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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Glass houses and feeling invisible

You know you're a writer when the best way to work out your salvation and frustration is to write or type away on a keyboard. So that's what I'm doing today.

I’ve been home from the American Christian Fiction Writers conference in Dallas, TX for three days now and I can’t shake a word phrase I shared with a few friends in describing my conference experience.

A glass house.

That’s a pretty apt description of the way I feel about most things in my life. I feel like I’m alone outside a huge glass house in which all my friends and other people are having a great time. I can see them. Talk to them. But I can’t really touch or been seen by them.

Please don’t get me wrong, the ACFW conference was incredible. It’s just my gift from God this year came in the form of haunting worship and deep conviction in my heart. Conviction that I’ve chosen this glass house and remain the reason for my own loneliness.

The big question for me is why? And, as is often the case, just getting my thoughts in print helps me to answer that question easily.

Fear.

I think that’s why I stay outside the glass house and grumble about feeling invisible. Even if I long to be invited inside, it’s somehow “safer” to remain on the outside looking in from a distance.

Outside I don’t worry about making a fool of myself or being rejected. As if that hurts more than pervasive loneliness.

Since the ACFW conference, I’m beginning to wonder if that’s true. After listening to and reading about other writers’ stories on what an awesome conference experience they had, I’m starting to think I missed out because I let fear win.

That’s not to say I didn’t have some wonderful moments. Hanging out with my best friend Saturday and laughing with a few precious people Saturday night was awesome. The worship at ACFW was incredible too. As was listening to Liz Curtis Higgs and hearing the Lord speak straight to my heart.

But in truth all those things only illuminated the glass house feeling and made me see this is a theme in my life. Not a glorious realization.

Actually it’s a pretty painful one.

And one I have no idea how to fix or change.

But just in writing this, I feel a stirring in my heart. God is at work there. Doing His painful but fruitful pruning. Poking on the wounds that lies have made and asking me to bring them to Him.

Lies like I’m invisible. Which when I live like that lie is true, I create self-inflicted wounds of fearful living. Loneliness. Missed opportunities to reach out to others and love well. Those wounds spiral downward to create “proof” that I really am invisible. And so the cycle continues.

Until God says, “Peace. Be still.”

It’s scary to be still in front of a holy God who knows every thought of my heart. It seems easier to hide and pretend it’s someone else’s fault I feel alone.

But it’s not. Hiding and blame don’t change anything or help anyone.

And God’s not letting me get away with it this year. It’s been a tough year that feels like everything I’ve touched has gone up in smoke. But there is one thing that remains.

God.

My holy, perfect, all-knowing Daddy. Who in the midst of my toddleresque blame game and hiding still reaches out His hand and draws me to Him.

One thing Liz Curtis Higgs asked us to do during one of her amazing keynote addresses at ACFW was to look in the mirror, stretch out our arms, see ourselves as God sees us, and proclaim: “Ta-da!”

I didn’t do it. Not in my heart.

And I still couldn’t even when I crawled into the safe surroundings of my family who love me so well. But God used them to keep me unsettled—their smiles and their words of love all touched that “I’m alone” lie.

My girls were so excited when I came home and declared over and over that I am the best mommy… EVER! I smiled and shook my head knowing so well that I don’t deserve that title.

But then while writing this, God brought to mind my daughters’ genuine declarations of love, my husband’s eyes that mirror his loving words, and the words and emails of friends who really do see me and really do like me.

Maybe I’m not living outside that glass house after all.

Maybe I’m not invisible.

Then God settles the “maybe” question and whispers to my heart, “I AM the God who sees. I have called you by name. You are Mine.”

That truth is true for all of us who are followers of Christ. We are seen. We are loved. Perfectly. Completely. Even when we don’t feel it.

Does hearing those words change everything? Not exactly. This year has still been hard. I still have a lot of growing up to do. But listening to the Spirit whisper to my heart that I do belong… to Him…that changes the most important thing.

My heart.

So instead of dwelling on my mistakes, misconceptions, or hiding behind glass house living, I’m going to choose to tell myself the truth. I’m going to listen to the Truth.

God says we are wonderfully made. Totally loved. Fully forgiven. His.

I think I’m ready to follow Liz’s instructions. I hope you’ll join me.

Take a long look in the mirror…

Remember Who created you and how He smiles at you…

Lift up your hands…

Agree with your heavenly Daddy and say…

“TA-DA!”

8 comments:

Sally said...

Nice to see you back in the saddle...I knew you couldn't stay out of it too long...you are too awesome and truly truly are a woman of great faith (I know you don't believe me but I wouldn't lie to you!) thanks for stopping by my blog...and thanks for your kind words...maybe someday I'll get published but for now I am content with my little blogging world!!

Hugs to you sweetheart! You are loved!!

Julie Garmon said...

What a beautiful blog. Such honesty. Yep, I identify. Totally. Fear is my biggie.

♥Julie

Amy Wallace said...

Sally,

You were right, I couldn't stay out of things very long at all. ;-)

While I find it hard to believe you would see me as such a woman of great faith, I will take your compliment and thank God that He used me.

Thanks for loving me well, friend!

I do read your blog often and enjoy it. I'll try to do better about posting.

Love,
Amy

Amy Wallace said...

Hey, Julie!

Thanks for dropping by and encouraging me! I so appreciate your compliments.

How about we pray for each other to walk in faith and not fear? I know God has good in store for us and we'll enjoy it far more when we walk this walk by faith.

Love,
Amy

Belinda P. said...

Amy,
I'm listening to CD's right now from Beth Moore. It's her Believing God series. Here's her 5 statement pledge of faith.
God is who he says he is.
God can do what he says he can do.
I am who God says I am.
I can do all things through Christ.
God's spirit is alive and active in me.

God created us with all kinds of feelings. I think that's why you're a great writer. You don't skim over the feelings part. Even if the feelings aren't happy ones. You get down into what's truly going on in your heart and you work it out with God.
That's something not all of us can do. Or gotten to the point of doing.
Praise God for your strengths! You don't know how many people you inspire to dig deeper and be true.

Amy Wallace said...

Lindi,

What an awesome reminder from Beth Moore...

God is who he says he is.
God can do what he says he can do.
I am who God says I am.
I can do all things through Christ.
God's spirit is alive and active in me.

THANK YOU!

Thanks, too, for your very kind compliments. You're right that I don't have any idea how many people I inspire to dig deeper. But I'm so glad to know I do. ;-) Isn't that why we write? To lead people down the path we've walked in some way so that they too can see God.

Lindi, whether you are aware of it or not, you do that. I've read it and seen it in your life.

Amy

Vicki said...

Hi Amy,

My first comment went up in cybersmoke:-) So I'll try again. Just wanted to say that your post was great---very convicting in my own heart. I've felt so invisible this year, alone, and seemingly unable to push through. Thanks for reminding me of what is true. You have reached out to me so many times this past year and I'm always grateful. You're more remarkable than you know...all because of your honest heart before the Lord. He uses you. Thanks for helping peel another layer off my heart today. I needed that.

Hugs,
Vicki

Amy Wallace said...

Vicki,

Thank you so much for your precious words; they brought tears to my eyes.

I am SO glad that God used my post to help you remember what is true~ we're NOT invisible to our loving Daddy.

That you went on to say what you did about being remarkable...that made me cry more. Thank you. Your words reminded me that God knows exactly how and when and through whom to encourage me best. He did that today through you.

Much love,
Amy

 
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