Saying Yes to Spoken Women

The following is an essay that was recently featured on SpokenWomen.com. Spoken Women is an online community where Catholic women can nurture their creative callings. It is my blessing to be a member.


I sat in my parked car and reached for my phone, my eyes quickly scanning for notifications of missed texts or emails. I had arrived early and knew I could rely on my phone to help me waste time.

Opening my email, I immediately saw an unread, bolded message from Spoken Women. A closer look revealed an automatic response, questioning whether I was having “trouble.” Apparently this happens when one completes the entire membership form except the payment section - as I had done earlier that morning!

No, there were no technical issues preventing me from completing my purchase and joining Spoken Women.

But yes, there was an issue …

During that week I had revisited the Spoken Women Instagram page and website more times than I could count. Reading their mission statement “Each of us is a word of God spoken only once,” captivated me, and my heart quickened each time I read it.

The problem typically started as I read through the membership categories. That was when I would begin to hear a quiet voice pointing out all the reasons I should not join:

“Your desire to join clearly indicates you’re too prideful,” the voice cautioned. “You want to pay money for something that will somehow be used to improve your blog and social media pages?? You’re simply fishing for more ‘likes’ and ‘followers’ as you try to promote your so-called ‘platform,’” the voice mocked. “Have you already forgotten how easily you slide down that slippery slope – the one where you base your self-worth on something other than your identity as God’s beloved daughter? Obviously any intentional act to improve or build your blog is only serving yourself.”

The voice would often continue even after I had closed my computer, signifying agreement. In an all-knowing tone that sounded so much like my own voice, it reminded me that neither the blog nor social media pages were my idea:

“Let’s be serious,” the voice rationalized, “sharing private details about your faith journey and vulnerably exposing your brokenness and the errors of your ways is certainly not something you would ever plan on your own. This was ALL God’s idea! You obeyed by creating the blog and social media pages for Him, and now you should leave the blog in HIS hands. Just let God take your words to whomever He thinks needs to read them.”

I did want to join. But with that desire came guilt, as I felt any attempt to grow my blog ultimately meant my work was pointing to me and not to God. And for several days my mind had been a battleground for those conflicting feelings.

I glanced at the email from Spoken Women a second time as I offered up a silent prayer, “Lord, help me to know whether I should join.” Closing my email and opening my own Instagram page, I began to scroll through my old posts. As one image after the next filled my screen, I realized how easily I could recall both the life events and moments spent in prayer prior to the creation of each post. I wake early every morning to sit with Jesus in prayer; most days my posts come directly from that prayer time. My feed is filled with countless things God has revealed to me, as well as my own prayers offered back to Him – prayers of gratitude, of petition, of longing. As feelings of warmth and joy filled me, I smiled, realizing my Instagram page has become, quite literally, a photo version of my personal prayer journal. Scrolling through my feed and reading my old blog posts brings me peace and comfort. It reminds me of His very real presence in my life and confirms repeatedly that He will speak to me if I only make time for Him.

“Lord,” I whispered quietly in prayer, as realization slowly set in, “I do believe You asked me to create the blog and social media pages so I could share with others my faith journey and the way You’ve changed my life. But is it possible You also called me to create these things … FOR ME? Not to garnish the attention of others. And not because they should determine my worth. But as a way for me to remember the lessons You’ve taught that I’ve already forgotten? A way to remember Your unchanging character? A way to remember Your unconditional and never-ending love? Is it possible that the very thing You’ve called me to create for You and for others … could also be a gift to me?”

As a feeling of peace filled me, I realized God had heard and was answering my prayer. For days I believed the lie that joining Spoken Women was bad, that any desire to improve or promote my blog and social media pages could only imply that I was following, and serving, and glorifying myself. But that morning, as I looked at my social media feeds and blog website, tears of gratitude filled my eyes.


I’m so grateful He has spoken so clearly to me, opening my heart and ears to hear Him.

I’m so grateful He considers me worthy enough to create this blog, giving me words when I am at a loss.

I’m so grateful He provides me with the courage needed to repeatedly hit “publish” and “share” each time I expose my own brokenness to the world.

I’m so grateful for each time He’s allowed me to receive feedback from someone who has been touched by my writing, as this encourages me to continue.


And now, as I reflect on the blog and social media pages He has called me to create, I am so grateful that He has gifted them right back to me.

I know, without a doubt, that God called me to create the blog for His purposes. And for that reason, I thought joining Spoken Women was wrong, as it would somehow indicate the blog was for me. But maybe…. that’s the very reason God has called me to join.

___________________________

To everyone who continues to read my blog posts, who scrolls through my social media pages, and who participates in the Facebook Bible reading group with me, Thank You. Because of you, I've been able to receive this gift from God. May the words I type bless you as you've blessed me.

I believe in some capacity we're all called to create. (After all, THE Creator did make us in HIS image!) Some of us create in the traditional sense of the word - visual arts, music, writing. Others have been gifted with the ability to create homes that are always inviting. They love to entertain others, and guests always feel welcome. Some interact easily with children and have the ability to create environments where the youngest members of our community always feel loved. 

Regardless of whether we're creating a beautiful painting, a gourmet meal, an experience for others, or a business plan, I believe this desire for creation has been placed on our hearts by God. And each time we respond to it we are giving Him our "Yes." But I would suggest that He's hoping for more. Perhaps what He wants most is for us to invite Him into our "creative space" so we can partner with Him. He knows whatever we create is a gift for others, and He wants to help it go farther and mean more than it ever could on our own. And even more than that ... He wants the things and experiences we create to also be gifts to us. 

So ... what has He placed on your heart? 

What is he hoping you'll create? Or what have you been creating all along? 

Is He waiting for you to invite Him in?


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