just breathe

I am not good at everything. I do not think this is big news to anyone who knows me. It should not be big news to me either. But sometimes, it is news to me. Sometimes, I feel like I should be good at everything; particularly when I have spent a lot of time on the Internet. Sometimes, the inspiration I think I am finding is actually suffocation.

I breathe in original craft ideas I should make, powerful writing I should emulate, tasty recipes I should cook, and stories of world travels I should aspire to. Then I breathe in again, this time fashion combos I should wear, profound quotes I should remember, educational activities I should do with my kids, and Bible verses I should memorize. Then I breathe in again. And again. And again.

I suffocate because I forget to breathe out.

I breathe in these ideas meant to inspire me, and accumulate them into a new standard of what I think I should be. I suffocate under the weight of this idealized version of a real person. 

I need to remember to breathe out.

I need to breathe out with the words “I am not good at everything.” And that is as it should be.

Because that does not mean I am not good at anything. Ephesians 2:10 says,

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

Every person, including me, was crafted by God with gifts, to be used for a purpose. I should celebrate and explore the person God made me to be.

As I do that, I just need to remember that I was not crafted with every gift, for every purpose. That is why God also gave me community.

In Romans 12:4-6 says,

"For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.”

I think these verses can apply not only to spiritual gifts, but also to natural ones. So if my gift is crafting, I should craft. If it is cooking, I should cook. If it is writing, I should write. God designed me to use and share the gifts I’ve been given. God did not design me to spend my energy trying harder and harder to be good at the gifts He did not give me.

If I was good at everything, then I would stand in awe of myself. Since I am not, I can stand in awe of a God who created a diversity of people in a beautiful tapestry of interdependence. 

So as we see others using their gifts, we should breathe them in. As we do, we can be encouraged and inspired. We just need to remember to also breathe out.

“I am not good at everything.” Ahhhh. That felt good.

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rest in grace

grace (n): unmerited divine assistance; approval; favor; mercy; pardon; kindness. When is the last time you paused, reflected, and rested in God’s grace?

I am an overachiever, a perfectionist, and a self-criticizer. Reminders of the sufficiency of God’s grace are a necessity for me. How about you?

I recently did a word study on grace. I limited the search to the New Testament, as even there, the content was huge.  I let verses like this wash over me…

  • For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich. -2 Corinthians 8:9
  • May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word. – 1 Thessalonians 2:16-17

I was inspired by my study to create a word picture, filled with verses like the ones above. My hope is that it can be a reminder to you as it was to me.

A reminder that God’s grace is Available. Abundant. Enough. Period.

Please use this image however you want. Read the words. Take in the meaning. Pin the picture. Bookmark, email, or print the pdf.

Maybe even use it as inspiration to create your own biblical word picture.

  • Use a resource like Bible Gateway to look up what the Bible has to say about words like strength or hope or forgiveness or love.
  • Use a resource like Font Space to download fonts that enhance the picture you are trying to make. (I used the font “Just the Way You Are.” What a great name for a font used to help picture grace.)

Whatever you do, I pray this post gives you permission to take a moment and rest in God’s grace. It is God’s gift to you. Receive it and rejoice in it.

What character trait or promise of God do you long to remember and rest in? Please leave a comment if you want me to do this with another word. I would love to make more.

the illusion that chokes me

I have a confession to make. I am a perfectionist. I have been as long as I can remember. perfectionist

I'm not sure where it stems from- probably my desire for control. Though it was sometimes helpful for getting good grades in school, it generally does me more harm than good.

Perfectionism makes me spend too much time on things that don't deserve that much of me. It makes me afraid to have people over when my house is a mess. It makes me present a false sense of who I am to those around me.

It chokes me. I want perfectionism to let me go- but that means I have to let go of the illusion of perfect. That's a work in progress.

I read a blog post that really hit the nail on head with my feelings about it. My favorite quotes are:

Perfect is merely a street sign at the intersection of impossible and frustration in Never Never land. (I think I may need to hang that one on my wall).

Perfect is rarely as interesting as real.

Check out the whole post: The only way to make it through most days by Lisa- Jo (The Gypsy Mama).

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