I will not allow myself to be silenced, and I will no longer silence myself to appease my enemies.
I have a confession to make, I allowed myself to be intimidated by familiar bullies. But beginning today, fear, false guilt, and shame will no longer keep me silent.
In November 2017, I received an email that shook my world. I won’t go into the details of that email right now because it really has nothing to do with what I am talking about today. Suffice it to say, I fell right into the enemy’s trap. I made some very foolish decisions as a result of that email, and all those decisions sprung from fear and intimidation. It’s taken me months to crawl out of the financial hole I dug for myself.
In March of 2018, whispers of privacy law changes being implemented in Europe came across my desk. I assumed, like most other non-European website owner’s thought, that those laws wouldn’t affect me. I soon found out I was wrong. As I have readers and visitors to my various websites from all over the world, including the European Union, I had to make some drastic changes to all my sites, making sure I had an iron-clad privacy explanation page. Although I did not collect personal data on any of my websites, I needed to make sure that fact was clearly stated.
To comply with my mailing list provider’s strict guidelines, I sent out multiple emails to my subscribers, asking them to just click on an ‘update permission’ link so they could continue to receive my weekly emails. Less than 10% responded. I had no choice but to cut the rest. Hopefully, those who miss the weekly emails and wonder where I went will go to my website to re-subscribe at some date.
In all honesty, I felt embarrassed, and I felt that I was taken down a peg or two when I discovered a large percentage of my mailing list subscribers had so little interest in what I had to say that they couldn’t be bothered to open yet another email from me. I doubted I had anything of importance to say to anyone about anything. My sphere of influence seemed to be just a fragile bubble that burst at a touch.
I also decided to part ways with Google ads as my conscience did not allow me to place these ads on my site when I use ad blockers on all my web browsers to stop Google from following me around the Internet. It is my duty as a responsible website owner to create a safe environment for all those who might stumble across my sites. Although I honestly did not make much income from Google Ads, that wee bit of revenue was channelled right back into paying for dues, fees, domain renewals, etc. All these things I need to keep my Internet ministry up and running. It was a bitter pill to swallow as I live on a disability pension but one I needed to take so I could live with a clear conscience. Many of my visitors do not realise how much privacy they give up when they use Google.
The enemy of my soul used all these things to whisper lies to me. He’s sneaky. He doesn’t say, “You are a failure, you thought too much about yourself, you aren’t that special, you deserved being taken down a notch. You have nothing to say of any importance to anyone.” No, he’s much sneakier than that. He puts things in the first person. “Well. Those numbers really show how few people actually find what I have to say is of value.” “Pride goeth before a fall…” The enemy loves to quote scripture to bring condemnation. He seems to prefer to use the KJV version when driving his point home to me. God’s kindness always leads to repentance. I usually know the difference.
All this to say, I have felt increasingly diminished over the past several months to the point that I curtailed much of my ministry’s Social Media interactions. I stopped doing videos, my Instagram account lays dormant. I also removed my ministry’s Facebook Page and asked loyal followers to either send me a friend request or to follow me on my personal timeline. To be fair, the Facebook decision was a purely pragmatic one, without the budget to boost my posts on a Page, very few followers actually saw anything I wrote there!
During a recent time of worship, I felt the Lord say, “Who told you to silence your voice? Who told you your job was done? Who told you that you had the right to abdicate the task I set before you?” His voice was in no way condemning. If anything, His voice was inquisitive and probing, much like a teacher who asks the right questions to direct their students to rational thinking. His questions were waking me up to the truth.
I believed the lie of the enemy. I allowed his condemnations and accusations to distract me from the task set before me, and I was doing everything in my power to speed up the supposed inevitable process of diminishing my influence to nothing.
God reminded me of this truth. He called me to write, so write. I write because God asks me to and I write because I must. It is part of my DNA. My job is to do what He asks. His job is to use what I write to touch hearts, even if it is only one or two hearts who need to hear what I feel God is asking me to say.
He called me to lead and mentor and I have been lax in both these areas over the past several months. I owe quite a few people an apology. I let people down even as I felt let down and betrayed by a situation that many of those I led were going through as well. I let them down at precisely the time they needed a voice of encouragement and empowerment.
Apathy, procrastination, and passivity are not my friends, and yet, I thought I could use them as proof of my unfitness for the task God set before me. God reminded me of this truth. No one is ‘fit’ for the tasks He assigns us, but we are all called to be obedient to do whatever responsibilities He sets before us and to do so with a teachable heart and a desire to our best.
So, why am I writing this? I write this to say that I will not allow my voice to be silenced by the enemy and I will not silence my voice through passivity and defeatism. I will do what the Lord sets before me with my eyes firmly fixed on where He leads me.
In the same manner that Nehemiah responded to the accusers who tried to distract him from the task set before him, so too shall I respond to my personal bullies of fear and intimidation.
Perhaps you have been running away from some spiritual bullies of your own. Perhaps you have not only believed their lies, but you also submitted to those lies and have embraced them as truth. I urge you to read Nehemiah 6 and to read it in a translation that is easy for you to understand. Nehemiah politely told those who tried to distract him that he was too busy doing the work God assigned him to worry about what they had to say or what they threatened to do.
Don’t forget. Follow me on my personal timeline on Facebook. You do not need to send me a friend request to follow me although I welcome friend requests please message me there to say you know me from the website or email list! Here is the Facebook link.
If you are coming here from Facebook, you might not be aware that you can receive these weekly devotions via email. Sometimes, Facebook doesn’t show my links to these devotionals and so you might not see when I post something new. How to fix that? Sign up for my weekly email that not only includes a devotional but also seven quotes from prominent authors, speakers, and heroes of our faith. I do not use this mailing list for any other purpose!
All Bible verses attributed to the ESV version unless otherwise indicated.
Until Next Week
©2018 Katherine Walden
Sign up to receive a weekly emailed devotional by Katherine by using the following form.