Someone recently asked me, "Have you changed?" I was rather surprised to be asked this at a professional meeting by someone who has seen me only twice before. Is it that obvious? I'm still Ruth Barron. My husband, Joshua, and I still work as missionaries in Kenya. We still help the churches learn to teach well using their own stories rather than lectures. I'm still a wife, mother (five kids now, not three), homemaker, homeschooler, but yes I have changed. As I thought about what to write about myself, I realized that I want you to see the transformation, the before and after shots.
I was tired all the time. I felt as though I was dragging an anchor behind me as I worked. I spent all my energy trying to fight myself to make myself do what I "ought to do." I couldn't play. Guilt and pleasure were tangled up in me, so I felt guilty about doing the things I enjoyed. I knew more about what I didn't like than what I liked.
I was full of fear, and I couldn't rejoice. Do you know how many times the Bible forbids the one and commands the other? I was a failure on both counts. I knew I was a bad Christian and assured God I would be a rotten missionary because I also got angry too easily. I couldn't enjoy myself, my marriage, or my children.
I was afraid of people. I was surprised when people were friends with me. It must have been because they didn't really know me. I didn't reveal myself to people. I wanted to be a writer, but to do so would reveal who you are. Never ever do that. You could be wrong. I expected condemnation.
I was afraid of God. I served Him. I tried to please Him. I knew I was failing. I couldn't stop trying to give Him more and to do more for Him. I was a slave. When I tried to tell people they should follow God too, they thought it sounded too hard.
I knew, being a woman, that I was second class to God. He shouldn't share things with me, and even if He insisted upon doing so, I should remind Him to go tell a man. I knew I shouldn't write about it. It would be arrogant of me.
I have energy. I no longer feel as though I'm pulling an anchor behind me. In fact, if I don't want to do something I feel I ought to do, I put it aside to rest and play. Then I come back and do it in half the time. Now, I thoroughly enjoy what I enjoy. And I like so many things now.
My confidence has grown such that I no longer cower before fear. I can REJOICE! I don't get angry easily, and I am able to let go of anger! I love who I am. I love being married to Joshua. Parenting and homeschooling and being with my children is amazing.
I'm not afraid of people. I expect and enjoy friendship. I enjoy myself, so why wouldn't they? I reveal myself. I'm writing like a volcano erupting. I don't worry about being wrong. I am very good. That's who I am. Having a wrong idea can't change who I am. A wrong idea is where I am, and I can move. The journey is fun. I expect understanding and kindness.
I love God. I can rest in His presence. I know He is pleased with me just because I'm His daughter. I don't have to earn His pleasure. I give to Him when it's from my heart. I do much less for Him, but what I do is so much more effective. I'm His Daughter. When I talk to people about God, they say I make it sound easy.
I am writing this blog.