A few weekends ago Jeremy Cowart invited creatives and the like for an evening of ideas and discussion. The theme of the evening was Liminal: relating to a transitional or initial stage of a process.
I still don’t think I’ve finished processing all the richness of wisdom Jeremy had to share on everything from dealing with roadblocks, taking captive ideas, and surrounding yourself with community; but I did leave there changed. Let me jump back a little. Slightly over a year ago was the first time I’d even heard of Jeremy Cowart. He happened to be speaking at our church for the weekend, and when he did, I was blown away. I remember turning to my husband afterwards and telling him I was ready to jump. See, at that time Jeremy was debuting his I’m Possible video and boy did it resonate with me. The one thing that I knew I was supposed to be doing, and wasn’t…write a book and go into ministry. Fast forward a year later, and I’m still writing and almost laughing at myself still trying to figure out what ‘ministry’ looks like. (But that’s another story.)
That evening, with Jeremy and a mere 100 other folks, helped propel me further into my purpose. He asked us all to define the liminal space that we’d been straddling…think about what was keeping us from moving forward, or holding us back. Even if it was simply our own stubborn persistence to not move forward. I knew my space, and I was annoyed to admit it. Last Fall, something very specific was spoken over me: God wants you in front of the camera, not behind it. I laughed, awkwardly, and shunned it off. And of course, true to His word, multiple opportunities to be in front of the camera, crowds, and community starting rolling in. I stumbled, laughed at myself, and honestly was just myself. What I didn’t realize in doing that was how many individuals were going to feel impacted, changed, inspired but my scary, yet simple act of obedience. Something I knew I’d been dragging my heels on specifically was actually having my picture taken. It’s kind of hard to be a public speaker if there’s never a photo of you around. Surprisingly, people actually want to see your face. Go figure. So when Jeremy also announced that he’d be taking our portraits at the end of the evening, I knew I couldn’t escape it. For someone who absolutely loves capturing beauty, creating beauty, and freezing time – I have. the.hardest.time.in.front.of.a.lens. Seriously, my brain gets the dumb and I can’t stop giggling. Jeremy asked us to make a pose, face, expression, whatever that spoke to our liminal space and how we felt about it…so when it was my turn, I sat and awkwardly, with as much confidence as I could muster, looked the camera straight through the lens. What he captured was more real than I could have ever anticipated. I saw me, and I no longer saw the fear, shame, or meekness that I’d let hold me back. I saw joy. I saw confidence, and most surprisingly, I saw the beginning.
A new vulnerability and a new confidence. A grace filled bravery to move forward in writing, to take ownership of the roll in ministry that I knew I’d been called to. Yes, it’s still messy, and no I certainly don’t have it all figured out. But I’m moving out of that liminal space, and into my purpose, and fear and shame can stay in the darkness where they belong.