Risking It All

Two years ago, the founder of this blog, Chara, challenged a bunch of us gals to think and pray over a word for our year. She read about #oneword365 and wanted to set the tone for an entire year by settling upon just that, one word.

The first year I participated, my word was “Yes.” In uncanny ways, “Yes” popped up in my life persistently. God shaped 2016 for me with that word. When I began to pray over 2017‘s word, I didn’t entirely like the word that I kept visualizing in my head. In fact, I almost avoided selecting a word for the year, purely because the one word that I couldn’t shake from my thoughts was “Risk”. Seriously? What in the world? Sometimes God calls us to BIG things, or changes—that is exactly why the word “Risk” terrified me so.

One Word Hope Sarah DohmanHowever, God surprised me with my 2017’s word “Risk”. I wasn’t asked to move somewhere new, or start a different job. I spent a large portion of the year on the edge of my toes, waiting for something drastic to take place. But God, in His infinitely better ways, used this word risk to teach me about trusting Him and loving His people.

Jennie Allen, in Nothing to Prove, writes about obedient risk. “Obedient risk will simply be us leaning into His abundance, leaning into His love, simply believing that He will work, believing that He could take any situation and any boring day and cause life change to happen in it.” Leaning into His abundance requires trust, just like in Psalm 62:8, “Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us.When I trust God with my life, I can lay it down in submission, knowing that His plans far outweigh my own. Every day is an opportunity to trust Him more and find refuge in Him, and in His refuge, I can and will find rest. Resting in God’s love, knowing He’s working in every intricate detail of my life, facilitating every moment, takes away any hesitation for me to obediently risk.

Sarah Dohman One WordAs I learn to trust in Him more, I am ready and willing to love and serve His people more. Loving others is a risk- there is no guarantee that it will be reciprocated. Ann Voskamp’s book, The Broken Way, shares, “Relationships are the realest reality- and the realest risk … and the worthiest risk. Because in sacrificing ourselves, we are guaranteed to discover the depths of our best and realest selves. Because when you self-sacrifice, you are guaranteed to find your better self.” 2017 taught me that investing my time, my energy, in God’s people, is never a waste. It is divinely appointed. God asks us to risk vulnerability in order to love and serve His people with an open heart.

As 2018 begins, I am anticipating the newness of the year, and my One Word 365, Hope. Friends, what is your one word for 2018?


sarah-dohman-squareSarah Dohman is a nurse, kayak enthusiast, coffee addict, microbrew lover, globe trotter, adorer of friends and family. She has a weakness for donuts, runs in 5k races, and cannot get enough tea and books. She loves writing more than talking (and she talks a lot), can be seen at Target frequently, and is loving life in her thirties. She believes God has called her to this space to bring joy and encouragement through words to friends and family, near and far. You can find more from Sarah at her blog or on Instagram.
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2 Things I had to Face While Reading Jennie Allen’s Newest Book

I am always ready for a new Jennie Allen book. The lady can preach, teach, and lead, and has no problem bringing truth the world needs to hear. She points people at Jesus and she invites the masses to join her in the great adventure: living in the light of God. I was thrilled to be able to join the launch team for Nothing to Prove and was looking forward to diving in, but in doing so I was forced to face motivations, sin, and hurt that had been hibernating.

jennieallen-nothing-to-proveHere is the thing about hibernating sin: it is still hindering us from the freedom God offers even when it’s quiet, and this is why He is willing to shine light on it if we will come to Him humbly. When I begin a new non-fiction book I ask God three things:

  1. Please, teach me.
  2. Give me discernment. Show me how to separate biblical wisdom from worldly philosophy.
  3. Help me to be humble, willing to confront things within me that are not from you.

Well, He did all those things, and here is just a piece of what I learned.

I Love To Numb Out

When I am surfing on unseen WiFi waves, I am also often hiding. When my kids get too loud, phone up. When I don’t feel like talking to my husband about that thing I need to address or apologize for, play next episode. When the plight of our country is begging for prayer, scroll level: Master. But as Allen said, “The danger for us is not that we would enjoy the cheap wine on earth, but that we would grow addicted to it….If I didn’t believe the lie that these shallow empty pursuits would satisfy me, I guarantee you I wouldn’t keep exchanging mirages for Jesus” (90).

So yes, a good show with deep story is not bad in and of itself, but if it is a form of self-medication or becomes an addiction — If it steals rather than gives, it must be eliminated. I would rather be alive than numb, and I am willing to fight for that. Because, yes, “I want to see Jesus in my everyday life, not just when I arrive in heaven. I want to love Him more than I want to appear religious. I want to love people enough to lead them to the One who can heal them. I want to be healed myself. I want to initiate for the good of those around me rather than pad my existence with comfort and ease” (155).

I Was Trying to Prove Something

People pleasing is not typically my modus operandi, I have my own issues that hold me back, but this isn’t a predominant one. To the marrow of my bones I know that God is enough (if you question this truth, this book is for you). I have learned this because I’ve blown it big time. The dark night of the soul and I are well acquainted. But God, oh yes, but God came to my rescue.

“Guess what the person being rescued has to do? Trust the rescuer and cooperate with the process. You and I don’t need to be the hero to save the world we just get to be part of the story of the greatest hero of all time. Which is good news, because being hero is a lot of pressure and a lot of dadgum work.” (135)

nothing-to-prove-jennie-allenAs I read, asked the questions, and meditated on the scriptures Allen encourages the reader to engage with, I found within me something I was trying to prove. It stung. Two sentences, each only four words, echoed within me, “Look at me now. You couldn’t stop me.” They were not directed at the masses or even friends, but at those who have hurt me most. Those who have forsaken me, and received my weightiest forgiveness. Here directed toward individuals was a deep, hidden, and pride-filled whisper many would excuse and mark  as understandable. While most motivators in my life may be submitted to the Lord, it was clear this one was not. I checked to make sure I had truly forgiven, got down on my knees, put my face to the floor and confessed the pride with sorrow. Then I sought God for the strength to go about doing the work of crucifying this nasty, internal, self-focused, provocation. I am His, which means I don’t have to settle for anything less than freedom.

There is so much more I could tell you about this book, but seriously, why read my words about it when you could read it for yourself? It will convict you, encourage you, and be a tool for God to use so that you can be freed by the great love He has for you. Read it. Be taught and reminded that He is enough. You can cease striving. When you are His, you have nothing to prove.


Readers, One final quote, because it is just SO good. “And then I did it, the most freeing brilliantly foolish thing in my life: I led with everything I had been hiding” (102). What would you do if nothing was holding you back? Would you forgive that person and leave that situation that replays in your mind over and over in the past and be free. Would you make that phone call? Fill out that application? Volunteer for that organization? Write that book (psst…this one is mine)? What would you do? Tell us in the comments, and come back and tell us about your experience with Nothing to Prove. We would love to hear it. You can also join in with other women for the Nothing to Prove Book Club hosted by Jennie Allen.

DON’T MISS OUR NOTHING TO PROVE GIVEAWAY OVER ON INSTAGRAM! SEE POST FROM 1/31/2017 (ENDS 2/6/2017).

chara-donahue-head-shotChara Donahue can often be found with her nose in a book and coffee in hand. She enjoys freelance writing, Biblical counseling, and speaking to women when her four kids are out playing with dad. She holds a MSEd from Corban University and is passionate about seeing people set free through God’s truths. She is a regular contributor at Portland Moms Blog and her words have appeared at (in)courage, Patheos, and The Huffington Post. She longs to be a voice that says, “Hey we are in this together, and there is room for us all.” You can find more from Chara at One Anchored Voice, on Facebook, and on Twitter.