Things that I didn’t anticipate learning

I do a really great job of thinking that I know what I need..
More than that, I do a really great job of thinking it’s my responsibility to get the things that I need. Needless to say, it is a fairly regular thing for me to ask the Lord for everything that I believe will fix my problems and make me better.

I’m pretty sure that most of you have done this, too.
“If I could be free of insecurity, THEN I could really walk in my calling.”
“If I just didn’t doubt, THEN I would see miracles unfold in my life.”

“..so, God – take my insecurity and doubt so I can be better.”

I feel like this blog will echo the last two (okay, minus the indie one) quite a bit, but I’m okay with that. I’m also going to reference events and people without their knowing, so it might be a little awkward when they read this and realize they’re in it. Oh well, here it goes..

So Sunday night, one of my friends had a worship night and asked Tori and I to do worship. I FELL APART inside. I mean, every lie that I could have possibly come up with on my own and more were crushing me under the weight of believability.
The whole falling apart inside thing isn’t an uncommon thing for me to experience when I try to lead worship, but it caught me off guard that night. I wasn’t expecting discouragement to sweep me up – not like that, not in the safe environment that we were in.

But it did.
“Your songs are dumb. Every time you start singing, you dampen the Holy Spirit swirl and then Tori has to bring it back.”
“You’re on your own. You don’t have support like others do. Get used to fending for yourself.”

Just a glimpse into the avalanche.. Before I knew it, I was thinking things like “If I had friends like this or learned things like that, I wouldn’t hate my worship. I was married or had a support system like this, I wouldn’t think I was on my own anymore.”

But then it hit me, again, just like it has so many times lately. You have a hole inside your heart that only God can fill – circumstances in life don’t immune you from the lies that come to crush you. The only cure is Jesus, and at any time in our life and circumstances we can find ourselves feeling not so whole, underneath an avalanche.

That’s so relieving though… Yeah, we’ve got no external thing to blame how we feel, (not wholly, anyway), but we also can quit waiting. We don’t have to wait for certain things to happen in order to feel better.

 

Also.. two of my guy friends from Ohio were on their way home from a trip and stopped in Winston Tuesday night.
I wish I could put into words all that the Lord did in my heart.

Brene Brown says that there are two primary human needs..
1. To be loved
2. To be seen and known. 

That’s what I am at home by friends that I’ve had for awhile.. known. You can forget that it’s a need when you have to go without it, and then wonder how you ever survived when you find it again.
When I’m not known, I tone myself down, only show certain sides of me, and in a way, temporarily lose certain parts of me. When I am known, I remember who I am… I become more of me because there’s space for that. I know that I won’t be rejected or embarrassed because I’ve already been accepted.

So thank God for friends who remind you of who you are simply by interacting with you. It is a human need to be known, and nothing to be ashamed of.

 

I was reflecting on the “You’re every bit the woman you wish you were” thing. The Lord said “You are the best you when you quit trying to be things that you already are.” With that has got to come “You are the best you when you quit trying to live up to the expectations you assume other people have on you.” 

When I’m known, I quit assuming that people expect me to be things that I’m not.

I feel like I heard good glad merry news having my friends here. “YOU are enough and YOU are accepted and you don’t have to be anything other than what you already are!”
YOU’VE been anointed, YOU’VE been called. You want to change the world? Be who you really are. Change will come effortlessly, things will happen naturally. The world is hungry for people who are true to themselves and aren’t trying to pretend to be anything else. The world is hungry for the knowledge that they are already enough, and have nothing to prove.

One last thing.. I truly believe that learning we’re accepted, REALLY accepted, will only increase our passion for Jesus. I believe that truly encountering the love of God will only make us love him and set us apart even more.
I don’t believe there is such a thing with being ‘too comfortable’ with God. You can think that you know love and acceptance and when you hear it say “Oh yeah man, I know that.” That’s where the apathy comes in..

