A Spirit of Rejection has long been on my heals. There is so much to this. It’s an ancient thing, and it has had its claws in me.
5. Let the game-changer change the game.
This is another one that Jennie didn’t say, but it’s an extension of our conversation. The Holy Spirit has flooded me with the implications from this process of turning away (i.e. repenting) from my idolatry of Acceptance, and I cannot wait to share those things with you in the next few weeks. Repentance changes the game.
In the meantime, I am going to take some immediate action to help keep my eyes on Jesus and off the ones I’ve so desperately wanted to accept me. Let me tell you those things here, too.
I have a girlfriend that has given me so much acceptance in spite of my goofiness, but then she came to a place where she didn’t have the margin anymore to pour that into me. It opened me wide up like a chasm. It opened me and I filled that chasm with lies about who I am. I have decided to stop pursuing her for this crazy egotistical need to be accepted/filled by her. My relationships with other women (and men) are not so I can feel better about myself. Those kinds of things are often a byproduct of friendship; but, come on, Amber, get over yourself and start doing some real loving.
I am removing comments here for a time, too, because I cannot express how much pressure and guilt I feel when I don’t properly respond to them here, and I never do. Also, when I don’t get comments, I hover over the refresh button until I do. It’s ridiculous. One thing I am good at is conversation on Facebook. You can message me there, too, and I feel like we’re friends. I hear more from you in those messages or in emails. It’s so much easier for me to comment from my phone there and for you to engage each other as well. Although I reserve the right to lose my balance there, too, I’m hoping this experiment proves to simplify things so I can keep focus. I don’t want rid of you. I love you. I want more, actually, and I can’t say thank you enough for being patient with me as I learn to love better.
If you’ve read this far, I know you’re one of the rare ones. I know you’re one of the ones walking with me. Thank you for claiming me, but thank you most of all for reminding me where I actually belong.
All that being said, find me on Facebook, and let’s use that space to encourage one another to get free. Let’s live released to love one another. Finally, Church, that’s what I really really want.
Now tell me: what is it in your own heart that hinders you from loving really the church or your friends? What is holding you back?