Nothing to Prove by Jennie Allen
For the last 30 days I have been face deep in Jennie Allen’s book, Nothing to Prove. I picked this book up with every intention and expectation to be fed. And here’s why… For the last 3 years of my life I tussled with the idea of being passionate, empathetic, a writer, a creator, a speaker but mostly, to be led by God. January 2017 what did not seem like pressure was exactly that, self-induced pressure. If you’re familiar with me then you know I began this journey as a writer in 2014. I started my first blog Unscripted1994 (thanks to everyone who supported this), then onto Moore to Life. Each held the same purpose of bringing people together despite the many losses we take in life. Summer 2014 I was stuck in my college town working 2 part-time jobs and going to school full-time. What started off as loneliness would then shift into solitude… And man, God was there that summer. He led me create something that was a reflection of His grace for me. With the construction of Unscripted 1994 I was able to touch many lives through my writing, live poetry, vision board parties, interviews, you name it.
Looking back and seeing how God has used me by laying my vulnerabilities, insecurities, and SIN out for all of my closet friends, family, university, and social media friends to see for the first time. WOW! (I’m still in shock at this very moment). I think this is the first time I looked at it from this perspective. Before Unscripted 1994 I considered myself to be a girl who was a self declared social butterfly, who loved people and people loved her but after a couple of life’s curveballs (breakups, heartbreaks, losses, failures) I stopped seeing the good in people and the good in God. That’s the truth. It’s not to say that I no longer believed in God or Jesus Christ but instead I only saw the suffering that came from knowing and loving Jesus. I ran to writing because it was the only thing that gave me purpose. Hm. Funny, right? What seemed like something that I used to cope with all of those curveballs, God had preordained to pull me out of each and every one of my doubts through a blog. Ha, this is insane. I did not know what God was doing in me at the time.
Remember when I said I stopped seeing God… Yeah, I wrote and wrote my problems away. Out in the open for all 2,000 + Facebook friends to see, I stood on stages confessed my sins through poetry, I spoke at vision board parties about my doubts and insecurities. Soon Unscripted 1994 would come to an end when I realized I couldn’t keep up with the blogging community. I started comparing my story to others and thought “my story is just like hers and hers and hers and hers and hers”. I no longer had anything to write about because at this point it’s 2015 and everyone has problems. I told myself my writing was not good enough and that being a poet meant more than getting up on stage just because you wrote from the depths of your heart. There wasn’t a day that went that I didn’t question what I was doing or why the heck was I even doing it.
So… there you have it…
Fast forward to the last 13 months of my life I was back on knees, 5 am prayer with my parents, studying the Word, living freely (so I thought), praying and moving in the spirit (didn’t understand it at the time but it was tough and eventually I talked myself out of doing it). I created more and more, and Moore to Life. It started spring 2016 with the How to be Woman Brunch launch of my new redefined brand. This was a beautiful day friends and strangers, mothers and daughters showed up for an open panel discussion on everything that Moore to Life would embody. I was my most fearless, purpose filled self. Summer came and each day I battled between hosting another event and fear that Moore to Life would be just a dead end. summer ended and fall semester began…
October had arrived then MTL Dinner Party was on its way and oh how God showed up to a happy hour with girls who surrounded one another daily yet barely interacted. After the dinner party I felt as if my assignment was complete but soon after my December graduation I sat in mother’s living room and a stirring of the sounds “do it again, do it again” formed within me. I exhausted myself by questioning the purpose of Moore to Life and if this small idea that was birthed in my 2014 summer dorm room could survive in Dallas. So the “do it again” started to sound more like “do it again BUT this time with more and more and more. More people, more, food, more money, more space, more time”. I was worried. I even thought about moving back to Lubbock (a safe place) because Moore to Life was known there. The first time I heard “do it again” I should have moved. However, no regrets, only revelations.
Back aching, head hurting, fingers cramping, I sat on the same couch that God spoke to me on April 1, 2017 and I was trying to make it happen. I remember forcing myself to create a website, researching venues, looking up ways to fundraise. Man, I was worn out. I gave up my Saturday to sit on my laptop from 8am to 6pm to plan and one full work day later nothing happened… nothing was formed. All I could think of was “Yeah right! Moore to Life, more like to Moore to Nothing.” This was the second time I heard God’s voice in the last week and this time He said “If you’d stop trying so hard then we could get this done”. I closed my laptop with tears running down my face shocked at the amount of self induced pressed I had placed on myself. I was powerless. And God was powerful. He sparked memories from my past and showed me how He showed up each time when I did not have people, a team, or a dollar to my name, food that I promised, an agenda, a message, or even a venue but each time I did something and removed fear from my vision He showered that place with His presence.
This is what Nothing to Prove is about! It’s about forgetting the fear of failing, the idea of not amounting, or that there isn’t any room for you and your gifts! Jennie has written Nothing to Prove to every person who has questioned if God’s truth is big enough to include him/her. Jennie’s reminder is YES. I’m so thankful that she was willing to write these desperately needed words. Like myself, if you have struggled with your place in ministry or whether you are serving God in your daily life, this Nothing to Prove will speak volumes to you as to how wonderful and astonishingly of a job you are doing as well as give you freedom to step away from all that drains you.