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.

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When God Feels So Far Away

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What do you do when God feels so far away? When there seems to be no feeling at all, no Voice, no overwhelming peace? Just the absence of anything deeper?

 

That isn’t how I wanted to start this post. I wanted it to sound beautiful, inspiring, but though it’s laced with desperation, it’s imperatively honest. Because for this past week, and maybe even for this past month, I’ve been there.

 

It took me a while to come to that conclusion – to be truthful with myself – to let myself admit that I haven’t been feeling my faith recently.

 

At first thought, I was horrified that it would even cross my mind that perhaps God wasn’t speaking to me as I clearly remember Him doing. It terrified me that maybe…I’ve been relying on myself so much, that life’s been so good, so easy lately, that I’ve forgotten my need to rely upon Him.

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The Roots of Life Purpose (And Why We Might Be Running Too Hard With This Mystical Idea)

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Sometimes we make this whole pursuing-your-life-purpose thing so difficult.

 

I get it.

 

Because I do it.

 

I texted one of my very best friends yesterday, spilling my soul on what was really going on in my life, and she reminded me of something so important that I often forget:

 

Pursuing our life purpose starts first and foremost with loving God, not getting caught up in what we can do for Him.

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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.”

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When Your Soul is Longing to Be Enough

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Enough.

 

I have a love/hate relationship with that word; the whole concept of adequacy and fullness.

 

Because deep inside of me, there’s this longing to be truly enough…and an aching dread that I never will be.

 

I know that sounds extremely un-Christian and negative, so please do hear me out. This is something I think really needs to be addressed.

 

In a world that seems to require perfection, how can we, as imperfect humans, truly live freely?

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Our Only True Hope (Hebrews Bible Study: Week 6)

Our Only True Hope (Hebrews Bible Study- Week 6) 

Welcome, friends, to week 6 of the Hebrews Bible Study. Feel free to hop in any time; we’re so glad to have you!

 

Last week, we covered two main points – two to focus on, instead of the usual three-to-four.

 

*Jesus is our representative before God – and He gets us, because He Himself was human.

 

*Jesus is the source of eternal salvation. No one else.

 

And our weekly takeaway: “We are redeemed by Jesus – our mediator, our brother, our Savior.

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Real Trust in The Lord

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We’ve probably heard them all a thousand times. Written them on index cards, saved them as our lock screen wallpaper, pinned them, Tweeted them, and posted them on Facebook.

 

What is “them?”

 

Bible verses. The ones we memorized as Sunday School Kids, highlighted in our first Bibles, and became deaf to because we’d heard them so many times.

 

That Powerful Verse became absolutely cliché. Trust in the Lord, yada yada. For God so loved the world, blah blah blah. I’ve heard it all so many times. And it becomes un-life-changing, un-impressive, non-radical.

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Dear Reader: You Are Beautiful

 

Dear Reader_ You Are Beautiful

Dear Reader, you are beautiful.

 

When you wake up in the morning and slip out of your bed, you are beautiful.

 

When you stand in front of your mirror, with hair disheveled and shadows under your eyes, you are beautiful.

 

You are beautiful in your pajamas, the ones you hope no one will ever have to see, with skin blemished, covered in acne or freckles or wrinkles.

 

Your hair is frizzy, skin is bumpy, and your body’s discolored – but you are beautiful.

 

That person in the mirror – the one you criticize for your imperfections, will into being thinner, pinch into being prettier, make up to cover imperfections – that person is the one that God loves.

 

God loves the person in the mirror without nice clothes, without a status or title, without a nice scent, without makeup or product or styling.

 

God loves that person because He is their Creator. And that person is you.

 

Don’t believe the lie that being beautiful doesn’t apply to you. Don’t believe the lie that says you are not enough. Don’t believe that you couldn’t possibly be loved, that you could never receive the free love that God gives.

 

Dear Reader, I beg of you, please do not fall prey to the misconception that you are the exception. God sees you as beautiful because He sees His Son’s perfection inside of you, radiating from every part of you.

 

He sees you as beautiful because He looks at your heart; that same heart that He has made as pure as snow and called holy and blameless.

 

1 Samuel 16:7b

“For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”

 

He sees you as beautiful because you were made in His image.

 

Genesis 1:27

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”

 

God has made you with care and wonder.

 

Psalm 139:14

“I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.”

 

And you are beautiful because God promises it.

 

Ecclesiastes 3:11a

“He has made everything beautiful in its time.”

 

As you stare at yourself in the mirror, curling and straightening and setting your hair, applying powder to your face to hide your scars and blotches and bumps, and dressing in the perfect outfit, remember that you are loved regardless of it all.

 

Remember that God sees you as beautiful, and loves you in spite of all your imperfections.

 

You were created in love, given a beautiful life to live, and a blank slate that God is using to write His story.

 

Forget the pressures of who everyone wants you to be, and come to your Father – blemished, messy, and exactly how He wants to see you: as you.

 

Friend, never forget that you are beautiful, and that you are loved. You can do nothing to change this truth, for everything you are is loved by the One who invented you.

 

He imagined your personality before you existed, and He called it good. He knew your thoughts before your parents knew you, and He loved you.

 

Never doubt how God feels about you, Dear Reader. He loves you, and He calls you beautiful.

 

*aj