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

Telling My Story_ On Inadequacy, Shame, and Overwhelming Grace.png

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.

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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.

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Why We Need to Quit Trying to Save the World

why-we-need-to-quit-trying-to-save-the-world

Can we stop trying to change the world?

 

Listen close, for just a second.

 

I say: The world doesn’t need fixing, because it’s already been done.

 

I don’t mean the world’s perfect. I don’t mean the world’s not broken – just look around, steady your eyes on a little slice of the pain and you’ll be convinced in an instant that something’s sorely wrong, sucked nearly dry of hope.

 

But there is something greater than the brokenness that we see – something higher, bigger, more powerful than the messes we create for ourselves.

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Why Jesus Is Truly Enough (Hebrews Bible Study: Week 7)

Why Jesus Is Truly Enough (Hebrews Bible Study- Week 7) 

Welcome back to the Hebrews Bible Study, friends, and thanks for joining me for week seven. Feel free to jump in now if this is your first time here, though you’re also welcome to go back to the beginning and read through it all (and I’ll leave links to each post) and start there. It’s a blessing to have you on this journey along with us!

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When We Feel Unworthy of Being Loved

When We Feel Unworthy of Being Loved

 

Maybe it’s a silly notion. Though I’m sure we’ve all felt it.

 

Unworthy. Undeserving. Afraid of not being enough. Not good enough to be loved.

 

Because deep down, we know we’re not truly “good,” in and of ourselves – and that’s a terrifying thought. But that fear doesn’t have to destroy us.

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4 Things I Learned During My First Year Blogging

4 Things I Learned During My First Year Blogging

To all of you who took my survey and celebrated my blogiversary with me, thank you! (If you hadn’t seen the extra post I put up on Wednesday, go read it here! It’s celebrating my 1-year anniversary of when I started blogging.) You all are so sweet and kind, and I appreciate all the feedback. If you haven’t taken the survey yet (I only got a few responses), please do go and take it. I know there are a lot of you who don’t comment, but know that you are a reader, and your input definitely counts. Here’s the link once more to the post.

 

Moving on.

 

I learned a lot in my first year of blogging, and I believe it has grown me as a person.

 

So, here are four things I learned in my first year of blogging.

  1. I’m not perfect, and it’s alright.

 

It’s alright because I’m still growing. You’re still growing. That is a very good thing. I made some blogging mistakes this year, just like I made life mistakes too. It’s okay. God is loving and gracious and forgiving, and, as I’ve learned, readers are gracious too.

 

  1. Don’t be afraid to be uncomfortable.

 

I like comfort. You like comfort. We all like comfort. But unless we go outside our comfort zones, we won’t grow or mature or learn anything new. Unless we stretch our borders to something bigger than ourselves, we’ll stay at the same place.

 

Trying new things can be challenging, but so worth it. This past year, I started writing book reviews (something I previously loathed with all of my being), I started taking karate (something I would have never thought I enjoy!), I’m taking some challenging classes for school, I’m starting to edit now as opposed to waiting until I graduate college, I’ve made online friends who know me pretty much just as well as my in-real-life friends, and so much more.

 

These things can be scary, but they are so wonderful. If you’re just itching to start a blog but you’re scared, then go. Do it. It may not be easy, it may not be the best ever, but you’ll learn, and it will be worth it!

 

  1. Commitments can keep you on track.

 

I write twice a week, on Monday and Friday nights for the next mornings. At first, I couldn’t wait to start writing, but every now and then, I just don’t want to write. I’m tired. It’s late. I want to watch a movie and go to bed. But you know what? If I hadn’t committed to doing it twice a week, I probably wouldn’t have done it even once, because when I don’t have a commitment, I’m not motivated.

 

It might seem strange, I know, but it’s helped me to stay on track, and learn, and mature in my faith as well as in my writing. By giving myself a goal, and holding myself to it, I have stretched myself to work hard and improve, week by week.

 

  1. It’s not about me.

 

I love blogs, and I love blogging, but when I set out to start this blog, I didn’t want this to be all about me, and my problems, and my feelings, and my life, and my happiness, and my everything.

