Extravagant (Part 5 in The RENEGADE Conversation series)

Do you hear the voice within that longs to be heard, seen, acknowledged? It whispers truth: You are worthy. You are valued. You are extravagant.

Do you hear the voice within that desires relationship overflowing with truth, mutuality, and passion? It speaks truth: You deserve respect. You are lovely and loved. You are extravagant.

Do you hear the voice within that calls you to generosity, to wild and unconventional behavior, to risk? It shouts truth: You are amazing and wise. You are enough. You are extravagant.

My voice was never heard, but my story has been – for thousands of years. Be my voice and listen to your own. You are extravagant and loved: truly, deeply, madly by God – just like me.

asf

asdf

The story is told of a woman who did some outlandish, counter-cultural, even shocking things. These choices were not based on what others thought, what her culture deemed appropriate, or how she was perceived. She followed her heart.

This was not easy.

How was she able to do it? What gave her inner courage and outer strength? How did she somehow bypass others’ perceptions and hold on to her own? What compelled her to trust her intuition, her deep knowing, her internal voice instead of listening to the others that clamored in her head and in her world? How did she become so extravagant?

This is what you want to know, isn’t it? How to trust and follow your heart; how to be extravagant?

Here is her story:

*****

It almost sounds simplistic when I say it, but that makes it no less true. The only thing (everything) that made the difference was this: trusting and believing that I was truly, deeply, madly loved by God.

Without such, there was no way I could have trusted my own voice when so many shouted so loudly around me and even more so, within me. Without such, there was no way I could have done the things I did when everything and everyone told me I could not. And without such, there was no way I could have stepped out in hope,  risking everything. 

I wish I could tell you how I came by that trust and belief. I wish I could tell you there was some secret-pact or magic pill that instantly transformed my way of understanding and experiencing myself in the world. And I most definitely wish I could tell you that it came easily. 

What I can tell you is that it came. Eventually. Slowly. Tentatively. Sporadically. Laden with doubt. A survivor (barely) of so many stories that taught me not to trust – others and especially myself. It came because I wanted it so desperately; because something in me couldn’t not believe. It was my saving grace, my only hope, what I clung to with every fiber of my being.  And once with me – this trust and belief that I was truly, deeply, madly loved – it stayed. 

Planted within me, my trust and belief took root and grew in ways I could have never imagined. There was no way I could have known that acknowledging and accepting this kind of love would change how I felt about myself, the actions I took, the risks I was willing to make, the desires I was willing to pursue. But amazingly, extravagantly, all these things became true. 

On the simplest of levels, now – with perspective, it seems so clear, so obvious, so understandable. It’s helped me to think about what we’re like as children…

Because we trust and believe that we are loved, we are unstoppable, undaunted, incredible, and extravagant. 

So clear. So obvious. So understandable. And somehow, miraculously, I saw and claimed this for myself – not all in one fell swoop – but over time. And as I did, I changed. I became unstoppable, undaunted, incredible, and extravagant. Not because I worked at it, strived for it, and retrained my brain to think about myself differently; but because I trusted, believed, and then followed my heart…over time, repeatedly, endlessly, still. 

It is that simple. It remains so hard. Still, it changes everything. 

Tell me if I’m right: you are SO hungry to be unstoppable, undaunted, incredible, and extravagant. Yes?

Here’s the good news: you already are. This is how God already and always sees you; exactly why God loves you. If you could trust and believe that? That would be extravagant indeed. And that’s why I was able to live the story I did.

Believe me, not everyone hears my story this way. I’ll leave you to decide. Here’s how others have told it throughout time.

When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.

When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.” Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.” “Tell me, teacher,” he said.

“Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?” Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.” “You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.

Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair.You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”

Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”

The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” 

Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” (Luke 7:36-50)

This is the Text that you have. This is how my story has been told. And frankly, most often, the emphasis has been on my sin and Jesus’ ability/willingness to forgive. That telling is influenced by the lenses you bring to it and the experience/perspective of the people who have interpreted it for you. I understand. But that does not negate my experience, my role, my actions. I was the one who was there. I was the one who made the choices. I was the one who trusted Jesus enough to seek him out, to break the cultural norms, to weep at his feet, to let down my hair, to love in lavish and extravagant ways. All and only because I was certain of how I’d be received, welcomed, and yes, loved in return. For me, it wasn’t about my forgiveness or my past or even my present.

It was about following my heart; a heart that was extravagantly filled with trust and belief in the love of Another. 

I can’t convince you to follow my lead. I can’t tell you that my story will perfectly apply to your own. But I can tell you that I understand what it feels like to be nearly drowning in the cacophony of voices that tell you you’re not enough…or perhaps that you’re too much. I can also tell you that the only way I was able to silence them, was to listen (and respond) to the voice in my heart; to the whispering-speaking-shouting voice that told me I was valued, loved, and yes, extravagant.

From my perspective, it’s worth the risk to trust and believe in that much love. No matter how counter-intuitive, counter-cultural, paradoxical, or risky. Is it an extravagant risk? Yes. What other kind would you take? 

Let me end where I began. 

Do you hear the voice within that longs to be heard, seen, acknowledged? It whispers truth: You are worthy. You are valued. You are extravagant.

Do you hear the voice within that desires relationship overflowing with truth, mutuality, and passion? It speaks truth: You deserve respect. You are lovely and loved. You are extravagant.

Do you hear the voice within that calls you to generosity, to wild and unconventional behavior, to risk? It shouts truth: You are amazing and wise. You are enough. You are extravagant.

My voice was never heard, but my story has been – for thousands of years. Be my voice and listen to your own. You are extravagant and loved: truly, deeply, madly by God – just like me. 

asdf

asdf

The two images in this post are the art of Callahan McDonough, my partner in a collaborative art project. Together, we are  taking individual stories of women in Scripture and creating powerful imagery and text to redeem and reclaim their voice and impact; to redeem and reclaim your voice and impact as inspired by them. These (and image/words related to Eve) hang in my home. Every time I walk past them, I remember. And I stand just a little taller – within and without – recalling that I am truly, deeply, madly loved by an incredibly extravagant God; that am that extravagant, as well.

Share
Click any and all of these buttons to share! Thank you!

    My writing. My heart. Your inbox. Subscribe.
    Blessings: a (free) gift from me to you. You deserve to hear and know the most beautiful truth(s) about yourself. Sign up.

    { 4 comments… read them below or add one }

    Callahan McDonough October 26, 2012 at

    Ronna; I am touched, moved and inspired.
    32 years ago I felt that I was in the dark night of my soul, knocked to my knees, experienced profound losses. I reached again for my Life Source, for God, a prayer for help. The path opened for me to re-build trust and faith, even when it seemed no faith made sense. Your words describe my heart‘s path. Such an Extravagant Delight to collaborate with you.

    Reply

    Ronna Detrick October 26, 2012 at

    Your collaboration with me makes this story even more meaningful to me…and embodied, to be sure. I loved it (and her) before; now, even more. Thank you, my friend. Extravagance to come!

    Reply

    Jenny Ryan October 30, 2012 at

    I just finished reading all the posts in this series, and I just had to say thank you! I just started your Eve course, and all these re-tellings and openings are balm for my heart.
    Jenny Ryan recently posted..I’m Sure What He Really Meant To Say Was, “Wow-That’s A Great Idea!”

    Reply

    Ronna Detrick October 30, 2012 at

    So grateful for your reading of more, Jenny, and your response to such! Thank you. I’m glad, honored, humbled, and thrilled.

    Reply

    Leave a Comment

    CommentLuv badge

    { 1 trackback }

    Previous post:

    Next post: