Tuesday, November 5, 2013

choosing better: on settling.

HE says to me:
Blind surrender.
If sight is your judge, such temporal things you trust in.

Well, that's part of what HE said to me this past Wednesday night.  This fall, I had the opportunity to teach a women's class at Mayfair.  It was a scary, exciting, beautiful, humbling, delightful experience.  One for which I am very grateful.

The class was about thriving in GOD's story, and we covered a lot in those nine weeks!  We discussed the enemy's lies, our insecurities, and how comparison is the thief of joy.  We talked about the power of speaking life and truth, to ourselves and to others.  We spent time searching the Word of GOD and filling up on truth.  We talked about choosing better and not settling for the lesser things, and we spent a couple of weeks exploring the beauty and depth of redemption: the hope that is an anchor for our souls.  It was a really special thing to be a part of that class.  I truly believe that GOD guided me as I walked with these women through those two months.

However, I knew that I wasn't intended to have the last word.

HE was.

So the majority of our class time was spent quietly listening for GOD-- writing what HE was whispering to each of our hearts about our own, unique, individual piece of HIS story.

Now honestly, I wasn't really sure how that quiet time would be received, but I knew there was no other way for me to give each individual in the class what they needed...
Only HE could do it.

So I sat-- scared, embarrassed, fighting fear & the enemy's whispers of shame-- and I prayed.

LORD, please speak to these women.

You can trust ME to be all they need.

And then HE said it:

Blind surrender.
If sight is your judge, such temporal things you trust in.
The unseen places are MY domain.
The most beautiful things are found there.

And I knew HE was right.
(Of course HE is right-- HE is GOD.)

So I trusted HE was moving in that room in ways I couldn't see, and I allowed myself to enter the conversation I could feel we were about to have...

LORD, why do I choke the life out of the things I delight in?
YOU don't choke the life out of me.

Trust, my daughter.
I do not fear, because I know I AM able.

Trust ME to satisfy
and the things you delight in 
will be free to flourish.


Beauty is when you let go, Jenna.

(Now at this point in the prayer time, I experienced a very special moment.  A sweet woman who has become a dear friend, leaned across the table, absolutely beaming, and showed me what GOD was telling her.  It was beautiful.  All about letting go.  And rest... It was so special... so beautiful that HE would say some of the same things to each of us.)

Let go.
Beautiful surrender.
That is what HE was leading me to.

Our conversation continued..

You are so inclined to get restless, Jenna.
Root yourself and rest.

LORD, does this mean I should buy a house?
Get my masters?
Trust YOU as I..... settle...

Jenna, settle isn't always a bad word.


Settle isn't always a bad word.
That got my attention.

Maybe it's just me, but it seems like the word settle is often used in a negative way.

"Don't settle for less than you deserve."
"Don't settle for a job that isn't fulfilling."
"Don't settle for a guy that doesn't treat you right.  Or love you well.  Or open the door for you..." (and every other thing that people say when giving girls advise about finding "the one" and such.)

It's true.
I don't want to settle for lesser things.
I don't think GOD wants me to settle for lesser things.
But am I supposed to maybe settle for something?

I looked up the definition of settle, and I discovered that the word is only negative if the object associated with it is negative.  Maybe we've just been associating the word with the wrong objects!

There are many definitions for the word settle.
Here are a few:
  - to decide, arrange, or agree
  - to come to rest
  - to gather, collect, or become fixed in a particular place, direction, etc
  - to become calm or composed
  - to become firm or compact, as the ground
To settle down:
  - to become established in some routine after a period of independence or indecision.
  - to become calm or quiet
  - to apply oneself to serious work
To settle for:
  - to be satisfied with
To settle into:
  - to become established in

I belong to a generation that hates the idea of settling.
And we're terrible at it.
We can't settle on a major in college.
We can't settle on a job after college.
We can't even settle on weekend plans!

We hate commitment.
We hate being tied down.
Because there's always the possibility of something "better."
There's always the possibility that we could choose something, only to find that the next thing was going to be what we wanted more.

So guys enter serious relationships, freak out, and bail.
And girls enter serious relationships, freak out, and bail.
So people take jobs, and quit jobs, and leave jobs, looking for that arbitrary idea that there is more.
And everyone is looking for something or someone, and there are seemingly endless possibilities that are oh so seemingly accessible, and we think if we wait long for it enough we can have it all.


That is the lie my generation has bought into.
That is the lie that I have bought into.

Waiting for the next best thing NEVER gets me the best thing, because I'm always passing up what I really want waiting for what I think I really want.

I never get to enjoy that which I hope for if I let the fear of missing out rob me of all that is gifted to me in the present.

Do you hear this?
Do you see this around you?
In you?
The flawed logic?
The restless, aimless wanderers that, whether they seem settled or not, they are never settled because they are always looking.

We are a people who never come to rest.
We never seem to decide.
We are scared to establish.
Scared to lose that "freedom."

It is a false sense of freedom.

When I am afraid to settle, I am a slave to my fears.
When I am afraid to choose, I am a slave to indecision.

"To settle for" is "to be satisfied with."
If I settle for nothing, I am not satisfied with anything.

There is a quote that has been hanging on wall ever since I graduated college:

"When you make a choice, you accept the limitations of that choice.  To accept limitation requires maturity.  The child has not yet learned that it can't have everything.  What it sees it wants.  What it does not get it screams for.  It has to grow up to realize that saying yes to happiness often means saying no to yourself."  - Elisabeth Elliot

My heart is inclined to grow restless.
It is easily enticed by all that could be.

But I'm convinced that all the "could be" is making me miss out on now.

So maybe I should tell my restlessness no.

Maybe a lot of us should.



That was HIS Word for me.
And I heard HIM.

So I make my declaration of trust.
Surrendered and waiting.
Trusting HIM enough to choose.
And to live fully now.

I think my heart is ready for the rest that comes with settling.
Settling in my heart, in my spirit, and in my mind.
I want to see what more can come of the seeds we've been planting,
as I let the roots rest in the soil in which they've been placed.


  1. I absolutely love the last paragraph of this post. "...let the roots rest in the soil in which they've been planted." - You nailed it.

    1. Thanks Amanda! Looking forward to being in community with you in this whole writing thing!

  2. Beautifully written Jenna! I loved being in your class!! Unfortunately, I ended up with baby hall duty the last 4 weeks and didn't get to finish. I look forward to you teaching again in the future! God is using you in a powerful way!!!

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Mandy! And thanks for coming to the class when you could! I'm looking forward to getting to know you better!

  3. "When you make a choice, you accept the limitations of that choice."

    Think how that applies to Jesus.

    Didn't he make a choice to become flesh, to incarnate himself in a particular time and place, among a particular people, speaking a particular language with a particular worldview?

    In making this choice, he accepts the limitations of this choice...and yet, by making this choice, he transcends the limitations of choice as well.

    All of this to say, if Jesus is our model, then accepting the limitations of choice might be the only way to ultimately transcend those limitations.

    Good stuff! Keep writing!

    1. Oooo... I like that, Jason! I'd never thought about the fact that even JESUS accepted limitations... And in that, HE was able to do so much more than we could have ever imagined. How cool that HE offers to do the same thing for us!

  4. Jenna, I'm so glad you're rooting yourself. Having you around as an example is so helpful to my life!