“Own Your Anointing” – Reflections On Sunday

I must admit that most days, I move through life in a very routine sort of way.
I try to keep up with my family,
to take care of my husband,
to do the errands necessary for the running of a home.

In the midst of all that ordinary,
I sometimes forget who I am.
I slide into the habits of the day like a pair of comfy sweatpants,
and I don’t think about it very much.

Yesterday morning, who I am sort of stepped up and slapped me ‘cross the face.
Kindly, of course. But ever so firmly.
“Wake up, Diana. Wake up!
Remember who you are.

This is the phrase that did that slapping for me:

Own it.
Live it.
Believe it.

Because that is the most central truth about me,
and I so often slough it off, set it on the back burner,
submerge it beneath the detritus of daily living.

I am anointed.
I am anointed for a purpose.
I am anointed to proclaim and to live the very same
Isaiah-message that Jesus himself read out in that Nazareth synagogue,
over 2000 years ago.

Do you believe this?
That YOU are anointed?
Set apart?
Marked by God?

“Hey,” you  might say to yourself. “Not me. I’m just an ordinary pew-sitter.
Sure, I go to church. I read the Bible . . . once in a while.
I even try to pray. But anointed?
Hey man, not me. I’m nothin’ special.”


Have you been baptized?
Said ‘yes’ to the call of Jesus, that call that invites you to ‘follow?’

Then you are anointed:
bought with a price,
marked by love,
commissioned to be those who
* announce good news
*proclaim release to the captive
*help blind people see
*free the oppressed.

 As part of our worship experience,
we were privileged to meet two powerful people,
I mean POWERFUL people.
People who wholeheartedly own their anointing,
people who ARE good news as well as bring good news,
people who work hard every single day to
free those captive to ignorance, confusion and fear;
people who bring light to the darkness in the fields of
education and high finance;
people who seek to set the oppressed free. . .

And they live in Uganda.

Dr. John Senyonyi is the President of Uganda Christian University,
an education and training center for over 12,000 students from nearly 20 countries.
The University is located in East Africa,
but draws students from all over the continent.
Many of those students are pastors-in-training,
who learn from skilled teachers how to ‘rightly divide the word of truth,’
before carrying it back to their home churches.

His wife, Dr. Ruth Senyonyi,
is Chief Counselor to the Federal Reserve Bank of Uganda,
with responsibility for the mental health of over 1200 employees.
Everyday, these two people step into their anointing,
living out the gospel in ways
I can barely imagine.

So what, I wonder, does ‘anointing’ look like in my life?
When I write in this space,
or when I comment on others’ writing in spaces much like this one,
I try to maintain an irenic spirit,
to offer words of encouragement and affirmation.
And I think that’s a good thing, an anointed thing, to do.
Most of the time.
But I’m becoming more convicted and convinced
that from time to time, I need to speak with a little bit more . . .
I search for the right word here.
Perhaps that word is ‘anointing?’

Because that water on my head when I was an infant,
those words seared into my brain tissue as an adolescent,
that Spirit that enlivens me,
when I make space for that enlivening —
it needs to make a difference.
A difference in me, a difference in the small spheres in which I move,
a difference in the very air molecules I inhabit.
And that difference is this:
I am one who is called to bring and to be
I am one who is called to proclaim it,
to preach it — not with words alone, but with the very air I breathe,
the steps I take, the hands I offer, the prayers I raise,
the stands I take, the friendship I extend,
the money I have,
the time I live in,
the energy I expend,
the life I live —

ALL OF IT . . .
all of it.

And that means that when I see or hear something that
‘offends one of the least of these;’
when I witness abuse in any form,
when I see others doing battle, real battle,
against ‘principalities and powers,’
then I need to be the gospel there, too.

And to tell  you the truth, that scares the crap out of me.
I want people to like me, to see me as a person of positive impact and insight.
I care what people think of me.

God help me, I do. A lot.

