Day 24: How dare you?

I haven’t participated in Five Minute Fridays for a few months and this month doesn’t seem like the best time to jump back in – and yet, through the #write31days challenge, I’m reading a lot of great FMF posts and I’m inspired.

This week, the word prompt is “Dare.” So, I will attempt to entertain you with some of my inner self talk presently taking place:

HOW DARE YOU? 

Excuse me?

Who do you think you are? You post such brave and challenging things aimed at others, but what about you? You don’t dare show your own weaknesses or put too much spotlight on your own idols and kingdoms. How dare you?

Well, I thought, maybe…

YOU thought. There’s your first mistake. Look, you write a nice blog and have some talent at stringing words together, but you’re no studied theologian. Six years at Liberty University doesn’t exactly qualify you to preach to others or point out their weaknesses.

I know. Look, it’s difficult. I feel the pull to share hard things but don’t feel like I have the qualifications to speak. It’s partly what tied my hands and shut my mouth this past year. I look at my failings (repeated ones sometimes) and I’m desperately looking for someone to help me through it. Finding no one, I write. Yes, I’m writing to others, because it sounds silly to write posts directed to “Dear Me.” But what I write is for me. I’m not trying to become famous or get a book deal. I just want to help others who may be hurting as much as I am.

Oh, well, when you put it that way…

LOL – I went over the five minutes, but was amused by arguing with myself. The truth is, I laid out where I want to go in this post, but I’m pretty scared about actually going there. It means talking about hard things that may upset some people. It means talking about the things in myself that I’d much prefer remain hidden. And, I suppose, they can still remain hidden – so I need to determine how much to actually put out there in the interwebs, where my mom, family members, friends, and possibly coworkers may see it. I’m awed by the bloggers who put themselves out there on a regular basis, but I don’t know if I’m ready to be one.

All right now, in some ways this feels like stalling. I’d better get to the serious writing. 🙂 See you as we press on through 31 days of crushing your kingdoms.

bold_crushing

I’m also linking up with Five Minute Friday:     

 

Day 4: Rest in God’s Strength

Broken Is

Back in July, I wrote a Five Minute Friday post right after a week serving at camp. This post, What Broken Looks Like, was written from a very bruised and broken place. In the post, I wrote that this wasn’t a full picture, but in 5 minutes, there was just no time for details. So, right now, let me share a little more about myself and this broken moment.

In my real life, I’m an admin. I do office-y things. I’m at a desk most of the 8 hour workday. At camp this year, I decided to sign up for the admin type position, for a variety of good reasons. I figured the job would be fairly easy for me. There’s not much in an office environment that I haven’t done over the past 11 years. And, as far as skill set goes, that was true. I handled the office-y part of the position well, got back up to speed in Access within a day or two, and even learned a little bit of new info regarding SQL (sweet).

So while the actual job itself was moderately easy to pick up, it sort of took me by surprise that I was completely floundering. I was doing the work and getting sufficient acknowledgement for it, but feeling like I was drowning nonetheless. Tuesday morning, as referenced in that post, I lost it. I had 5 minutes with my husband during breakfast, where I told him I was done. Then came the moment of breaking:  the flinging of self down on the bed, the tears pouring out, the cries to God in desperation, the complete surrender.

I knew there was nowhere else to turn.

It had to be God, because in my own strength I was failing at something I’m good at.
It had to be God, or I wasn’t going to make it.

That moment of giving up was a watershed moment. I can look back and see that I moved from the side of believing in God but working really hard to get things right on my own, to handing over the reins, if you will, to surrender control of my life to God. I’ve screwed up since then, believe me, and have had to hand everything back over repeatedly, even in that one week at camp. Even in this week, trying to accomplish the 31 day blog challenge along with my normal life activities and assisting my husband with a breast cancer awareness fundraiser, it’s been about me, like a child with grubby hands, trying to hold every toy herself and dropping most of the load along the way.

Now we rest.

Now we release the things we are trying to handle in our own strength. A hurt from a relationship gone bad. A physical pain that doesn’t respond to treatment, a huge to-do list that never gets done. A problem that confounds you at every turn. A project that you can never complete.

Give it up. Stop trying so hard. Rest in God’s strength, for in His strength, we don’t have to be strong.

Boast in weakness

 

During my week at camp, throwing myself completely on God in brokenness, I found, not only strength to make it through the day, but rest. You and I need to do this daily, giving him our brokenness, our weakness, our failure – those grubby toys that are so important to us. In return, He will give us strength and rest.

31Days_Rest_thumb ←Click to get links to the whole series.

I’m one of 1500+ blogs participating in the Nester’s 31 Day Blog Challenge.

You Have So Much More To Offer

I am in my 40’s and I am still painfully insecure. I ought to have grown out of that by now, right?

At a conference in early 2012, the opportunity presented itself for me to meet a young female entrepreneur who I admired online.

“Hi Maggie! I love your work and sense of style!”

Did I say this? No. I was too shy to introduce myself afraid of being rejected, so all I said was a timid “hello” and moved on.

Warm fire

A short while later I sat morosely kicking myself by this lovely fire. All my insecurities piled on me with a weight that grew heavier by the second. Instead of dealing with a mere moment of bashfulness, I was suddenly flooded with memories of a lifetime of missed encounters.

Do you ever do that?

I really never thought much about it until I saw how bothered my husband gets when I’m negative about myself. He loves me as I am and it’s insulting to his love for me when I insist that I’m unworthy of it.

I’m not alone here. I see other women I respect who don’t feel that they have much to offer and, while it’s easy for me to perceive the lie of satan in their lives, I’m blind to it in my own.

But we are women made in the image of God.

We are chosen by God for eternity.

Jesus gave up his life for us on the cross.

We are his Beloved.

I don’t have an answer to fix my own insecurities or yours. But I know that we should not dwell on them or let them drag us down and keep us from becoming all we can be in Christ. I know that God uses our weaknesses as opportunities for his strength to shine through. As Paul says, in 2 Corinthians 12:

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

I hope to offer you some encouragement tonight. Whatever it may be that you are beating yourself up about, stop. See that God is at work through you. That where you feel like you fail is where he steps in and shows his strength and power through you. And if you’re struggling and just can’t see that, then know. Know that his grace is sufficient for you and that he is with you. Trust his word. Believe it.

You, and I, have so much more to offer. Our insecurities and weaknesses are shining the light of God’s strength to a darkened world.

I’m continuing to count the gifts God is giving me:

  • Jewel-toned colors through a stained glass window.
  • The warmth of a purring cat.
  • Sunshine and warmer than average days in January.
  • A peace that descends as notes reverberate through a piano.
  • Chocolate. 🙂
  • Sunset darkening the sky a little later each day as winter ebbs slowly into spring.

I’m linking up with:

The Scenic Route

  • Hi, I'm Janice. I'm part bookworm and part creative. I love both science and music (and the science of music). I'm stumbling around trying to grow closer to God. Click the photo to read more about me.

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