I have a confession to make. This article began from a place of pride and pain. Feelings of insignificance, hurt, and loneliness fueled the first two drafts. I even thought it was complete, tied up in a “pretty” bow of words that claimed a moral to the story.
It was for the overlooked woman. The lonely woman. The forgotten woman. (Total honesty, I think I was just in a bad mood.)
Just hold your head up high, friend. Press on in the strength you’ve developed. Remember your worth, I said. But I knew my heart was in a bad place when I hit the “submit” button. Even now, I’m internally shaking my head at myself in disappointment for my lack of self-control. A 10-minute drive home from the library where I was working was all it took to get the clarity I needed to withdraw the submission and wait.
Wait for what?
For my emotions to simmer on down a notch. For my logic to take the reins back from my spewing heart. For my agreeable, easy-going nature to return.
But really, more than anything, I knew I needed to wait to hear from God.
You see, the last draft was all about living life on the outskirts. It was about feeling left out and confusion as to why. It was about feeling like you just can’t find your #tribe, even though you so desperately want one. It was about rejection. It was about feeling like you’re living in someone else’s shadow and the frustration you feel because you just want your moment to shine.
I said, and I quote (not proudly), “And maybe, just maybe, you’re a little sick of living in the shadow.”
Guess what happened next?
I drove to church, and there I was singing about God and His glory… Singing words that say I care more about His name and fame than anything else, and yet it was as if my heart had its arms folded across its chest in rebellion.
Because I want to be recognized. I want to be loved and adored. I want to be preferred. I want recognition.
I was singing words that say I care more about His name and fame than anything else, and yet it was as if my heart had its arms folded across its chest in rebellion.
I was mindlessly reading the words on the screen when all of a sudden the last line of the song jumped out at me in all its magnificent irony.
We will sing, of Jesus our Redeemer,
By His wounds forever we are healed,
We believe the cross will stand forever,
In its shadow we find victory.
“Holy cow,” I almost said aloud. Only God can plan it so that I’d sing about living in His shadow… the very title of the obnoxious article I had written earlier that day.
It’s laughable, right?
But it doesn’t end there. The next morning, which happens to be the day I am re-writing this article, I started my new Bible study. Guess what it’s about?
How God is the greatest Author of all time. How He is the author of life and faith. How He is the author of the Bible—the greatest true story of all time, and how the end of the story was planned even before the beginning began.
for I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is none like me,
Declaring the end from the beginning
And from ancient times things not yet done,
Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand,
And I will accomplish all my purpose,’
The writer of the study, Courtney Doctor, wrote, “Only the Author of the story knows where the story is headed before He starts writing! It is the will and intent of the author that carries a story from beginning to end.” And she continues to say that this is true for the grand narrative of the Bible, but that it is also true of our individual lives. “God knows what He is doing before He ever begins,” she says.
This tells me that He has a plan, and He is mindful in His work. After all, it all points to Him! I am not overlooked and forgotten, but rather thought of and included. The Creator of the most perfect story chose to write me in, at this very time, in this very place, surrounded by these very people. He gave me the part in which He knew I would shine, because that light is a reflection of His handiwork—a direct reflection of Him.
Then she asked how this truth changes our present struggles.
Welp, let me tell you, Courtney, it pretty much changed my entire article. Thank you.
But seriously, this is how I answered her knowing question:
I’m not unseen or forgettable. I’m not floundering without purpose; I’m exactly where He planned for a purpose—His purpose. And His purposes never fail. They stand strong and always prevail. He knows what He’s doing, even when I don’t. He’s the one who started my life, carries my life, and will finish it. And He gives my life meaning. He is the meaning of my life. To know Him, to enjoy Him, and to share Him with others. It’s really quite simple. Grand, but simple.
So, if you’re feeling alone, overlooked, or rejected, I have something to say to you.
There is One who has noticed you, called you by name, and chosen you to be a part of His family. He’s written you into His story, the greatest story that has ever been and ever will be. And it’s within His story that you will find fulfillment and purpose. This story will tell you that He has set His favor upon you, sees great potential in you, that He has taken a special interest in you, and has a vision for your life.
It is a very good thing to live within His shadow.
The Creator of the most perfect story chose to write me in, at this very time, in this very place, surrounded by these very people. He gave me the part in which He knew I would shine
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