Lightening the Load {FMF: Hide}

I laid approval on the altar.

Literally. We were prompted to lay down one thing that would keep us from being who God intends us to be. The thing that we struggle with – the thing we hide behind. And in that 60 seconds of decision time, I wrestled with God. “What is it, Lord? What do you need me to release?”

I’m a word girl, so I wrote a sentence on the corner of my notes: I don’t want to use my gifts for man’s approval, only God’s glory. But because I’m also such a detail oriented, Type A girl I realized I’d have to tear off too big a section of my notes to surrender that sentence. Seriously – this was the thought process, people.

So I had to narrow it down. Or He did. Approval.

God whispered that word to my heart and said, “It’s time.” And it was, and it is – because I’ve sought it from people, whose it wasn’t to give and I’ve sought it from God Who already gave it. I’ve pursued approval as permission to proceed. As if I needed to be vetted by people in order to validate my calling, when I’ve been vetted by Christ.

So I sat in that chair and I stared at the word and I could breathe. And worship. And lay myself down. I met God at the intersection of grace and answered prayer and it was beautiful and utterly uncomplicated.

Matthew 11-28

In this place, in this moment, I could lay down this one thing and all the baggage that went along with it. The back story and the tale that was spun on my behalf. The wondering over what was said or what they think. The confusion and chaos mingled with all the hows and whys. I could untangle my hands from the old habits, the former structure, and the need to understand.

Finally, I could breathe. This was no simple taken-for-granted inhale. This was a starved for air, craving the capacity, winded from the uphill battle, seeking freedom and finally finding it, soul healing release of breath I’ve been holding for what feels like forever. Finally, I could breathe.

And pray … “You take it, Lord. You keep it. I don’t want this back. I’m going to try to wrestle You for it, but if You hold tight, I’ll hold fast. I won’t be perfect, but that’s no surprise to You. And when (not if) I fail, I wont fall – I’ll grow. And learn. And pieces of me will start to look more like pieces of You and I don’t think I could ever ask for more than that.”

I tore off that tiny strip of paper, with the word that weighed a thousand pounds, and watched as it was carried to the altar along with everything it represented. Wound around that tiny scrap was a piece of my past and a chunk of my heart. It was laid down, with a willing and surrendered spirit, to the only One capable of lightening the load.

No more hiding. Finally, I can breathe.

This post is part of the Five Minute Friday link-up. This incredible community of writers participate in a weekly five-minute-free-write. It is purposed to be unedited – but my Type A personality binds me to a quick refinement and spell check. Most importantly it’s an opportunity to pour our hearts on the page over one pre-selected word prompt. This weeks word is: hide. To learn more about this free write challenge, visit our lovely hostess Kate Motaung, or come check us out at the Thursday night twitter party at #fmfparty.

Featured Photo Credit (graphic designed by Tiffany Parry)

18 thoughts on “Lightening the Load {FMF: Hide}

  1. Tiffany, this is awesome. I especially liked your prayer. You acknowledge that you’re going to try and wrest this out of God’s grip, but you also acknowledge that He is bigger. Big enough to handle the wrestling and big enough to keep what you gave to Him. I want to sit down and think about what I need to give up now!

    1. I know my pension to pick things back up, Marie, and I wanted to be honest with the Lord. And He is keeping me accountable with gentle, gracious reminders! That the cost of picking this back up is too high, that He no longer wants me to carry it. I’m so glad we serve a big and mighty God. Thanks so much for stopping by, friend…you blessed me. :)

  2. I remember doing a similar thing some years ago. I had gone to a weekend away and through that weekend God kept speaking to me about laying something down and no longer letting that thing have such a hold on me. It was difficult yet so freeing once I had done it and I’m so thankful for the freedom He brings when we stop hiding and we lay it down! Thank you for these words of encouragement!

    1. I’m such a visual learner, Rachel. I think going through the practical and tangible step of laying “approval” down made all the difference for me. Maybe it was His last stitch effort to finally get me to unclench my fists on this one…lol!! You are right…difficult but freeing. Thanks for visiting me today. Blessings to you!

  3. Beautiful post, Tiffany. It so resonated with my own heart. I’ve struggled with my need for approval, or significance according to others, most of my life. I love the visual of leaving that desire for approval on the altar.

    And you’re right . . . when I give up that heavy piece of my heart into the Lord’s care? I am free to breathe deep. Breathe is my one word for this year. You just gave me added food for contemplation. Thanks, friend.

    1. It’s something I’ve struggled with too, Jeanne and now that I’ve laid it down I have to be intentional about not picking it back up. But I’ve already seen the Lord move in His gracious reminders that keep me accountable. He has proven that I don’t do this alone…that He goes before me. Always so glad when you stop by, friend. Your encouragement blesses me. xo

  4. Beautiful post, Tiffany! I still seek approval quite often. :) I’m learning. Like when I wrote a blog post the other day and thought to myself, “I wonder if anybody will like it?” And then I smiled as I spoke with my Daddy (God) about it. I laughed and said, “Well, YOU like it, don’t you.” Not a question–a statement. It’s nice to know that He is pleased and that’s all that really matters. Thanks for sharing! Happy Friday! :)

    1. Amen, Tasha! I’ve asked and wondered that same thing. It’s especially hard to not seek approval when we are putting ourselves out there through our words. But ultimately we have an audience of One and when we are speaking for His glory, He loves it…and us! And He’s so awesome He usually blesses us with the audience above and beyond too. :) Thanks for visiting today…Happy Friday back at you! :)

  5. Love it! I applied the same concept and came up with the word “control.” I think holding tightly onto all decisions, processes, and outcomes keeps me leaning into my own will instead of trusting God has everything. It’s easier to let go when I feel more secure. I need to work on keeping it consistent, opening my hands at all times. Thanks for sharing!

    1. That’s a big word too, Stacy. You’re so right…anything we hold so tightly keeps us relying on ourselves rather than God. Surrender is never easy, but knowing we give it up to a God who is able AND willing to “control” it all, makes all the difference. So glad you visited friend…been thinking of you and glad to see you here. Hugs!

  6. Isn’t it so amazing how we feel when we give up something we need to to God? It is indeed a breathe of fresh air as we give up whatever is causing our breathe to tighten. Sounds to me like it was very freeing for you.

    1. It is amazing, Tara – this particular one was a long time coming – part and parcel of a long journey. Freedom in Him is so incredible. So glad you stopped by today. Blessings to you.

  7. This is absolutely beautiful, Tiffany. And that’s a hard one to let go of, isn’t it? You echo myself in that approval has been used as a means to proceed. It’s so liberating when we realize we are already pre-approved as Jennifer Dukes Lee points out so often and so well. I’m so glad you had this moment and I know God is going to continue to do great works in and through you for your obedience and surrender. Love you! <3

    1. Amen, Meredith – I thought of Jennifer’s “pre-approved” words a lot as I wrote this. It is liberating indeed and I’m being defiant in His name and purposing to not pick this one back up. Love you back, friend.

      1. I was going to ask if you’ve read “Love Idol” by Jennifer. :) It’s been a life-changing message for me. I relate to your words here and am encouraged to continue seeking God and not approval from others. Thank you for that. xoxo

        1. I’m so glad you were encouraged, Kristin. I’ve loved Jennifer’s words too and while I’ve been “aware” of the struggle I didn’t truly realize how much it was impacting me until the Lord hit me over the head with it…lol. But once He did, I wanted to give it up and perhaps that’s the place the Lord wanted me…to willingly surrender what He knew needed to be gone. He rocks!! :) Thanks for visiting me today, friend.

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