Amazing what happens when I can, finally, let go enough to let God take over. I don't let go without kicking and screaming and a long, long list of "but what if's?" far too much of time, and that was certainly the case this week.
Yesterday I was the keynote speaker at a conference-wide women's retreat, something I've known I was doing for several months now. For most of the past few months, as I've occasionally thought about what I was going to talk about, the ideas were consistently along the lines of topics that I could use to prove I was a more than decent academic theologian and scholar. I thought that's what these folks would want, and it took until Thursday for me to begin to let go of that enough to start letting what God wanted to come into my head and heart.
The writing and planning got significantly less like pulling teeth after that, and more like Spirit-flowing streams of words falling onto the page. I wish I could say that I fully relaxed into the trust of that Spirit as the words came. I still have a long way to go in that department. By dinnertime on Friday night, though, I was able to put the whole manuscript down. Shannon agreed to listen to the whole thing, and as I was reading it aloud to her I started thinking about how backwards I had approached the entire experience. When I was asked to speak - months ago - I thought first about the women's expectations, and how I needed to prove myself on this new 'stage.' All along, the question I needed to be asking was of God: "Help me, Lord, help me speak with Your vision and not my own."
It's all over now. Thankfully, it was God's expectations that managed to break through and speak to us all.