For those of us who are unsure of what we have to offer this world, I see a bud curled within itself, aching to unfurl, drawing from roots nourished deep. We are, with all of creation, eagerly, bound up, longing to be revealed.
As a woman with child, and as a child within a womb, we are growing full and complete within. The apostle Paul spoke of watching and waiting for Messiah to form within his students, He said that Messiah, in you, was the hope of glory! What was this reality he spoke of and how do we live into it?
One of the most extravagantly kind and gentle passages of Scripture issues a call to clear and “make way” for the Lord; to make way through the wilderness, the desert, and the mountainous terrains and that in so doing the glory of the Lord would be revealed…
There is a ripeness in time when a plow comes across a field, when that land gets broken up, when what was hidden beneath comes to light, rich soil where tender shoots grow. The seeds below rightly die but are also tended to, in order for the life inside to live. God first revealed Himself as a gardener, He knows how to make way for life. He knows how to write stories—in the earth, in all of creation, in you and me. And, I get the feeling He delights to do so.
He tends to us, chooses us. How will we choose to respond? Will we miss Messiah’s redemption story, not see His death as an invitation to our own? Will we boast only of His wonders and not His cross. If we miss those things, we will never truly be able to embrace His life nor learn how to express the one our Father has given us. His way costs, cuts, burns, but only what is not needed, to show us, to make way for, what is truly needed, when it is needed.
We are called to live from “from faith to faith”, or rather, “from faithfulness to faithfulness”. So how do we live into this reality, His ways? How do we become like Him, our Creator who expresses Himself around us continually, from the rising of the sun, to the place where it sets?
Learning to express our soul will flower from faithfulness to faithfulness, slowly, steadily, simply. We need not be in a hurry but we do need diligence. We do not have to have the whole picture, yet we do need to lean into the next step.
Upon speaking through His servant-prophet-poet, Isaiah, to clear the way, He invited His children to believe Him again, and to add to their belief, voice. He invited them in their faith, to faithfully call out what they had heard in the hidden places, unfurl the breath that had sustained them—the Lord Who had always been with them.
These words were spoken to His people Israel, then through Messiah Yeshua, all – the “whosoever will” – are invited to be adopted into His family. All are invited to be like the Warrior-King of the Universe who delivers slaves with a strong arm beneath a banner of love and the proclamation that His name is YHWH. He has expressed Himself, so that we, like Him, will be expressions of Him too.
Way-making is revelation, a tearing away from the regular to see what is true. We are His image, He desires that His glory be revealed in and through us! Some days this is as simple as being thankful out loud.
Other days we will feel the fire of His presence burn within us. We often feel this but we do not understand it, we quench it, and push it down concluding there is something wrong with us — we reel from the stress of it. We need wisdom to understand that the sparks and fire of Messiah in us desire to rise, to be unified with the holy fire from which it came, our Maker, our origin, our completeness. The ache we feel in our soul is our invitation to bloom the gifts He wants to adorn the world with, through us.
How do we know what those gifts are? One way is to ask ourselves what have we been blessed with, knowing deeply that we are blessed in order to bless.
FEAR AND AWE
Another way to know, is to ask ourselves what we most fear. The truth is, the fear—awe and respect—of the Lord is what leads to wisdom, but also in truth: what we often most fear is the counterfeit to this most holy design within us. As Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, “What we fear doing most is usually what we most need to do.”
For those of us who are unsure of what we have to offer this world, I see you there, a miracle on the verge of a miracle. You are ready to learn how to be more like Yeshua the Messiah who came here to teach us how to live in our own skin. For joy He endured the cross, entrusted himself to no man, yet laid down his life so that others could be free—showing His Warrior-King-Lover-Priest heart like a seal on His arm all the way—and the seal is us, inscribed, known.
We are buds longing to open, because that is what we’re designed to do. Yet, I can hardly imagine anything more vulnerable than a flower opening itself up to the world, to be beheld so publicly, to give fragrance so unreservedly, for such a precious, impermanent time, for such a time as this.
So, how do we express our souls? It will take nothing less than audacious courage. It takes courage to hear our own heart beat, to slow enough to listen, and be honest with ourselves about what we hear. We all come to this work with a world of experience that has informed us that we are not welcome to be that honest out-loud. We are taught to flaunt our strength and hide our weaknesses, but the way of God is to bring transformational wholeness to the wholeness of us—strengths and weaknesses. These are our potentials-in-waiting, not our curses.
