Is That Ok With You? Better Yet, Is That Ok With Me?


By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet (there was no visible sign), moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.” Heb. 11:7

What makes a righteous man?

“Noah walked in close fellowship with God… (Gen. 6:9) and Noah did everything the Lord commanded him.” (Gen. 7:5)

As I stood before my friend in my kitchen, once again I became internally ill when he asked the dreaded question, “What are you doing these days?”  I froze for a moment as my mind raced to find the words that would be pretty enough to prove I’m really not lazy nor lacking in drive.  Once again that nagging little voice that I wrestle with each day grew louder, “You’re not doing or being enough.  What kind of testimony to God are you if you’re not accomplishing what so many others are?  You are not enough!  My friend’s question was innocent and not meant to cause pain, he was simply asking how I was doing that day, but after so many years of walking through this dark and lonely season, I’ve picked up guilt for not living up to the expectations so many had for me.  To not have a grand and adventurous accomplishment to tell about makes me feel no less than a disappointment.

Since the day after my husband was killed, I have been told what I was going to do and be.  “Shannan, you’re going to be the next Beth Moore…I can see you being the next Joyce Meyer…God would not allow this to happen for nothing…You’re going to be great!”  As much as I do not want to be someone else, as great as they are, the fact that I’m not all of these things flooded my mind as I stood before my friend, and I almost felt I should apologize for not being “great”.

Noah did not waver, even in a world that made trusting God unpopular, and even when God did not seem to make any sense.  Noah responded to God and then waited for Him.  Our world today does not understand waiting, much less will it allow someone to “Be still”*.  I deal with my own guilt each day for the fact that God keeps saying, “Be still.  My grace is sufficient”  Why do I wrestle with God’s gift of time by trying to dress me up each day in the clothes of appeared success?  Why do I let the question, “What do you do?” torment my mind?  I do a lot everyday, to the point I average about 4-5 hours of sleep each night, but what’s really being asked is, “Who are you now Shannan?”  With not having a career to identify me, I then have to deal with the looks of pity.  I’ve always been the odd one, so why does this cut so deep now?

Here’s the short and only answer to the questions I keep asking myself.  Why do I feel guilty?  It’s pride.  I know without an ounce of doubt in me that my heart seeks God for each day.  I ask Him to expose any wrong thinking I may have.  I ask that He protect me, shelter me, and guide my every footstep along the path that He established for my life long before I took my first breath here on His earth.  I ask Him almost daily to place within me a vision and the passion to do what He wants me to do.  So why do I wrestle with Him when He says, “Be still?”  The only honest answer I can give is that it’s my own pride.

I was use to having my life planned out for 3 years in advance, knowing exactly where I was to be and when.  Then in a flash, I went from “success” to a whirlwind of death and corruption.  I spent 3 years in legal battles all the while attending one funeral after another.  To date, I’ve buried 7 immediate family members, and another 15 friends, family, and industry peers since Warren’s death.  I have sweet memories of visiting my friend each day as she courageously journeyed her way through pancreatic cancer.  What a gift for her to trust me to walk her last miles with her.  I did have to refrain from attending all 22 funerals, but my heart was at each one.  I don’t tell you this for pity, for I see my storm as a means for God to reveal His strength.  This small amount of information just brings things into perspective for me a little.

If I know I am exactly where God wants me to be today, and I believe Him when He says, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and then all these things shall be given unto you.”*  Then why is my heart anxious?  Why do I feel I have to prove that I am ok?  Who am I trying to please in these moments when my heart is screaming for something…ANYTHING other than this?  The answer is you.  I’m trying to please all the “yous” that I stand before.  I fear I will not have an answer that will be adequate, or even one that will pacify for the moment, because my life does not make any logical sense right now.

“God would not allow this to happen for nothing.”

That’s true, but what if the something still looks like nothing?  What if the something that is coming from this season of the valley of the shadow of death is an internal growth within myself and not for a stage full of lights?  What if my heart’s desire is to be a wife and mother who bakes cookies and not a famous somebody to the world?  Is that ok with you?  Better yet, is that ok with me?  I’m slowly coming to the place to be able to answer yes to this question.  I still wrestle with saying yes absolutely, because the reality of this heart’s desire looks less than hopeful.  You can’t go to school for 4 years, get a degree, and POOF there’s love – a real and lasting love.  There is a part of me that is 100% ok with my present circumstance, and that is the fact that I know I am not sitting idly by doing nothing to prepare.  I am seeking God and trying to learn all I can so that I can be a better me.  I am, in faith, preparing for the desires of my heart.

After what seemed to be too long of a pause, I answered my friends question honestly.  “There’s not a whole lot of new going on, I’m just trying to seek God for my next step.”  Then my friend spoke such freeing words over me.  With a gentle peace and a bold confidence, “Awww, you’re abiding”, he said.  For the first time in 6 1/2 years I felt I had nothing to prove.

