This past month, I have been reading through the book of Jeremiah. It’s a somewhat depressing interesting book that chronicles the people of Israel, who had rebelled against God, and Jeremiah’s role to speak truth to them even when it was unpopular.
As I read, I am struck by how often he was one man, standing alone, in a sea of other prophets who were telling the people everything was fine, they were all good with God. Jeremiah was the only one who spoke truth to the people. Hard truth. Honest truth. Even if they didn’t like it. Even if HE didn’t like it. He was obedient to God.
I imagine Jeremiah must have felt very vulnerable at times. Maybe too honest.
Although I cannot imagine what this was like exactly for Jeremiah (no one has threatened my life or wellbeing over something I’ve said), I can understand the vulnerability he must have felt.
Being a writer and a blogger is amazing. It can bring community and honesty, healing and renewal. But there is also a side of being a writer that is scary; putting yourself and your story out there for others to read and know is sometimes daunting.
I worry what others may think of me.
Just last month, I helped develop a 30-day devotional for a local conference that each woman received to take home with her afterwards. I had written two of the devotionals, one speaking very honestly about my past sexual history and mistakes made before marriage. At the time, I knew I was supposed to write it, submit it for the devotional. I felt sure this was what God wanted me to speak of.
And then I attended the conference and a woman made a comment to me about my story, about my somewhat sordid past, and although she may not have meant any harm with her words, suddenly I felt very exposed. Questioning if I had done the right thing by including my story, however honest it was.
But as I have continued to read the book of Jeremiah, I continue to see that sometimes God asks us to be honest, even when it’s difficult or somewhat exposing, to bring others to himself. I have seen how God uses the hard things, the challenging, even the things we think are mistakes, to bring us closer to himself and so that we can relate better to those around us. To the people who may be struggling with some of the same things we once struggled to overcome, who may need to know that they are not alone.
I may not be quite as bold as Jeremiah, but I am trying. I may not face the adversity he did in his honesty — not by a long shot — but I want to be true to the honest words that God asks me to write. Believing and trusting him to carry them and me on this writing adventure.
“O Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I can’t speak for you! I’m too young!”
The Lord replied, “Don’t say, ‘I’m too young,’ for you must go wherever I send you and say whatever I tell you. And don’t be afraid of the people, for I will be with you and will protect you. I, the Lord, have spoken!” Then the Lord reached out and touched my mouth and said,“Look, I have put my words in your mouth!” Jeremiah 1:6-9
Kendra Roehl is a wife and mother of three (soon to be four) with a masters degree in Social Work. She is also an author, blogger, foster and adoptive parent. She lives in St. Cloud Minnesota where she enjoys throwing parties and writing about the everyday life. You can read more of her thoughts at theruthexperience.blogspot.com and follow her on Facebook and twitter