Be Careful What You Claim: A year of Unashamed

Looking back at the year I can see that God was prepping me for “unashamed” before 2013 rolled into town. New year’s Eve is also my wedding anniversary, so it is a busy time. A few days prior my friend had pulled a few strings with her friend and he agreed to take a look at my online presence. If I was really going to make a go at this blogging thing I needed someone to show me the ropes. Collin Kelly did just that.

I had to learn about self-promotion, about how to value my own skills, how to stand up unashamed and say, Hey! I have something to say about that. Hey! What I know maybe is important too. I had to learn to choose myself. I learned in this year of unashamed, to not wait for someone to pick me out of a crowd, to stand up and say, Hey! Pick me!

It wasn’t natural. I spent the first few months on twitter typing something out and not posting it, then daring myself with my one word. “What would you do if you were unashamed?” Usually I would click send. So I did. Look twitter is where people all watch tv shows together but in a place where pants are optional, but also, some really interesting conversations about social justice and religion, and the intersection of these things is being had. Right at the moment I worked up the nerve to ask my friend, unashamed, if I could post for her series, she up and asked me.

That post took off in a way no one was expecting. A bunch of people I really respected linked it and shared it, and I was featured for the first time as a Rachel Held Evans Sunday Superlative. My husband and I joked I won the internet. Somewhere in the comments section someone re-sparked my desire to write the book I had started six years ago. What if I was unashamed to say there was a book inside of me?

Turns out if you name the book inside of you it comes on out. I have a manuscript to prove it. In the millions of tiny unashamed steps I started calling myself a writer. Then I decided to pay for a class. At the least I figured it would extend my platform a smidge. I joined Story Sessions this spring when I finally learned to be unashamed to ask for things I want, even when they cost money. My amazing husband didn’t even blink. Of course. Just like that I found my tribe. And they cheered me on when I wrote my two most popular posts ever. 200,000 and 100,000 view respectfully. They held my hand when I wrote and edited my book. They tell me they believe it will get published when I get rejected by agent after agent. Then they kick me off of Facebook when I am supposed to be editing. I cannot imagine my year without them.

In the spirit of unashamed I wrote about my boobs, my frustration with the church and my job, about crapping my pants in public. People still loved me, and accepted me, on-line and in real life. I need not be ashamed of what I really think.

Unashamed didn’t just change my online appearance. In February I got my nose pierced, in October I got a tattoo. I decided to stop being ashamed of the things I wanted, that if I really wanted them they weren’t silly. It seems it wasnt just on Twitter that I needed to decide to choose myself.

I have laughed louder, said more, painted (but not as much as I wanted to). I wrote my butt off this year, maintaining my blog while I wrote 100,000 words of one and a half manuscripts. I looked myself square in the face as I stopped worrying about what any one else thinks, and I turned into a person that it turns out I really like.

Unashamed was quite a ride. But it was so good I asked God if I could keep it for another year. I got a no. But I have about 36 more hours of unashamed, and I plan on using every inch of them up.

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13 thoughts on “Be Careful What You Claim: A year of Unashamed

  1. So….if you don’t get “unashamed” for another year, what will you get? After writing it out and realizing that “weakness” was a theme of my 2013, I’m asking for “strength” this coming year.

  2. Dear heart, you do not have just another 36 hours (or more like 24, as I write this) of unashamed – you have a lifetime. You have claimed the word. it is yours forever, to keep living unashamedly. I’m pretty sure that God’s “no” to you was that you can’t have *just* unashamed for next year. How would you grow if you kept proclaiming the same word over and over? It would be like making the same New Year’s resolution every year, always wanting the same thing but never moving forward. This year you were unashamed. Next year you will still be unashamed, but also something new.

  3. Abby, This is so wonderful! I loved reading this and can’t wait to come along for the ride and the rest of your journey–as your book goes through and gets published!

  4. I love that you asked to hold onto your word for another year. I did, too. I also got a resounding “no”. But I trust the Lord. And as I make the transition from Hope to begin, I realize Hope will stay with me throughout the year. As if they just build on top of each other. And that thought gives me Hope for this new beginning. Just lovely!

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