Monday, October 24, 2011

31 Days: Letting Go of My Silence



It is with much reservation that I sit to type yet another word on Letting Go. More than all the others, this is the night that I most wanted to fling it all into deep waters and title my post "Letting Go of Letting Go".

It's been 24 days, and that's something. But I have nearly a week to go, and that's a whole 'nother something. So bear with me, if you would. We're in the homestretch. Maybe there's still a thing or two to learn.

I was alone in my car, driving to St. Louie when I knew for sure that I needed to write 31 Days of Letting Go. It all came to me in a rush and I jotted precariously at stop lights, returning home with a list where only 2/3 of the items made any sense at all.

Still, every single night, there's been something more to say.

I write these posts just as much for me as for you. I'm writing, as best I can, in real time. Each post is an honest assessment of what was likely weighing on my mind or lunging to be set free on that particularly day. Tonight, when I want so badly to just pack it all up, I'm reminded of where all of this really began.

It feels like a long time ago, and it was. Two years ago? Almost two? I don't know. All I remember is that I was sitting at my beloved Mazatlan with my friend Brooke. I'm not sure what preceded the conversation, but I remember saying, "I don't know why I don't blog much about my faith. I'm just not comfortable doing it. It' s not my thing."

I kid you not that within weeks, all bets were off and I was laying myself bare. What I didn't know that night, with my hand salty in the chip basket, was that I was months away from the upending of my world. I didn't have a stinking clue. Something small inside me shifted that night, then grew. I can't imagine this place any other way, now. How could I leave the biggest part of me unsaid? The real truth is, once I started talking, the truth got bigger. I put the words to page and then I fell in love. Truth is intoxicating like that. The more I told, the more I thought. The more I thought, the more I wanted.

What I have come to believe is that there's no solidarity in silence. I've never been encouraged by something I didn't hear. And in my vow of silence, I missed the most. I failed to really hear the bells clanging on the inside. I knew they were in there somewhere, but I never called them out to play. I didn't come face-to-face with them. We just kept to ourselves.

Sharing these closest places of my heart has felt risky. I've felt over-exposed, like I'm wearing the mini and the midriff, which is just never a good idea. I've had the urge to reign it in. I tried to tell myself on that long, glinting stretch across Illinois that I couldn't commit to 31 days of anything, and even if I could, it would have to be something funny or fun. After all, what could be more of a downer than day after day of letting go? 31 Days of Soup or Garlands sounded a whole lot more appealing.

I've missed yammering about the food I'm eating and the jokes I'm telling myself. But there's always November.

For now, I've been swept into a story, and I'm the only girl who can tell it, so that's what I'm here to do. And do. And do.

We have much to let go of, homies. It's stretching and scary and lonely and dizzying. But we won't be left empty-handed when the smoke clears. We'll look around at the cleaned out heart and notice how much bigger the place looks when the clutter's been hauled to the curb.

Share if you'd like, but promise me that you'll think about it hard and true: what is your silence costing you right now? What is the story that you're supposed to be telling? What is it that you need yourself to hear?


*For the rest of the Letting Go series, click here.

51 comments:

  1. What is the story you are meant to be telling right now...oh, that is such a good line. And such a thought provoking thing to say.

    PS If anyone would look good in a mini and a midriff...it's you : )

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  2. Oh, and your leaves? They take my breath away. Maybe not as much as a mini and a midriff coupled together would, but take it away none the less : )

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  3. 31 days of...SOUP? does NOT sound more appealing. Garlands? Geesh Martha. My favorite writing of yours is your heart writing, homie. You keep it real. Even if real isn't making you look like Martha Stewart...and that's why I think we all love you. You have the talent and the humility, so we can feel like we're friends with the talent. Of course, I'll stick with you for 31 days of Soup, should you feel so inclined...

    "we both like soup. We both like talking, and not talking"
    -Best in Show
    BOOM!

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  4. "There is no solidarity in silence" - I love that. This exact topic (as with so many of your other topics) has been close to my heart and mind lately. Thank you for your continued words of empowerment!

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  5. phew. i'm so glad you're sticking to this letting go. i kid you not, every evening, around 10:30, i think "shannan probably has her post up, MUST go read it asap!"

    thank goodness you share your heart. i need to hear it.