Brennan Manning says “Imagine that Jesus is calling you today. He extends a second invitation to accept His Father’s love. And maybe you answer, “Oh, I know that. It’s old hat.”

And God answers, ‘No, that’s what you don’t know. You don’t know how much I love you. The moment you think you understand is the moment you do not understand. I am God, not man. You tell others about Me – your words are glib. My words are written in the blood of My only Son. The next time you preach about My love with such obnoxious familiarity, I may come and blow your whole prayer meeting apart.

Did you know that every time you tell Me you love Me, I say thank you?”

 

AND I’m not sure how to end this. Love y’all!

 

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“You might be an indie.” by Tori and Hannah

If 70 percent of your instagram photos have no caption, leaving only the picture to speak 1,000 words, you might be an indie.

If 60 percent of your instagram photos contain coffee, musical instruments, or funky thrift store items, you might be an indie.

If Bon Iver made it to your summer soundtrack, you might be an indie.

If you avoid washing your hair because you believe it is detrimental to your health, you might be an indie.

If your music makes me want to kill myself, you might be an indie.

If you give blank stares and clueless eyes to a room full of folks making pop culture references, you might be an indie.

If  you have never watched an animated movie because you were always busy catching the latest foreign film, you might be an indie.

If that wolf t-shirt you’re wearing would also look acceptable on my uncle Frank, who has a beer gut and rides motorcycles, you might be an indie.

If you have ever been told that your shirt looks similar to one a grandmother owns, you might be an indie.

If you find this blog offensive, you might be an indie.

If you roll your eyes at the word indie, you might be an indie.

If you’re too cool to wear TOMS, you might be an indie.

 

Check out these thrift store clothes I bought.

It’s just hair.

For those of you that don’t know, my mom was a cosmetologist for lots of years before she had my sisters.  That was always the best. Never have I ever paid for a haircut or had to make appointments for homecomings and proms. I can’t fathom spending $80 dollars at a hair salon, because the most I’ve ever spent was the money at Sally’s to buy color for my hair.

Several of my friends growing up always wanted their hair to grow out really fast. They would always tell me things like “Washing your hair with horse shampoo will make it longer faster” or “Taking prenatal vitamins when you’re not pregnant is a great idea when you want long hair.”

What young girl doesn’t want long hair? So I’d go home, excited to tell my mom about my hair growing endeavors. “MOM! Today I heard that (insert random suggestion here) makes your hair grow! Is that true?” 

Almost every time, my mom would respond with “Well, kind of. Not really. It’s just hair. It has to grow.”

The truth is that although prenatal vitamins might accelerate hair growth an ounce or two, pregnancy hormones make your hair grow, not vitamins. Also, horse shampoo might do SOMETHING, but whatever benefits that come with soap for horses also comes really dry, awful feeling hair.

I feel like the Lord has been reminding me of a lot of things that are “just hair” in my life. Matt has brought up quite a bit lately that there is a hole in your heart that only Jesus can fill, and nothing else will satisfy it. Sounds like Christianity 101, but not hardly. Not when you list all of the things that aren’t Jesus..

Friendships, current/future spouses, children, dreams of your heart, revival, new jobs, new songs to sing, new books to right, new profound messages to share with the world..

It has been the most relieving, yet oddly disappointing experience. 

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve said “Well, when this happens, then things will be amazing..”

“When I’m teaching kids how to love themselves for who they are, then things will be amazing..”

“When I can write songs that feel like this and sound like that, then things will be amazing..”

“When I am free from this insecurity and that fear, THEN I’ll really be happy.”

Mondo spiritual moment.. Freedom isn’t the absence of fear or insecurity, but the presence of Jesus. I will not be anymore whole when I’m doing ministry like this or writing worship songs like that.. You will not be whole when you have kids that love you or a husband that thinks you’re the greatest or a really dreamy house to have dinner parties in..

