Capacity

Friend: “Have you celebrated getting in to Bethel yet!?”
Hannah: “Actually no celebrating – basically just worrying and then repenting for worrying *3 laugh emojis, followed by a wide eyed emoji*

in-de-pend-ent
adjective
1. free from outside control; not depending on another’s authority (that’ll preach)
2. not depending on another for livelihood or subsistence
3. Hannah Riggin

I am independent to the core; through upbringing and wiring, I am determined to be responsible and to accomplish as much as possible without letting anyone ever see me sweat. Maybe you’re like this too – always covering your bases, never wanting to inconvenience anyone.

I don’t notice the extent of my independence until incidents like the one that happened at Sam’s Club a few weeks ago:
It is my responsibility to pick up all of the food for these weekly community cookouts that our church helps to facilitate. We plan to feed about 150 people every Thursday.

Feeding 150 people for the first week of our summer cookouts at Sam’s Club looks something like this:
3 boxes of hamburgers
2 boxes of hotdogs
Pans for grilling
4 monster sized cans of baked beans
3 boxes of 42 pack chips
Oh, don’t forget the lemonade
And also the massive quantity ketchups and mustards
Oops! We need plates and cups and napkins and cutlery

…the list goes on. For anyone that’s ever been to Sam’s, you know that the size of the items in your cart are significantly greater than they would be if you made a quick run to Walmart.
My cart was spilling over, and as I made my way to the front of the store I realized I had forgotten one super significant item – the buns.
The slippery, “I’m gonna need 16 of each of you”, “Don’t you dare squish me with the other items in your cart” buns.
I made it about 3 steps and the buns would slide off of my grocery mound. That’s right — ALL the way through the parking lot, to the back of the parking lot of course (did I mention half of Winston was there?). Take three steps, drop some buns, pick them up, lose some dignity. Repeat.

I needed help, and I wasn’t willing to ask. Contrary to my belief, it is a bit difficult for 1 person to singlehandedly feed 150 other people.

grocery

It isn’t a surprise that I find myself in very similar situations planning to move across the country for ministry school.

The truth is, I want to say that I’ve got it, that I don’t need help. I want the option of spending a half hour in Sam’s Club parking lot and just not telling anyone about it. I want to hide the effort, the cost, the need, and the worry. Some call it pride, some call it consideration, and honestly, it’s probably a little of both.

I think we all reach moments in our lives when our capacity has reached its limit. In those  moments, no matter how much we’d like to step it up and carry a little more, we simply can’t.

“Enlarge the place of your tent, and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out; do not hold back; lengthen your cords and strengthen your stakes.”
Isaiah 54:2

The Lord gave me this scripture while I was applying for Bethel, telling me that in my season, my capacity had been reached. He wanted to give me more, but there was no space for anything new in my life the way that it was – things had to change, and I didn’t know it at the time, but the curtains of my habitations were being stretched out (literally).

It’s funny because that verse seems to contradict everything that I mentioned above. I’m realizing something, though: There is a huge difference between our own, independent, “I will do this” capacity and the one we obtain in surrender.
When I refuse to ask for help – whether it be because of pride or out of fear that God coming through is only a story people tell themselves to get through hard times, and not a stark reality, I greatly limit how much I can receive.

It would be like if a family member offered to clean your messy kitchen for you. You listened, said thank you, and then proceeded to clean the entire thing yourself before they got around to doing it.
It’s fine – the kitchen is still clean, but stepping in to handle it kept the family member from getting to contribute.

I am not in ANY way saying that our ability to get in the way is greater than God’s ability to help us – his arm is never too short. But for me, in this season, I do feel him inviting me to let him in. I hear him saying “I really want to bless you – will you let go of your fear of not being taken care of and let me outdo anything you could have accomplished in your own effort?” And in “funny later, but not at the time” moments I hear him saying “Han, you literally can’t do this one on your own – even if you wanted to.”

May each of us be granted the bravery we need to believe that we are loved and cared for. May each of us be granted the courage to know that the provision of tomorrow isn’t dependent on our performance or our own capacity, but in perfect Love that never waivers or changes its mind.

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I am sharing this journey via blog on the world wide web for a few reasons:
1. I have every intention of blogging more regularly throughout this journey, because I’m coming to find that story is powerful and one of the tools God uses most to encounter other people. Let’s call this the prelude to all of the blogging entries to come.

2. PRAYER. Y’all, this ISFJ, green-blue on the DISC test girl HATES CHANGE and LOVES SECURITY. I hate change even when it’s awesome, just because it’s different than what I’m used to. There is nothing familiar in this guaranteed to be spectacular season change. (There are many other areas to be covered in prayer, I am sure, it’s just the quirkiest, yet also realest thing I’m facing right now).

