From invincibility to hiding—for years, my life seemed to follow the opposite path God desires His children to take. He created us to live bold, brave, and intentional lives. He’s given us everything we need, in Christ, do this. I know this now, but for over a decade, fears and wounds from my past kept me in bondage.
You never would’ve known it to look at me. I went to church. Smiled. Served. Had friends for dinner and went to their place, all the while engaging in polite, acceptable … filtered conversation.
I felt like a fraud, convinced if they were to find out who I truly was, who I’d been, they’d want nothing to do with me.
Then came the call.
That sounds exciting, right? Except for when you’re spending your days hiding out, trying to play the part you believe is expected—by people. I’d kicked my people-pleasing up to such intensity, God’s still small voice faded into the background.
I felt certain the two were in opposition of one another. If I were to do this thing, to follow God with everything within me and surrender to Him, I might irritate a few folks. Maybe even turn others away.
It was the latter that scared me most, because God wasn’t just calling me to serve. I’d been doing that. He was calling me to serve Him transparently. To be completely real, with my sins, my struggles, my ugly side.
An ugly side that can be easy to hide when I all is going well, but when I feel squeezed or overtired? Those are the times when my ick, the part of me that God is working to chip away at, is most likely to rise up.
And yet, God was calling me to live authentically. To be real.
Not just real, but to put this transparency into writing, for all the world to see. Knowing some reading would judge me. Would see the worst in me. Would misunderstand. Maybe even choose to use my words against me.
So I hid. I continued to reveal only slivers of myself, and thus, only slivers of what God was doing within me—those things that made me look good, like I’d grown and conquered. And day-by-day, God’s still, gentle voice grew softer and more distant.
Until the chill between us became more than I cared to bear. I realized I craved intimacy with Christ more than anything else, even my pride. So I said yes, and have had to make that choice many times since, for pride never seems to stay dead for long.
What I found—the more I let God in, the more I say yes to Him, the more I begin to live.
Consider this quote by Gordon T. Smith, author of Courage and Calling: “Living our lives to the full is precisely what it means to be good stewards of our lives. … We live fully by living in a way that is deeply congruent with who we are.” (p. 18).
Congruent with who we are. Living authentically. No more hiding. No more pretending to be someone we’re not. No more trying to please others or avoid their rejection or judgment. Simply leaning deeper into Christ and allowing Him to use as—our past and our present, our strengths and our weakness, our quirks and qualities—for His glory.
I believe that’s when we truly begin to experience the full freedom available to us in Christ and the peace that “surpasses all understand.” A peace no amount of ridicule, “failure,” or rejection can take away.
What about you? Are you living authentically, or are you in some state of hiding? Can you sense God saying to you, “Come out, my beloved, chosen by God. Let my Spirit flow, unhindered, through you as I use you to bring about my good, pleasing, and perfect will.”
Say yes, friend. I promise, you won’t regret it.
Bio and Blurb:
Author, speaker, and ministry leader Jennifer Slattery writes for Crosswalk.com and is the managing and acquiring editor for Guiding Light Women’s Fiction, an imprint with Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. She believes fiction has the power to transform lives and change the culture. Healing Love is her sixth novel, and it was birthed during a trip she and her family took to El Salvador that opened her eyes to the reality of generational poverty and sparked a love for orphans and all who’ve experienced loss.
Her deepest passion is to help women experience God’s love and discover, embrace, and live out who they are in Christ. As the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries, she travels with her team to various churches to speak to women and help them experience the love and freedom only Christ can offer. When not writing, editing, or speaking, you’ll likely find her chatting with her friends or husband in a quiet, cozy coffeehouse. Visit her online at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.com and connect with her and her Wholly Loved team at WhollyLoved.com
Genre: Women’s fiction with a strong romantic thread
Dual setting—Southern California, and El Salvador
Blurb: A news anchor intern has it all planned out, and love isn’t on the agenda.
Brooke Endress is on the cusp of her lifelong dream when her younger sister persuades her to chaperone a mission trip to El Salvador. Packing enough hand sanitizer and bug spray to single-handedly wipe out malaria, she embarks on what she hopes will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
But Brooke is blindsided by the desperation for hope and love she sees in the orphans’ eyes. And no less by the connection she feels with her handsome translator. As newfound passion blooms, Brooke wrestles with its implications for her career dreams.
Ubaldo Chavez, teacher and translator, knows the struggle that comes with generational poverty. But he found the way out – education – and is determined to help his students rise above.
When he agrees to translate for a mission team from the United States he expects to encounter a bunch of “missional tourists” full of empty promises. Yet an American news anchor defies his expectations, and he finds himself falling in love. But what does he have to offer someone with everything?
Learn more about Healing Love by visiting Goodreads.
Pre-Order Healing Love HERE
Wife. Mom. Author. Reader. Blogger. Amateur nature photographer. Chocolate eater. Encouraging you to surrender the good, the bad, and---maybe one day---the chocolate.
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