How do we grab hold of courage in the midst of an often unkind world? Our ground and garden of our hearts must be immersed with truth. The truth is that we are equipped and designed to bloom, flourish, and give life and beauty abundantly and that just as a seed must shed its outer layers to fulfil its design, so must we.
Truth and honesty with ourselves may come with a rush, or a sting, but both are life entering in and flowing through us and it is vital that we nurture one another to grow in that recognition and confidence. We can do that by openly sharing our growing experiences, both the enjoyable parts and the more challenging parts together, in safe places. We can do that by being a safe place, by becoming better listeners—a community of friends.
This accomplishes a simple but nonnegotiable ingredient in learning how to express our souls—we must know that we are not alone. We must know that there are friends for our souls with whom we will not live to our full potential without both giving ourselves to and receiving from.
When we offer expression of our inner world, whether through words, music, art, gardening, or anything else, we create the opportunity for another to say, “Me too”. This is crucial, because we all need to know that we are not alone as we learn over and over again that we must first die to one thing in order to live to another, it gives us the valor to do so. As we share with one another, we are fertilizing the ground of other’s soul as well as our own. Illumination occurs, light upon places within us that need to be pruned, light upon places that are valuable and need to be brought forth, but we never knew it, never could see it for ourselves.
Most importantly, light calls to light, flame to flame. As we have each been made in the image of God, sparks of eternity dwell within us and respond to His image in others. Together we are more of Him and therefore more whole. His radiance longs to expand and fill all the earth, His way of doing that is through us. This may feel too big of a task but there is another story that He has been sure to write here and that is a story of joy in the seeing of the small. Little Bethlehem was not too small, little Miriam, Yeshua’s mother, was not too small. Israel, was not too small, to be filled with the glory of the Lord. We are not too small.
The ancient words of the prophet Hosea call to us,
“Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap steadfast love; break up your fallow ground,
for it is the time to seek the Lord, that he may come and rain righteousness upon you.”
May you be filled with knowing that you belong here, no matter how much you’ll never fully belong here because that’s not the bad news, that’s the good news—that’s the good news from a far off country whose unimaginable colors bleed starlight when we hear its ancient tongue.
We are flowers in bloom from that country, flowers that will fade, but who have a message to cry out while we still have today—there is a King in that country who longs to come into His kingdom, from exile into His garden. He has shown us how to be like Him.
“What is clear is, Adam and Eve were created very good. God Himself is good.
The world is good.” -Dwight Pryor
Our Creator has expressed Himself. Now, what are we waiting for?
Practical Questions & Prompts
…to come alongside you, wherever you are,
in taking the next steps in expressing your soul:
The life we feel surging within sometimes hurts when we don’t know what to call it, but we will never rightly account for it without knowing His Presence fills all of creation and calls to His image within us to meet Him there. We can understand this longing in us when we experience it from lover to beloved, this too is but a glimmering reflection of the same. It is a call to oneness and deep companionship. How do we express this, our soul’s desire, unafraid?
Slowly, Steadily, Simply:
1) UPON WAKING, grow in awareness that it is the mercies of our Creator that we have breath filling our lungs and connections in our mind and body once again this new day. Thank Him and ask Him to bring to mind someone with whom you can share an expression of this gratitude with?
Maybe this is with some life-giving words, a Scripture, a piece of artwork, a smile, or a long hug.
2) WHEN YOUR FEET TOUCH THE GROUND, and you feel the weight of your body begin to be supported by the frame you have been gifted to dwell in this one wild and precious life, praise the Lord and consider what “body” have you been given to support? Are you fulfilling your part to the best of your ability right now? What needs strengthening?
Meditate on the truth that no matter how “small” you feel your place in the world is, His presence can enter it through your presence, this is His way.
Perhaps this includes the gift of touch, your own unique special touch to some area in your life that you have doubted even mattered. Do not count out your own physical body.
3) WHEN YOU SIT down to a meal today, or stand preparing it, offer thanks, and consider this nurturing that you need everyday. Where can you too nurture and sustain? Do not doubt the first thing that comes to mind!
Beauty should not be discounted here. Our world needs beauty and it is how the Invisible has always made Himself known.