3. SUPPORT. This is the hardest for me for a million reasons – my “no that’s okay I’ve got it” independence, and the fact that as humans, we love to point to something and say “this measurable proof shows that this is worth investing in” .. but those voices fade in the face of last-minute transitions and no-other-choice.
Tuition for the school year is $4,550. In addition to this cost, I have to cover living expenses and continue to cover all of my adult bills. I will be working part-time throughout the school year to supplement, of course, but it is very scary going from full-time job money to part-time, the cost of living staying the same but the income being cut in half. Because the school is not accredited, student loans are not an option.
Talk about a faith walk — one of those moments where the rubber hits the road, and the theology that is much easier to quote is actually put to the test.
If you would like to give toward this adventure, donations can be made via Paypal
1. http://www.paypal.me/hannahriggin

THANK YOU so much for reading, praying, and supporting!

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Why I’m writing

My heart has been burning lately.
Confession – I’ve been reading through my own blogs. Yep. It’s sort of like when you stalk yourself on Facebook or Instagram, curious to see what the rest of the world sees when they come across your profile.. only more, because it’s your guts on a page and your process.

I’ve come to realize lately not only the need to keep writing, but also the need to be more intentional about what I’m writing.

I am choosing to write because I spend a lot of time reading what others have to say. I anxiously scan the page, fingers crossed that they will say what my heart is screaming.
I think we all do that to some degree. If someone else says what’s deeply resonating in us, it somehow validates our process and makes us more real. When someone says what we’re feeling, an alarm is sounded, we lay our weapons down, and realize that the place we’re in is so much safer than we believed, and who we are, deep deep down, is what’s been needed all along.

But the thing is that someone has to say it first.
And I can wait the rest of my life to be validated, or I can start speaking.
I can tiptoe in environments until I sense the safety, or I can carry safety with me everywhere I go.

I am choosing to write because I have fought hard to defend what rings true in my heart, and in the times when I was too tired and wanted desperately to give up and pleaseGodmakemesomethingelse, I would feel the faithful pull of an anchor marked with goodness and love.

I am choosing to write because I have spent too many years trying to measure up and perform perfectly and jump just a little higher — I have spent too many years comparing my insides to everyone else’s outsides, and I want to expose performance for the liar that it is.
No one has their stuff together. We are all struggling.
We are all weathering countless storms and internal tornadoes.
We all have something that terrifies us.
And we all have the beautiful opportunity to come out of hiding and embrace an acceptance that has been waiting for us since the beginning.
There is freedom for our hearts through the doorway of vulnerability, and I want to run through it without reservation.
There is wholeness for our soul as we confront the darkness, open up, and let the light in.
I am writing not to lick and compare wounds but to confront them and heal them instead of burying them in guilt, shame, and “I shouldn’t feel this” ways.

Have you ever noticed how truly confident people effect others?
This is how you know.. False confidence screams “HERE I AM! EVERYONE OUT OF THE WAYYYYYY…”, while true confidence says “I am here, I am amazing, and you are too..” True confidence carries the key to unlocking the realest parts of everyone around them — it whispers “It’s safe here! We need who you are.. please don’t keep it from us!”

I want this spot, this little corner of the world wide web, to be that safe haven for you — The place where you can open wide and bloom and find light in rooms of your heart that you didn’t even know existed.

So here’s to vulnerability and freedom, light in the darkness, and truth like refreshing water to our souls that grow weary, or would just like an extra drink from time to time.
May we not be afraid to hope against hope, and repeat the same truths until our hearts know them well.
May we, together, choose to bravely stand and believe in redemption and goodness in every season.

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I WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU
Give me feedback. Tell me your stories. Share your victories. Vent to me when you wish you could post things on the internet but they’re not necessarily appropriate for the entire world to see.
hannahwritessometimes@yahoo.com

Tomorrow

Yesterday I roared like a lion
and proclaimed my bravery,
And passed it out freely to everyone indiscriminately
Like running out of courage was unfathomable

I caught a glimpse of the mountain view
And the bigger picture quickly drowned out
Every huge, overwhelming “crushing me with the weight of it” giant
That had just intimidated me hours before

And I smiled and assumed that this must be what victory feels like
I had enough hope for you and me and everyone else

But not today

Today I gave up

The giants came back, screaming
And I said “You were right, you’re bigger than me.”
I let them win because all the strength of yesterday
Grew legs and walked away
The weariness came back, polluting the hope
That I swore would last us for years

You looked at me, eyes full of confident peace and said
“There’s always tomorrow.”

I may never truly understand how triumph and defeat
Can so quickly trade the roles of present reality and vague, far off memory
But that’s Good News, on days like today.