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  6. Good stuff. I loved your blog before but when you started sharing your faith story I loved it even more. I guess because it was you that came out. the true you. If God is our life I don't know how we can't share. Thanks for sharing and I am loving the series. So timely. :)

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  7. i love your letting go series, it has me thinking! thank you
    olivia

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  8. I know I'm a nobody in the big world of blogging but I just wanted to let you know how much I've enjoyed every word of your series - the raw honesty and the words you've spoken that so many of us have nodded our heads along to. I think this 31 days thing is harder now that there are a zillion and one blogs so there are so few comments anymore. I am guilty. So I'm taking the time to stop, comment, and tell you how much I love this and love that you've done this series and stuck with it. It's not easy and your topic has been wonderful.

    xo

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  9. You always give me so much to think about...serious food for thought.

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  10. Oy, why did you have to write that last paragraph? WHY??? :) I love this series, I love your writing.

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  11. I've enjoyed every word x's 24 days...It's real and it's honest and I like you being you. This 31 day challenge is a CHALLENGE!! I've been playing along too although I didn't link up with any of the big groups. It's been revealing and personal, but I did it for me...'cause that's what blogs are for sometimes... xoxoxoxox

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  12. I am so glad this isn't a blog about soup. I'd have to quit you and I love you so that would hurt. Love this series. Now you've got me thinking about a topic I have been dragging my feet on.

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  13. I would love to comment on every one of your posts, they are all so inspiring!! I usually don't have the time to spill my heart on what your words do to me. Thank you for using the gift God has given you to minister to me and everyone else! So, as you are feeling fatigued with finishing this series, remember...so many of us are waiting to hear your God-breathed words! Thanks for sharing! (I'm also looking forward to hearing about your good eats in Nov. with a side of a good Knock Knock joke thrown in with some fashion.)
    Love you!
    j
    P.S. What a treat that we both got to be in SS at the same time! :)

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  14. i love you. in a non letting go kind of way. come soup or garlands or heart wrenching tears. i love it. and i hear the subtle whispers of a soul changing colors around here. and that is the best kind of autumn there is.

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  15. Hmm. And you've got me deep thinking once again. 31 Days of Deep Thinking. That's what you're posting.

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  16. oh, this is really good. soul food good.
    my prayer these last several months has simply been "tune my heart to sing thy grace". truly the entire "come thou fount" hymn. i have a story. his story. redemption and freedom. he is slowly showing me when and how to best break my silence. i'm feeling comfortable here, in the not silence. it's brought more healing than i ever dreamed!! and i'm just gettin' started.
    praise jesus.

    love you! excellent series, i will not stop telling you that;)

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  17. okay you got me. i wrote a post tonight. posted it and then felt like it didn't end the best. i had put out a challenge. i truly thought i'd get more comments if i took it off. truth is i haven't been getting hardly any comments and as much as i try and play it cool - sometimes i'm just like comment already!! i think it's because the Lord is trying to teach me that HE is my audience of One. i don't need to beg for affirmation from people, i NEED to write and LIVE what I believe He is calling me too and I'm going back to add the line I deleted. that's me laying it out! thanks for posting shannan!

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  18. Girl you are really bringing this home, making the plays ... affecting my life. This is your third post in these 23 days that I can honestly say has challenged me to my core. And has hit me right where I am. I don't consider myself a blogger but I think it might be because of the fact I don't even know where to begin. How to break through the silence. About my faith. Yes. However possibly more importantly about how I even deserve to claim that faith with all the imperfections that I feel own me. Yikes - see what you 've gone and done! Thanks for breaking the silence. And doing it so eloquently.

    Oh and I love the leaves photos ( and all the photos that have been accompanying these posts,)

    xo ellie

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  19. I love it every time I come here. We all get to catch little bits of what you are letting go of. Brave girl, you.

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  20. Stick a fork in me....I'm done. Letting go...it hurts, it heals, it grows us up. I feel like I'm not sure how well i even truly know myself tonight. What if I REALLY let go...what would that look like? I suppose it's different for every body. What if I let go within my friendships, my relationships...all the walls, expectations I assume people have put on me...I just let them all go and just be. Wow...this ones a deep thinker sister friend. The kind that requires an entire pot of coffee to ponder. Keep writing...please do. Keep listening as He knocks on your heart and whispers through your day. Keep writing...

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  21. Another one straight from the heart, straight to my heart. You are so right, it is so hard to talk about faith and put yourself out there but when you are honest it rings true and it ministers. You have spent October challenging me to be more honest with myself and my readers. Thank you for hanging in there...it has made a difference. Patty

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  22. Thank you for THIS 31 days. It has been just what this heart has needed over and over again. This is what I have copied into my notable quotes today: "What I have come to believe is that there's no solidarity in silence. I've never been encouraged by something I didn't hear." There is something for me there. God is working on me.

