When I started this blog 3 years ago, I wasn’t sure if anyone would read my words….but I wrote anyways. The more that I wrote, the more people shared their own personal stories with me.
Surprisingly, the hardest blogs to write have also been the blogs that people have related to the most.
We often convince ourselves that no one will else will understand what we’re going through, so we struggle in silence. Blogging has helped me realize how much we crave honest connection. Let someone know if you relate to their story. Hope is ignited when we realize we’re not alone.
Or, if you’re feeling really brave, give someone the gift of going second. Share your story first. It will usually give someone else the courage to share too.
As an introvert, I tend to process things internally. I choose my words carefully, and I often think about my words before I share them. I’m also careful about who I share my words with. Introverts usually aren’t the first ones to speak up, but God still created us with a voice that is meant to be heard.
For so many years, I wanted to speak about something that had happened in my life, but I couldn’t. The shame was so overwhelming that it silenced me. I could talk about a lot of things, but the words I needed to say the most would not come out.
Over the past 2 years, blogging has become a part of my life. As a blogger, you put your words out there, not knowing who will read them. This part is a little scary. And most of the time, you have no idea how your words impact someone, but you continue to write. You trust that the words you have been given are meant to be shared with others for a reason. This is the life of a blogger.
Once in awhile, someone might share with you how your words have helped or encouraged them. These moments are gifts….little reminders that your words are making a difference. It’s because of these moments that I continue to write.
It started off like a typical day at the park. I was walking the trails, listening to music on my phone, and enjoying hearing the sound of a nearby waterfall.
I came to the end of the first trail, stopped, and looked at a sign that had a map of the park. I normally would continue on the trail to the right, as I know the trail well. But for some reason, I felt a strong urgency to cross the street and take the trail to the left. I wasn’t sure where this trail would lead or what I would see, but I sensed that I was supposed to take it. So I went.
It was one of those “perfect” weather days – mid-70’s, low humidity, the sun was shining, and a light breeze was blowing through the air. I was walking the trails at a nearby park (one of my favorite things to do), listening to Pandora radio on my iPhone, and admiring the beautiful scenery. Life was good.
The song, “Take My Hand,” by Shawn McDonald started playing through my earbuds, and I was singing along inside my head as I continued walking the trails – “Take my hand to the promised land / And on you I want to stand / Cause I cannot do it on my own / You’re what I need and I need to be / Right by your side cause I cannot hide / Lord, I know I need you…”
Then, right before I was about to take my first step across a bridge, I saw something move out of the corner of my eye. I looked down and saw this…
My foot was within inches of stepping on the tail of a snake! Some people might scream. Some people might run away. I froze. Fear stopped me in my tracks.
But I didn’t stay frozen for long, because a few seconds later I remembered, “I’ve come across snakes two other times walking this trail. In the past, I stepped back, let the snake slither away, and then I continued walking. Everything turned out okay. I should do that again.”
So, I stepped back, took out my camera, snapped a picture, and watched this long snake slither across the bridge and into the grass.
I continued walking on the path, but this time I was looking down more frequently, in case that snake had any friends in the area. As I was walking, I realized a few things:
A snake stopped me in my tracks. Maybe something else has stopped you in your tracks - financial difficulty, an unexpected medical diagnosis, dealing with trauma/painful experiences from your past, stress at work or at home, worrying about a loved one or the future, etc...
When fear stops you in your tracks, extend your hands – to God and to others.
When fear stops you in your tracks, use it as a moment to reflect on God’s faithfulness.
When fear stops you in your tracks, remember that God already knows what’s ahead and He promises to stay by your side.
Fear temporarily stopped me in the park that day, but I’m thankful I kept going. Otherwise I would’ve missed the beautiful scenery that was waiting for me up ahead.
I'm an ordinary introvert who loves an extraordinary God.