joy soaked words

finding my way

Month: October, 2019

Kicking Fear out of his room.

The reality of rejection, comparison and telling fear to leave – it’s a rainy day outside, the leaves are falling and I’m grabbing another cup of coffee and digging deep into these topics today on the blog.

Welcome, dear reader. Welcome to my little space in the corner of the internet, where we dive deep into topics of raw vulnerability, seasons that I am walking and things that I am learning and processing.

I opened an old instagram account recently, and began to post. This particular account was one in which I had actually started 2 years ago – an account dedicated directly to words that I had written, but never posted in it. Because of fear. Fear of what people might think, fear of rejection, of comparison. Fear ruled my writing, it was holding onto all the pages that I had written and told me that I would never be enough, that I would never become a writer, nobody wanted to read the words that I had written.

I am aware that these are all lies. Fully aware, although fully aware, Fear still had control of my writing and my ability to put myself out there.

This year has been a lot of telling Fear to leave, in different aspects of my life. I started writing poetry for people, and tucking it into letters in the mail system, something I had never done before. Aside from this blog, any words that I wrote for people, or just in general, are tucked away in various notebooks, written on scraps of paper and at the top of class notes.

I could tell Fear, that it was time for him to pack up his suitcases and move out, and he could take rejection and comparison along with him, but I wasn’t actually doing a good job of kicking him out. I wasn’t holding open the door and asking him leave, I was just mentioning it offhandedly like you might ask a roommate for the rent. He was really just moving room to room in my mind, and rejection and comparison were always having sleepovers with him.

I had become comfortable with the mess that fear left behind him, it was something I had become so used to, picking up after him and his friends, rejection and comparison. The three amigos.

For one of my classes, I wrote a short story on the idea of “home” and a daughter’s view on a restless parent with a desire to move with the moon cycles. I let a few close friends read it, because I needed feedback, I needed to get out of my head where fear ruled, with rejection and comparison at his sides. It was a story that took weeks to write, and as I printed it off to give to a few people to read, I knew that it was nothing like the short stories that we had been reading in class. It covered a topic that was more of a feeling, then something physical and I wrote it in a voice that left things open to interpretation for the reader.

I handed it in when it was due, holding my breath. As I pressed send, I felt Fear start to pack his bags. He was still hanging around, waiting at the kitchen table, but at least his bags were packed.

I was standing in the kitchen in dorm 2. The kitchen is a place where I meet God often, over dishes or cookie batter. It’s the place where, next to writing, I feel most alive. I got an email back, with feedback from my professor regarding the short story that I handed in. He told me, that I had the beginnings of a novel with my short story, it was something that I could chose to turn into a full blown novel. It was so encouraging that I called my parents to read it out to them, and the rest of the day, I was on such a high that I didn’t even realize that Fear had slipped out, he was just gone when I came back to clean up after him and realized that there was nothing to clean up.

I also realized through this short story, that this was three long years in the coming. Three years of learning what makes a home, three years of learning how to write, and three years of learning how to tell Fear to leave when it came to my writing. It was a reminder, that nothing worthwhile is going to happen overnight, and it takes time to hone the craft, to learn how to do something well.

I know that as I continue to write, to share these words that are so precious to me, that there will be times where Fear will come back, he will come knocking. I also know that, I have the ability to shut the door in his face, I don’t have to let him move in.

Because I am allowed to say no to fear. I have every right. And so do you.

njl.

grace like sunscreen

I’ll wait while you grab a coffee and get comfy, we are chatting about all things Narnia, slathering grace like sunscreen and why I am asking Jesus to dig his fingernails into me on Joy Soaked Words today.

I’ve been thinking a lot about what I am currently walking through with Jesus, and aspects of who I am, that need work – there’s a lot. There’s a lot, but he shows me in pieces, it’s not a dump on me and then he walks away, it’s more like a hey, this is something you need to work on and I’m here to work on it with you. If we are going to do this, then allow me to work on this with you. It feels a bit like a constant conversation between me and the Lord right now, he keeps reminding me that he is with me in this season.