So, if I am to ‘own my anointing,’ I think it means I’m going to be scared
a lot more than I’m comfortable being scared.
I think it’s going to mean speaking more firmly than I am sometimes
comfortable with speaking.
I, in no way, wish to cause or give offense,
but there is a time and a place to say, ‘enough.’
I can still do my darnedest to say it graciously, kindly, humbly.
And those adverbs are going at the very top of my personal prayer list
every time I open this laptop to write a single word.

But . . .
I am anointed to bring good news,
to proclaim release to the captive,
to offer sight to the blind,
to set the oppressed free.
And people may not always ‘like’ what that looks like.

When Jesus began to speak out his anointing,
the people in Nazareth disliked it so much,
they threatened to throw Jesus right off a cliff.

I am, as always, a work in progress.
So this will take time, thought, prayer and practice.
I’m hoping you’ll help me to embrace
the full extent of my own anointing.
And I am promising to help you to do the same.
Because we need to OWN it.

Yes, we do.

Signing on with the usual Monday crowd, each of whom I love a lot. Michelle, Jen, Ann, Laura:

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  1. yes. Yes. YES!!!
    With His oil poured over our heads, drip on everyone we meet
    own it, share it, never forget the price that was paid

    love this. needed this.

    • I’m so glad, Karin. Not everyone may agree with things I say at times, but I’m increasingly convinced that I need to prayerfully and carefully put down here what God gives me to say. I have always tried to do that – but I have tended to shy away from taking a position or even commenting on events or people ‘in the news.’ I will still not do that very often, but I think sometimes, it’s needed. Gasp. To be anointed means being willing to take a stand – with grace and humility.

  2. Beautiful! Amen and amen!!!!

  3. Just set my heart on fire why don’t you! Own your anointing…new, I mean NEW thoughts here. Pondering this deeply.

  4. Preach it, Diana.
    I’ve been a little shaky in my boots thinking about my post at Bible Dude next Monday on the Armor of God. How can I not step on toes if I write what I believe (about principalities and powers, spiritual warfare and all?) this helps confirm what I may write. Thank you.
    We all need our own, true voices, speaking in the way God has called us to be truth tellers.

    I’m excited, my friend, to see how God continues to move in you.

    • Thanks for the encouragement, Jody. I’ll be eagerly awaiting your post and I’ll try to encourage you, too – even if it should turn out that I may not agree with everything you say. I think that’s part of the point – speaking the truth we’re given, then being ‘iron sharpening iron’ with one another, right?

  5. Such an amazing concept….(sometimes I’m quite amazed at my inability to “get it” easily) …o close to what’s been going through my spirit of late….I even used that scripture last night “..iron sharpening iron..”….own your anointing…..hmmm….sort of like another phrase I’ve been sensing….use your own voice…..wow…thank you for these great words. I only found your blog a few days ago and your words have spoken volumes to me….and these words “So, if I am to ‘own my anointing,’ I think it means I’m going to be scared a lot more than I’m comfortable being scared.”…oh my goodness dear lady…..for right now all I can say is thank you!

  6. Holy crap, Diana! The two in that picture weren’t the only ones speaking powerfully. I like this–I like it a lot. And not just because you were able to work the word hogwash in there seamlessly.

    My pastor often talks about improving out baptism which, I believe, means using the means of grace to grow up into the person you were set apart to be. I like this better, I think–own it!

    Thank you for introducing us to this pair of folks. I think it’s tempting to think they are doing important things for Christ and his kingdom while the rest of us are lazy schmucks. I’m glad you asked the question about what it looks for you to own it given the way God has gifted and wired you. I think you are doing a fine job of owning your anointing. Good question for me to wrestle through as well.

    • Thank you, Nancy. And thanks for the share, too. I hesitated over that word – but only for a moment. I thought…Nancy will be glad I included this. :>) I think it’s an important question for all of us to wrestle with. And it’s scary as all get out.

  7. Living this today, Diana. And very afraid. Yet when you talk about it for you, I think you have no need to be afraid. (sigh) It’s always so much easier to see God’s will for someone else.

