As a pastor’s wife, I know each woman, no matter how seasoned in the Lord, can potentially hold shame and doubt and tears. And hiding it under the guise of church attendance isn’t doing us any good.
That is why I created this series: Women in the Word. I want to showcase other women’s stories and how the Word is sustaining them. Or how they walked through a difficult season or what God is currently speaking over her heart.
I believe stories are important.
So lean in and listen close. Today, we will hear from my new friend, Hanna Hickman, as she shares how a perfectionist actually gave up her “act” and started meeting with her living with God.
I have always been an introspective creative type. I keep my thoughts to myself until I feel like they are perfectly crafted enough to share with the world upon which occasion I cringe at what people must think of my expressions and drown myself in criticism.
I grew up in church and have sat under some great and practical Bible teachers. The older I get the more I realize how truly fortunate I have been to have learned from these people during my life. Christian retreat and camp and event after another I learned that it is good to keep a “prayer journal.” There are other fancy names for such a space to write prayers, scriptures, thoughts on scriptures, sermon notes, etc.
For a solid ten years, I would sit down to have my “quiet time” like a good Christian girl and struggle, struggle, struggle – agonizing about what to write in this beloved journal. Day after day, I knew that I was supposed to have a time with God and write things down, but the pressure to write the perfect sentence, learn the perfect lesson, or pen the most beautiful scripture took me to a place of shame. I found myself avoiding time with God because I felt like I was not performing spiritually.
Slowly, I fell away from meeting with God at all. What was the point?
By God’s grace, one day I had a crazy idea. What if I just read the Bible? So, I did. Nothing too fancy, and I didn’t read the whole thing. Just Romans chapter 1.
Romans, a book about being free from the law in Christ and a need to perform. Then the next day and the next, I just read the Bible. A chapter a day. Reading as many times as I had time, just letting God’s word saturate my heart and mind, and following it with prayer that I did not write down. I had wondered if prayers were even real anymore if I didn’t write them down, but my Spirit communing with the very Spirit of God, assured me that they were real and he hears me and meets with me.
I had become so “churchy” and my heart was so much like that of a Pharisee, the very group Jesus often spoke out against. My tendency was to take good things and make them an ugly scale by which I measured my spiritual performance. I had taken wonderful tools intended to aid in my meeting with God and worshipped and longed for them instead of actually meeting with God. My need to feel productive trumped my need to love God.
Today I walk slowly, asking God to mend my thoughts about how to know Him more. Some days I am still a spiritual performer in a very cheap circus, but I’m grateful for God’s intervention and that I can know and walk with Him even if I don’t make an A on the test I wrote for myself.