Put Down Your Sword Sister, Your Seat is Right Here

“Put down your sword sister, your seat is right here.”

It was me who said it. I was talking about someone else (not completely kindly, ahem). But the sentiment cut me straight through. To the core of who I am, to the core of what I am afraid of. That one flippant statement sliced right through me, hit all the tender spots, the ugly spots, the places that I am hiding, or ignoring, or both.

I am afraid I won’t get chosen. I am afraid I am not really wanted.

And then I make all kinds of qualifications for what counts as chosen, and what does not. I used to think that if enough people read my blog a day, I would feel chosen. Then I thought, if the right people noticed me, asked me to write a guest post, featured me in their link up. If I had enough or the right twitter followers, if I were involved in the right projects, if I were sought after to do this, or advertise that, then, then, I would feel as though I were chosen.

But here I am, on the other side of some of that, and….I still feel like I am fighting for my place at the table.

Put down your sword sister, your seat is right here.

I have been guilty of coveting the things I see in other people, their book deal, their audience, their reach, their re-tweets. I have been given some of the things that I am sure will satisfy me, and they are not enough. I have been using a magical measuring tape, like the one Mary Poppins pulls out of her carpet-bag. Only mine doesn’t say “practically perfect in every way” it says “this isn’t good enough” no matter how big I grow.

No wonder I picked up the sword, determined to fight my way to the top.

I spoke it about a different situation, but it pierced my own heart. Abby, put down your sword.

God sometimes does this thing with me, where he uses my children’s behavior, to show me the state of my heart. (Is there anything more perfect than a toddler, to manifest one’s primary emotions?) It isn’t humbling at all to see the deepest places of your heart are no more grown or mature than your two-year-old mid tantrum. Not, humbling at all.

My Rilla-girl sometimes looks at the thing she has and decides that she doesn’t want that. She wants the thing that her sister has. And I suppose I would understand this, but lately I have been buying and giving everything in pairs. Two strawberry yogurts, two apples identical in size, two cookies, two boxes of juice, two pink fairy wings from the Target dollar bin, two blue ones. But she doesn’t want hers. She wants what I gave her sister, and if we switch, she still wants the thing that is in her sister’s hand. The realization that I am guilty of this, happens at about the same time the apple gets thrown across the room.

I don’t want that!

Because what she wants  is what belongs to her sister. And I am sure, as the apple thuds at my feet that I have done the same thing before God, slung my portion at His feet as I point at the exact same thing in someone else’s hands. What you gave her is better.

Put down your sword sister, your seat is right here.

I am learning, in this messy internet world where we fight for re-tweets and yell to be heard, that God isn’t very interested in the numbers we hang our worth on. And even now as I write it, I roll my eyes because, isn’t that the thing we used to say in Sunday School. God looks at the heart.

Sometimes there isn’t anything truer than the felt board.

God wants to know and love my heart.

I was sitting at a coffee shop when my friend started talking about stages. “I don’t know, Abby, if you will ever speak in front of thousands of women, but you have a stage right here, you have a stage in your backyard. People let you speak into their lives, why doesn’t that count? Why isn’t that good enough?”

And the answer is simple, because I am afraid that means I am not good enough. I am afraid that I will never be good enough, and I push that pain forward instead of dealing with the lies at its base.

That conversation won’t let me go. I have almost 200 students I speak into every day. I have people I love seeking my opinion. More people than I ever expected read this blog.

My seat is right here. I can put down my sword. The things I am fighting for, they have already be given to me. I am free to love and write and speak and sit, at my place at the table. The one that has always been here for me. 

Sister, put down your sword. Your seat is right here.

24 thoughts on “Put Down Your Sword Sister, Your Seat is Right Here

  1. I had a period in my life (probably about the age you are right now) when I had difficulty balancing gratitude for my many, many blessings and wanting something more. I could rattle off a laundry list of good things in my life, but I wasn’t “feeling it”; what I was feeling was depressed. A lot of soul-searching, time in quiet meditation and reading, and really seeing where I needed to take responsibility for my own happiness eventually got me out of that rut. And once I did–lo, and behold, more opportunities landed in my lap.

    Hope you find your peace!

  2. “Be here now” is a motto I heard from the FISH store in Seattle. “Find out what God is doing now and join him” is an idea I read in a book by Blackeby. Last night I heard a wise Christian I know point out that God lives in the present moment while we often live in the past or the future. All those ideas seem connected to what you are saying, Abby. Take a seat, here.

  3. God already gave you a seat, your own seat given by a Heavenly Father, you don’t need to find a ‘better’ seat or different table, God will bring the ones He needs you to speak with to the seats right next to you! Whether they be Rilla-roo, me, or a whole auditorium full of women, the hardest part is the contentment in the waiting! Love you!

  4. Thank you for sharing this – it’s important, and one of the most dangerous emotional rocks we must avoid on our voyage through life.

    I came to a recent epiphany about ‘my place at the table’. I don’t have one, and it doesn’t matter.

    In the season of a terminal illness, one realizes that one is replaceable, and that the world will go on, My wife will find someone else, the airplanes I work on will be completed by others, and while my blog will vanish, there are others on the same topic (marriage and relationships).

    My dogs will miss me.

    But God creates redundancies, so no need be left unfulfilled. One dies, another steps in.

    I once had a place – a prominent one, at the table of academic excellence. I fought hard to get there, through the applications and the interviews and the mid-year chairperson’s evaluations.

    But the seat was pulled three years ago, and since then I’ve come to realize that I really didn’t LIKE that seat very much. It wasn’t comfortable, and the folks around me had BO and ate with their elbows.

    Now, while I live, my place is outside the circle, away from the table, facing into the night. Sword in hand, if you want drama, ready to protect those I love who’ve found their place.

  5. Abby, can I tell you something? I am kind of glad you’re not a “super big deal.” And before you think I’m mean, I’ll tell you why. It’s because I’m going to write this comment and I know you’re going to read it and that if I shoot you a tweet you’re going to see it, or an email or whatever. It’s because this place is still small enough to make me feel safe enough to write this. You might not have the hugest space, but you have a safe one where people feel connected to you. I like your section of the table a lot, and I always feel like there is room for me here. So just know that your place at the table is where a lot of other people feel like they’re welcomed and that’s a good place to be.

  6. this is so profound to me. the way you speak so honestly about the way you covet, I understand that because I’m coveting too. that thing of wanting what is in your sister’s hand, that smacks me across the face with Holy Spirit conviction. I need to take what I am carrying, and hold it close. my gift, my seat at the table, my area.

    thank you for truth. it changes lives.

  7. Pingback: What I’m Into: February 2014 | Don't Stop Believing

  8. It is dishearteningly easy to become dissatisfied with what we have even when it is just what we were hoping for yesterday! What is deliciously heartening though is to see how deeply you speak to those who follow you, how much you mean to them. To deepen the faith of few, encourage one unhappy soul, celebrate with two or three – that is meaningful.

    I try to catch up with lots of blogs linked through Story Sessions and Leigh Kramer and elsewhere. It is very time consuming to read more than a few. Loads of wonderful ones must get ‘missed’.

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