Tuesday, December 14, 2010


I have longed for many things in my life, and each of them has threatened to consume me. 

I am the kind of person whose enthusiasm is infectious.  I get excited about something, and I make sure everyone around me knows about it.  I stir things up - people, hearts.  Or, at least, I used to.

In my younger years I was all over the map in this respect.  A starter - that's a good way to describe me.  I'd see a need, feel passionately that it needed to be met, and whip myself and others into a frenzy to get something done.  Examples abound:
  • I started a dance program at my private high school (a place that supposedly emphasized a classical education but had no space for dance - gasp);
  • I started a community service program at said high school (again, this is an Episcopal school focused on liberal education for well-to-do kids with no focus on giving back...nope, this was unacceptable to me so I did something about it);
  • I helped found the first-ever Protestant student group at a Jesuit university in Mexico City (all Christian campus organizations up to that point were Catholic only);
  • as a college student I lobbied Congress on behalf of student Pell Grant funding and found myself at the head of a procession of thousands of students nationwide (literally thousands). 
I could go on.  If I felt a rent in the fabric of how things should be, I simply had to do something about it.  (Who was I to know how things should be?  Excellent question, but one that doesn't precisely pertain to this day's rants.) 

I do NOT share these things to toot my own horn.  On the contrary, I don't look back and think "wow, I'm pretty awesome."  Instead, I look back and constantly struggle that I did not, have not, do not do enough.  I only start things, you see - I rarely finish them.

For many years I was fueled by emotion.  If I felt something, I acted on it.  Until a very wise, dear friend challenged me with this: "Jenny, I think you've made feelings an idol in your life.  You need to repent."

My response?  Unabashed, intense anger.  Furor, actually.  I wanted to cuss this sweet fifty-something-year-old woman up, down and sideways.  That's when I thought: "hmm, maybe she has a point."  I got on my knees.

Not knowing what I was doing, I simply confessed to God that I often served my feelings rather than Him, looking to them to guide me, to tell me what was right or wrong, to show me how to act.  I remember the night like it was yesterday.  My body trembled as the anger that someone could dare tell me I feel too much coursed through my body.  I could barely get it under control enough to steady my breathing.

That night changed my life.  It was the beginning of a process of turning things upside down.  Things that had once been paramount, occupying a pinacle-space, would now become subjugated to my true Head, the all-knowing, all-wise, trustworthy King of kings.  I was a practicing Christian before this point - this was not a salvation moment.  This was a repentance moment.  This was one in a long series of choices I have made and will make as a Christian: Jesus first; me last.

Today I operate much differently.  Instead of flying off the handle the minute I feel passionately about something, I simply acknowledge my feelings, validate them, and take note.  I let them sit there and simmer.  By so doing I learn if something - some One - more concrete than emotions is behind my passion, if there's really something to build on.  Once I've simmered for a good, long while only then do I begin to ponder a course of action. 

I must say I like this way of living much more.  It's less exhausting and more fulfilling.

I'm writing about this today (perhaps it is obvious) because I'm in a process of simmering.  I have felt the Holy Spirit tug me in the direction of a manuscript that, quite frankly, frightens me.  It will require a lot of me to write.  I will need skills that I feel incredibly weak in.  In short, I will have to wholeheartedly rely on Him to get me through.  The simmering phase is over.  It's time to start writing.  I will begin Thursday.  Lord Jesus, have mercy.

I'm linking up with Soli Deo Gloria today.  Check it out!


  1. This is so good -- what reflection and what excitement to come. Even if it's scary and you are hesitant, to know that God is calling you makes it special and just...good.

  2. this is exciting news that was birthed from your simmering! I agree with Jen. It is engaging when you know it is God calling you and not just feelings!!:)

  3. What a beautiful idea...simmering. I love it. I often have great ideas and don't start them because of fear...or I start something and don't finish. I am going to practice simmering.

    What excitement awaits you as this idea simmers!

  4. I am a starter too. Oh, yes, an idea girl.By the time I actually plan out the steps (or take the steps) to make my idea happen, I become bored. Sigh. I get it.

    Exciting about the manuscript you are feeling called to write. Can't wait to hear more about it.

  5. Wow, this is soooooo good. I have this SAME thing going on with me but you put it into words sooooooo well. The only thing now is as I use to be fueled by feelings it seemed I really got things done, now, it seems I'm like a passionate scardy cat. All brissled up in the corner with it not going anywhere! I've learned though that this is just where satan wants me to be and have been working on this in me, I am trying to step out and USE that passion He fires upin me! Love that you are being called out to write, I will read it! Great post!