Stolen Wings

“Hey you!” I called my friend from the car on my way to pick up kids from school. “I have this great idea I want to bounce off of you.”

Her voice came through loud and clear on the hands free. “What’s up, you?” I could almost hear her smiling across the miles.

I shared my idea with her. It was the first time in a long time I had felt excited about a long writing project. I write blog posts and guest posts and articles left and right, but a long project? The past year had been a sad series of false starts and stops. For whatever reason, I just couldn’t get pas the outlining phase of anything.

I was both happy and excited and I thought I really had something good.

“Hmm.” She thought out loud. “So you feel qualified to write about that?”

It wasn’t an overly negative question; a simple push-back perhaps. She was challenging me and I appreciate that. But I guess, thinking back on it, I’d wanted her to be excited with me too.

A few minutes later I hung up with her, got my kids and headed home.

It wasn’t a conscious choice, but I never touched that project again. It’s been well over a year.

More recently someone asked me where I was on book-writing and all that comes along with that. It’s always a dreaded question because I’m always at the same place the last time someone asks: nowhere. I recounted that story of the car phone conversation and in the process was able to trace my giving up to that single day.

It wasn’t my friend’s fault. She was simply asking a question.

But I’d allowed her to steal my wings.

I let her voice become too loud in my life and the warm air of excitement I was rising on was cut off because I let her words stop me. I let her steal the wings that I’d been given for a purpose.

Her voice became louder than the one inside me telling me to press on even when I felt like giving up.

I’ve done that over and over in my life. I’ve let the loud voices have too much sway and shape on my present and my future.

You’re too sensitive.

You’re underqualified.

You’re too young. You’re too old.

You’re a girl.

You’re too busy.

You’re too…

I want to listen to the right voices; the ones that love me and have my best interests in mind.

You’re the right kind of sensitive because you understand the emotional climate of a room. You are qualified because you have a passion for it. You are just the right age. The fact that you are a woman makes you qualified in ways men are not. You will always be busy, but you can find the time for the right things.

And you? Don’t listen to the strong voices. The ones that don’t really love you. The ones that don’t SEE you. Don’t listen to the voices that make you question your worth or your qualifications. Don’t listen to the voices that want you to be silenced.

And by all means don’t listen to the voices that want to steal your wings. You were given wings for a purpose; use them.

Listen to the people who want to see you fly! Listen to the ones who want your best days, who will love you at any cost. Listen to the ones who know you well and see you true and love you with big hearts. Listen to those, today, and let those voices shape you.

Have you let someone steal your wings? What voices are the best ones for you to listen to?



  1. says

    Thank you for sharing! I can so relate. I have had a handful of false starts because I let the words of others make me second guess my ideas. Like you I cringe when someone asks how a project is going and I am reminded again that I have abandoned something or put it on the shelf.
    I am always surprised by who steps up and supports me and who has something negative to say. It’s so hard to predict and I ultimately get disappointment in other’s responses. It still hurts even thought I know they are not trying to “steal my wings” on purpose. My husband used to be one of those people not because he didn’t believe in me but because he thought I was just always making more work for myself. Over the years he has come to love my ideas and encourages me to go for it!

  2. says

    Yes,Sarah. It is so important to listen to the right voices. Did you see this piece by Donald Miller earlier in the week? Both that one and this one are reminding me that if God has called me to something, then I can and should move forward with confidence. Sometimes I hear Him in the calling, but forget to lean on His strength in the doing.

    And also, I hope you find your wings for this project. You have a voice more people would benefit from hearing.

    • Sarah Markley says

      no i didn’t! i’ll pop over to read it when i get a chance! thank you!

      and thank you for the hope. i appreciate the kindness. =)

  3. says

    I really needed to hear this today…I had a “stealing my wings” moment yesterday (actually one that’s been building up for months and months) and this has encouraged me to step away from people and situations that only bring out negative feelings and hurt for me. I wear my heart on my sleeve and like you, one comment, even if well intentioned, can derail me for a day or even weeks. This message came at just the right time for me. And I hope that you find the courage to start that project – you can do it! :)

  4. says

    “Her voice became louder than the one inside me telling me to press on even when I felt like giving up.”
    A few years ago I heard “Satan is always trying to get other people to do to you what he is doing to you.”
    I think people get caught in the crossfire between Satan and I. They don’t mean to be hurtful or discouraging. They just often get caught in the wrong side of the crossfire.