4) AS YOU WALK through your day, practice knowing that Messiah Yeshua lived among humanity, in a daily, walk-alongside-others way. He was with us. We can do this too. How can we be with another today? Who has been a soul friend to me? How can I show my gratitude to them? How can I pass that on?
Listening is a miracle. To be heard, truly heard, listened to, seen, is to give an incalculable gift. This is what we are all hungering for. How can you give that today? Read a note closer or be more attentive in a conversation? At a cash register or in a meeting? To a young one or to an old one, or maybe one you’ve never given much thought?
In our closest relationships, do we know what is the most important need in their lives at present?
Do we know what they would say, if we asked them what was most important to them for us to know about them?
5) AT THE END of your day, give wonder to the opportunity that was today. Did you drink in the scent of life around you? Did you do what you can to give off the fragrance of life to those surrounding you? Did you lift up the incense of prayer, a mighty and effective means of communication with the Eternal and with the body of the Beloved Bride, He says, we are one with?
A prayer can be as simple as a breath. It is a song into whose harmony we are invited. It is a fragrance that will emerge from our life when we know we belong.
“Just to be is a blessing. Just to live is holy.”
― Abraham Joshua Heschel
6) WHEN TROUBLES COME, remember His ways through circumcision, fire, and death on a cross. Ask to enter in His joy, through the mystery revealed of Messiah in us, holding and remembering this is not the end. Practice resurrection, slowly, steadily, simply—hopefully.
Ask yourself, how can I imitate Him in this situation, sit quietly with the question and prepare to be surprised.
7) LOVE THE Lord our God with all our heart, soul, strength, resources, all of us. This is what we are commanded to do with our souls. Ask, how can I do that today?
Our Father in Heaven, may Your kingdom come more fully as You teach me how to express my soul as an expression of love for You. Teach me how to connect with others in Your wisdom and truth so that I can do my part in this life You have gifted me, in the healing of this world, that Your will will be done on earth as it is in heaven. I look to You today for my daily bread, knowing my soul has not given if not first received and revived in You, connected to You. Lead me not into temptation. I look to You to deliver me from the evil one as well as my own evil inclinations. Yours in the kingdom I want to be about the work of, Yours is the power that is waiting to be fully revealed, and Yours is the glory that I seek and want my life to sing for all eternity. In Yeshua may I live and breath this amen.
8) EXAMPLES OF WAYS to love God with our souls by sharing with others:
To ask myself: Is there a person or place that comes to mind that I can share what I am learning, as a way of giving what I am given, blessing as I am blessed? Listen for the still small voice.
Ways this could express itself: Sharing, “This is what I read in the Scriptures, or book I am reading, or an image that came to me while I was in the shower today…”
…it made me wonder about ________,
or it brought up a question of __________,
or this part_____________ brought up a prayer in my heart,
or, this part made a connection in my mind to _____________.
Ask others, What did you read today?
What has most been on your mind?
What struck you differently than it has in the past?
Listen well and see how their answers intersect with what you are learning or invites you into a new direction that you have not yet been brought into. Expressing our souls means paying attention to ourselves and to the world around us with eyes of wonder and hope, that this is not the end, rather, we’ve barely just begun and there’s so much further to go.
9) ABOVE ALL REMEMBER this: Expressing our souls in health could only ever first come from guarding valiantly…
“Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.”-Proverbs 4:23
10) A REFINING QUESTION, to bring clarity and vision: “What’s holding you back, from going (all the way) into the direction that you already believe God has sent you?” ~Ray Hill
What do you most fear? Pray for discernment to reveal where holy fear would lead you past counterfeit fears.
11) GO GROW GENTLY by considering:
What have I been blessed with in order to bless? We do not have to go searching for this, what is already here? What have I labeled as a curse about myself and never received (and therefore never given) as the gift it was intended to be? What has been given into my hands, or my being, that I can bring out of my storehouse and into the Lord’s house—this beautiful world He has given us to inhabit and to bring more beauty to, to heal? Now, go grow, gently.
“The mandrakes give forth fragrance, and beside our doors are all choice fruits,
new as well as old,which I have laid up for you, O my beloved.”
~Song of Songs 7:13
Raynna Myers is an author and photographer who lives in the Pacific Northwest of the United States with her husband and six children. The illustrations in this writing are by her husband, Jay Myers, and two of their children, River and Selah Myers. Download the whole booklet, that this article is based on at www.raynnamyers.com.