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  23. You moved me to tears this morning. Thank you for the thought provoking, soul searching posts each day.
    Abbie

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  24. I am also being challenged to let go of my silence. I'm in a bible study now on discipleship. It's meant to prepare me to disciple someone else, which I didn't know when I signed up for it. God knew though. It's scary to break the silence, but I'm learning that if I can start talking, it will not just be my voice that is heard. God will speak through me. I am not alone so I must be bold about sharing my God's love and His restorative power.

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  25. Wow, this is an amazing post. I have so much silence to let go of, it's downright scary! Love you lots.
    xo

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  26. WHOO HOOO!

    -This is your cheering section-

    You're doing exactly as you should be doing.

    You are amazing.

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  27. You got me on this one. Where it hurts. I am so full of excuses to why I keep quiet in regards to faith: actions speak louder than words, I don't want to turn people off, I am afaid of looking stupid, and of course putting into words what I believe means I have to take the time and really think about that, because I don't want to make a mistake and say the wrong thing. But truly, you have shown how my excuses are just that. Nothing but excuses. How you have caused me to think and ponder and read and pray by speaking out is proof that I need to do a bit more talking myself. Thanks for the lack of silence.

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  28. I've been sitting silent in the commenting sidelines. It's "dangerous" for me to be here. I get so excited about what you're saying and it tempts me to run ahead and take matters into my hands when I know I need to wait. But then I remember... you too had a long season of waiting, even after you said "yes" to God's plans for you. Trusting His timing...easier said then done!

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  29. This really resonated with me! I remember so clearly the first time I blogged about my faith. I was so scared + nervous. I need to do it more. I ask God often to inspire me with a faith driven post. I believe in his timing. I have loved your series so much....truly lingered over each word. That being said I look forward to November too!

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  30. I just found your blog and am glad I did. This is exactly where I am right now: letting go of my secrets and finding my voice. I revealed something very distressing and painful about my life on my blog yesterday and the response itself has been so healing. Good for you for encouraging people with your own truth. (Highly recommend the new beautiful, vulnerable book Grumble Hallelujah - can find on Amazon - for anyone who needs help letting go of their baggage and finding a way to love the life they're living.)

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  31. Really. So this is why my faith is growing. Because I'm talking about it!!! :)

    Honestly, this series has left me reading, re-reading & reading again, with little to say & MUCH to ponder....
    So, if I may indulge in the superficial for a moment since it requires much less thought. Ha!
    I've heard you say Mazatlan so many times (& since we share a love of Mexican cuisine) today I googled it. It looks like there are only 2 in the Heartland, NOT nearby at all! :( So, I'm wondering how, if at all it compares to Carlos O'Kelly's (my current fav).
    Probably NOT as authentic would be my guess! :)

    As always thanks for sharing your heart & blessing us!
    Your Mama must be proud!

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  32. I have written down those last three questions. I'm glad you asked them, though I cringed when I saw them :)

    Thank you for asking them.

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  33. I read your blog every morning . . . and this series couldn't have come at a better time. Thank you.

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  34. "Truth is intoxicating like that. The more I told, the more I thought. The more I thought, the more I wanted." You have perfectly explained what I didn't know how to put into words. Thank you for laying it all open and bare and sharing your letting go season. This, this crazy, unpredictable letting go is only the beginning. Abide in Him. You're going to love loving Him deep and true.

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  35. I really stink at explaining, persuading, etc. So I have to learn to (what's that over-used phrase?) "let go, and let God". No wonder it's used so often! If God will speak through me, then what I am worried about??

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  36. I should've written a series titled "31 Lessons from my Toddler" 'cause this pint sized kiddo just doesn't quit. Because of him, I wrote a tiny bit today about being bold...letting go of silence when it matters most.

    Keep writing, you. Although, I love soup, this is a whole lot better. Sometimes harder to swallow, but definitely better.

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  37. Oh, how your words speak to my heart so so often. I am certain that the Lord is using your words to work in me. It's making me wrestle with things and that is good. It is SO good.

    We've had a lot of change, and heartache in the past year and a half, all of which has stunk to go through, but has made us grow in our faith and learn about who God really is. There are days when your words are my thoughts put to "paper". Thank you for sharing so honestly.

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  38. Wow! Love it! Lately, I feel like God's been asking me to let go of expectations. And He's asking for the ones that I think are reasonable and seem fair to have. LOL! Of course He's asking for those because they have become idols. I've looked for those expectations to be met ahead of looking to Him. What could I be missing by hanging on to expectations that aren't getting met anyway and are not bearing any fruit? I want to trust Him completely! Thanks for inspiring us to keep it real!

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  39. Sister Friend.

    Would you PLEASE leave a girl's insides alone?