I am a lover of the Chronicles of Narnia, I grew up reading and listening to the stories over and over. In the Voyage of the Dawn Treader, (An epic story and by far my most favourite) one of the characters, Eustace is turned into a dragon because of his greed and a golden bracelet. Through a turn of events, Eustace is unable to be turned back into a boy, until Aslan steps in. Leading Eustace (who is still a dragon) to a small pool of water, he tells him to undress and then get into the water. Eustace looks down at his scales, and tells Aslan that he isn’t wearing any clothes. Aslan gently tells him, that he has to remove his skin and scales before he is able to get into the water. Eustace begins to pull and tear at his skin, pulling one layer off to find yet another underneath. He keeps taking off layers of his skin and scales, before he realizes that he isn’t getting anywhere. At this point in the story, Aslan asks Eustace to lay down, and tells him that it is going to be very painful, but he will be able to help him. Aslan digs his claws deep into Eustace, creating an incredibly painful moment for Eustace, but he grits his teeth because he is aware that he needs to go through it if it means that he is able to be a boy again.

I don’t know about you, reader, but I feel like Eustace somedays. Tearing at this ‘skin and scales’ because I know that there is stuff that that I need to deal with, things below the surface that I am aware of – but unaware of how deep those wounds actually are until I start to pull away the ‘skin and scales’ that have grown over these wounds. I feel like Eustace, because regardless of how many times I try and deal with these things on my own, I can’t deal fully with everything. There are surface level things that I can address, but it goes hand in hand with this whole idea of open heart surgery that I have talked about in the past.

I need Jesus to dig in his fingernails and pull.

I need Jesus to dig his fingernails deep into me, and pull, because I can’t, like Eustace, do this on my own. As much as I hate the idea of it, because I know that whatever he finds is going to be incredibly painful, but I can’t leave these things to fester. I can’t leave these wounds to become infected, they need to be dealt with.

There has been one thing after another, the not so nice parts of who I am, being called out by people in my life. These conversations have come out of asking hard questions, of random comments that have been made towards me – comments that hit a wound and I react in ways that are not how I should react, often back in anger or frustration. I react, because it hurts when somebody touches that wound within me. I react, because I don’t like the idea that I don’t have it all together – real talk. It reminds me of my humanness – that I am a broken human being. It’s painful and messy, but also gloriously beautiful to become aware of this. I need Jesus to dig his fingernails into me, because these issues in my life are way deeper then this idea of something being skin deep.

Jesus and I are working away at these wounds together, slowly. Because each one is painful enough on it’s own, to look at more than one at a time. He has brought people into my life, to work through these wounds with me too. These people don’t run when I open up and show them the ugly parts of who I am, instead they show me their wounds too – because they are the type of people that love deep. They understand the call of community and living vulnerably with those who they love – they get it. They get the humanness, because they are beautifully, gloriously and messily human too.

In saying all of this, and knowing that there will always be things that I need to work on, and work through with Jesus – there is grace for these moments. There will always be grace for these moments, these seasons that I am walking through.

In a paraphrased version of what a fellow blogger once said – We need to slather on grace like sunscreen. (HB)

I’m slathering grace on like that thick white stuff I don’t like to wear, over all over these wounds, and all over this season.

Here’s to allowing Jesus to dig his fingernails into me and pull, for these moments where I need to slather on more grace.

Thank you for reading my words – If they reached you in someway, I want to hear about it. You can leave a comment below – I appreciate hearing from my readers.

njl.

what’s on your shelf?

Breadcrumbs – these blog posts and instagram posts, are breadcrumbs of my journey to where I am now. I often catch myself scrolling through old posts, needing to become aware of how far I have come, when I have forgotten. There have been some really hard days, and some really good days too. Sometimes, it feels like those breadcrumbs are soaked from my tears, and it isn’t worth putting the soggy mess down on paper. But that, my dear reader is where I have grown the most. Pressing post, after putting my vulnerable heart out into the internet, and walking away because of the fear that creeps in. When these tears soaked bread crumbs are laid down, that’s when the real work begins to happen, it’s when I get random messages from people I don’t know, thanking me for sharing that crumb with them, thanking me for the raw vulnerability.

