A few weeks ago, I wrote about lemon drops and how refreshingly mild I found them. It turns out, the tastebuds weren't the only things itching for a little relief; there's a place in my heart that's been searching for it, too.
As many of you may know, I am putting a lot of time right now into building something more. I'm focused on stepping into a future that I admit may be 20 years down the road, but God has put it so beautifully on my heart that every moment I'm not letting it drive me is disobedience. So I'm working on a better web presence (yes, this blog will be moving. More details to come) since...well, ok, it actually started with this: I won 1000 business cards from a giveaway on a friend's blog. God put it on my heart to use those not in the job search or focusing on the 9-5 but on the real gift He's put in my heart - to begin reaching out in ministry, in authorship and writing and speaking and just ministry. It's what He's got for me, and this prize, as simple as it may seem, was His way of nudging me to take the risk and step into all that. (See last post for things that try to trip all that up.)
Anything else seems like a waste of 1000 business cards.
Thus, I have spent the past week or so designing my cards. The company would probably help me out, but part of what I do is art, and I asked if I could take over the design myself. They were more than happy to let me. Then I ran straight-on into blank page syndrome because...what is me? Where is this going? And what am I doing?
God put the answers on my heart. To be honest, He's kind of got me a little distracted with how awesome He's making what unfolds before me. So I have to balance my energy and excitement with the honesty that it's not here yet.
Anyway, He gave me those answers and I immediately put my own spin on them, as I tend to do. I designed this sheek, bold, edgy, modern but simple business card, something just to start with as a template and then to go wild with. Make a statement. Set myself apart. Be LOUD...and demand my place, my recognition, my name. Bright orange. Bold angles. And searching for the right font to say "Look!"
Then it happened...
The font I was searching for was for my name, something I could easily see how it would look with the design of the card. There were several grungy, graffiti-ish, agitated fonts that caught my eye. And then one simple, classy...dare I say, elegant...one that made me throw away the whole project.
Truthfully, I wasn't engaged in the process like I should have been. It didn't have the joy and excitement that the initial nudge to pursue ministry with my giveaway win had given me. It was more drudgery, something I had to plow through to get it done and get moving on. I was looking at it for a few days, thinking it needed something but having no idea what, and getting so frustrated that I just left it sitting there.
You know why; I don't have to tell you. I was trying too hard.
I was taking this gift, and this invitation, as yet another chance to prove something. It seems to be a common theme in my life, and it's easy to get locked into that. My attitude, and the questions resonating from this unworthy-feeling place inside me, were sucking the promise out of the Promise.
From a simple font that defined my name, I started with a blank slate and built this delicate, intimate, elegant and classic business card that I still have open in another window right now. There are a few little details to work out, but it's getting there. It's softer now, more beautiful in its simplicity. And it perfectly (well, almost - I'm getting it there) speaks into that Promise and invigorates me. Not to prove anything about myself or even about my God, but just to step into what He has for me, what He's created in me.
The truth is that the new design, the new feel I get from it - it is energizing. It is hopeful. It is joy. It is back to what it is in the dream that so charms my heart.
Not everything has to be bold. Or loud. Or demanding. The truth is it's hard to live up to some of the statements we try to make with ourselves. The original bold, edgy design? Wouldn't people have been disappointed when they saw that isn't my heart at all. That isn't how I approach what God has given in me. He's got something quieter, softer in mind. I would hate to have to be loud and edgy because that was the image I created me in; I'd hardly be able to stand myself.
It's better just to be in the image He's created me: the image of my God. Where I don't have anything to prove. Not one thing. I've been thirsty for that: the lemon drop. Something milder. A reason to let enough be enough. It goes back to my last post: who am I working for? I know the answer, and He's answered. It's cool to be able to live knowing that, to see when I'm getting out of it, and to be able to pull back and realign my life with my heart.
Softness, subtlety, sincerity - these have their own voice. Maybe in a whisper, but they have something to say, too. And I never thought I'd say it, but God has blessed me with a life that speaks in a whisper. And I actually like it better that way.
Has God given your life a whisper or a roar? To each of us, He has given a different voice. If you're driving even yourself crazy, you are probably trying to live at the wrong volume. Tone it up or down; ask Him how He would have you speak. And remember that it's not always those who speak loudest who have the most influence...the world is searching for more than volume.