Before I begin my story, there are a few things you need to know about me, if you don’t already. I am afraid of heights (to the point of not even wanting to stand on a chair), and I don’t like being barefoot (to the point of not being able to walk barefoot on the beach or on grass). I am also a dancer, but I prefer to choreograph things ahead of time. I’ve never been very comfortable with improvisation (with anything, really, but especially when it comes to dance). These are important things to remember about me toward the end of this story.
It isn’t often that I can say that I am sure of what God is doing in my life at any given moment, but there isn’t a doubt that He loves me. One of the ways I see that in my life is He communicates with me in the ways He knows I’ll understand – in the ways He knows I will hear Him and respond. Since He created me, He knows every detail of my heart and mind. He not only knows that I have a tendency to be ‘a little’ stubborn, but He completely takes that into account when He asks me to do or work on something. Throughout my life, I’ve been told that I shouldn’t argue with God. Trusting Him means just blindly following what He asks. For some people, that might work – but He knows me better than that. He knows that when He asks me to step outside my comfort zone, I will fight Him (and most likely tell Him that I not only won’t do it, but I really don’t like Him in that moment). But, unlike the many people who have told me I need to have more ‘faith’, God simply says, “I know. It’s okay. Do what you need to do. I’m not going anywhere. We’ll walk through this together.” So what often happens is that He will put a thought in my head well before He actually wants me to do anything about it, just so I can fight Him and tell Him all the reasons I can’t do it. Then, by the time He actually wants me to take that step, my heart is fully prepared for stepping into the unknown area outside my comfort zone. You’d think I’d start to see it coming, but I’m still amazed when I step outside my comfort zone and then look back and realize that He’s been preparing my heart for a while. The most recent example of that happened a few weeks ago. Actually, it began a few months ago, just before my birthday.
I was listening to music (the language God often chooses to speak to me through), and a song started playing that I’ve heard quite a few times before. I really like the song, but a line in it struck me in a way it hadn’t ever before. The line is “You’re worth it.” I stopped what I was doing at the time because I knew He was trying to tell me something. He said, “You don’t believe that to be true about yourself, do you?” My response was, “Of course not. Why would I believe that?” In that moment, I realized that I had been carrying around this message for my entire life – I’m not worth it. When I shared this revelation with a couple of friends, I remember telling them, “This is big.” I’ve done quite a bit of work on old messages from my past, but something felt different about this one. It is deeply rooted, and it is so ingrained in me that I struggle with even calling it what it is – a lie. After God revealed this message, I started looking back over some writing I had done for the book I’m working on, and I started seeing the manifestation of that message over and over. Since then, I have started to see that message popping up as God has continued to work over the last few months. Everything that He’s had me work on – everything I’ve struggled with and wrestled through leads down a path that ends with that message. He’s been asking me to fight for me, but I’ve not been sure I am worth the fight. He’s been asking me to take a step deeper into the emotional waters so I can begin building deeper connections and intimacy, but I’ve hesitated because I’m afraid of rejection. I’ve been afraid that I will only find the reinforcement of that message – I’m not worth it. So if I just don’t take the step – if I deem myself ‘not worth it’ before anyone else can – I’ll save myself from the pain of that rejection. But what God started to show me was that I’ve been looking for some external confirmation and assurance that the message ‘I’m not worth it’ is truly a lie. That is a part of my wiring – to look for external confirmation and assurance rather than trusting myself. God said, “As long as you believe the lie and continue to tell yourself you’re not worth it, there are no amount of external words or experiences that could possibly convince you otherwise.”
Fast forward to a few weeks ago. God asked me to share my story at our last HeartChange workshop. I shared the first part on Thursday, and I finished my story on Sunday. On Friday, I wrote out what I was going to share on Sunday, and as I finished writing, I knew there was something missing. The end wasn’t quite the end. I knew He wanted me to say something else, but I couldn’t quite pinpoint what that was. On Sunday, about an hour before I was going to share the rest of my story, He revealed what He wanted me to say. I rolled my eyes and said, “Seriously? I have to say that? You do realize I’ve never said those words before, right? And I’m not sure how comfortable I am saying them now, especially in a room where there are people who probably believe those words more than I do right now.” His response was, “That’s exactly why you need to say those words. We’ve been talking about this since before your birthday.” Again I rolled my eyes, realizing He had been preparing my heart for months for this very moment, and as I finished telling my story I said, “God told me I had to say this – mostly because these words have never come out of my mouth,” and as quickly as I could (and as I was turning to walk away as quickly as I could), I said, “I am worth it.”
I can’t honestly say that I fully believe those words or that everything is now magically fixed in my life, but I know something broke open when I said those words. I’m still working through the full meaning of what happened (and I know God will continue to reveal His purpose and work), but those four words coming out of my mouth caused me to connect to a part of myself I hadn’t ever connected to before. And I’ve seen the manifestation of that in ways that may not seem like much to those who don’t really know me, but they are huge.
The day after the workshop (the day after saying those four little words), a group of us went to a park and worshipped. Someone had his guitar, and he played, we all sang, and a bunch of us danced. At one point, God said, “Take your shoes off.” I’m standing on concrete at the time, and I said, “No, thank you.” Again He said, “Take your shoes off,” and He added what seems to be His favorite phrase over the past few months, “It’s time.” After a few moments of inner temper tantrum, I stepped out of my flip flops. All I could focus on was how uncomfortable the ground felt on my feet. I wasn’t really paying attention to the music being played (which is saying a lot if you know me at all). Then God said, “Ok, now you can tap.” I stood still for a few moments, trying to reason with Him that if just standing on the concrete was uncomfortable, tapping wasn’t going to make it better, but I somehow lost that argument. 😉 After a few minutes of tapping, a friend of mine leaned over and excitedly said, “You’re dancing without choreography.” It was a simple statement of truth, but I hadn’t really thought about it until then – I was just dancing. Then my friend decided that it would be much better for me to tap on the smooth surface of the table than on the concrete. I told God that I didn’t really like Him in that moment and really didn’t appreciate his sense of humor, but I still ended up dancing on a table. After some more dancing on the concrete (still barefoot) with a group of friends (and a couple of girls who randomly asked if they could join us), my friend asked me when the last time was that I had stood barefoot in the grass. I couldn’t really answer her because I actually couldn’t remember when the last time had been. She took my hand and walked with me over to the grass and patiently waited for me to step out of my comfort zone. We stood together in the grass for a couple of minutes, and I wondered to myself, “What is happening? This is not normal.” God said, “Do you remember what you said yesterday? Just as you knew that the negative message I revealed to you a few months ago was a big deal, you need to realize that what you said yesterday was huge. Step into that more. I know you don’t fully believe it yet, but hold onto that. Say it again. Keep saying it. Do what you need to do because there is a part of you that will never fully come alive until you believe those four words to be true.”
He’s been asking me to write about this since it happened. I’ve tried to use the excuse of not having time to write, but that’s not entirely true. I’m just still not comfortable with those four words, and I knew that I’d have to say them again. So He made me say them anyway. For those of you who are friends with me on Facebook, you’ve seen my updated cover photo. He made me put that there until I “found the time” to write this (though I have a feeling it will stay up for a while even after writing this…). And He’s told me that as I step deeper into those four words, they will continue to open more and more of who He created me to be. That is both exciting and scary to me, but I trust Him to be there with me (even as I throw my temper tantrums). I have been dancing more and walking barefoot more (maybe not as much as most people would consider ‘a lot’, but it’s a huge step for me). And I know He will continue to unfold His plan as I connect with those unlocked parts of me. I am worth it!