You Have My Permission...

You have permission…


To dream.

To hope.

To be sad.


To take a break.

To take care of YOURSELF.

To say no. 


To say YES!


To take it slow.

To be reckless.

To go, go, go.

To stand still.


To pray.

Or to not.


To be upset, or calm, or nervous or confused.


To not follow other people’s rules.

To question your own.


To rest.

To listen.

To not respond.


Today I was the recipient of a hand-written letter from a dear friend. It was padded with words I needed to hear and that shot straight into my bones and hit my heart. In the letter, she gave me permission to not go to church. You can all gasp.


Even before moving to a new city my heart was longing for community and friends and companionship. Now that I have moved, friends, family and acquaintances are quick to ask “have you found a church yet?!” 


The well-intentioned masses.


Anyone who has churched knows that church visiting can be hard on a good day. Try a bad day. Try completely on your own. Especially when you are in a time of questions without answers. Sitting there can be painful. The meet and greet time is like pulling teeth… and having a sweet, young lady ask you if you mind “attending alone” leaves you smiling in politeness but wondering what sort of answer she was hoping for…


I should caveat all this by saying that my friend gave me permission to not go to church 'til I was ready. 


Part of me thinks I am… and then I attend and I think maybe I am not.


…and… that’s okay.


I just wanted to remind anyone out there who is battling questions or a moment of doubt, tiredness, feeling like they aren’t living up to someone’s expectations (be they someone else’s or your own.) 


If no one else will say it, I will.


You have permission.


Sometimes pushing yourself is a grand thing. Adventures and goals and feelings of accomplishment can ensue. Other times it is a guaranteed way to quickly kill any fire left in your heart. To crash and burn. 


Self care has a tendency to sound selfish. But its not. 


If you have a heart that loves others and is soft and open, taking care of yourself first isn’t selfish, its essential. You have nothing to give, nothing to share if you are not taking a moment to breathe. To think. To rest. To question. To focus. 


So go for it. Take a breath. Take a break. Or don’t. Jump in, head first and do something unexpected. The older I get, the less I believe in the “right” choice when it comes to life.

Life is a map full of roads and rivers and paths and oceans and there are so many options.


You can choose one, or the other, or start on one and backtrack… break off from a well-traveled road and hit a foot path, jump in a boat, grab a ride down the highway…


If God is who we say He is, and if we truly are given a life of free will, then isn’t one of the most beautiful gifts the knowledge that He is sovereign and is with us, regardless of the decisions we make and the steps we take?


We cannot mess up our story… we simply live it.