  8. Ain’t that the truth?? Praying for you and John today, Megan. For courage and grace and commitment. Don’t know if you saw Sarah Bessey’s post at A Deeper Story today, but the comment thread is amazing. As a church, we need a more balanced approach to teaching on this topic, that is for sure. Deep breath, friend.

  9. Jim and Judy Halvorsen says

    It was a powerful Sunday for us as well and our conversations mirror the thoughts you stated so beautifully. We have experienced so much rejection from family and what we thought was ‘close community’ by ‘owning our anointing’ that we retreat and then are challenged again. Ruth and John surely challenged us too. Thanks Diana.

    • Oh, I am sorry to read this, J & J – but also, sadly, not surprised. As we grow in our faith, our ideas and beliefs evolve a bit. Sometimes people cannot receive that and it’s hard, hard, hard. Praying for all of us that we’ll find that middle way, marked by both truth and grace.

  10. Reading this makes me want to weep. Owning your anointing is one of the most difficult things a person can do. Being called by God is a glorious, wonderful, terrifying thing. Even to this day I struggle with accepting the fullness of what God has called me to for many of the various reasons you listed above. Thank you for your openness and honesty. You have surely blessed me today.

    ~ Cassandra from Renaissance Women

    • Thank you so much, Cassandra! It is difficult, just plain hard some days. Really glad to see you here as I always enjoy your comments at Deidra’s place. Isn’t she just the coolest thing??

      • Thank you for your kind words, Diana, and yes, Deidra is great! I really appreciate her generosity, her warmth and her courage. So glad I found her and you through the grace of God in this corner of wilderness we call cyberspace.

  11. Diane, this meant a lot to me.
    A lot.
    First, I always love to see the altar art at your church, and because we’re in the common lectionary it’s a reminder of what we just had wherever I went too. You went farther this week.
    Second, I can hear your voice.
    Third, I am convicted to own my anointing, and right now that means more cleaning of heart and spirit.

    Two questions.
    Sign up for (in)RL?
    Can we have coffee and prayer once or twice in Feb?

    • Glad you found it helpful, Beth (and it’s Diana with an ‘a’ :>). And owning our own anointing means first of all discovering what that looks like in our own individual context, doesn’t it? I am not planning to do (in)RL for the same reasons that February is an impossible month for me, unfortunately. I’m gone at Midwinter with the ECC until the 8th, we’re moving my mom up here to the Samarkand on the 16th, which will mean daily commitments for me for a while, until she’s settled and used to the routine — AND I’m going back to work part time while Don is on sabbatical — from Feb through May. In and around that, I’m taking a couple of trips, too. Maybe I’ll have a little breathing room in March??

  12. Diana, there is a wealth of thought-provoking, prayer-inspiring material here! My heart was deeply stirred as I read. My plan is to digest your post slowly over the next few days (at least), making it the basis for meditation and prayer. Praise God for your open, receptive spirit and your divinely-inspired ability to communicate. May He bless you richly as you boldly speak His truth.

  13. O, yes! I love these: Own your anointing. Powerful.

  14. There’s a few people at the moment writing things that make me want to cheer, and you are one of them. This is gorgeous! I love the way you’re going – and I really understand the feeling of panic. Owning my anointing is something I struggle with – I tend to do it only when I’m taken by surprise, so to speak. If I have time to think things through I will usually water down what I want to say, make it smaller… strip any sound or feel of authority out of it.
    I am turning 40 this year (eeeeeeek!) and I can feel things changing within me – I have such a strong sense of this being a time of change for me. Nothing has changed in the ‘real world’ but I can feel change brewing, and I think that owning my anointing will be one of those things that changes. Time to own who I am, and what I have, and stop making myself small so I make others feel better.
    Preach it, Diana!

    • Why, thank you so much, Donna! And I think it’s tough for all of us to do this. And I don’t think owning your anointing means being reactive and speaking without thinking – not at all. But I do think it means taking a stand when a stand is needed, most particularly in areas where you believe God has given you a particular word to say or position to take. I, too, feel that the Spirit is working in wonderful and new ways in the church, here in North America, and around the world. I wait with expectation to see what emerges from this time of struggling for articulation and understanding.