The dictionary.com word of the day is “slumberous” – a perfect word for a rainy Sunday. I told my friend Melissa that I am choosing 4b as my personal definition of choice. “Calm. Quiet.”
That’s what I am praying over my own heart right now.
As much as I love social media, as much as I see it as an invitation to dwell in another’s steps for just a hint of a moment so that we may celebrate or grieve or simply be present, it can be such a cluttered place that demands we make our voices a little louder or our pitch a little higher or our inflection a little stronger. I don’t know about you, but as a writer, my inbox is filled with a million ways to get more attention and my feeds are crowded with advice from the experts on making my voice truly significant.
Can I tell you a secret?
A while back, I got a lot of attention. Because of a Facebook group I was in, folks visited my blog, they liked my Instagram pictures, and they retweeted even benign things I wrote. It felt good, to be sure. But it wasn’t real, and it didn’t last. As soon as the fervor in the group died down, so did all that attention. And in the end, it made me wonder if my purpose was purposeful at all, or if I had merely stepped into an enthusiastic echo chamber for a season – to then hear the harsh internal whisper of insignificance. Thankfully, a small people-circle of truth has continued to help me keep my eyes focused rightly on the One who gives purpose to every step I take. God’s purpose in us is real, even when the affirmation that tickles our fancy isn’t there. God’s purpose in us is true, even when we question the worth of what we do. Our lives are purposeful, even if they are quiet. In fact, some of the most powerful women I’ve learned from – women who believe restoration is a reality on earth as it is in heaven – are moving mountains with faith-filled whispers. Those whispers are significant, even if you or I never hear them.
So, why I am I confessing this today? Because I think I’m not alone. Henri Nouwen wrote these words. “When we dare to trust that God is always with us, always cares for us, and always speaks to us, then we can gradually detach ourselves from the voices that make us guilty or anxious and thus allow ourselves to live in the present moment. Jesus’ core message was that God is neither a powerless weakling or a powerful boss, but a lover, whose only desire is to give us what our hearts most desire.” I have walked the road of faith for a while now, and I am still learning to trust God fully as He works out His purpose in this life of mine. I think there are other folks like me, who get caught up in the roar of the world’s opinion of us and allow it to tether itself to our deepest fears about not making the most and the best of the lives we have been given.
Can I tell you another secret?
Right now, I’m doing what I can to shield my ears from the roar. This was originally going to be a few short sentences posted along with a picture on Instagram. It’s now grown into something that is best posted on the blog. That means I have to come up with a headline. Experts tell me that my headline can make or break my post. The harsh internal whisper says it doesn’t matter because no one will read the post anyway. Facebook tells me I need to offer up a few bucks to make sure everyone sees what I have to say. And analytics tell me this is the worst time of the day to post anything.
Today, Genesis 17 is reminding me that God is most purposeful and promise-full in our lives, and that the life He plants deep within us will grow and bear fruit. It will. It will. The chapter begins with Abram being 99 years old. He was already 75 when He had heard God say, “I’ve got big plans for you, my man.” He and his wife had already tried to help God out with those plans – give Him a little nudge, if you will, because most certainly God can be a bit slow out of the gate and clearly a bit forgetful that He told an old guy He was going to make him a father of many nations. Twenty -two years into this thing, and Abram is still waiting. If Abram was alive today, he would likely be condemned by every success and time management guru because 22 years is a lifetime of opportunity. And what did God say? “Walk with Me – be faithful, trustworthy, complete. Live a life that’s whole-hearted. Trust Me. Jump in fully, with abandon, fully alive, every part of you – the truest parts of you. Breathe. I’ve got this.” God ends the chapter by telling Abram to name his future son Isaac. It means laughter. Think about that – God’s purpose is sealed with laughter. Joy. Overwhelming, awe-inspiring, bring-you-to-your-knees joy. Yes, I think that’s the same thing He desires in us – to seal His purpose in us with one of those laughs that starts in our belly and can’t help but burst out like song.
Can I tell you another secret?
In that tiny little bible in the picture are the two names that were supposed to be mine. If I was a boy, my name was going to be Randall Raphael. If I was a girl, it was to be Darlenia Dorene. My mom thought they were wonderful. But God thought of another name. Veronica. It means both “victorious” and “true image of Christ.” And so He changed her mind. While I’m sure I would have made a most Darlenia, He knew that I would need to be reminded of who I am – and whose I am – quite often. So, He opted to remind me over and over again.
He’s got this. He’s got you. He’s got me. He is purposeful and promise-full. He’s got every step of the beautiful, painful, powerful work that’s taking place in you. Your life is purposeful today because He has written purpose into it. You are significant, love. God will not fail in bringing His promises to life in you. And there will be laughter. I’m praying your heart will be calm and quiet today, and that you will let Him speak His love today.