I did not intend to stop writing.
I wasn’t even sure I could stop writing without having a serious emotional breakdown.
But that’s exactly what happened. Shortly before Mother’s Day, I wrote a piece that would be my last for several months. After that, I simply stopped writing.
I didn’t plan it that way. In fact, I tried to get back to my keyboard to release the words that kept dripping into my brain, but I couldn’t do it. I felt I owed readers an explanation, at the very least, but I couldn’t do that either. Just as soon as I thought I had words to say, God said, Wait, I’m not done talking yet.
God was doing something in my quiet, and every time I tried to put words to it, I stopped hearing. That’s the thing about listening: you can’t hear yourself and someone else at the same time.
Besides the fact, the hearing was hard:
Are you serving me or protecting yourself?
Are you using your talents or building your reputation?
Are you caring for the lost sheep or feeding a fat flock?
Are you willing to hear me without explaining away the very thing I just said?
Are you really willing to leave everything behind, take up your cross, and follow Me?
I was wrestling through all of these questions when God hit me with the knock-out punch.
Kristen, are you willing to be the Word incarnate?
Word. Incarnate. He said it over and over again in the quiet because I am so good at hearing and not listening. Are you willing to be the Word incarnate?
I had no problem with the first part of that equation. Word. High and lofty, timeless, creative, powerful, awe-inspiring: Words! I love them.
But incarnate? That’s where everything gets messy. Besides, I was pretty sure the whole incarnation thing was Jesus’s job, and I was glad to let him have it.
Not that I wasn’t grateful–don’t get me wrong. What a mess I would be in if God stopped with the one and not the other, if he was only Word and not flesh. But he wasn’t. Word became flesh and dwelt among us. Jesus Christ, Creator of heaven and earth, willingly stepped into his own spoken word for me.
That is the gospel.
That is the gospel I heard and said I believed while living exactly like it didn’t apply to me.
And God was calling me out on it.
He knew I spent more time justifying my lifestyle and feeling smug about my “ministry” than I did in actually considering what he said and doing it. Widows and orphans? I cried real tears for them. The least of these? I was going to do something about them just as soon as I figured out who was using the system and who was not. Care for the sick? I had just made a pot of soup for a friend with a kidney stone, I kid you not. Feed the sheep? Yep, I’d written a post or two about that, and I was pretty sure my words were generating a lot of sheep-feeding excitement in the virtual world, and I hadn’t had to interact with any actual lost sheep to make it happen. That’s what I called leveraging my energy.
According to my calculations, I was rocking the incarnation. I mean, I blogged about just about every aspect of my life, as honestly as possible. How much more incarnational with the word could I get?
But God was having none of it. Stop hiding behind your words, Kristen.
It was completely ridiculous of God to say that to me because I wasn’t even doing that.
“God, I’m not even doing that.”
Yes, you are.
“No, I’m a writer. Words are the way I use my gifts and talents for your glory.”
Words are the way you have been distracting yourself from my calling.
“I thought writing was my calling!”
“It sounds like you’re saying…yeeeeeeeesssssss, but you need to speak up.”
No. Writing is not your calling.
It’s hard to have a conversation with a deity who doesn’t make sense, so I just shut up. Strangely, it seemed like my silence was what God wanted all along.
You are called to be like me. To love like I loved, to minister like I ministered, to be more than just word—to be flesh among flesh. Because it wasn’t just the Word that saved you, child. It was my body. My blood.
And when I tell you to go and do likewise, I don’t mean just write an essay on it.
“I think I already wrote an essay on that…”
If you want to be like me, you need to become the Word incarnate.
“Oh.” I had no idea what was happening but it was scary and confusing and I felt a little like a kid who didn’t know her dad’s favorite color wasn’t hot pink until just after she made him a Play-do creation in…hot pink.
Kristen, you are the Body of Christ.
“I know, Lord. I’m the mouth.”
How about you start acting like the hands.
“What do you mean?” (That was just a stalling tactic. I was hoping God was going to think it over and tell me to write a book).
I mean, it’s time to get some flesh in the game.
That’s what I was afraid of.
“That’s what I’m afraid of.” I decided I’d let God in on what I was thinking.
BE NOT AFRAID.
That was my phrase for the year. Fear not. Be not afraid. It was completely unfair of God to remind me of it when I was actually afraid because I had picked it when I was feeling brave.
I considered throwing up.
But before I could, the God who took on flesh for me opened a door for me to take on flesh for him. He silenced my mouth and opened my hands. I’ve been silent on the blog but only because I haven’t had a moment on the sidelines to catch my breath or find the words.
*Stay tuned to hear what God’s been doing in the quiet.
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