I am a dreamer if there ever was one, so I am in no way suggesting to you that you need to kill your passion and zeal for the desires of your heart. That’s dumb.. What I am saying is that all of those dreams and desires for the future lose their “This will make you happier/better” excitement, which can be oddly disappointing.

The good news is that you can be a whole person right now, in this moment. You don’t have to wait for a particular breakthrough or freedom or thing to happen in your life.. You can be fully content where you are and with the season you’re in because Jesus is fully present with you right now. Then as those dreams come to pass and the Lord continues to chase you down with good things, they can all be extra and overflow, instead of one more thing that is supposed to make everything better.

I’m sorry.

You know how sometimes, you think that you hear the Lord telling you to do something? It’s not super strong, but the feeling/idea doesn’t seem to leave your mind.. You act on what He asked you to do, people cry and their lives are changed forever. Good moment, right?

You know how some other times, you think that you hear the Lord telling you to do something? The feeling/idea doesn’t leave your mind.. You act on what He asked you to do.. nothing comes of it and you feel PRETTY dumb and kind of like you wish you could take it back?

Well, this blog stands between those two scenarios, and only time will tell if it was a brilliant God thing or an ‘Oops, I was a little off and now I’m embarrassed’ kind of things. So, here it goes folks..

Let me start by saying this.. Several people that I know (at least as acquaintances) did the 18 Inch Journey this summer, one of which is pretty dear and close to my heart. As the summer wound down and I knew she was coming home, I started getting really nervous. How would the transition be for her? Would I have the right things to say to help her slide back into life in Winston? Or would I accidentally be a voice of discouragement like others I’m sure she’ll hear at some point?

I’ve realized that the reason I’ve been so nervous is because I remember how I felt and what I was like coming home after the journey.. Fully alive and forever grateful for the leaders and friends who spoke into my life.. BUT defensive.. already assuming that no one would understand, not wanting to let anyone in because I was afraid that somehow, my experience would be taken from me. Any time that I did share, if someone didn’t seem to get it or agree, I immediately shut down. I was terrified that if other people couldn’t see what I saw, then maybe that meant my experience was all a dream, and God wasn’t the person he showed himself to be.

This blog is an apology – to my pastors, leaders, and friends that dealt with a shut down, defensive Hannah that was terrified of losing my experience.

It wasn’t your fault that you didn’t do the 18 Inch Journey, and it wasn’t your job to say all the right things.. It wasn’t your job to understand it all, either..

I know for a fact that I was sent out of Ohio toward North Carolina with nothing but blessing, encouragement, and folks cheering me on that I had shared my heart with so much. I’m sorry that I didn’t know how to do that once I returned home. I’m sorry that in my defenses, I pushed people away and probably hurt some of you.

 

My greatest determination lately has been to preserve innocence and child like faith.. not in a typical, prayer house, wave of revival style determination.. but a ‘I want to be thrown around in the waves of life and at the end of it, still have a soft heart with walls down and hope restored’ kind of way.

What makes people seem younger than they are when they’re flying through middle aged years? (Please don’t be insulted.. I’m not trying to be the naive girl in her 20’s saying 40 is old)

I think it’s that they still have hope and expect the best.. they’re not anticipating hurt or disappointment.. They’re living as if they have never been hurt or disappointed before, trusting that the Lord will heal them if they are wounded. The thing about walls and bitterness and calloused hearts is that the pain is still there.. You still have to live with it.. but you’re being robbed of the life that comes without all of the man-made shields that have been created through rough seasons.

I guess that this blog is a step in that direction for me.. a step toward ‘Bad things have happened, but I’m determined to give them to the Lord and live like a child again.’ I only hope that the people read this that need to hear this apology from me.. OR I will feel really dumb about this, like I broadcasted way too much on social media, get 2 likes and probably delete this sucker a few days from now.. Only time will tell.

AND to my friends that stuck by my struggling, you have absolutely no idea how thankful I am for you. I realize so much that is it not easy to stand by a defensive, shut down girl.. and you guys did it and were determined to love me no matter what. Incredible.