- 2019May 21
For years, my life seemed to follow the opposite path God desired me to take—for all of us to take. He created us to live bold, brave, and intentional lives. He’s given us everything we need, in Christ, do this. I know this now and am learning, each day, how to live more consistently in that truth, but for over a decade, fears and wounds from my past kept me in bondage.
You never would’ve known it to look at me. I went to church. Smiled. Served. Had friends for dinner and maintained a relatively busy social calendar, all the while engaging in polite, acceptable … filtered conversation.
I felt like a fraud, convinced if others discovered who I truly was, who I’d been, they’d want nothing to do with me.
Then came the call. God stirred my heart, clearly and strongly, to speak and write for Him.
That sounds exciting, right? Except for when you’re spending your days hiding out, trying to play the part you believe is expected—by people. I’d kicked my people-pleasing up to such intensity, God’s still small voice faded into the background.
I felt certain the two were in opposition of one another. If I were to do this thing, to follow God with everything within me and surrender to Him, I might irritate a few folks. Maybe even turn others away.
It was the latter that scared me most, because God wasn’t just calling me to serve. I’d been doing that. He was calling me to serve Him transparently. To be completely real, with my sins, my struggles, my ugly side.
An ugly side that can be easy to hide when I all is going well, but when I feel squeezed or overtired? Those are the times when my ick, the part of me that God is working to chip away at, is most likely to rise up.
And yet, God was calling me to live authentically. To be real.
Not just real, but to put this transparency into writing, for all the world to see. Knowing some reading would judge me. Would see the worst in me. Would misunderstand. Maybe even choose to use my words against me.
So I hid. I continued to reveal only slivers of myself, and thus, only slivers of what God was doing within me—those things that made me look good, like I’d grown and conquered. And day-by-day, God’s still, gentle voice grew softer and more distant.
Until the chill between us became more than I cared to bear. I realized I craved intimacy with Christ more than anything else, even my pride. So I said yes, and have had to make that choice many times since, for pride never seems to stay dead for long.
What I found—the more I let God in, the more I say yes to Him, the more I begin to live.
Consider this quote by Gordon T. Smith, author of Courage and Calling: “Living our lives to the full is precisely what it means to be good stewards of our lives. … We live fully by living in a way that is deeply congruent with who we are.” (p. 18).
Congruent with who we are. Living authentically. No more hiding. No more pretending to be someone we’re not. No more trying to please others or avoid their rejection or judgment. Simply leaning deeper into Christ and allowing Him to use as—our past and our present, our strengths and our weakness, our quirks and qualities—for His glory.
I believe that’s when we truly begin to experience the full freedom available to us in Christ and the peace that “surpasses all understand.” A peace no amount of ridicule, “failure,” or rejection can take away.
What about you? Are you living authentically, or are you in some state of hiding? Can you sense God saying to you, “Come out, my beloved, chosen by God. Let my Spirit flow, unhindered, through you as I use you to bring about my good, pleasing, and perfect will.”
Say yes, friend. I promise, you won’t regret it.
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- 2019May 14
One beautiful spring day, I felt filled with peace and joy … until I stepped from the vehicle. Standing with my hand on the gas hose, my thoughts took a suddent and unexpected turn. A memory resurfaced, bringing with it a surge of anger.
Dazed, I finished filling my tank and tried to make sense of the situation. I’d forgiven this person long ago. Lord, don’t You remember all the prayers I sent out? Don’t You remember the tears I shed? Don’t You remember my surrender?
At first I felt defeated. Maybe my forgiveness hadn’t been genuine. So I poured my heart out to God once again, asking Him to remove my anger, committing myself, yet again, to put the offense and offender behind me.
Since then, I’ve learned forgiveness isn’t always a one-time event. Nor does it always begin with emotion. Rather, it starts with a decision to forgive, a teeth-gritting commitment followed by a desperate cry to God for help. Then, as we continue to draw near to Him, surrendering our hurt and bitterness, He begins to align our feelings to match our commitment.
But while God’s working to bring us wholeness and freedom, our adversary the devil is devising counter measures to keep us in bondage and isolation. Satan doesn't want us to experience healing or reconcilation. But he probably won’t attack us when we’re in the middle of prayer. Instead, he waits until we’re caught up in life to bombard us because then, just maybe we’ll be surprised enough to give in.
Scripture says he's a thief and destroyer. He wants to rob us of our joy, victory, and peace. He wants to destroy us and our family (John 10:10). He wants us to trade relational intimacy with others for loneliness, self-protection, and isolation.
The minute we move toward wholeness, Satan plots ways to steal it from us.
But here’s the good news. If we're in Christ, Satan has absolutely no power or authority over us. Though he wants to destroy us, Christ, who defeated Satan on the cross, has given us the tools to experience abundant, filled-to-overflowing life.
Each day, we have a choice to grab one or the other. We seize life by drawing near to Christ in surrendered obedience, regardless how we feel. He takes care of the rest.
James 4:7-8 is one of my favorite verses, one I claim as a promise. “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and He will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”
Let's talk about this! When have you struggled to forgive someone who hurt you deeply? What helped? What did God reveal to you as you sought to obey Him?
Make sure to sign up for my free quarterly emailing. As a thank you gift, subscribers receive a free, 36-lesson Bible study based on 1 Timothy (download link sent separately, in a welcome email). They also receive great content (short stories, devotionals, recipes, and more) sent directly to their inbox each quarter. You can sign up HERE.
Make sure to sign up for my free quarterly emailing. As a thank you gift, subscribers receive a free, 36-lesson Bible study based on 1 Timothy (download link sent separately, in a welcome email). They also receive great content (short stories, devotionals, recipes, and more) sent directly to their inbox each quarter. You can sign up HERE. And make sure to connect with me on my personal blog JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.com, on Facebook, and to follow me on Instagram!
- 2019May 07
My relationships would benefit significantly if I slowed down my words and sped up my brain.
When we lived in California, we had a friend who seemed to calculate every word. Although the impatient side of me at times grew frustrated, I often wondered how many arguments, embarrassments and tense situations I’d avoid if I only took the time to think before speaking. What’s more, how much sound knowledge would I gain if I took the time to listen–not smile and nod while my mind jumped to my next point–but truly listen, when others spoke. Listening is more than audible reception. It involves a genuine concern for others and a desire to understand not only the words they present but their intended meaning as well. And often, it involves holding our tongue.
According to the Bible, when I speak without thinking, I’m a fool inviting trouble. And perhaps, at times, even worse–a slicing sword inflicting wounds.
James 1:19 tells us, "Understanding this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry" (NIV).
Slow to speak. Quick to listen. Slow to become angry … And always ready to show love and grace.