Show up.

These words echo through my fingertips everytime I open this blog. Lay out those breadcrumbs, sprinkle them along the way, because there is somebody who needs that trail.

There are days when I need that breadcrumb trail too. Days that are dark, and lonely, stuck in the “I don’t knows” of what I am feeling. The thing is, I know that I am not alone in this, and neither are you, reader. I keep showing up to these words packed inside my brain, for myself, but also for you, as my reader. Whoever you are, these breadcrumbs are for both of us.

Last night, I shared my story and talked on the idea of home at Identify, a women’s ministry that I lead here on campus. I had never done a speaking engagement like this, and I was terrified walking in, unsure of even how you do this whole speaking thing, I am much more of a behind the scenes type of person. I shared bits of a story as breadcrumbs for these women on campus, breadcrumbs about home and what that means for a university student, living away from home but also in regards to the deep need to plant roots where our feet are.

I showed up. Jesus also showed up.

It was incredible. A reminder that the Lord is calling me to lead this ministry again this year, a reminder that I needed.

When I got to Redeemer this year, I did not feel like myself, it was almost as if I was walking in autopilot. Write this paper, send this email, you don’t have time to cry, you have to be strong for this new group of ladies you are living with. It took much longer then I expected for these feelings to fade, it was not something that I woke up and I felt normal again, it was a slow fade back into the comfortable person I know and love. As I learned what it meant to take myself off of these autopilot controls, there were days where I thought things would never go back to being the same. I was terrified of burnout, of hitting rock bottom again. I was terrified to mess up, I was terrified that I wasn’t going to be around for this women in my life because of my schedule, and the list goes on.

A good friend of mine, reminds me of my humanness on a near daily basis, a reminder that sometimes I need to hear more then I think I do. The beautiful, gloriously, messy idea of being human and what this means.

You are human.

This whole idea of human, is deeper than the skin and bones that surround these organs that beat to the drum of life. It’s more than my brain that thinks and calculates and keeps the rest of my body in functioning order. To be human, is to mess up. Is to be okay with the mess, jumping in because we are all human. There is not one person here on earth, that is not human. To be human, means that you are not perfect, and you never will be. You will get head colds, and burn your tongue on hot coffee, you will have days of deep belly laughter from the depths within, and days of deep sadness that ravages your entire being. Because, you were created to be human, gloriously beautiful, and gloriously messy. Embrace the mess of your humanness.

Through my writing, my instagram and this blog, I am inviting you into the mess of my life and the seasons that I am walking though, into this journey of my humanness. I invite you in, sprinkling bread crumbs along the way, because I understand the desperate need for vulnerability.

Vulnerability is a hard place to be, to show up and be vulnerable is when breakthrough begins. Even if it’s just a crack, to let the light to shine though, it means you aren’t standing in complete darkness anymore. The opening of your soul, to let someone in, to see the raw parts of your humanness, the nasty parts that you hide, the painful parts where you tucked away, in a shelf in your mind because you don’t want to deal with them. I have been there, am there. There are things, still tucked away on that shelf because I don’t really want to deal with them, and they will sit there until I am ready, they don’t go away. I know that each of us, has something different sitting on those shelves, and someday, you are going to take it out, blow the dust off and begin the process of dealing with it.

What’s on your shelf?

I need to ask myself that question too.

Well reader, we have come to the end of another Nat rambling. My coffee is cold, but my fingers are ready for more words. Thank you for showing up, for continually showing up. Even if it’s your first time here, thank you for showing up. If you read this blog, I would love to hear from you and your thoughts. My email is natlantz64@gmail.com if you ever want to drop a line. There will be more words coming your way soon.

njl.