    Puh-leaz.

    xxoo

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  40. Oh my, girl! I’m so glad you decided to write about letting go instead of wreaths or something like it. I love your gift of words and love that you’re sharing them. I’m letting go of the life I had planned in my mind. It’s just not working. I’m embracing the path dealt and can see it brighten with every step. I can relate to every post you’ve written about letting go because I’m there as well…not exactly in the same way of course ;)

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  41. The funny thing about following the God who nudges the heck out of us is there is always a bigger picture. I cannot even imagine the people your words are touching tonight, this week, this month. I know I have been inspired by you...your intense passion for Christ.

    We are also an adoptive family, one that was born through foster care and so many of the things you write about are similar to my experiences, even if it is only in the over all theme. We all need to take a good look at what keeps us where we are. So many things can come from letting go...so many things. Four and a half years ago I surrendered my fear of abandonment that kept me from letting people in and with that God opened our hearts and doors to kids in the foster care system. It seems so unreal sometimes that "I" would take the kind of leap to take in a child, love them fearlessly and know they may very well leave. Some kids came and did leave...and three have not. On Thurs we will adopt a son...he's almost 5, been with us since he was four mths. This past Feb we adopted a daughter, she just turned 5 and in Dec we will adopt her sibling...she is two. These precious angels along with our two bio children are proof of His work in our hearts. God WILL do amazing things with you when you let go...He is doing some pretty amazing things through you and your story. Blessings, Peace and Grace to you and your family.

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  42. it's just that i'm over worrying about the risk. i want to take the leap. i'm sure that's where i'm being led. and at any precipice, i am just flat out terrified to take the step off. even though i know this what i should do. eegads.

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  43. We all have a story to share. It is a matter of letting go & saying Yes to Him.
    I will be sharing "the story" next weekend at a women’s retreat. I will once again let go even though my knees will feel weak. For I know He is strong. This story will help other women feel free because so many feel alone and feel the shame. I pray those women will say Yes to God and learn to let go of their hurts.

    What a blessing it has been to find your blog. Thank you so much for heading toward the finish line in this series. Keep shining for Him!!
    Rachel

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  44. Two things. First I was asked to write our infertility story and how my faith has helped us through this journey to share on another's blog - I've been avoiding it. I need to stop being silent and get to writing.

    Second thing - I'm reading Kisses from Katie. I bought it the night I read about it on your blog. I've been reading it every spare moment I've had since then. Life changing. I want to love people the way she loves - the way God loves us. Thank you.

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  45. wow. love this. the truth is intoxicating and hard and beautiful. and you tell it so well, friend.

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  46. Oh I'm back baby. Let the record show that I'm leaving a comment. :-) Shabby, you've only got a few more days of the lettin' go chatter and then you can get all random up on us. This is important. You is important. We all need to learn to let go - every freaking day. I've been silent of late. I worry that I yammer too much about losing weight on my blog. Talk about letting go. Law. I've let go of everything. Wheat, sugar, dairy. Law. Now that's some letting go. We need a conflab soon. xo

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  47. I've been going through this "letting go of silence" this month on my blog too...and for the past few months in real life. It's HARD. It's scary to open up and be so real, and I find myself letting words out and then feeling like I need to grab them and hide them before someone else sees or hears. But I am finding freedom in letting go. And I've really been enjoying your series!

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  48. Love it. I'm so thankful you "broke the silence." I have a feeling there's more inside me that needs to be said as well.

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  49. Oh. My! This is just how I feel!

    ..."the upending of my world...I didn't have a stinking clue. Something small inside me shifted [that night], then grew. I can't imagine this place any other way, now. How could I leave the biggest part of me unsaid? The real truth is, once I started talking, the truth got bigger. I put the words to page and then I fell in love. Truth is intoxicating like that. The more I told, the more I thought. The more I thought, the more I wanted."

    You nailed it, girl! You nailed it! And I totally *get* this. In so many ways.

    Rich blessings as He shows you more of your heart--the one He designed, crafted and is molding still. {hugs.}

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  50. Leave it to you to write something that rocks so many to their core...I had to let go of my silence 7 years ago..and it opened up a whole new world to me, but being so vulnerable can be difficult, at times it is easier to be silent...but I am learning and in that learning their is an effort to be more of ME...take more risks and let all the "ick" go! you are da bomb girl! :)

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  51. This post definitely hit home with me...

    once you put your thoughts about God and His purposes for your life into words...its like the ink and paper (or computer screen) is staring back at you, holding you accountable to live the life that you write about...scary stuff, but so invigorating as well!

    Thanks for sharing your heart=)

    -Adriane@ fruitfulhomejournal.blogspot.com

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