Thursday, February 24, 2011

Never Enough

This week has been a trying week. We have had more school delays and closings than school. I have used my anti-lock breaks more times than I think I have the entire time I have owned my car. My schedule at work has been abnormal due to a few extra meetings over the weekend, and to top it off, we are getting ready for a big GroupLaunch this weekend. (GroupLaunch is a program we have designed to help people at Pathway connect in small groups). GroupLaunch is to us what a shuttle launch is to NASA. This is a big deal.

This Launch will have a different format that the ones we have had in the past, and I am anxious to see it play out. Having been in on the planning and implementation from step one has been fun for me. I am sure that I am not as anxious as Heather, our Connection Coordinator, but I definitely feel a sense of ownership in the event; and I want to see it succeed.

That may be one reason why I haven't been sleeping well. I have a running list of things in my mind that I still need to get accomplished. There always seems to be just one more thing that needs to get done.

I have come to realize this week that "never enough" pretty much summarizes how I view my life. It's not a conscious thought. It's more of a vague feeling. And it comes in all shapes and sizes.

Some of it is relatively harmless. "I should have gotten one more thing checked off my to do list." "I wish I could have given just a little bit more." But sometimes, more often than not in my case, it is an overwhelming sense of failure.

A few posts ago, I mentioned that I had started on a weight loss program. Since that post, I have lost 30 pounds. I should be thrilled, but if I am honest, with you and myself, I don't really feel like I have lost a pound. I don't see it. I see that my clothes fit a little looser and I have been able to buy smaller sizes in my most recent clothing purchases, but when I look in the mirror, I see the same chubby girl. Each week I step on the scale knowing that I have gained it all back and more. I get so frustrated with participants on The Biggest Loser who lose 6 pounds in a week and feel bad, and yet I know that I would probably be one of them.

The thing that is the most frustrating is that I know that these feelings of inadequacy aren't pleasing to God. And, they certainly aren't from Him. They are the door that I can't seem to get closed, and every single time, they are the avenue that Satan uses to mess with my mind.

Will I ever be good enough? Will I ever be thin enough? Will I ever be likeable enough? Will I ever be enough? I don't know. I know the scriptural answer is that I am already enough. I am important enough that God sent His Son to die so that I might be His friend and live in eternity with Him. Shouldn't that be good enough? Nothing I can do will ever make me more precious in His sight. And, even if I have failed and feel like I am not worthy, God's grace is more than enough, so shouldn't that be enough?

The struggle inside of me is exhausting. Just once, I want to feel like I am enough. Enough of what I am not sure. I want to be confident. I want to be a friend. I want to be an encouragement. I want to be an example - a positive one. I want to feel like I fit in. I want to feel secure.

Baby steps. I know it's baby steps. I am farther along the path than I was pre-Serbia. Most days, a lot farther down the path. I try to take each situation, and each day, and live as the person I want to be rather than the person I am. It's difficult. And some days, I am more high-maintenance than confident. Thankfully, I have friends who love me and care for me and support me through those days - even the days when I have disappointed them.

I am just thankful that on those days - the days when I feel I will never be enough - God is enough. And that is something that will always be true. Maybe I should add trust God to my to-do list. :)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Choosing to See

Today has been an interesting day. Before you panic, I can assure you that I am in a much better place emotionally than the last post, so it is probably safe to continue reading...probably.

You see, God has been doing something in me that I can't quite describe. He is bringing me face to face with stories and analogies that I know are for my benefit, but I don't know how they will play out.

Take my Nook. I have a Nook Color, and I LOVE to read. Maybe it is because I am an only child, or maybe it is because when I read I hear voices in my head, but whatever the reason, I love to read, and I read what I consider "a lot." Not quite as much as my friends at Two Bibliomanics, but a lot. And, since I have gotten my Nook, I have been able to read a lot more than I did before - and yes Barnes and Noble is grateful - and profitable - buy stock. Anyway...

I recently downloaded Choosing to SEE by Mary Beth Chapman. I had heard the story of how the Chapmans lost their little daughter, Maria, in a terrible accident, and I was interested to see how their faith played out and how God was using their story. I am not quite finished with it yet, but when I read the first few chapters, I came face to face Our stories are a little different obviously, but if there was one person that I would love to sit down and just have a heart to heart chat with, it would be Mary Beth. She was so honest with her struggles - my struggles. She was able to put words to thoughts and feelings that I have never been able to put words to. And as you may have noticed, I use a lot of words. :)

Mary Beth begins the book by saying that it is not about the accident and, I see that through her story. Maybe for some, it IS about the story of Maria's accident, but for me, it is the story of someone very much like me who allows (sometimes reluctantly - which I also love) God to work through her story so that others will see Him through her eyes. And at least so far, it is an AMAZING story.

Enter Sunday morning. Eric spoke this weekend as we opened a new sermon series entitled According to Jim (based on the book of James). One of his sermon illustrations was from Voyage of the Dawn Treader, a book by C.S. Lewis, which I have not read, but apparently it involves a little boy and a dragon suit. As Eric described it, the little boy puts on this suit but then comes to the conclusion that he doesn't want to be a dragon anymore. Unfortunately, no matter how hard he tries to peel away the layers of the dragon suit, he is still a dragon. It is not until Aslan (the lion - aka Jesus) steps in strips away the layers that he is truly able to lose them. According to Eric the entire process is a bit graphic and painful.

I have to tell you, that scares me more than a little bit. You see, I have been trying to peel away the layers of my identity that are not of God. And I have been trying to peel away the walls that I have built up to protect myself. And yet, I come back to posts like the last one - ones where I am still a dragon. And each time I throw my hands up in despair and say "I can't do this!" And the reality is I CAN'T do this.

Eric said the little boy in the story had to allow Aslan (who is a lion remember) to sink his claws into the boy's dragon skin and remove it. Did I mention that Eric said it was graphic and painful?

So often God speaks to me through music, and tonight I heard a song that touched a nerve. It was supposed to be the main focus of this post, but I think God had other plans. I still want to share it with you because it is just another way that I see God speaking into my heart.

He's not mad at you
He's not disappointed
His grace is greater still,
than all of your wrong choices
He is full of mercy and he is ever kind
Hear his invitation, His arms are open wide

You can come as you are,
with all your broken pieces
And all your shameful scars
The pain you hold in your heart,
bring it all to Jesus
You can come as you are

Louder than the voice that whispers your unworthy
Hear the sound of love,
that tells a different story
Shattering your darkness and pushing through the lies
How tenderly he calls you,
His arms are open wide

You can come as you are,
with all your broken pieces
And all your shameful scars
The pain you hold in your heart,
bring it all to Jesus
You can come as you are

You can come as you are
Come as You are - Pocket Full of Rocks

Like the boy who was a dragon, and Mary Beth with her hurt, I pray that God will do whatever He must to take away the walls and layers that are not of Him. I think that is probably the scariest prayer I have ever prayed. But I want to choose to SEE.