H bends over in the parking lot as we leave Dillard’s and picks up the brand new dollar bill lying on the pavement. We’re the only people standing there, so we keep it, even though it feels awkward. And right when he holds it up between his thumb and index finger, I remember the dream I had the night before. I collect money laying around in a crowded room full of people who never saw it for themselves.
It’s one of several dreams I’ve had this week. Each dream is the preface for a story that unfolds later in the day or week. I notice it because I took some intentional time to be quiet and listen, journaling what He whispers in the stillness. My notes become a sacred echo that prayer isn’t a one-sided conversation.
I’m desperate to hear Him because the room in my head, it’s over-crowded with thoughts vociferous with guilt that sound like, “you aren’t measuring up.” A sign that in listening to the voices of others, I’ve become deaf to His.
I wear guilt like pulling a tired coat from a tall armoire, the family name engraved in the wood above the mirror. A nice tweed for guilt about parenting; not doing enough, engaging enough, disciplining enough, or being fun enough. A hounds tooth fitted for marriage guilt accusing me of not being sexy enough, thoughtful enough, or supportive enough.
And there is the all-weather trench for not serving my community enough, volunteering at church and school enough, cultivating friendships enough, and keeping things tidy enough. I have one of those in every color. I can’t fit another hanger on the rod it’s so crowded.
Wearing a coat in the scorching heat of a July sun becomes a heavy nuisance. So hot, I can’t wait to shed it, even if it means being exposed.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9
That moment of freedom from the voices that hold me captive, sweating inside that coat with GUILT sewn into the collar, is better than a thousand moments elsewhere.
I’ve stood in the center of the merry-go-round wearing the salmon trench with the big buttons while guilt pushed me around so fast I couldn’t hear the truth anymore.
Have you taken a ride on this merry-go-round too? When the truth is a faint whisper, barely audible amidst accusing voices. It’s time to step off and sit in silence free from guilt’s dizzying trance.
H pulls the dollar bill out of his pocket to buy me a bottle of water. I’m feeling dehydrated in Costco. He says, “You know this water is a gift, we’re not paying for it.” I smile in the remembrance of freedom that comes in hearing Him. And I can almost see Jesus smiling back at me. He’s holding my coat. He’ll hold yours too.
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 2 Corinthians 3:17
Counting the Multitudes on Monday with Ann:
For wise words from a blogging friend that starts the road to freedom this week.
A dream that gives guidance and an answer to prayer.
A July 4th holiday full of good memories with my family.
An email from a new friend that gives writing encouragement just when doubt peeks in the room.
A finished mulching job in the scorching heat and the way my flowers look so beautiful.
The neighbor lady that walks her dog by my house and says how much they miss Winston, on the day I’m missing him too.
Linking with Playdates with God, Hear it on Sunday, Use it on Monday, Just Write, Soli Deo Gloria
Beautiful reminder, Shelly. Might you hear the best voice today amidst the clamoring others. 🙂
Lyla, what a treat to see you here. I’ve missed you. Thanks, I definitley want His voice to be the loudest of them all.
Yes, Shelly, in Christ we are enough! Thanks for that lingering, but transformative thought!
Thanks for visiting Beth.
“In listening to the voices of others, I’ve become deaf to His.” Oh, how true this is for me. It has defined my mothering at times, my writing at times, my walk with Him. So true. And btw, vociferous is my seven year olds favorite word. He would be so pleased to know that it is being used:)
So cute that vociferous is your son’s favorite word. I’m not even sure if mine knows that one. Sounds like you are starting to homeschool, or maybe you have been all along and I missed that. Anyway, hope he has a good day at camp today.
And no matter how many times I hear the gospel, and even preach it to myself, I continue to fall into that trap of thinking I’m not enough–I must do more.
Somehow, that dollar bill and the free gift of water just fit perfectly here.
(And you? You have writing doubt? Your words are such a gift, Shelly. A beautiful gift!
I know, me too Nancy. I guess I need repitition and lots of it. Thanks for your encouragement and it is such joy to see you here in the comments this morning. I’ve missed you.
Unfortunately, it sounds as though we share the same wardrobe…Let’s cast off guilt together friend.
I’m taking mine to the dump, we’ll do a haul together. Shall we?
I’m with Lyla, Shelly! May you hear the BEST Voice over and above the clamoring ‘others’. May we ALL, who love the Saviour, hear HIS voice above and beyond those here who may want to pull us down to ‘lower than’. I struggle too with those voices that feign support, while seeking to drag me elsewhere. Guilt for doing this…guilt for NOT doing that. Shelly…you are more than enough just the way you are. I don’t even know you…yet I love you. What you do for others…what you do for me…everyday in your wondrous words and photographs…YOU ARE A GIFT to the soul of others. He has anointed you for this. Your’s is the first post I go to every morning. You lift my eyes and my heart to the One. Bless your heart!
Oh my, your words have really touched my heart Jillie. I feel the same way about you, so thankful for the gift of you. And isn’t it amazing the way God brings us together like this? I’m working on mental messages that have been on repeat, though not true, for as long as I can remember. Thankful for freedom that come in new ones from Him. I really appreciate your kind words, they feel like they’ve come right from His heart.
