Stay Low, Stay Low, Go Slow

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D_IDELETTE-750

It’s the time of the year when we journey to the birth of the Light of the World, but this year my thoughts, particularly, are on shadows.

My Shadow Self has to do with throwing caution to the wind. No restraint. Exuberance.

The light side of this is freedom, joy, adventure, love.
The shadow side is indulgence, greed, pride, selfishness.

Like every one of us, I have a light and a shadow side. The shadow side is the parts of us we’d rather not have the world see. It’s the parts we want to hide and shove in a closet somewhere.

The shadow side is where Shame gains fodder for much accusation and blame. If we don’t tend to that shadow side, the voice can get O-so-nasty.

When I think of the chapters of my life, there are many shadows. There was the one time in Taiwan when I was experiencing severe backpain and went to see an acupuncturist. He said, There’s something in your life you need to deal with.

What audacity, I thought. Isn’t he supposed to just fix my back?

But the moment he said it, I knew he was right. I went home and made one of the most humbling phone calls of my life. I opened a dark closet and entered into some of the shame of my past. The most beautiful thing happened: The woman on the other end of the line said, I forgive you. And basically, Go sin no more.

Light entered my darkness. I dropped about a 100-pounds off my heart and my shoulders. (And my backpain went away, by the way.)

A few weeks ago, I was part of a Pause-This Moment: A dear friend celebrated 11 years of sobriety. After we enjoyed some mocktails and appies, she called us all into a circle. She looked us in the eye and told each one of us what we’d meant to her on her journey.

She held her head high, while we grabbed the Kleenex.

She blessed us with her words. But even greater than the blessing of her words that night, has been seeing her step out of the shadow that was consuming her. She’s become her light. In acknowledging her Shadow Self, owning it, facing it daily and humbly, she’s embarked on a journey of wholeness and freedom.

She’s reminded me how easily our shadows can consume and condemn us. When we acknowledge them, hold them up to the small circle of people we trust with our naked selves, the shadows lose their power.

It’s the beauty of confession.
It’s the power of living in the truth.
It’s daily humility.

Shadows steal from us. And not only from us, but from our world. When we are consumed by our shadows, we shrink.

My friend used to be a mere shadow of herself. Now her sense of self is strong, undeniable, even fierce. I would have hated missing out on her, so fully alive. She’s not without struggle, but she’s gloriously present.

Last year in the summer, I read an interview with Heidi Baker, who’s spent much of her life working with the poorest of the poor in Mozambique.

When I read these words, they leapt off the page:

Stay low, stay low, go slow.

It feels like the opposite of what everything around me wants to tell me: Rise higher, do better, go faster, take on more, reach for more, produce more.

“Stay low, Stay low, Go slow,” is an antidote to my Shadow Self. It defies pedestals and subverts hierarchies. It reminds us of the humus of our humanity. Our mud, sweat and tears.

It reminds me to:

STAY LOW …

Stay humble. Rub off the shine and take off your high heels. Take a breath.

Remember who you are. Remember where you’ve come from.

Remember, at any given moment, you are one step away from stupid.

We are all one step away from stupid. (As my pastor, John Burns, says so profoundly.)

STAY LOW …

Stay low reminds me to  stay close to the humble–those who don’t have much, those who are hurting, children. The ones who don’t care how much you shine, but care that you are human and present and kind.

Staying low is surrendering, Sabbath rest, remembering the One I love and serve.

Staying low is the opposite of celebrity, posturing and our tendency to romanticize everything, including relationship and leadership.

GO SLOW …

Go slow calls me to the long, slow journey. It reminds me to build the container, so it can sustain the content that will come.

Go slow speaks to me of faithfulness.
Go slow speaks to me of strength.
Go slow is a prophetic stance against instant and flash-in-the-pan.

It’s a long, arduous pregnant journey on a donkey.
It’s a long, slow death on a cross.

Staying low and going slow doesn’t mean we don’t have our eyes set on a glorious future. It just means I am not chasing a meteoric rise. I want slow, strong growth. I want to be in this for the long haul.

I want to be a tree planted by a river that bears fruit in season.

I want a container that can hold.

I want women in my world who walk long and strong. I want to journey with women who have hearts set on a Hope and a future that is more beautiful than we can imagine, but feet that walk slowly.

There are seasons in which to run and there are women who need to run. I’m just not one of them. I refuse to burn out again.

When the yoke becomes a burden, it’s time to throw it off.

I’ve said, No
I’ve said, Let’s do that in a few months.
I’ve said, Let’s take the pressure off.

I want us to kindle the fires that draw others closer. I want us to walk slowly through the crowd, as John Maxwell says. I want to be aware of the power within me and I want to pass it on. I want to be broken bread and poured out wine.

I want to be a woman who encounters Jesus along the road to Christmas and I don’t want to run ahead, rushing to get everything done.

This season, I want to be a woman who can Love the people in my world well, not by racing ahead, but by pausing and being present.

I want to face my Shadow Self and have compassion on her too.

I want to stay low, stay low and go slow.

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HOW ABOUT YOU? I’d love to hear where you’re at on your journey this month. Would love to meet you in the comments!

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Hi, Lovelys!

Welcome to our month of JOURNEY. #shejourneys

I’m curious: What’s on your heart this month? What are you journeying towards? What do you hope to find? What are you eagerly waiting for? What are you longing for?

I’m feeling pretty heavy over some of the events in our world and the Shadows in my post today, feel like they are part of many of our nations too.

So, I’m longing for a world without racism.

Would you take a moment and think about what you’re longing for? I’d love to hear. Then tweet me @idelette or @shelovesmag your answer. For example:

@idelette: I’m longing for ___________.

Please don’t feel intimidated by my “big” longing. I’d love to hear yours, even if it’s for a cup of candy cane green tea and a quiet moment to enjoy it. We’re all on our own journeys.

If you’d like to join the conversation, come join us by using the hashtag #shejourneys on Instagram and Twitter.

Keep an eye out this month for a short Lament series called, An Advent Ache by Kelley Nikondeha and Diana Trautwein.

On Wednesday, we are hosting our first ever Red Couch Reader Survey. Leigh Kramer has put a lot of effort into this and we’d love to hear your thoughts. I can’t believe our bookclub has been going for a whole year! There are some great things planned for the future, but we’d LOVE your input, so we can shape this to what you want and need.

Looking forward to journeying with you!

With LOVE,

idelette

XOXO

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Image credit: lolowaro

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