I feel flutters in my belly that get stronger as the day drags on. It could be the two ice cream sandwiches I inhaled this afternoon, but it’s probably the growing baby girl who is already wanting her place in this world to be known and acknowledged. She’s trying to get my attention, and you can bet your belt-buckles that her mama is listening. This strong babe will come out of my womb with the assurance that her voice (and movement) is validated. In the second chapter of Unseduced and Unshaken, Dr. Pamela MacRae writes, “Voice is not solely offered through one’s words, but also through one’s presence and a willing engagement of the whole self.”
It is a courageous thing to engage the whole of oneself.
It’s courageous because it’s rare. From the beginning pages of our story with God, we mastered the art of hiding. We cover up the parts of ourselves that we deem unworthy or useless. We tuck them away and present a polished, partial version of ourselves. But the tragedy is that God’s power is usually most evident in the parts we push to the side. You see, that’s how kingdom living works. It’s upside down, like a never-ending “opposite day,” which is a game that has always irritated me. For a power-hungry, goal-oriented control freak like me, the nature of God’s kingdom can still throw me off. Weakness is power, the last are first, and the poor are rich. I don’t like it, but it’s Good News for the parts of myself that are hidden from your view – the unfettered rage, the suspicion, or the anxiety. Those things aren’t pretty but they’re the things Jesus is using to draw gentleness out of my stony heart. Bringing the mess of our lives into the light allows us to believe the truth about who Jesus says we are, but it takes courage.
Here’s the thing about courage – it’s risky. People have a tendency to turn away in disgust when we show all of our cards, and this can cause shame to burrow down deep in our hearts. Shame is the ultimate silencer.
But what happens when we have people who cheer us on, even and especially when we step into the light? Our voices get stronger when they’re validated. Engaging the whole of ourselves becomes the best choice because it’s the only path to love, grace, and hope. We choose courage because it leads to freedom.
And that’s what I want for my girl: freedom.