I didn’t intend to be silent for so long. I set out for this to be a place to continue to tell story, to unpack the very things the Lord and I have been walking through together – because chances are, I’m not alone on the journey. Chances are, someone else has felt something like this too.
But it’s much easier, in theory, to create a space for these kind of writings and this kind of interaction. It’s much more difficult to follow thru, to stick it out, to press in and stay consistent. It’s difficult to show up, to be seen, to walk in vulnerability.
This has been a tough journey.
That certainly seems the most appropriate place to dive in. And it’s been tough for a lot of reasons, but one reason it’s been so tough to even write about in this space is because it is a journey. I’m not writing from this place I’ve arrived and achieved perfection in. I’m not writing from this place where I’ve found complete confidence and security, a place I never have to fear vulnerability again. This is my journey – imperfections and all, and that can be a tough thing to share sometimes.
A few weekends ago, my friend (Kate) and I took an intentional pause to get out of town and hone our focus on this book we’re working hard to write together. We packed our bags, filled some coolers, and journeyed over, through and around the mountains to a quiet oasis tucked away up a winding and somewhat menacing road.
We worked tirelessly on the book proposal, refining content and chapter outlines, strategizing some of our marketing plan, and putting some new deadlines into place. All things I’ve learned throughout this process, pieces of the journey that have easily overwhelmed me in unexpected moments.
It was a beautiful weekend away. I needed the pause, the chance to get over the mountain pass, to step away for a moment from all that was happening back in Mae Sot. So it was a welcome breather. Oddly enough, the air quality we encountered in up in the mountains where we stayed was not great for breathing! Literal ash falling from the sky all around us left us with stuffy noses and scratchy throats (thanks burn season).
Still, a good weekend to get away, but if I’m being honest, it was also really difficult.
By our third morning, there at a table near the pool- a beautiful mountain landscape surrounding us- I found myself a broken, sobbing mess. I want to say I’m embarrassed to even share this, but then, that’s shame talking, and shame doesn’t get a seat at this table.
So there I was, mind spinning, tears welling up as Kate and I sat together rewriting outlines for each chapter of this book we’re writing. My mind was a blank canvas, and not the good kind of blank where there’s freedom to create and dream. My mind was the frozen kind of blank – frozen by fear, by insecurity and self-doubt.
“What are you trying to say?”
“Someone else could say that better.”
“Kristy, this is too hard. Why are you even doing this?”
All thoughts flooding my mind as my insecurities continued to rise. You see, this journey, is a vulnerable one. Yet I often find the person I need most to be vulnerable with is myself.
I need to give myself permission to feel the weight of the things I feel. I need to give my ears permission to hear the untruth of the lies rising to the surface. I need to come face to face with these things, because to ignore them, to not acknowledge them, is to give them permission to stay, to fester, to grow and spread. To pretend that things are fine or to somehow believe it’s weak for me to vulnerably share them, is to give those things more power than they deserve.
So there, at a simple wooden table surrounded by the majesty of endless mountains, I sat and sobbed at the crushing weight of it all. A book, whose writing process is slowly crushing my confidence and drumming up every insecurity I’ve ever battled. A truth that vulnerability is messy and feels icky sometimes. A reality that writing is hard but giving people a glimpse into the pages of my journal, even more so.
Taking a break from that table by the pool and trying desperately to catch my breath through my sobs, Kate and I walked back up to our room where I planted myself outside on our patio to spend some time with Jesus. I threw on some music and began journaling out my prayer- desperate cries for Jesus to show up and speak to me, desperate pleas for Him to take the insecurities away.
In those moments there on the patio, I wrote this sentence in my journal: “God, I feel crushed by the weight of all this- all these insecurities, all these fears, all these doubts. I don’t know how to find my footing here.”
And His response to me was simply this… “Pressed but not crushed.”
I sat there for a moment staring at those words, then continued writing as the Lord spoke…
“Kristy, you’re feeling pressed but you’re not crushed. It’s not impossible for you to pick yourself up and move forward. It’s not impossible for you to push back- to look those lies, fears and insecurities square in the face and remind them who you are because of Me. You’re feeling pressed, but you can press back. You can push forward. You can overcome this place you find yourself in. This isn’t where you’ll get crushed. This is where you get to lean into all these things and push forward. Push forward… insecurities, fears, lies… push forward and watch and see how the more you push forward the more those things will break apart, the more you’ll crush them.”
So here’s where I find myself, not having arrived to a specific place, but simply on a journey learning how to press on taking steps forward every day.
To the one who is reading this feeling crushed… push forward, press back, one step at a time.