GO in the direction of your declaration
KEEP GOING. YOU’RE STILL SAFE. An adventure into the unknown... 👣
There’s been a phrase I’ve been using quite a lot recently...
"Go in the direction of your declaration."
Essentially - don’t just TALK about all the stuff you want to do and are going to do, start making steps to actually DOING it.
And despite teaching and sharing this. I’ve recently been faced with the reality of how untrue this statement can actually be for me at times. I wonder if you can relate?
This passage in first John should be emblazoned above my desk or tattooed onto my forehead or something, because when push comes to shove, ANY resistance I fear around the next leap or even small step can be traced back to fear. There are a couple of different ‘fears’ which currently try to creep their way in...
First, fear of REAL surrender. It can make me feel like as soon as I say ‘here I am, send me’ to God again for the hundredth time, He’ll come in and take everything ‘good’ I have from under my nose. Even if that were the case, what a bizarre attitude to have towards a perfect, LOVING God?
The truth? An attitude like this can ONLY be allowed in when we’re focusing on the gifts more than we are the Giver. Because if we can fully look to the Lord in the face of everything, we won’t see some distant and far-off figure who wants to punish us. Instead we’ll see everlasting arms there to carry us, come what may.
And actually... what if total surrender and abandon meant things could be BETTER than you imagine? Why do we (why do I) equate abandon and surrender with pain? That’s a story I’m quitting today. If I’m presented with pain or suffering, it’s there to teach me or remind me of something, and it’s not because God is evil. Equally, if I’m presented with joy and pleasure in the form of the blessings God chooses to bestow, it doesn’t suddenly equate to greed unless I allow it to. Both are good. Both are God.
Speaking of stories I’m willing to quit, another one is around fear of people. Of you guys who read my posts and watch my videos. (Thanks, by the way.) You see the thing is, I know I’m a bit of an anomaly. I think we all are if we’re willing to go deep into what we REALLY want. When I think about how I truly want to show up here in my corner of the online world (and beyond), alongside how I often do, I see the story I’m telling myself written all over my work...
You see, there are MANY Christians in the online business world. You might not even know they’re Christians because that’s not what their business is about so they choose to keep their faith private. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course. The story I’m telling myself though, is that they get to talk about things which might, at their root, seem ‘less spiritual’ like money, or ambition, or whatever because they’re not choosing to put their faith at the forefront. However, I tell myself that if I talk about those things I’ll suddenly be deemed ‘less spiritual’... Like the only ‘real’ Christians out here are the ones with Bible verses to back up every sentence they share. Ego. Ego. Ego.
Because the real truth? EVERYTHING is spiritual and so the truth of the matter is that we SHOULD be speaking into ALL aspects of the world we inhabit if we feel called to. And it won’t always look like a three-point sermon.
Imagine if we dared to do things differently. To look TOTALLY different to any expression of Christianity we’ve ever seen before. Not because those expressions are bad necessarily, or because we want to be controversial and shake stuff up, but purely because we’re being shown another path to take by God and it’s ONLY fear right now which is causing us not to tread on it?
A couple of years ago, I left Bible College. It’s not as dramatic as that sounds though. I was studying Theology alongside my husband on a route of the course which wasn’t credited. This meant I sat in on the lectures and obtained extra knowledge and information without the pressure of having to turn in assignments etc. It was very generously fully paid for for me to do that. And I could have done the full three years alongside my husband who was doing the full degree) but I quit after the first year.
As much as I was slightly intrigued by the depth and breadth of knowledge I received, and the skill of the lecturers etc, it wasn’t me. And I’m proud of the decision I made to leave when I knew that. I could have stayed & believed that me leaving was ungrateful because it was paid for etc. Or I could have believed I was ‘wasting’ an opportunity or being a quitter or whatever, but actually, I just listened to myself and decided I’d rather not continue and that was totally fine.
You see, my relationship with God hasn’t really ever been about rules, or text books, or head knowledge FIRST. (I’m not saying that stuff is wrong) it’s been about the overflow of my heart and the desire to honour Him with my life even if me doing that looks ‘different’.
I chose not to stay in Bible college because to me, it felt restrictive (I know that’s not everyone’s story) I felt like I was less connected with Jesus, simply because I wasn’t as academic as the person sitting next to me, as if that was some kind of measure of ‘real’ spirituality? I found myself striving for something I didn’t even really WANT to obtain, just because I thought it would sound impressive or look good, or I’d let people down if I didn’t etc. and not because I was finding it helpful.
And yet... when I show up online and write what I write, and livestream like I do, I can sometimes find myself back there. Back there in restrictiveness and self-enforced pressure to do what’s ‘right’, or fit into a box which people will recognise or even understand me in.
"I can’t say THAT", I tell myself. Again, holding myself up to an imaginary standard of expectation, as though when I started this business someone handed me a rule book.
Last time I checked there was still no rule book.
So, as much as you might look at me and think that I already share and speak my mind a fair bit, I’m here to let you know that I’M aware I haven’t even scratched the surface. Sometimes I’ll share and it WILL look and sound like it often has done before now - because none of that (Biblical break downs, 3-point structured messages etc.) ISN’T me. It’s just, there’s also a lot more to say & many more ways to say it.
Some of you might prefer the old, the safe, the tame. But I’m more aware than ever that I can’t stay chained to expectations at the expense of going in the direction of my declaration and my calling. If you find things no longer to your taste, that’s totally fine, of course.
I don’t share all of this only to tell you about me, but to encourage YOU to recognise that what you feel called to & compelled by, even if it looks totally out of the ordinary, isn’t strange. Equally, what you’re not really excited by or led to, even if it’s the ‘done thing’, or what people wild expect of you, is okay too.
John 15 talks about abiding in God, but God is not a fixed place. As though abiding means remaining in some kind of confine you’ve build for yourself, or that others have tried to put you in. Abiding actually looks like surrender. Abiding is walking to closely with God, knowing His presence with you daily, recognising His voice and saying that you’re TRULY going to surrender, even if your path is one less travelled.
Keep going. You’re still safe. Keep abiding with every step of surrender. Perfect love casts out all fear. 👣
Remember, if you want to go further, you have to dig deeper.
HEY! I’m Naomi, Founder of Living Word League. Along with my blog and my podcast, Living Word League is home to a monthly membership community that provides interactive Bible studies which practically unpack the Word of God with conversation and content, so that Christian women can boldly walk out the calling on their lives to the full whilst keeping the main thing, the main thing. Also over at Living Word League, you’ll find self-study programs created to support you in owning your God-given identity and walking out your purpose alongside ‘Biblical Business Academy’, my hub of business building programs, courses and live coaching support for faith-focused female leaders and entrepreneurs seeking to start, build, scale and grow their online businesses.