 

I sought to make this about Jesus, and His love. I don’t want to just rant about my feelings, I want to make Scattered Journal Pages about spiritual maturity. I want to grow, and lead others to the Cross. I want others to see His love through me. I want to bring glory to the One who gives me everlasting life.

 

This year has been amazing, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything, even with its ups and downs. This year has brought me to the place I am now, and God has revealed overwhelmingly to me who He is.

 

Thank you all for reading my posts, for commenting, for supporting me, and for learning with me. I pray you all would experience the love of Jesus.

 

*aj

Christianity: Hypocrisy vs. Authenticity (+ news!)

Christianity

 

Something I find really interesting is the concept that Christians are hypocrites. Don’t get me wrong, so many of us can be. We’re imperfect, and just accepting Jesus doesn’t make us perfect, stellar human beings. We still have a sin nature. We’re still tempted, and we still fall into sin sometimes.

 

But I think I’m starting to figure out the difference between hypocritical Christians and authentic ones.

 

Let’s compare the two. Comparisons are helpful.

 

Hypocrites are motivated selfishly, to live a “Christian” life for what they can get out of it. However, authentic Christians embrace humility and selflessness.

Philippians 2:3

“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.”

 

Understanding the Gospel means that we understand our lowly state. That because we were sinners, Christ died for us. Not because we deserved it. Knowing that we don’t deserve anything brings us to a state of humility – and also of freedom. HE LOVES ME! I don’t have to prove anything! This is such a contrast from walking around on eggshells, trying to prove that you’re a good person. News flash: no matter how hard you “just try,” you won’t be able to measure up.

 

Hypocrites live to impress others. Authentics (I’m going to coin that word for the moment) seek approval from God. I don’t mean in earning salvation, but I mean in “living the Christian life.”

 

Person A: LOOK AT ME OVER HERE, SLAVING AWAY FOR JESUS, THIS IS REALLY HARD, ISN’T ANYONE PAYING ATTENTION TO ME?

Person B: I love Jesus and want to serve Him with my life – He saved it, after all.

 

I’m not saying we have to have to use Person B’s words, but without that heart attitude, we won’t grow in our faith. Church and Jesus and Bible all becomes like empty religion – meaningless obligation, filthy rags.

 

Galatians 1:10

“For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

 

1 Thessalonians 2:4

“But just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts.”

 

Who are we trying to please? What are we living for? To please, or not to please — that is the question. (Hehe.)

 

And one more difference, before I close.

Hypocrites try to be perfect. Authentics know they are new in Christ, and do not have to put on a face of impeccability.

 

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.”

 

As authentic Christians (meaning that we’re not trying to pretend to be someone that we’re not), we don’t need to “work hard” or “prove that we’re saved” or “pretend to be flawless” or anything like that. We are new creations. We are no longer under condemnation.

 

Romans 8:1

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

 

When we experience God’s love and grace, it’s more natural to be authentic.

 

We don’t have to pretend to love God because we already do. We don’t have to pretend to be overwhelmed my grace because we already are. We don’t have to pretend to enjoy serving God because we already will.

 

Authenticity isn’t hard to come by. It’s true that no matter who we are, because we’re imperfect, we’ll all be accused of hypocrisy at some point. But that’s not our focus.

 

The focus here is to understand this amazing love, and not get caught up in dos and don’ts.

 

We don’t have to get caught up trying to live a perfect life, because we can’t.

 

We must get to the root – understanding grace, and hope, and truth, and love, and out of that will flow an authentic life.

 

 

Oh, I have news! If you hadn’t noticed it on the sidebar of my blog, I joined Twitter on Saturday. So, you can follow me and see my tweets at https://twitter.com/amanda_beguerie/ or just search my handle, @amanda_beguerie. All lowercase. So far, I’ve posted Bible verse graphics, and when I think of something profound to say…then I’ll be sure to tweet those too. My goodness, am I new at this.

 

*aj