Oh, that guilt. It creeps in before we even realize it! I know that feeling of not doing or being enough. Yet, I’ve also claimed that scripture and it’s amazing what happens under His grace!
It’s terrible and I have to say I am so thankful for a husband who doesn’t wear this kind of guilt – at all. He has taught me more about walking in freedom than anyone else and loves me through every lesson.
Thank you for this beautiful reminder, Shelly!
Thanks for visiting Jenni, appreciate you.
Shelly…i have been choked by those same clothes myself…I lived in the land of not enough…and what I found out for me…when i held myself under this unattainable goal…standard…God showed me I also held Him and others there too…love others as you love yourself…I had long threads of lies and self-hatred that clouded my vision for years. And yes..when He comes and heals with His love…there is freedom indeed. May you continue to listen to His voice of Love for you…not for what you do…or accomplish for Him…but because He loves you as His daughter…just that…His daughter. blessings and ((hugs)) to you…
Yes, its true that standard of perfectionism creeps into all the crevices of relationship too. Thankful that He showed me that early on in raising my kids and it still creeps up now and then. Feeling your hugs – thank you.
2 Corinthians 12:9 is my verse to go along with my One Word this year. When we remember He is sufficient then we are enough. Beautiful reminder.
Yes, He is enough and that’s all we need to know isn’t it? Thanks for visiting Amy.
This is lovely and true and I relate to it. Love the free water. Love the way you see God. Thanks!
Love visiting with you Heather, thanks for being here and encouraging.
You wrote this for me, didn’t you, friend. Well, I’m going to believe that anyway and say thank you. Thank you.
Aww, so glad it resonated. You and I may be cut from the same cloth. It’s nice knowing we are sharing the journey. Love you friend.
“you aren’t measuring up.” A sign that in listening to the voices of others, I’ve become deaf to His.
What a reminder for me today. I need to listen for the still, small voice. Thanks for the encouragement.
Oh, I’ve worn those coats. In the midst of sweltering heat of self-condemnation. That gift of grace quenches like nothing else. For me, writing these things out has become a way of hearing His voice amidst the clamor of my thoughts and the words of others. Seems like it might be some the same for you my friend. Have a lovely day, Shelly 🙂
Yes, it is that for me too. Hope I didn’t ramble too much.
Beautifully written and illustrated. wow. loved this lesson,
“It’s time to step off and sit in silence free from guilt’s dizzying trance. ” Yes it is! Beautiful post, Shelly!
Appreciate your kindness Eileen and look forward to joining your new link-up.
I too have tried to measure up to other’s expectations. And I’ve tried to measure up to my own and it’s very tiring. I’m reminded of Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest …”
Yes, shed the guilt and live life …abiding in Him!
Blessings and love,
The expectations I put on my myself are far worse than any others might put on me. It’s good to be free, and it takes some work to get there. Thanks Debbie, glad you visited, its nice to see you. Can imagine the heat in Phoenix is turning up about now.
Oh, Shelly! What a beautiful way of taking off coats of guilt. I was wearing some this past few days but they were shades darker……. it was more of FEAR worn like hats.
I thank God that over the din, His voice was the softest yet the most sought after… I needed to tone down and kneel down with my ear close to the ground. It was so loud above…. with all the lies the enemy was blasting in my mind’s ears.
God whispered in heart David’s declaration:
“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
God bless you, Shelly, with all His provisions. His countenance is shining upon you. So Gracious is He.
And Praise be to God for visions and dreams, and for putting them into words which we can partake of. His anointing is so clear to you, He also give you the understanding just like Joseph.
Fear worn like hats, I like the way you express that. And your words, are beautiful as always. You do have a gift with words you know? And with encouragement. 🙂
You are loved, Shelly. Drink long and deep of the truth of God’s Word.
Thanks Ann, I know I am loved. Accepting it is another thing altogether. I’m getting there too, thankfully. Taking a big gulp and savoring it about now.
Wow! Thank you!
” I remember the dream I had the night before. I collect money laying around in a crowded room full of people who never saw it for themselves.”
Isn’t that how it seems–people ‘never saw it for themselves’ They don’t see the power of the resurrected Savior available to all if they would just stoop down.
Our flesh is weak, but His Spirit is strong…I love how your dream did unfold reality…and how we are reminded His Holy Spirit is “a gift we don’t pay for” the living Water flowing within us–completely ours…praying we yield to His voice and His Holy Spirit and take time to be still as you were, to hear Him. Oh I LOVE THIS POST!!! Thank you for encouraging me!
His Words I heard through you and your dream:
I love your interpretation of this, its like you had the end notes to the story that reveal even deeper truth. You said it beautifully. Thank you, I felt God speak through your words.
Your dream left me with shining eyes, Shelly, because it sounds prophetic to me on many levels…and like the Word that talks about blessings coming to us out of the “spoils” of those who will not hear, or the parable of the feast where no one invited would come so the master went out to the street to call in guests… Blessings, anointings, He wants to give you.
