Well, it’s been almost a year since the release of my first book “Until It Hurts.” *Insert “I still can’t believe that happened” face!* I still love hearing people tell me how the book put things into perspective or gave them a different way to look at really common topics. I’m forever grateful that the words on those pages were helpful to just one person, even if writing and releasing a book was the single most anxiety-inducing thing I’ve ever done in life.
For those of you that don’t know the back story, “Until It Hurts” was actually the product of a Lent devotional I wrote in 2016. I was honestly trying to understand exactly what God wanted from me. I was giving more and more of my time, but it still didn’t “feel” like enough. And notice how I said more of my time and not more of my heart, but that’s an entirely different story. So, in true dramatic Melinda style with God (theatrics is my love language with God, He totally understands), I asked “how much more do you want me to give?!” Because I was clearly in the position to demand answers from Him (plot twist: I was not in that position).
Through all of my groaning and what I can only imagine to be a very unpleasant attitude, God answered me in the clearest (not dramatic) voice: “Until it hurts.” He wanted me to give of myself until it hurt. First of all, I wasn’t sure what that meant. Second of all, WHAT?!?! (I said our love language was theatrics, y’all)
Now, this is not exactly the warm and fuzzy answer I was expecting while practicing my best three-year-old tantrum in prayer. I was personally leaning more towards something like “you are enough” or “there’s nothing more you need to do for my love”; preferably in the voice of James Earl Jones, but I wasn’t being picky about that part.
Why was I expecting God to take it easy on me? Simple answer: everyone else lets me make it. Regardless of how wrong or how right I had been most of my life, generally people let me make it. If I smiled long enough or merely waited out the uncomfortableness of certain situations, I would be in the clear. Then God came and threw a wrench in my plan (and my image actually) by showing me all the parts of me that had nothing to do with Him. It wasn’t pretty y’all. I mean it was the hottest of messes. And I’ve been a hot mess before (and after), but this was tragic.
While I was still sitting on the floor trying to figure out how I got to this place, God rushed an overwhelming feeling of love over me like I had never felt before. Now, I was still a little salty because He had just read my soul for filth (this is the first time I’ve meant that phrase literally), but He was letting me know that even in my worst state that’s when He loved me most. And if He could love me at my absolute worst (to date), then I could for sure give to Him “until it hurts.”
So, why did I just tell you a page-long story of God dragging me through writing my first devotion? Because what better way to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the book release than by going through the entire anxiety-provoking process all over again (that was sarcasm)!!! That’s correct, clearly God wasn’t done and Lent didn’t skip a year, so another 40 plus days of seeking and understanding is happening!
I’ve said before that I have focused more on looking the part than being the part for many years. That’s code for, I can be extremely performance and results driven if I don’t actively catch myself. And I know for many of us that has been the case for as long as we can remember. We complete the life checklist, but we’re still trying to figure out exactly what we’re doing with life.
This left me with a few of questions I’ve been pondering with God for a while now: What would happen if I…just lived? So what if I…stopped performing and started living? What if I took God at His word…and ran with it?
I’m looking forward to seeing what those answers are for myself and I hope you join me in seeing what those answers are for you as well!