I was asked What empowers you the most?
Well, as I do with everything, I made this a more complicated question than it needs to be, but, for you, my lovelies, I will keep it simple.
I can’t answer this as one whole person. I have to think of it in terms of the different Nancy’s – the Christian, the writer, the neighbor, friend, customer, citizen, visitor, not to mention all of the family roles I play: wife, mother, grandmother, sister, cousin, daughter… and on and on.
But, given all of that, I keep coming back to what empowers me as a writer and as a Christian.
As a writer
I have blogged for myself and for others, and I have written articles about higher education and local events. I’ve tried my hand at compiling essays for possible publication. And, although not well-known or prolific, I have a small following of friends and fellow writers who encourage and affirm me, giving me reason to continue and persevere.
But, and this is a little embarrassing to admit, what empowers me more than the kind words of others, is reading what I wrote last week or last year. When I am feeling less than accomplished, when I wonder if I am really doing what I’m supposed to do, I go back to my published work (here on LivingCenter.me) and listen carefully to what I had to say.
And, honestly, every single time I do this, I hear God saying to me in a very quiet voice See? This is what I’ve asked you to do. And you are doing it. And you are doing it well.
Believe it or not, when I hear that, I don’t jump to Then why don’t I have a book deal? No. I gulp a little, sniff, and blink back tears of gratitude, and keep writing.
As a Christian
I grew up born again, and most of my life, I carried a pretty heavy list of Should and Should Not. And good golly, Miss Molly, I’m tired.
But in the past few months and years, I have been strengthened by fellow Believers who have graciously pointed out – to me and others – that we are not bound by what other mere mortals have said about or read into the Scripture. That my unsettled feelings and questions I whisper are not blasphemous or signs of weakness.
I am empowered by those sweet and thoughtful fellow Believers who remind me every day that we, all of us – a motley crew of strugglers in the same mess and chaos – really don’t have it all figured out. None of us. And we should not act like we do.
Over the years, we Christians got a lot of things wrong – and the trend shows no sign of slowing down. Just like the Christian slave holders and dealers, those who tried to medicate and chemically “cure” homosexuality, the pastors who upheld “separate but equal,” and people whose religious beliefs opposed the rights of women to vote and hold positions of leadership in the church, we get stuff wrong. Unfortunately, it often stays wrong for generations.
When we are uneasy or convicted about traditional Sunday school lessons and what is been preached from the pulpit, why do we just go along with the crowd, creating no ripples or raised eyebrows? And, when God finally gets our attention and we see His truth, why are our apologies and corrections so slow to take place, so unobtrusive and done so secretly, in private, so as to avoid the spotlight shining on the ugliness?
But at long last, because of brave souls who dare blaze the trail into the unknown, the difficult and unkempt, I am, bit by bit, finding the courage to speak up, ask the hard questions, and push back when traditional wisdom seems not so wise and when those with whom I have identified for so long begin to look unrecognizable to me.
I am grateful for God’s voice of affirmation when I write and for Christian voices willing to swim against the “acceptable” tide. They empower me to continue, to learn, and to learn to listen better.
They empower me to fight the good fight and finish the race to which I’ve been called. To God be the glory.
What empowers you?
We were prompted this week by
“I am most empowered by…”