Tangled Thread

July 28, 2016

Tangled Thread

I was unusually empty and didn’t have the patience to give a funny opening illustration to cut the tension. With scripted notes in my hand and fifty women staring at me, expecting a typical church retreat in the middle-of-nowhere Texas, I paused. And in the space of that silence, I saw the same look in their eyes that I knew was in mine.

What was I going to do–follow the script? I sat in a room full of women who were hurting, doubting, numb, tired, and insecure; and their teacher was feeling all the same things. What was supposed to happen here?

I set down my notes.

I was struck with the idea that the lot of us may never be in the same room again this side of heaven, and, overwhelmed with the need I saw in front of me, I opened with these words:

“We have a little bit of time together–how about we just get after it? How about we really deal with our sin and hurt? How about we fight to find God here? And then let’s dream about how we display God while we are on earth for a few years.”

And I am almost certain everyone was looking at me, thinking, No, seriously girl, where’s the funny story?

But then something happened. God’s Spirit blew in and, with their eyes cutting across the room, hoping maybe it was safe enough, the women slowly let words fall out.

“I honestly don’t care about God.”
“I don’t think God cares about me.”
“I am afraid what people will think.”
“I want a comfortable life.”
“My spouse won’t be on board.”
“I think I will fail.”
“I have nothing to give God.”
“I don’t think my life even matters this much.”

Then, with all the mess of it pooling on the floor of our cabin, I looked around the room and saw a hint of something–a little sparkle, possible hope in their eyes.

Maybe this isn’t life, I thought. These thoughts can’t be from God.

The worries that had consumed each person moments before all of a sudden looked miserably ridiculous staring back at them. The realization needed no words to help form it. We were faced with a simple, striking image: strong, resourced, rescued people, full of God, going through life completely shut down by lies and fear.

Could it be possible there is more to life than this?

We were all certain that there was, and with all the chains on the floor, we could almost taste what we had been missing. We were about to remember what running with abandon felt like, what purpose felt like, what dreaming felt like, what freedom felt like.

Do you need to remember that there is more? How to run freely? What purpose feels like? What freedom feels like?

Some of us have decorated our prison walls so beautifully that we have altogether forgotten we are sitting in a cell, wasting our lives. We don’t know there are chains that, though they no longer bind us, still seem to tangle us up. We sit and listen to talks or read books about God, and we wonder why nothing changes when we so desperately want it to.

I want to invite you to join me for a 4-week study on the book of Daniel called Humble and Bold: How to Love God in a World that Doesn’t. We’re gonna meet each other right where we are and dig into God’s Truth together. I have a free workbook for you to use as your guide through the study. You can grab it here! We’ll get started on Sunday, August 7th at 9pm EST on my Facebook page (using Facebook Live). Plan to tune in from wherever you are, or grab a few friends and do this together. Let’s throw off fear and plant our feet in the unshakeable truth of our God.

Humble and Bold

You can read more on this post in my book, Restless: Because You Were Made for More. You can find a copy here!

21 Responses to “Tangled Thread”

  1. Emily Priesmeyer

    God really does put opportunities in our paths at just the right time. I’m excited to get started with this study, and thank you for making it free!

  2. Stephanie A. Miles

    Oh. My. Goodness! Just THIS morning, I stood in the shower and told God that I have been listening to lies about myself for the better part of my life, that my current job feels like I am locked in a PRISON CELL, and that I long to be loosed of the chains that bind me in fear, insecurity, unworthiness…I am tired….weary….about to give up hope and I am not getting any younger. I am 54 and still trying to figure out why God placed me on this earth?! Seeing your words today was like a mirror to my heart and soul echoing back the VERY words I spoke to God today. The question is…where do I go from here?????

    • This Bible study is your 1st step, and then you keep following God one step at a time. God is blessing you with this opportunity to do this Bible study with other women in similar situations.

  3. Lauralee Naff

    This sort of hits home for me right now

  4. Melissa

    I am right in the middle of reading Restless.
    For almost 20 years I’ve worked whatever job I needed to “do my part”. A few months after our last move, I just couldn’t do it anymore. I was weighted down by anxiety and guilt. I wanted to work because it’s what I should want to do, but I wanted more. I wanted to enjoy what I put my hands to. The real problem is I want to be a mom. It’s all I ever really wanted to be, but I can’t. I’ve struggled through idolizing motherhood and misplacing my hope in people and circumstances. We have been waiting to adopt for 2 years…
    Well, I quit my job about a month ago. I have no idea what I’m doing. Some days I have just as much anxiety as I did when I was working, but the Lord is showing me that waiting has purpose. That my purpose is found in this in between time, not in my desired result. I have purpose because I am his.

  5. Lynn Ingram

    Jennie, your words and perspective are so continuously refreshing…pointing me, pointing readers right back to the One who matters most. I’m challenged. Encouraged. To follow Him. And live for Him who gives me purpose. Thank you!! Thank you for being obedient to God in your life.

  6. Jeanette Kallenbach

    Thank you, I really needed to hear this today. As God works on my heart and changes me, I too hear Satin’s lies telling me I’m not good enough or I’m a failure and no one listens to losers. Then God nudges me and says, “You are precious, loved, and belong to the King Most High. Raise your eyes to me, and trust me. I am alive in you and have given you my strength. Lean on me. You are never alone.” And my strength is renewed. Thank you Lord! And thank you Jennie for bringing us together.

  7. Kelley

    I would love to participate in the Daniel Study — but I am not on Facebook. (I know, I’m probably the only human over age 15 that is not on social media) Is it possible to participate in the study without having a FB account? Or can I participate via Skype of FaceTime perhaps? Please let me know if there are any other alternative ways to participate in the study — even if it is not ‘live’ but afterwards, e.g. via Youtube or Jennie’s website. Thanks! Kelley

    • You’re not alone, Kelley! I don’t have Facebook either. 🙂 This may be a good opportunity to grab a friend who does so you both can experience it together.

    • Kelley, you are not alone! I am not on Facebook either but want to do this study. Maybe there is an alternative for those of us who aren’t on Facebook.

  8. As often as this has happened, I should not be surprised when a blog post shows up speaking directly into my heart at precisely the right time. God is so good. He has been transforming me and pruning me the last couple of years and I have been witness to his healing power in my life. I am watching in wonder as he develops gifts in me I never recognized before I turned 40, and he has given my opportunities to serve his church in ways I never imagined. Yet just last night I sat on our patio telling my husband that the more God is changing me and the more I am tasting victory, the more shame I am feeling. Not shame over something I’ve done, but shame in who I am. I recognize them as Satan’s lies, but the battle rages on in my heart, reminding me of all the things supposedly wrong with me and telling me that I am a fraud. I know it’s not true and I hand it to God again and again, crying a few tears and then diving back into growing this dream God has given me. And this morning this post shows up in my inbox. Like I said, God is so good!

  9. Deb Spencer

    Feeling the chains fall . . . thank you!


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