What Looked Like Isolation, Was Quite The Opposite

Updated: Aug 28, 2019

I slightly slid away from blogging unintentionally, for the last year. I didn’t realize the profundity of what God was stripping from me and taking me into, but it has been refreshing to look back at the pieces and how he brought them together. I wish I had blogged about the journey as it unfolded but the more disconnected I became, the closer I got and it was too good to tug on anything else. I also had nothing to classify this season or label what I was feeling so I left it for words to articulate its truth later.

This past year everything changed but nothing changed on paper and I received more without doing more.

If I can be honest, I have never been content with stagnancy and remaining the same. I always want more. And so this past season, I had reached that same point, this time knowing something needed to die for there to be life. And I sat on it for months making sure this was obedience and not a cop out. I wrestled with the doubt that often tries to plague my certainty of Him based off other peoples potential opinions. I often wondered what my life would amount to, by withdrawing and watching from the background. And often wondered if this season was the season to purchase a one-way ticket to where my daydreams landed and pack my bags of hope and dreams. I am still waiting.

I reference 2015/2016 a lot where I experienced the deepest disappointment that birthed the most awakening journey of self-discovery. It is often the place I mark my growth spurt. Every part of who I am right now is because of that season; I am sure of it. While it has been my most favorite season, this last one beats it by the multitude.

I have been rocking with Jesus for the last nine years. Nine months into my walk with Him, I was serving and invested in ministry. And remained in ministry until God said otherwise.

I had gotten to a place where there was this evident tugging to start withdrawing from my normal routine, unplug from the various places I found myself and rearrange the platforms I found purpose in.  But the same posture of obedience that said YES to being committed, would have to be the same posture of obedience to saying YES to walking away. And so after months of certainty of God’s voice, I had a conversation about stepping down for an unknown duration of time.

That one conversation in obedience led to the rest; things coming to a halt and drawing to a close without having to insinuate a thing to anyone, both in ministry and relationships.

And there I was, completely unplugged from several of the things that occupied my time and where my heart laid in joy, wondering what God was making of my life while also praying this was not going to last long. haha.

And so the unraveling began.

At first I did nothing but sleep unapologetically.

My phone started to slowly become silent of phone calls and texts.

I would then try to strategically add things to my agenda that "I could do now because I have more time."

The familiarity of daily routines and weekly schedules were now unwinding.

And the redundancy of life was starting to become the exact opposite.

But the more I was drawing into rest and silence, the more I realized how uncommon this was.

God ever ask you to do something that no one else is doing? This is my life always. I can hardly get to a place of comparison because it never looks the same. Either I sit in "are you sure God because there aint nobody else about this life" or "ugh. what If I am hearing wrong!?"

But this resounding peace settled the "what if's" as always and the longer I kept following His footsteps, the more confirming it was that He had brought me to the very places He needed me to reside in.

“So you’re just going to stay in a season of isolation?”

I couldn’t have just been a season of rest, it had to be isolation.

I couldn’t have been in a place of self-discovery, it had to be selfish.

I couldn’t have been positioning someone else to rise up, it had to be something else.

Too many times I had to hold back the rolling eye emoji.

We like to give everything a title. Nothing ever is just what it is.

We like titles and labels - it gives us security and a safe place to nestle our logic into. We do it to ourselves and then project it onto others. I was "forced" to learn to be comfortable with it regardless of how others wanted to label my life based on their viewpoint from where they stood in my life. I'll be honest, it can be annoying to have people in your ear about what they think they know is best for you. Especially when you know they're giving you advice based on their mindset and past experience, and not what they received in prayer for you. I am not saying dismiss everything everyone says, I am saying be wise in who you choose to receive from. And understand, we're all trying to figure it out.

But in the midst of all of this, God had asked me, "If I strip away all that you're called to do, even if it's good, even if its what you're purposed for, would you be completely confident and content because you know your identity in me?"

If you're not leading worship, do you know you're called to worship?

If you're not surrounded by a swarm of friendships, do you know you're a good friend and purposed for connection?

If you're not leading a ministry, a group of women, a conversation or a life group, do you still know you're a leader?

God was taking me through this crazy journey to know exactly who I am without the fluff, without recognition and away from the crowd. Often times it felt lonely but other times it was refreshing.

This was the season I learned that not only are a lot of roads less traveled, but not every significant road is crowded.

I learned that who I am wholly in Him is not in what He calls me to, what He has purposed me for, how often I am serving in ministry, if I am available at church or even by how many people stay rockin with me.

Filling our plates, consuming our minds, maxing out our days in exhaustion is dangerous. Even if it brings joy. Too many of us are submerged in the great things we do - the work of the ministry, Kingdom life, and all of the above - but what is alarming, is if it were removed from us, many of us would be in an identity crisis. Straight up.

Too many of us are esteemed by our title or reassured/affirmed in our position.

Now I am not encouraging anyone to dismantle and leave but I am challenging each of us to reflect on where we place our identity in. And to be honest with ourselves. If you find yourself wrestling the thought of giving something up, you may be in a place of false worship and allowing something to be an idol (anything that takes God's place in your life). I had to learn this the hard way perhaps, to warn some people who are fighting for their identity based on the title of leadership, their place in ministry, how visible your gifting is, and how well God uses you. Sidenote: Rude awakening bro/sis, God can use any willing person to get His will done - any willing person void of character, in disobedience, and barely walking with God. Sometimes we base Gods ability to use us as the standard of how well we're doing. Nope and nope.

And to be honest, if you have a hard time withdrawing for rest, you might be headed for burn out.

Now let me say this. This also applies to life "outside" of church. Your life as a parent, your workout regime, your summer body diet, your workplace, relationship, etc. Some of these things we often find our identity in. The same applies here too, bro/sis. I am not saying forfeit your workout goals, I am saying watch what you prioritize. I am not saying don't make better food choices, I am saying if you're bound by a diet for perfection and the 6-pack, check your heart.

The silent secret place and the seasons drawn for abiding in rest, is not for the weak.

Most of us are wrapped up in the fear of missing out, fear of being forgotten or believing lies about weak vessels being kept away from serving.

God had to get me in to a place of rest where I could rest confidently in my identity in Him. And it has propelled a new level of self-discovery while peeling the layers of myself to find Him even more at my core.

Why are so we afraid of not being used rather than being more concerned with being more effective?

Why are we afraid of missing out or being left out?

Why do we desire to be SEEN more than letting Him be seen even it is without us?

We've got it twisted.

The hiding place and the strip club (stripping of titles, labels and platforms), is where I finally learned how my heart can beat for Jesus without having to be exhausted. And I have really loved being able to slip in and out of service without being recognized.

And have loved watchingYOU rise up in places I once occupied.

What is absolutely encouraging is realizing that disobedience not only would have easily robbed me of what God wanted me to discover but it would have occupied a place meant for someone else to rise up and be stretched in Him.

There is room for all of us but some places and positions are for seasons and in timing. I am glad I listened. I wouldn't have wanted to miss this place with Him. And there is power in sometimes passing the torch on to ignite a new flame in the next person.

It is a beautiful thing I wish you won't miss out on with Him.



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