It was an opportunity to speak to a group of women who GET me.
When my publicist told me that a representative from the Mississippi Baptist Convention contacted her about my being the guest speaker at the Ministers Wives Conference at the Convention, I was elated. While I am not the daughter or the wife of a pastor, I've watched closely those who are over the years and witnessed the hurt many church going folk have lobbed at the preacher's wife. When parishioners are mad, they have a tendency to complain to the wife of the pastor. Not only does she hurt for her husband, but in some cases, she protects his feelings and keeps the critical comments to herself.
Being in the media is similar. The forecast isn't the target. The target is everything superficial. And everyone has an opinion, including the well intentioned viewers, I'm sure. In sharing some of the emails and anonymous letters I've received recently with the group, they GET why I have taken a step back from the camera lights for a while so that I can focus on more important aspects of my life. With each one I read, you could see it on their faces: they had heard similar criticisms from their church members.
While sharing with the wives, I encouraged them not to focus on the "constructive criticism" they don't solicit, but to shut the door on the negativity shown to them. For some this means shutting the door on the negative people who feel the need to share their opinion. Retreating and taking a step back is the first movement forward in walking in your anointing. You must retreat in order to advance.
Isaiah 30:15 says, "In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength." Silence away from the nay-sayers is the place where God does the greatest works in your life and in your walk of faith. But faith isn't faith until you DO something. I've discovered finding those quiet seasons when you can concentrate on what God has called you to do opens up a wellspring of God-ordained appointments.
When I returned, I received numerous messages including this email from one of the ladies in the audience:
"Thank you for your words of encouragement today at the Minister's Wives gathering. Having been in this role now for 35 years, I resonated with many of your emails from "sisters in Christ." I appreciated your willingness to be personal. My husband and I are currently in a time of "retreat" and had to "shut the door" in order to regain our perspective. Today was a light rain on my parched heart, and I thank God for using you in my life today."
Perhaps God is calling you to take a step back and to walk by faith in a certain area so that He can pull up alongside of you and show you what He has next for you. Your trust in God is your strength.
(Barbie will be speaking in Columbus, Ohio next week and will be the guest speaker at the Mississippi Conference of Medial Assistants the following week.)