    I was thinking about you yesterday, about the talent the Spirit has given you with words.
    These bits of scripture have been very important to me lately.
    “Each person is given something to do that shows who God is: Everyone gets in on it, everyone benefits. All kinds of things are handed out by the Spirit, and to all kinds of people! … God has carefully placed each part of the body right where he wanted it… No part is important on its own… You are Christ’s body- that’s who you are! You must never forget this. Only as you accept your part of that body does your “part” mean anything… Go after a life of love as if your life depended on it- because it does. Give yourselves to the gifts God gives you.”
    From 1 Corinthians 12&13- The Message.

    Your “part” means something Sarah, and your writing ABSOLUTELY shows who God is. Go after it!
    Praying my encouragement will be some ammunition to deflect the enemies.

  5. says

    wow…what strong & needed words for me too!

    the Enemy met Jesus in the wilderness & tried to steal His wings…Jesus defeated the Enemy by looking to the Father & trusting in the long witness of scripture that promised God’s Presence with us…not success…but accompaniment…His never leaving or forsaking us…this was the BIG thing to Jesus! so big in fact, that when the true darkness came on the cross Jesus’ cry was, “Why have You forsaken me?”

    understanding & depending in God’s Presence empowers us…we can stand toe-to-toe with Satan himself…our wings cannot be stolen when we hold onto Him!

    so good, sarah…you know that i think you rock! always!

    love ya so much,


  6. says

    Sarah, Thanks for this reminder that I always seem to need, like every day. As long as we live in this fallen world, we’ll continue to hear loud choruses of doubt and fear. But we need to hear the voice of God above the din — the only one that tells the whole truth about who we are and what we were created to be. And maybe we can come to a place where those contrary voices only make us stronger. <3

  7. says

    So true! I think it’s often my inner voice that holds me back, that inner part of me that believes I won’t succeed. I need to start believing those who are close to me, those who tell me, time and again, to step out and try something new.

  8. says

    Sometimes I’ve held off talking about new ideas to others until they’re more well-developed. When they’re still forming, it’s just too easy to have the idea smashed by an off-hand comment.

  9. says

    This is fantastic. I let people steal my wings FAR too often and I’m trying not to do it anymore. Thanks for the encouragement! And if it helps, I started a novel with great fanfare this summer, worked on it for two or three weeks, got really busy, and haven’t touched it since. 😛

  10. Suzanne says

    Thank you for this Sarah! Write that book if that is what gives you back your God given wings that make you excited and want to fly like a little girl! A very long time ago, so this is safe to share, I was performing in a piano recital. The person that I never wanted to see there showed up. I freaked out! My performance was mediocre to say the least. I let the presence of this person’s attendance get to me. She told me after the recital, “You really blew it.” I chose to feel like a failure and did not perform again for many years. While the comment was cruel, I realize I allowed it to get me. God would never say that to me. My wings were broken. It was sad. Sometimes it still haunts me. A good reminder for me to keep focused on Jesus who always supports us, loves us, encourages us, and gives us very exciting things to pursue for His Kingdom. Sarah, again, I cannot thank you enough for your post today!!!

