Permission to Speak Freely: Essays and Art on Fear, Confession and Grace by Anne Jackson
Consider this book as a Christian version of Post Secret. If you don't know what that is, then I'd suggest joining the rest of us by just simply Googling it.
Permission to Speak Freely was probably one of the easiest books I have ever read. Not only because it had pictures but because I truly felt as if Anne was sitting across from me in a coffee shop and sharing her heart with me as I read. Her book is filled with raw stories and real revelation from the Lord that anyone can relate to - some simple, some complex.
But nonetheless, it deals with some pretty tough issues like sin, confession, grace and fear. All areas that I find myself being pretty weak in. Few books have ever 'empowered' me like this one. After reading it, I felt liberated to follow in the footsteps of the author and simply walk out the truths that she laid out. It challenged me to live out my story and to share it often. God is surely moving in my life and who I am to withhold the testimony that He has given me?
One lesson that was especially hard to learn this year was to come to terms with the reality that I'm broken and messed up. I can easily say that I'm not perfect, but my self-righteous, has-it-all-together, perfectionist mindset has a hard time believing those words much-less living them out.
This year, I had to come face to face with the sin in my life. Ultimately, I just had to realize that my role in the Gospel was to be the one who was broken, sinful & in need of a Savior. I must rip off the mask that I am pressured to wear and begin to live a more vulnerable and less fearful life.
Confessing my sin still makes my weak in my stomach, but I am now grateful that He is teaching me to boast all the more gladly in my weakness for it glorifies Christ in my life.
Charles Spurgeon continued to teach me this, when I stumbled upon the following quote by him. "I have a great need fro Christ and I have a great Christ for my need." I am thankful beyond words that Jesus didn't mind getting His hands dirty with me this year as I began to learn how to deal with things in my life.
Take a second and read an excerpt from my favorite chapter in this book called, "the Gift of Going Second". May we always be those who give the gift of going second to those around us and boldly declaring that we NEED Christ all the more in our lives every day.
“Whenever somebody confesses something, and they’re the first to do it, it’s usually a pretty hard step to take. … What happens on the other side of that confession is something beautiful. … When you go first, you’re opening up this amazing opportunity for trust. You’re saying, ‘I’m broken.’ That trust carries so much power with it. It can give people the courage to go second. … It’s the Gift of Going Second that starts waves of confession and healing.”