My friend and partner in business (who happens to also be a nature photographer), recently took this phenomenal picture. I was astonished to see such layers of detail exposed in an ordinary scene of a bird at a bird feeder going about its regular routine on a rainy day. If I had witnessed the scene in person, I’m certain my eye wouldn’t have noticed the water droplets on its back that seemed larger than life in this picture. While I know my friend’s professional camera lens is powerful, God has far more powerful vision. This means He views us at a level of exposure that, at least for me, seems undeniably uncomfortable.
And so this week, as I finish a seven-year process of writing a book, I can’t help but consider the theme of exposure. I imagine what I must have looked like to God when I started off on the climb excited, energized, determined, and confident. I imagine what layers He must have seen in me that He knew I would have to work through in the journey.
While at first, writing a book seemed glamorous, the process has discipled me in many ways that have been anything but glamourous. He’s stripped layer upon layer off me as I confess and share my testimony. He’s convicted me of areas where pride has tried to take the place of excitement, and doubt, the place of calling.
He’s shown me things that I’ve held onto, leaning on my own understanding of how to balance lifegiving truth with harmful overexposure. It’s been a rude awakening how long this work has taken me to produce, knowing that it’s still not perfect and will never be. He’s shown me that my plans were not His — even my seemingly “good” plans to do a “good” work. I’m not some flawless, fluid writer who has seamlessly produced a book, even though my profession is to help others with theirs. Climbing my own mountain has been so much harder than I expected, and I’m raw and tired and worn and, in many ways, exposed.
The air is different than what I expected at the summit. It’s these moments of “victory” that often leave us exposed about what we perceived to be the accomplishment in the first place, especially when we realize that much more happened in the journey than it did in the arrival.
In full disclosure, He’s watched me suffer by my own hands, fighting to maintain my composure instead of submitting to His exposure. And so this week, I will head back down the mountain I made for myself to climb — a little different, a little undone, and a lot less layered — but grateful that I was never once beyond His vision or out of His powerful sight.
Photo credit: Tracy Fuller
Joanna Sanders is a graduate of Villanova University and Moody Theological Seminary. She’s also the founder and head writer of Colossians46.com, which provides biblical content support, writing, and editing. Most importantly, she is wife to Geoff and mom to three godly men-in-training. Her blog name “The Landing” comes from the account of the Ark resting on the mountain, creating a settled place — a landing — for man to start over, which echoes her new life in Christ.