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!

Permission to process

I have learned two things this week.
1. I don’t know nearly as much as I think that I do.
2. I started believing a long time ago that my learning season had expired.

Is anyone subscribed to Bethel’s WorshipU? (Well, if not, shameless plug — GO GET YOURSELF A SUBSCRIPTION CUZ HOLY COW ALL THE GLORY)

I’ve played a lot of teaching in the background since subscribing, and in particular, it seemed like every teaching I clicked on today included someone sharing about a process they were currently/recently in.
“Here is how I walked out restoration after having an affair.”
“The best thing that I ever did was sign up for counseling. I’M IN COUNSELING RIGHT NOW.”
“I wrote this song in the midst of a mental breakdown I was having. You know, this new song — the one we just released.”
“I will answer your questions to the best of my ability, but honestly, most of you only see the highlight reel. We’re still learning just as much as the rest of the Church.”

One of the best ones, though, was —
“I bought into the lie that because I was in full time ministry, I didn’t need help anymore.”

Nailed it. I’ve bought into the same lie for a million different reasons:
“I’m a church administrator.”
“I’m a real adult in my real 20s now.”
“This is common knowledge to someone else so obviously it should be common knowledge to me.”
I have compared my insides to everyone else’s outsides, and decided “Everyone else is doing just fine so I must be failing miserably somehow.”

Doesn’t it seem like the world sets us up for this?
Pressure to be polished, to already be an expert, to be good at it from the moment you start. It seems as if we’re given very temporary permission to grieve, to struggle, to fall apart, or simply to NOT BE GOOD at something for awhile — but the clock is ticking, and there isn’t much time left.

So what does all of this pressure cause? For me, I can see it effecting two areas of my life very strongly.
I am pretty self aware and have absolutely no problem with emotion. I know when I’m discouraged and when something touches my heart – but being aware of your emotions isn’t so fun when the lie is loud that everyone else is fine, much more steady, much more thick skinned, or not phased in the slightest by the things that seem to tear me apart. I haven’t been believing that I’m allowed to struggle.

Last week, I heard the Lord say gently “Han, when you experience an emotion, I just want you to have it. Don’t offer a single reason for why you shouldn’t feel that way, and don’t use what you’re feeling to label yourself as insecure or wounded. If you feel left out, tell me you feel left out. You don’t have to tell me why you shouldn’t feel that way.”

STILL LEARNING because #oldhabitsdiehard, BUT I will tell you what’s happened when I stop invalidating myself — He comes. He comes with truth and empathy and understanding. When Lazarus died, it says that Jesus wept with Mary. He wept with her, even though he, in the very near future, was going to bring a solution for the problem she was grieving over. How much healing comes from the simple knowing that we are not alone in what we feel? That there is compassion and understanding and validation for our hearts?

I just want to echo that truth for anyone else who needs it —
You are allowed to struggle.
You are allowed to actually admit when things hurt and when things are difficult.
You are allowed to feel without offering a reason to invalidate those feelings.
You are allowed to need help.

The blinding perfection of everyone else is just an illusion.
No one was born with inherent, perfect mothering skills.
Everyone’s asked God hard questions and wrestled with doubt.
The most secure person in the world feels inadequate about something.

We are allowed to need help because no one handed us a step-by-step guide on how to slay this whole life thing. We are all allowed to be in process because no one is delivered from it until we leave this Earth.
THAT IS JUST THE GREATEST NEWS TO ME, because it means that I never have to ‘master’ anything. It also means that WE ARE ALL IN THE SAME BOAT and no one has one up on you. We all need help, we all get hurt by people and circumstances and hard things, and we have permission to process through that pain.
In fact, I think we can feel found and helped by the Lord much more quickly if we’re honest about where we are; when we admit our need, confess our sin, and are open about the struggle.

The other way it effects me, you ask? (or maybe you didn’t..)
In pursuing my dreams, particularly the creative ones.

I broke up with the dream of dancing at 19 because didn’t you know that the only way you can be a dancer is if you’ve been doing it since you were three?

I fight long, hard battles with music because I don’t have a Kim Walker voice and darnit anyway, why didn’t I stick with violin and piano lessons, and everyone else is so much further along and it’s too late.

I blog 4 times a year because I may know the proper times to use ‘good’ and ‘well,’ but beyond that, all your friends are writers and your Ohio origin really shows when you can’t help but end sentences in prepositions. 

And other things? You haven’t even tried it yet and there are people your age that will be light years ahead of you forever.

So what if they will be? I’d argue that even if we ate, slept, and breathed that thing we feel unqualified to do since the day we left the womb, we’d still feel inadequate somehow. And isn’t the whole point for your heart to come alive and , and not to be deemed the best anyway?

And what if they won’t be? What if you started painting today and became a world renowned painter at the age of 65? What if your first book tour began 15 years from now? What if you kept on dancing through your adult life and started a form of movement that gave young girls something to look forward to when they’ve ‘aged out’ of their career.

 

I want to be a person that isn’t afraid to admit I’m in process. I never want anyone to be intimidated by a glossy, picture perfect image I’m projecting because I’m too afraid to admit that I don’t know everything.

There is so much heart space in knowing that the learning never ends, and we never age out of needing help. learn.jpg