That Time I Expected Drudgery but Found a Surprise Instead

Jan 13, 2016Kingdom Uncaged

This year my word is a bit sad and morose: subtraction. And to be honest, I prepared myself for a year of taking away, and that did not sound like roses and ponies and rainbows.

Thankfully, I continue to learn that God is a surprising God who doesn’t act in ways we expect Him to. His view of subtraction can actually bring health and joy. And therein lies a brief story.

I attended our annual Mastermind Retreat last week. We are authors and marketers and entrepreneurs who meet every other week on Google hangouts, then once all together for a three-day retreat. During our retreat, we each are responsible for teaching one thing, and each of us also are on the “hot seat” for 45 minutes during the weekend. Some of the most valuable things I’ve learned and implemented have come as a result of my time in the hot seat.

Here we are, sharing important information. 🙂


This year was no different. I shared my word subtraction, played the re-story video for everyone, then asked for feedback. One of the things I realized as I shared was that I had allowed gatekeepers in this writing and speaking business to inform my joy (or lack of it). Instead of having gumption and fully pursuing the next steps in the re-story message, I lamented that I hadn’t been chosen to speak or write.

The group helped me realize it was up to me (and the Lord, of course) to forge this path. And that’s when my friend Thomas said, “Maybe subtraction for you means subtracting the gatekeepers and their opinions of you from your life.”

To say his words resonated with me would be an understatement.

So, for those of you who feel like a failure because the Powers That Be have overlooked you, chosen someone else, or denied you permission to speak, write, share, minister, counsel, it’s time to SUBTRACT the notion that we need others validation to step out in faith. Just because people aren’t pursuing you or offering you positions or opportunities doesn’t mean God has closed a door. What it might mean is that He wants you to stand on the truth that He has whispered into your soul and boldly take the next step–even if circumstances are against you.

Yes, people will oppose you.

Yes, others will malign or tell you you’re foolish.

Yes, you will experience rejection.

But nothing in the kingdom of God comes without struggle, persistence and grit.

If God has tasked you with some crazy thing, stop waiting for the world to recognize your calling. As my friend Andy says, “Take permission,” friend.

Step out into the waves, eyes steady on Jesus. Obey Him no matter what. His is the voice that counts.

Who would’ve thought subtraction could be so liberating? Subtract the naysayers. Subtract the notion that you must be noticed or picked in order to minister to others. Subtract your insecurity and trade it for the great security that comes from walking alongside Jesus Christ.

Let’s start a revolution of the misfits! Those who dare to move forward despite the trials ahead or the voices that holler from behind. Be bold. Be alive. Be proactive. Be gutsy. Not for your glory but for His, and for the sake of those in this world that benefit greatly from you shining.

You’ve hid yourself far too long.


  1. Saundra Dalton-Smith

    “Maybe subtraction for you means subtracting the gatekeepers and their opinions of you from your life.” Thanks Mary for sharing. This one hit home with me in a deep way. Praying for you and your family as God continues to meet your every need.

    • Mary DeMuth

      I’m glad it helped. I’m working very hard to understand what that means for me, too.