I can safely bet that Noah questioned God’s delay in opening the ark door.  It rained for 40 days and 40 nights, but Noah and his family were on that big boat for a year!  During their stay, the world as they knew it was wiped away.  When the time of the flood season was complete, they stepped off of that ship into a whole new world.  No doubt it was scary, but the change was absolutely necessary for mankind to continue.

Noah could have refused to build the ark for fear of what others would think.  After all, it had never rained on the earth before, so what sense did it make to build a boat in preparation for a flood?  There certainly had to be accusations that this man, Noah, had lost his mind.  But “By Faith”, with “no visible sign”, he began to build, and then allowed God to shut him in the day the rains began to fall.  With all of man’s logic and their accusing words, he could have allowed pride to sway him from his trust in God.  After the many months aboard that ship, he could have let his anxious moments cause him to jump overboard before it was time, but “By Faith”, he chose to “be still” and wait on God – “to the saving of his house”.

Like Noah, my life does, and will, look different from when the storm first hit, but I serve the all-powerful and all-knowing God who is full of grace and mercy.  His ways are best, and so is His timing.  I too can “Be still”, and trust Him in what appears to be His delay.  He’s never late, and thankfully never too early.

For now, my “great” success is to be here sharing with all of you, and this is ok.  That is, until I’m baking cookies…. 😉

~Shannan

Uncompromisingly Walking With Him in 2012!

Be sure to talk to me in the comment section of this blog.  I really do love to hear from you too!

“Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.” – Gen. 6:8

*Psalm 46:10, http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm%2046&version=AMP

*Matthew 6:33, http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=matt%206&version=AMP

15 Comments

  1. Jessie said,

    07/24/2012 at 11:50

    A lot of what you’re talking about is stuff that I’m going through too. It makes me feel good to know that I’m not alone. I am called to so much right now already( being a mom and wife) but I feel like I have to do more, be more, serve more. I too am abiding my way to peace and understanding of who God called me to be and what he wants from me right where I am. You’re right that we can’t look to what other people expect from us because their idea of success might not be the same as God’s. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • 07/24/2012 at 11:50

      Jessie, you are exactly why I choose to write so openly. So many of us beat ourselves up for what we do not do, yet often fail to see what all we are accomplishing. The enemy loves to keep us so busy doing all kinds of good deeds in hopes that we will not be still long enough to hear from God to do what He has created us for. It wasn’t too long ago that I was crying to God because I was so overwhelmed and tired. He answered me with these words, “I did not tell you to do that.” If you are taking care of your family, you are doing exactly what you’re called to do. Way to go for being a faithful wife and mom!

  2. Mary Bartolo said,

    07/24/2012 at 11:50

    I love the parallel to the story of Noah! You have allowed God’s word to speak for you…and it perfectly illustrates what your own heart struggles to explain to people. By the way….you are not obligated to explain your life to anyone. Waiting can be difficult….but sooooo fruitful! I am proud of you for your courage in following God rather than the masses…..which will only lead you astray! God doesn’t want a carbon copy of Joyce Meyers…He wants the original He created you to be. So just Be! And be still…until God tells YOU to move! I love you friend ❤

    • 07/24/2012 at 11:50

      I love you too Mary! I must lay down guilt for what I do not do and see what God as allowed me to do. God has been very clear that I am not exempt from the rules – I too am called to a day of rest. If I keep burning the candle at both ends for everyone then I will be too worn out to be all He’s called me to be when the season shifts. That’s not stating I am to do nothing, just learn when to say yes and when to say no. And NO is absolutely ok 🙂 I do want to be strong to be that “original He created you to be.” Thank You!

  3. Carole said,

    07/24/2012 at 11:50

    I can SO appreciate from what depth of emotion you speak. I had some event, if you were to compare – and we should never compare – that ripped my soul raw and immobilized me….that you might think not as horrible as yours….but! to “ME” it was!!!

    I WISH I had NOT spent so much time reliving the horror, rethinking, worrying about “why” and – had spent more time DOING.

    When I THINK of all the people I COULD have been helping with volunteer organizations – well – I just have to STOP myself from thinking about that, or I’ll beat myself up.

    My hope for anyone in that same dark corner, is that they crawl out a whole! LOT!! sooner!!! than I – and start “doing” for others.

    JUST a thought, since you asked us to comment – I am writing my visceral reaction to the blog openly and honestly.

    Audrey Hepburn was such an inspiration to me. Not sure if she suffered some human tragedy that we don’t all know about -but I suspect she did privately…. regardless -when she turned to serving the children of Africa, with not a care for herself…

    I’ve been overwhelmed with awe and admiration ever since.

    • 07/24/2012 at 11:50

      Carole, Thank you for your honest thoughts. I am sorry if my writing was unclear. Rest assured that I have tried many doors/ministries/rabbit trails, sought God, ran ahead of God, pleaded with God, and decided to believe Him when He says “No”. I understand your heart but I do think you fail to hear my heart in my writing. I am NOT AT ALL DEPRESSED or sitting idle in my house waiting for the heavens to send a meteor shower to write a message in the sky. I am full of joy and full of hope, I’m just finally getting real with the fact that I am done trying to be and DO everything everyone suggest. I lay awake in bed a few months back totally exhausted and crying to God with all the whys, and He said so very clearly, “I did not tell you to do that.” That was really hard for me to swallow because what I was doing was all good. I am not called to Africa and if that offends I am sorry. Just because people do not see me doing, does not mean that I am not doing. I’m just choosing to lay down the guilt of not being what makes others comfortable when they are around me.

      As GOD LEADS I am, “I have sweet memories of visiting my friend each day as she courageously journeyed her way through pancreatic cancer. What a gift for her to trust me to walk her last miles with her.”

      What I do know and have come to greatly appreciate is the time He’s given me to walk with so many through their seasons of the valley of the shadow of death, and for those I get to hug throughout the days when no one else in the world has time to even see them. So, I may not be physically feeding people in a way the world can see, but hopefully I am in ways that is pleasing to God.

      God has given me a special gift to share my story, but I am in no way “reliving the horror.” I am, and have been, at complete peace with my life’s journey. But, I will continue to write and be open with the thoughts and emotions that arise along this odyssey. I was as a child but I am not in a “dark corner”. I’m just in a season of learning to completely depend on God. I am free!

      • Carletta Thornhill said,

        10/09/2012 at 11:50

        Shannon, you always have been an inspiration to me. Many many times I received a blesssing from your singing. It’s freedon indeed just being you and being at peace with who you are under God’s direction and in His care. Learning to completely depend upon God is indeed a season of learning when we have lost our spouse. Continue to write for your writings are a blessing.

        Carletta Warren-Thornhill
        Summerside, PEI

  4. Renee Novack said,

    07/26/2012 at 11:50

    Shannan, you are doing exactly what you’re supposed to be doing for this season. You are constantly reaching out and ministering to others. I’m very proud of you and I’m thankful and blessed to call you “friend.”

    • 07/26/2012 at 11:50

      Thank you Renee. That means so much coming from someone who has walk very close with me over the years. Thank you for your sincere friendship! And also the time you have to smack me upside the head to adjust my “eye”!

  5. Mary Bartolo said,

    07/26/2012 at 11:50

    I was re-reading your blog and all the posts and I totally believe that God intentionally called you into season of rest and healing! Now let me tell you…resting with purpose, to hear from God, and receive His healing, can be much harder than doing a whole lot of ‘ministry’. God honors that. Remember Martha and Mary? You have to choose what is right….not what others would subtly pressure you to do. The peace that comes from obedience is very confirming…..while the ‘doing’ which is often a substitute for God’s healing, is exhausting…because IF God has not called you to it….He will not enable you…and thus it comes a burden rather than a joy. You have chosen correctly my friend:)

    • 08/02/2012 at 11:50

      Oh thank you Mary! As I was running today I really felt God confirming this. I was also thinking about the energy we physically expend when we’re walking with people who are hurting. As I thought about all the precious gifts I am walking with right now, I thanked God for not giving me more than I can handle. We all have different levels of ability and strength. God knows better than I what my strengths and limitations are. Yes He will give me what I need as I need it, but I’m also warned not to think more highly of myself than I am by taking on more than He says I should. Pride will wear us out! So, I will continue to seek Him and ask what I should and should not pick up/do or not do. I’m only good to help others if I am first seeking and obeying the voice of the One who is good.

      And you are right! It is hard to swallow pride in order to trust God in the silence and rest, but I’d much rather please Him and have His peace than give the illusion of success to the world.

      I pray God will hug you for me today.

  6. Frances said,

    07/30/2012 at 11:50

    How awesome….ABIDING! It’s great to hear people’s words of confidence of being the next female evangelist. But, who does Shannon ultimately want to be? What will make her get up every day to do? It seems a lot of us are in the same boat as you. We are asking the Lord what is his purpose for our lives. In the end what matters is that we are God’s hands and following his will for our lives. Ultimately we must believe first before we see…it a Joyce Meyer saying!

    • 08/02/2012 at 11:50

      Hey Frances! Thank you for sharing! I love some of the quotes Joyce gives us for everyday life. Abiding is tough in this world, but God never said His instruction would be easy. I am grateful He promised His blessing in every area of our life when we trust Him – even through the toughest of storms. He is faithful and trustworthy, so I choose His approval over all else.

  7. 07/09/2013 at 11:50

    […] (When The Clouds Would Dance) for me when I was two years old as I sat watching the sky, unable to “Be” anything for anybody, I can rest in that He still delights to fill my heart with wonder today.   […]

  8. 02/13/2015 at 11:50

    […] my recent blog post, “Is That Ok With You?  Better Yet, Is That Ok With Me?” I said that the desires of my heart looked less than hopeful.  These words are deeply felt, but to […]


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