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Following Fearlessly When the Stakes Are Raised

Last month, after my husband declared his candidacy for State Rep, a man from church pulled me aside to ask if I was worried about how this would affect our family. "What with the dirt-digging on you guys and all," he said.

When I said no and "rested" my case by asking him if he even knew the name of our current rep's wife or kids (he didn't even know the name of our current rep!), I meant it. I was not worried. Of all the things that stressed me about an impending campaign, an invasion of family privacy was not on the list.

For one reason: I expose my family for a living, essentially. Whether in my books (the one that's out there or the one that's coming), my blogs, magazine articles, or when I'm out speaking to women, I share my messy life (which includes my messy family) as openly and honestly as I can. While this is not to say I share every last juicy detail or share every private moment, I do try to drag as many skeletons out of the closet as possible. It's the only thing I know to kill off those otherwise powerful skeletons. It's the way I feel called to live. And it's the way I feel called to lead as I encourage others to do the same.

And that's been fine—great actually—for the kind of leadership I've experienced thus far. But this man's question raised a new question for me: Would this type of "tell all" leadership always be appropriate? How would I know when to stop or pull back?

Because of this, that man's question has stayed with me. And the more I've thought about it, the more worried I've become. One night as I reread a blog post I had written a while ago that was particularly rant-y and in which I seem particularly angry, I thought, Oh, this won't be good….

And I started wondering what else I've written or said that might be taken out of context (or even within context) that could make me a "political liability." I realized that if the campaign did get to that dirty awful place where opponents wanted to go digging for dirt, in my "ministry" I've essentially passed around our dirt for all the world to see. Pretty scary.

But before these worries got to full-blown fear, I stopped, took deep breaths, and prayed my go to prayer: "Help!" Almost immediately, I sensed a familiar Breeze waft through my panicky brain: Don't be afraid.

The thing I love about that Breeze blowing around is that it also clears the cobwebs muck everything up. Because after that, I saw clearer. My husband and I—in our wildly different endeavors—commit ourselves as best we can to follow God's call for our lives. I believe God's called me to write and speak—often really raw honest and potentially embarrassing stuff. And my husband believes God's called him to run this race—and to be as honest and honorable as he can. Thankfully, we also believe this about this other. And we seek to support and encourage each other where we can.

But still, questions remain. We may know where we're called and what we're to do, but at times it becomes increasingly difficult. Like the stakes have been raised. Maybe the plot has thickened.

So I feel like I need help: How do you follow God fearlessly during these "raised" and "thickened" seasons when it seems there is so much to fear?

September01, 2009 at 5:17 PM

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