Without a Ball and Chain

“But I don’t want others to judge me. I don’t want to give them any reason to question me, my faith, theology, or what I do.”

Sitting in front of a person I deeply respected, I blurted those very words. I had sought them out for help, something that is far too hard for me to do. But I’d been swirling fears around in my stomach and knew I needed perspective. My fears were starting to freeze me.

And as soon as the words left my mouth the light bulb went off in my head. This is how coaching / mentoring works. The wise person guides you along in dialog and different perspectives. Then before long you are blurting out the answers you knew all along (but for whatever reason you hid from yourself because you were stuck in a box).

So there I sat, realizing why I’d been questioning the opportunities for work that were tailor-made for the person I am. The person my Creator had meticulously planned long ago (and allowed experiences and circumstances to happen to—just so I’d be ready for this moment). And all my questions and doubts came down to me worrying what “so-and-so” would think of me. OH MY GOSH IT WAS ABOUT ME AGAIN (seems like it always comes down to this). sigh. ego. grr.

I had already made the conversations in my mind. I could hear that woman say, “How dare she go to a New Age center and teach there. See I told you she idolized those people/things/etc…”  I could hear that man say, “See, you’re not a good representation of our faith, you’re mingling with those opposed to Christianity, and that’s why we can’t support you.” I could hear family whisper, and wonder, and soon I wouldn’t even be able to take care of my niece and nephews if something happened to their parents because I was distrusted with who I am and what my spiritual foundation consisted of.


Those conversations, the ones I was making up that “might” happen today, were real moments of my past that still—apparently—haunt me. There was a time when what they said to me, and about me, were true. BUT, today, those things that do not define who I am or what I’m about. But somehow the past and my need for their approval had a hostage-hold on me, like a ball and chain, keeping me from going through the doors God was opening for me.

It wasn’t until I sat in-front of this wise person who spoke good words backed by scripture I trusted, that I could accept my REAL fears and acknowledge them.

The take away and lesson learned after listening to wise words and advice from this person was: Yes I might be judged. Especially by those who are judgmental in nature. Expect it. And hold tight to the truth that I was made for this work.

The wise person looked at me with all seriousness and said, “Sherry you can go into places and reach people who I would never be able to reach—because of who you are, where you’ve been—just like there are places I can go and reach others that you could not. You’ve earned the respect of those in your reach, because you were there, you understand them like others could not.”

And it took everything in me to not fall apart. Because truth is truth. And it cuts so deep when you finally get it…and believe it. And one day I’m gonna be in heaven and I fully expect to hear, “Well done my good and faithful servant—thank you for going where I planned for you to go—you were light and salt—and you represented Me every time—thank you—enter into your rest.”

This thought helps me immensely. And if someone feels the need to judge and misunderstand my pure intentions, I don’t need to fear. If they feel they need to influence others with slanderous words again me, I need to let it be. It’s not their approval I’m after. I have to keep remembering that.

We have to keep remembering that.

You have to keep remembering that.

Do what you do best. Honor and be faithful to your values and beliefs. Give yourself permission to live the life you were specifically designed for. And understand how very blessed you are—because of everything you’ve experienced, gone through, and done. You have now arrived in this season. Ready.

There is no shame in being the you your Maker thought up. Even if your hair has red streaks, you bare tattoos, and a nose piercing to boot. God thinks you rock because there are people you can reach that others can’t.

Let’s go and be the light and salt. Unlock the ball and chain of approval-fears that keep you frozen on the ground. Let’s own who we are. Let’s fly!
Sherry Meneley Soiled Wings ©2009-2012 Sherry Meneley All Rights Reserved soiledwings.com sherrymeneley.com createheart.com soiled wings create•heART create heart creativity life coach coaching art journal journaling

12 thoughts on “Without a Ball and Chain

  1. Thank you, Sherry, for the permission.
    Thank you for the encouragement as well as the wisdom and insight.
    Thank you for your example and your courage.
    Thank you for your faithfulness.

  2. Good stuff. Two personal thoughts:

    1. I hear the same voices all the time. Dang, I wish they’d all just shut the H up.

    [hears voice]

    (What’s that, you say? You think I shouldn’t have put that “H” in there? I apologize for my inappropriate language).

    2. A confession: I sometimes envy people like you, who are “border-runners,” living with skill and dexterity just inside the borderline between faith and non-faith, able to reach over and help those on the other side.

    • Okay after laughing (over the “voices” – – because we all got ’em), I’d like to say…it’s a little crazy on the border. (but thank you) That borderr stuff makes me constantly check on myself left and right an inside out. And it gets a little exhausting. And in the end…when I’m really tired of checking in on myself and intentions and ego and all that crap, I TOTALLY get that that is exactly how it’s supposed to be for me (because that’s what I need all the time). Thanks Ron.

  3. Thank you for this post, it has really made me think. I’m going to come back and re-read it once I have prayed through a few things that come to mind.
    Love and hugs. Lisa. xx 🙂

  4. Sherry, This is very providential reading. Having just returned from one of those meetings that makes you question everything (who you are, why your here, why you do what you do) I needed to be reminded again. And I love to hear the comments as well… Border-runners! I love it! Is n’t that who we’ve been called to be? Reaching out to those who feel like they are on the outside? Beyond the borders of acceptability? Or perhaps showing that God doesn’t have borders like we consider them.

    As to the voice, well, my favourite song is be Casting Crowns, “Voice of Truth.” There are many, many voices that paralyse us or make us fail. And then there is the voice of truth.

    Thanks for reminding us to listen to that voice. Keep on, my friend.

    • Thanks Jer. The wise person kept reminding me, and showing me, time-after-time what Paul did…and eventually segued to Jesus with same examples. And I can never seem to accept that I might mirror their path – because WHO AM I to even think I could be or do like them. Even my ego won’t let me go there. I’m just a girl tryin to get it right. But in the end. I understood and maybe got it and. And like you and Ron said, yeah, we are made to be border runners. (which on an unrelated matter would explain why I love Taco Bell so much – I like to “run for the border” <—sorry for the cheesiness)

  5. Happy tears all over again for you and all you do that is so great! “It’s not their approval I’m after.” I definitely need to keep reminding myself that and unlock the ball and chain. Thank you so much my courageous friend. You help me so, more than you’ll ever know!! Love you!

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