And the wondering if we are really good writers…When I was thinking about the Sunday scripture to post yesterday, that was the first thing that came to mind… the word God spoke into my heart last week, and the verse that always speaks to me in Jeremiah. He HAS touched your lips with his anointing, Shelly. And so many people here who are touched by His word through you…
Pam, I had to re-read this several times because I felt your words were anointed by God. They revealed something beyond the obvious. Thank you for being sensitive and courageous enough to share this insight. I am blown away at the way God is using His people to speak words of life and truth through the comments. Really astounded and so thankful for you.
Well… now… I need a kleenex. Because that is always what I pray is happening when I comment. At first, I wasn’t even going to comment on this one, but those words just seemed to be there. Yes, so thankful for the way He speaks through us one to the other, especially when his voice seems still… 🙂 He uses you in that way for me too.
The material of the coats, all the different textures of guilt – oh, you did that beautifully! I had a dream a few weeks ago – of piles of clothes all through my house – and under each pile I lifted up was a birds nest – some with blue robins eggs, some with baby birds – one went scuttling out the front door when I lifted the pile! I love how God talks to me – in these dreams – and how He unfolds them for us to understand.
I am learning to more quickly shed those guilt coats and hand them over to the Father – your painted picture with words will more quickly remind me the next time!!!
You so blessed me today! Thank you!
Well, I’m a bird lover so your dream really speaks to me. Of new life hidden underneath what is seen. Beautiful and I am blessed that you shared this with me.
Just when I think I have freedom from the “voices”, I allow them to creep back in. You are totally enough in every realm! …………..and the shear weight and sweat created by the coat of guilt weighs on us all. It does not exist in the truth of our hearts. We have to allow that truth to override the guilt. Love you and love your expressions so willingly shared!
Me too Paula, about those ugly voices creeping back in. And thank you for believing in me, it makes my heart happy.
Oh, Shelly. You have a way of putting my thoughts into words. The image of the coat resonates. Taking it off feels so good; I have to remember to do it every day. That’s the thing – I can’t just take it off once and forget about it. God wants me to keep handing it over, for as long as it takes. Good to know I’m in good company.
Love that Courtney, the way we have to keep handing it over. Sometimes I feel guilty about the repitition too. Like I should just get it and move on but your right, we have to constantly lay our sin and burdens at His feet, renew our heart every day. Thanks for that.
I have always identified with that woman at the well. The one Jesus talked to, even though she had to make her way to the well when no one else was around because they all thought she wasn’t any good. But Jesus sat there on the side of the well and told her all about herself and quenched her deepest thirst. Living water, he called himself. Free to us. Price already paid. Shelly, I’m with you on this one, wanting to silence all the noise and just hear him. I’ll hold your coat for you…
I love how this story is conjuring up all kinds of things from His word through people here in the comments. The insight you just shared is beautiful. I’m sitting here just basking at His feet, wondering how I got to be here.
ah, grace. So free, so lavished on the undeserving, so needed by us thirsting ones. I love how you notice the details of life and weave them into a garment of praise – light and without restrictions. To know the full freedom Jesus’ grace gives we must first recognize the weighted pain of guilt, I suppose. I know I struggle with this, too, my friend.
Alyssa, that is great insight. To really understand grace we have to first recognize the weight of guilt. I think that is so true.
What a beautiful post full of beautiful imagery. Thank you for your honesty and encouragement. I think the “too much/not enough” feelings are all too common for us ladies. But none of them are true. I love the passage in 2 Corinthians…He is enough for us. So wonderful!
Skylar, my humble thanks for your kind words. I agree with you, guilt seems to come in a small package attached to females at birth. 🙂
Enjoyed looking around on your blog and thrilled to have you join the community here. Thanks so much for leaving a comment, I appreciate it.
girl, this is TRUTH. can i share this at my eating disorders blog? would you let me? if so, could you email the post to me at firstname.lastname@example.org? thank you, friend.
Would absolutely love to, emailing you.
As you’ve been told over and over in these comments, Shelly – we all know those coats. And finding good ways to un-layer ourselves is a gift of God. Thanks for putting beautiful word pictures to this important truth. (And thanks for the thanks, too, friend. Glad something I said was helpful.)
More than something was helpful, it all was. I’ve read our conversation many times since. Your words were anointed. Thank you.
Beautiful, honest truth, Shelly. Amen and Amen.
Oh, Shelly. What a beautiful word picture you’ve painted for us! I’m slipping one of those coats off right this moment.
So glad you’re joining me in shedding the coat. It’s much cooler now and less weighty!
I have to tell you, I got cash back yesterday (at Costco!) to pay for Josiah’s haircut which was cancelled because of the orthodontist running late. Two men came to my mom’s door later that night collecting for a half-way house, and this post came rushing back to my mind. I immediately knew where I was supposed to use the money.
Oh wow Jennifer, that makes me smile. What a lovely story. I loved the photo you put of Josiah on FB in all that theater makeup. Thanks so much for sharing this, it blesses me big.
“You know___________is a gift, were not paying for it.” Wow, I could spend a lifetime filling in that blank. Thank you for the blessings today!
Great way to think about that Jody. Thanks for that. Yes, we could use lots of words to fill in that blank couldn’t we?