Telling My Story: On Inadequacy, Shame, and Overwhelming Grace

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After a bit of a refreshing, much-needed break, I’m back again. I’ve taken the past few weeks to breathe, to refresh, to learn and grow and visit my friends, and reflect on life.

 

A while ago, I wrote a post called When Your Soul is Longing to Be Enough, and to this day, it’s one of my favorites. I want to continue on with that theme, with a new and different take on it – one that’s even more freeing.

 

For years, I’ve inwardly wrestled with feeling adequate, good enough, complete.

 

When people would tell me, “Oh, you’re so good at _____,” I’d brush it off, mentally tell myself they didn’t know what they were saying, ignore the compliment and continue to believe that I wasn’t good enough. Not as a person, or as a performer.

 

As I got older, and understood my faith a little more, I would hear it said, “You are complete in Christ! You are new and pure in Him, and that is where your identity lies.”

 

And I grasped onto that belief, holding it firmly, afraid it’d slip away. Because some nights, curled up in bed with my journal in my lap and pen in my hand, crying out to God, I’d begin to disbelieve again.

 

There was this dichotomy in my mind, this separation between who I was in Christ, and how I performed – how I really and truly saw myself.

Continue reading “Telling My Story: On Inadequacy, Shame, and Overwhelming Grace”

Seeing Resolutions in a New Light

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Hi there, friend.

 

Happy New Year.

 

It’s 2017 over in my corner of the world, and after a break to refresh my mind, spirit, and celebrate Christmas, I’m back once again.

 

I’m not sure what 2016 looked like for you. Maybe it was wonderful, full of growth and love, hope and peace, or maybe it wasn’t that great. Maybe you were stressed and worn, and maybe it was a really tough year.

 

I’ve seen so many complaints on social media, saying, “2016 was horrible, let’s hope 2017’s a little better.”

 

I feel you, friend. 2016 wasn’t an easy year for any of us.

 

But there’s this trend…and it happens every year. We desire to make this new year “our year,” and scribble down resolutions, or come up with defining words, and believe, “If only I work hard enough, this year will be amazing.”

Continue reading “Seeing Resolutions in a New Light”

How I Find Adequacy in the Face of Failure

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Sometimes, we carry those weights around that we don’t even know we’re carrying.

 

We bear these burdens every day…over…these issues that we think are minor, but really aren’t.

 

And then eventually, the truth comes out, the answers shed light on why we’ve been thinking and working and living and dying the way we are.

 

This all sounds so vague, I’m sure. Maybe I can explain just a little piece of my heart on this Tuesday morning.

 

Adequacy is a huge deal.

Continue reading “How I Find Adequacy in the Face of Failure”

How Vulnerability Can Bring Us Beyond Ourselves

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Sometimes we really don’t need someone to come along and give us a pep talk.

 

When life’s breaking us, we don’t need someone to come and shout, “Hey! You can do this! You’re amazing! Make your life whatever you want it to be! You are unstoppable!” because we’ve felt firsthand that those things are not right all the time.

 

We’ve all experienced failure.

 

We’ve hit roadblocks of all sorts.

 

We’ve felt that cluelessness when it comes to knowing what exactly we should do.

 

And so the pep talks often feel empty, shallow, phony. Hollow and falsely encouraging comments coming from people who seem to have their lives together when we do not.

 

Because often, instead of hearing “Hey, you’ve got this,” we long to hear Someone say, “I know this seems impossible, but I will be with you through all of it.”

Continue reading “How Vulnerability Can Bring Us Beyond Ourselves”

For When You Need Grace to Replace The Guilt

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Sometimes, a day’s worth of writing is made up of a lot of staring at blank pages and waiting for the words to come.

 

And some days, it takes so much energy to do simple tasks, to check things off a to-do list, to convince ourselves to do things we know we need to do.

 

And on those days, the ones filled with procrastination and lack of motivation, we can often let ourselves be overcome with guilt.

 

Guilt. The opposite of freedom.

Continue reading “For When You Need Grace to Replace The Guilt”

You Are Not a Failure. I Promise.

You Are Not a Failure. I Promise.

 

I don’t know when exactly the thought enters our minds, but somewhere along the line, it just creeps in.

 

You are a failure.

 

Maybe we’ve overcommitted (I know I have) and been unsuccessful in getting everything done well or on time. Maybe we just didn’t live up to the standards we put on ourselves.

 

Maybe we think the reason why we’re single is that we’re failures; not pretty enough, not charming enough, too awkward or dumb, or just bad at this whole “life on earth” thing.

 

Maybe we’ve flunked multiple tests in a row. Been rejected by those whom we once thought were friends. Made poor decisions that affected more than just our own selves.

 

Maybe we’ve been hurt by others and led to believe that it was our fault. That if we had just [insert action here]-ed, we would not have had to go through our pain.

 

But, my friend, none of those things makes you a failure.

 

You are not a failure; I promise you that. Sure, bad decisions can be made, and things can be done to harm us. But we are not considered failures by the One who saved us.

 

Our failures do not determine our worth, just as our sins do not condemn us now. Why? Because we have been redeemed, and we are loved no matter what.

 

Just as swimming doesn’t make me a fish, eating carrots doesn’t make me a bunny, and growing doesn’t make me a plant, failing does not make me a failure.

 

Because I have been redeemed by Jesus’ blood, my God does not count me as a failure.

 

Sure, I’ll fail. I’ll fail tests, I’ll fail to live up to people’s expectations, I’ll fail to please the people I love, I’ll fail to be perfect, I’ll fail to meet my goals I set for myself.

 

But it’s okay. Because God does not see me as a failure.

 

He sees the righteousness of His Son in me.

 

2 Corinthians 5:21

“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

 

He has overwritten my old nature and given me a new one, that my past might not stain me.

 

2 Corinthians 5:17

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

 

I am called a Child of God.

 

Romans 8:15

“For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’”

 

Maybe you’re tempted to call yourself a “failure” or a “disappointment” or you’re constantly beating yourself up over what you’ve done, and possibly what you’re still doing.

 

But no matter who you are or what you’ve done, God’s grace covers you, no exceptions.

 

It’s okay to drop your labels and just come to Him. Come as you are. Messy pieces and all.

 

And I want you to know that once you have been forgiven, you will never be considered by God to be a failure.

 

No.

 

You are a holy Child of God. You are sacred, you are His. You are cherished. You are considered blameless before Him. Nothing, and I repeat nothing, can take His love away from you.

 

And even when you fail, He does not see you as a failure.

 

*aj