As my 27th birthday approached, I knew that I had to make the most out of the next year of my life. There was something about that 7 coming after the 2 that made me feel like it was time to start living my best life. I have been blessed with more than I dreamed of, but I knew I was not living in a place of purpose. I knew that I was allowing life to happen to me instead of making my life and living my life the way God had planned for me. From the outside looking in, no one would understand why it was so hard for me to keep my joy. My life, on paper, met the basic and even some advanced requirements for the recipe of a happy life. That was not by surprise. That’s how I had become accustomed to living. Do things the “right” way. Color within the lines. Don’t upset the flow. Things will work out.
Let me tell you—even when a thing appears neat and clean, understand there was some form of correction before the final product. You may not see the smudges of the eraser or know how many reprints and redos were done to make up for the ink that overflowed outside the allotted margins, but know what you see did not happen magically. I had become accustomed to the mindset of, “I’ll take what comes my way and make the most of it.” It had worked. Things were…comfortable, for lack of better words. But the very breath I had left to breathe was slowly escaping my lungs and my mind was in a perpetual state of panic, anxiety, and always playing catch up.
I had not believed about myself what I needed to live life as opposed to existing on earth. I played it safe, stayed the “good” girl, and tried to keep peace as best as possible. But keeping peace is different from making peace, being “good” is subjective, and safe…safe can be crippling. Safe tells you you cannot afford to dream, but when you have a call on your life, a dream bigger than your means and your mind tell you you can dream, you cannot afford to play it safe.
I had six months left of my 27th year of life and I was prepared to do something “big”. At least that’s what I told myself. In reality, I was still playing it safe. In reality, I was prepared to do something bigger than what I had been doing, but that was the extent of it’s magnitude. It was different and it was more.But not quite, big.
Thus the pressing of the Spirit of God to complete The Yoke of Perfection.
The Yoke of Perfection seemed like a small project. It did not break any academic writing thresholds, it would not be an assigned reading in ENGL 101, anywhere. It holds no new theological truths that will stir up religious scholars and create waves of new theological beliefs or practices. It is my truth, my experience with the one whom I recognize as God, Savior of my soul, my ever-present help, Father, and friend. It is a testament to the experiential element of walking in rhythm with the one I call Christ and how His love has transformed—and is still transforming—me from the inside out. I did not know how many people would care, nor did I believe that people would. Yet, it was my assignment and I was only able to breath again once it was completed.
I knew that in writing this, I would have to expose some of the things that I had buried or simply just chose not to address. People who are close to me would read my words and perhaps conversations I did not think were necessary or desirable were going to ensue. I was going to have to shake up some things that had become comfortable if I really wanted my words to have any meaning. If I’m honest, as vulnerable as my book is, there are still areas that I could not completely release because of the sensitivity of their nature and the importance of their roles in my life. In any case, I had to allow myself to sit in brokenness so that I could heal and move forward.
In high school, a friend of a friend who believed we should also be friends (so we could all be one happy family) asked me a series of questions to get to know me better. I will never forget his short note to me as it was filled with such depth and care, I have yet to meet manby people who hold his same vibrancy and adoration for people and for life. He didn’t ask my favorite color, type of music, book—you know, the ice breaker questions. He asked me, “if you could have any superpower, what would it be?” Perhaps it wasn’t his question, but his response that stuck with me forever. I told him that if I could, I wanted to heal people. He told me, “you can do that. That IS your superpower. And it fits you, so well.” As ten years of being out of high school have passed and even the communications of social media have not permitted the beginning of an adolescent friendship to flourish, I was reminded of and grateful for his words as I released my own for the world to read.
Beyond book sales and popularity, what has touched my heart the most is the response of healing taking place in the lives of those who read my book and did not see me, but saw and felt the love of God, heard His voice and were moved to make the steps toward healing. I thought of my friend and thanked God that even when I wasn’t thinking about it, He was revealing my purpose within His plan and words spoken to me ten years ago would serve as confirmation for the path I had now began to follow.
I’ve always wanted to help people. It’s taken me some time to figure out how I would do that, but I know it is not by any might or power of my own. I have chosen to live my life in submission to God and move by His word and instruction for me. This has required me to look at every life experience beyond what the natural eye can see and even endure some undesirable tests and trials for the benefit of others. It has placed me in position to always be in position to move when He tells me. It has forced me to never be complacent and more than anything, it has grown my love and passion for His children that I cannot afford to risk your healing at the expense of my comfort. It’s my surrender.
Most people hear the word surrender and think of defeat. Perhaps this is because what we know of surrendering is usually in battle or warfare and it is giving in to our opposition. But surrendering to God is not anything like giving up in a fight. In fact, surrendering to God is choosing to win. It’s choosing to never have to fight a battle again. It’s knowing that being in your position is your role, but He has done the fighting for you. It’s choosing to put on battle gear that will never fail you. It is not always easy, it will not always feel this way, but it is knowing that the God you serve is bigger than anything and everything. He holds you, your future, and He will never lead you anywhere where He cannot protect you.
I had to release control. I had to surrender my “safe” to reach my best. And I’m not there yet. But this book was my first step. I do not know where you are in life, what is pressing on you, what more you desire. What I do know is that God does. He may not give you the answer you want, but who knows you better than the one that created you?
It may feel scary, but in His arms, walking in His will, is the safest place to be.
I thank every single person who has purchased my book and has shared their stories. As much as I poured into writing it, you have poured back into me, encouraging me to continue to press forward. I pray that even as you’ve read this post, you desire to seek God and all He has for you. Writing is my gift, my passion, but pleasing God—that is my joy.
May it be yours, as well.