Permission to Speak Freely and the Gift of Going Second

I got Anne Jackson’s “Permission to Speak Freely” when it came out back in August and it’s been sitting neglected on my shelf for the last several months. But, I finally had the chance to finish it and wanted to share a few thoughts.

For me it was one of those books that I read and I reminded I’m not alone…one where the author seems to put words to my heart. Here are just a few of the passages in Permission to Speak Freely that did just that.

“Most of us choose to live in one of these extremes: conforming or escaping. Few can find peace living in the tension of both. Those of us who do wonder if we’re too idealistic to believe a faith community can be a hospital where our wounds are welcomed and can be healed. That true sanctuary can be found both within the walls of the church and outside the church as well.

A Scottish minister once told me, “If you can’t be an idealist in the church, then something is extremely wrong.”

At the risk of sounding overly idealistic, I’d like to say that for those of use who believe the church should be one of the safest and most grace-giving places a person can experience here on earth, it’s time to reclaim what our faith stands for.” (page 85)

I’m definitely one of those idealists. And it just’s good to know I’m not the only one. :)

You can’t will yourself to transform. There’s nothing you can do to make your heart “get” it. Nothing. You can prepare for it, and be receptive when it comes, but that’s all you can do. You have to step back and let it soak in.  (page 95)

Even though the one thing I desired was to be by myself, deep down, none of us wants to be alone. The reason we crave isolation so badly is because more than our fear of being alone is our fear of rejection. (page 110)

Ouch! That one is truth. And the truth does indeed sometimes hurt.

“It’s funny: I feel I end up being a bit of a broken record because I keep saying it’s about community, or whatever you want to call it. We just need honest relationships. But for a lot of people, that’s scary place to start. But the burden of fearing those relationships is so much heavier than actually having them. Once we have them, we realize how necessary they are.” (page 176)

Yep, that’s my life!

Anne talks a lot about the “gift of going second.” The idea that when we risk…risk our hearts, our “image,” tackle fear head on and shed our masks sharing openly and transparently about our struggles and doubts we give others the freedom to do the same. Only it’s not quite as risky for them and the fear isn’t quite as great because they have been given the gift of going second and when it comes to being transparent going second is always easier. I think Permission to Speak Freely is that gift for many people. Thank you, Anne, for giving us all the gift of going second. I’m feeling challenged to pass that gift along to others.

Have you read the book? If so, what were your thoughts?

With courage, Katie

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *