Marianne Williamson said “Your playing small does not serve the world”.
I would take that a step further and say that when we choose to intentionally play small, it does not serve the world, but it also doesn’t serve God or the mission He has given us. (Please note: this is entirely different than humility.)
I’ve been struggling through a bit of a weird season. I feel trapped between feeling this call to do something great (yet terrifying) and feeling like it’s easier and more comfortable to just stay put where I am.
I have learned through that sometimes when we put ourselves out there, we open up to all sorts of negative feedback. Sometimes this comes in the form of comments friends make when they are “just kidding”. Other times it may be that someone you know and love intentionally chooses not to support you or acknowledge what you’re trying to do. And still other times it may be that someone actually questions that you are supposed to be doing what you’re doing, or argues with what you are saying. Each of these can be painful if we view it through the wrong lens.
Can I tell you something, friends? If God has given you a passion and a calling to do something (or to share something), then the feedback that 99% of the world gives you shouldn’t matter. (I do believe in asking for counsel from those that you can fully trust and that will pray with you through decisions).
We are to prayerfully proclaim the message God has given us to share. Whether that be to the people that live in our home, those we work with, or to people around the world. You have been given a mission and a message. Yes, YOU.
A wise friend was talking with me a couple weeks ago about this same topic. She directly asked me “Have you been called to do this?”. When I answered “yes” she said, “then whatever issues that brings up for others you cannot be responsible for. Let the Holy Spirit bring about the fruit or change that needs to happen in their hearts. You can’t be responsible for how they respond, but you are accountable for speaking what you’ve been led to share”.
To be honest with you, sometimes I am afraid to declare out loud what God has whispered to me in the quiet. Sometimes it feels uncomfortable, too likely to make someone else respond defensively or judgmental. Many times, I’m uncomfortable speaking these truths out loud because I know the ugliness in my own heart- I KNOW the depths of my own mess and don’t ever want to pretend that I have it all together.
But friends, if we each stay silent with the message that we’ve been given to share, we miss out on much of the encouragement and hope that could be speaking to someone that desperately needs it.
Marianne Williams went on to say “We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in all of us. And when we let our own light since, we unconsciously give other permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
Matthew 5:14-16 makes this same point. Part of that passage says “Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand- SHINE! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God” (MSG)
And that’s what I hope to do.
I want to shine whatever light God has given me and encourage you to do the same.
I want to keep “open house” and generously pour out my life for others so that they may be prompted to do the same.
I am not a brilliant scholar, I’m not incredibly gifted in many areas, but by the grace of God, I WILL use every bit of what I’ve been given. This is my newly issued battle cry- I refuse to shrink into the shadows to avoid criticism.
The price is just too high.
This world needs light. This world needs hope.
This world needs YOU to prayerfully declare whatever message you’ve been given. And I’m praying that’s just what you are called and willing to do today.
Yesterday, you looked at me with your five-year-old head tilted to the side and said that you would not be eating lunch. You matter-of-factly stated that you “want to be thin” and that you think you are “Fat”. Oh my sweet girl, hearing those words from your innocent little mouth took the breath right from me.
To think that even at five years old you are already struggling with the concept of being too much of this or too much of that…it breaks my heart. I need you to know something. I need you to believe with every fiber of your being the words that I am writing to you now, so that in years to come when the world tells you differently, you will not fall for their lies.
Dear one, you are beautiful.
You were formed and fashioned by the same hands that crafted the galaxies into existence. Every detail of your body, your hair, your nails, your talents, abilities, and personality were specifically given to you, to fulfill a purpose that no one else can. You will be told by the media, by your classmates, by your ‘friends’ that you must fit a certain mold to be beautiful. THIS IS NOT TRUE, sweetheart. You are amazing just as you are. Whether that means you are a size 22 one day or a size 2- it is absolutely no indicator of your worth and your beauty.
The way your eyes sparkle when you’re excited, how you fold your hands while you’re watching tv, or how you crinkle your nose when you are trying something new…it’s perfect. No amount of beauty, perfect physique, or incredible talent will help cover up an ugly heart- and my dear, your heart is beautiful. I want you to focus on that.
Instead of looking at magazines that tell you to concentrate on having six pack abs, the newest hairstyles, or a thigh gap, focus on finding ways to make the world around you more beautiful. Continue doing things like you already do- sharing friendship with those that need it, holding hands with your brother when he’s afraid, singing songs and twirling through the kitchen full of joy. Dear girl, nothing else will matter more than having your heart rest in knowing that the God of the Universe loves you, and because of that, we can share that same love with all around us. No matter what anyone else tells you, know that you were formed and fashioned to do big things. And I know that you will. One day you will change this world- you have already changed mine.
Your Daddy and I love you- we’ve loved you from the moment we knew you would be joining our family. We’ve prayed for you to have a happy heart and a sweet spirit every single day since you were born, and that is exactly what God has given you. There is no room, no time, no place in your life for the lies that you will be told. I want you to know that taking care of our physical health is important, solely because it was a gift to us from God and we need to honor that. NOT BECAUSE you want to be a certain size or shape.
Just as you are valuable, remember that those around you are too. Some may look different than you, act different than you, or even make choices that are very different from you. Always remember that they too were formed and fashioned by God for a specific purpose and our role is to love them right where they are.
There will most likely be times in your life that you question the position you have been given- why you are made the way that you are, why you are placed in the role that you are, or why bad things have to happen. Know, sweet girl, that nothing happens by accident. No thing can come to us that God can’t o use to develop us into what He wants for us to be. And you, my girl, are going to be amazing. You have been since you were born.
You are loved. You are enough. Just as you are.
One year ago, I began a journey to become “fit”. However, over the past 12 months, I didn’t do that. I learned how to become WELL. After trying many of the WRONG ways to get healthy, I finally found the right ways. I lost 19 pounds and 18 inches.
But more than that, I learned.
That caring for my physical health enables me to be a better mom to my children, and a better wife to my husband.
That the foods that I put into my body have the power to heal or they have the power to turn me into a carb craving, angry, moody mess.
That real lasting change doesn’t come easy, or wrapped in a neat little package. Real change takes time…consistent effort and progress made in inches, not miles. There are no short-cuts and that plans, pills, and schemes that seem too good to be true…are.
That the choices we make each day affect what we will be able to do years down the road. If I want to be fit to serve those around me and to fulfill whatever ministry calling God has planned, I have to be able to physically handle it.
That “A healthy lifestyle is not about the mirror. It’s about the ONE we’re trying to mirror” Jimmy Pena
That striving to take better care of our health is Biblical, as long as we don’t allow it to become an idol or source of pride. We are called to be good stewards. As the church we really like to preach about being good stewards of our time, our talents, and our money, but we rarely talk about stewarding our health. We were bought with a price and are to honor God with our bodies (1 Cor. 6:20)
That sometimes people won’t understand why you don’t choose the same things as they do and they may not be supportive. Sometimes they will laugh about the things you’re trying to accomplish, demean you with comments to others about you, or refuse to support you. Press on anyway.
That using food to fulfill any need that I should be taking to God is a sin.
That we are called to be a “living and holy sacrifice” (Romans 12:1). Our bodies belong to God. I am not the owner, but I get to be the manager of it for a short time.
That because I’ve accepted the Holy Spirit, my body is a temple. It is not my place to abuse it. God expects me to steward my health well. We are told that one day we will give an account for how well we managed everything He gave us. I choose to apply this principle to my health, also.
That you will not suddenly be healthy. It doesn’t happen haphazardly. It is intentional. One good choice after another.
That finally becoming WELL isn’t so that I can display my physique with pride, but to use my body as an instrument of service, ready for use by God at any time. I’m not trying to gain His acceptance or favor. Because I’ve already got it, I desire to please Him in every area of my life- including the health that He has given me.
That we are each on an individual journey and must extend grace to one another. Always grace. Always love.
Since I first began Wellness Witness, the Lord has done so much! He’s formed a vibrant online community called the At-Home TRIBE, helped me launch live classes, led me to speaking engagements, helped me start virtual business and health coaching, led to me getting to train up new instructors for Revelation Wellness, grown our social media influence, inspired me to write a 28-day program called Finally Free and also a meal planning/recipe resource called The Good Enough Guide to Healthy Eating, and much more.
He’s also shifted my heart.
When this journey first began, it was all about healthy eating and exercise that is Christ centered.
And that is still important to me…it is.
But it’s not my sole focus.
This community and platform has evolved quite a bit and although I still enjoy teaching you about healthy eating and movement, it’s not my main focus.
The Lord is working and shifting things in my heart and in this ministry, and I’m trying to listen and follow. Some changes are ahead for Wellness Witness and I’m excited to follow the Lord into whatever it is that He has for us!