  11. lisa schron says

    i found your blog today and i already love you!
    this post made me think of a book by gene stratton-porter “daughter of the land” in which the verse Psalm 139:9 is quoted often : “take the wings of the morning”. the pro-life Psalm really has a lot more to say to us.
    i’ve read some of your stories, i identify with you SO much. in the intensity that drives people away. in the loneliness it produces. in the high expectations and “all in” dedication to ideas and people.
    you’re a very talented writer. i hope you let God restore your wings and your confidence.
    your last name sounded so familiar … i figured out finally that our husbands went to HS together! fun, huh?
    i will continue to read …

    • Sarah Markley says

      ohh!!! Yes they did!! and i am so glad you are here, lisa!! =)
      thank you for all of your kind words. i’m so glad you “found” me! =)

  12. says

    Gosh I can relate to this!!!!
    It’s crazy isn’t it, how a few words can instantly kill that fire in us to do something.
    In fact, even when no one says a single thing and you start the project and a bit of time passes by and you hit a bump where
    you are like “I don’t think I can do this,” you find yourself no longer excited and end up quitting. Because you look around you and compare yourself and then the enemy creeps in telling you that you have nothing new to add to the billions of books already published, etc.
    Like the saying goes, it’s not how you start that matters, its how you finish. In addition, the key to any project is not about starting well, it’s about finishing well.
    We all know that it’s so easy to start something yet it is insanely difficult to complete it.
    I’ve been there. I know firsthand just how hard it is. It’s why God’s word tells us to NEVER be guided by our emotions but always be guided by the Holy Spirit. It’s the gift of the spirit that enables us to do what He has called us to do. It enables us to press through the icky emotions of “I can’t” and “I don’t want to” and “What if” and finish what we started.
    I personally think that you have something very important to share with the world and I NEED you to write it down. The world needs you to write that book. So do it. Especially on those days where you don’t feel like it, sit down and write.
    You are God’s vessel. Let Him pour in through you what He feels the world needs to know.

  13. says

    I found this info and wrote following the info about myself awhile back, but I think it probably applies to other peeps as well.

    “This describes me: “An INFP is a perfectionist who will rarely allow themselves to feel successful, although they will be keenly aware of failures.” Unfortunately, so does this- “INFP may show some or all of the following weaknesses in varying degrees-May be extremely sensitive to any kind of criticism”

    Sometimes I wonder if ‘I’ am the greatest hindrance to success or failure. If in pride, I cannot take what other people say and learn from it, and if in confidence I can’t believe that I can actually do something well. What a strange balance!”

    God has given you a gift with words, Sarah. Write. I know I would read it.

  14. Abby says

    Thank you for this post! I can so relate. I’ve noticed that I allow myself to get discouraged a lot when people — who I want to believe in me, but don’t — make cynical or critical remarks about me, my personality, my hopes, my dreams. And I take every hurtful comment and allow it to seep in. In my mind, in my thoughts, in my heart. I

    t gets to be too much, because I store them all there, and I constantly feel defeated. Recently I’ve been thinking about this and I told myself, I need to listen to the people who do believe in me and not worry about the ones who don’t. I can’t make everyone like me or care about me. So why should I focus on them and what they say? I need to focus on the people who do care about me and do believe in me.

  15. says

    “i love you because YOU are a warrior IN HIM.”
    “you are my rock star.”
    “I love you jenny, because you tell me the truth.”
    “thank you mom, for being brave, for us.”

    “be quiet”
    “you are a woman. be even more quiet.”
    “you need to do this for free. if you love Jesus, you would.”

  16. says

    The Journey

    One day you finally knew
    what you had to do, and began,
    though the voices around you
    kept shouting
    their bad advice —
    though the whole house
    began to tremble
    and you felt the old tug
    at your ankles.
    “Mend my life!”
    each voice cried.
    But you didn’t stop.
    You knew what you had to do,
    though the wind pried
    with its stiff fingers
    at the very foundations,
    though their melancholy
    was terrible.
    It was already late
    enough, and a wild night,
    and the road full of fallen
    branches and stones.
    But little by little,
    as you left their voices behind,
    the stars began to burn
    through the sheets of clouds,
    and there was a new voice
    which you slowly
    recognized as your own,
    that kept you company
    as you strode deeper and deeper
    into the world,
    determined to do
    the only thing you could do —
    determined to save
    the only life you could save.

    ~ Mary Oliver ~

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