Sometimes I judge you and decide that I am more enlightened, more noble, and certainly on the right track.
And most other times I judge you and come away feeling like I'm not enough: not beautiful, not as good of a mom, not intelligent, not as knowledgeable about the Bible, not doing enough, not organized.
Just. not. enough.
Isn't that ridiculous?
I measure myself against y'all and manage to hurt both you and me.
I live in a constant state of unbalance. I don't want to fall into the depths of despair so I try not to think too much about all my weaknesses and my failures and all the ways I'm not enough. But I don't want to be arrogant and prideful so I shy away from sharing the ways God is using me. Sometimes I don't blog when God gives me something to say because I fear that y'all will start to think I'm full of myself. I am a master deflector of compliments. If you know me, you've seen my artistry at work. Give me a compliment and I can somehow manage to turn it back around to how great someone else is. I can twist your words and ignore you to avoid your acknowledgment. I'm afraid of your compliments. I am afraid to acknowledge the beauty that is God in me.
This weekend I had the privilege to lead an IF:Local Gathering. It was a honor and a joy to watch God speak to the women around me. We broke down barriers and were honest with God and with each other, confessing to one another, sharing our burdens. We discussed our dreams, how we long to live lives that are broken and poured out for others. I watched my friends capture their callings, saw them discover how God wants to use them, watched them wrestle with what that means.
And for me, I got permission to shine.
Because when I embrace the beauty that God places in me, it shines light on the beauty he has placed in you. When I share the ways in which he has freed me from despair and depression, it loosens your chains. When I delight in how God uses me, it allows you to delight in how he works in you.
Do you know what I do? This is a really vulnerable confession, so just please still love me when you read this: When my kids want to invite yours over for a playdate, I look up your address and if you live in a big fancy house, I hesitate. I'm afraid to invite your children over because of the moment you pull up in the driveway of our small house to pick them up. I fear you will think less of me.
I doubt the resources God has given me. Me, who is loved beyond measure by the God who created the universe. Me, who God allowed the honor of walking through the journey of adoption that is hell-turned-redemption and has blessed me with joy and three amazing children. Me, to whom God has given his broken heart for the oppressed and a yearning for justice. Me, who God called to help plant a church in Greensboro that is radically loving people like Jesus. Me, to whom God has given an amazing husband who follows Jesus with abandon. Me, who has followed Jesus to Swaziland and been used to show his love to those who are suffering. Me, who gets to love on the homeless people of my city and be part of the team planning the Crisis Shelters. God has given me all I need and more. My life is amazing because of Jesus. And I worry that you won't think my house is nice enough. And at the same time I fear all those words I just wrote because now I fear you'll think that I think I'm awesome.
In the words of Anna of Arendelle, "Wait, what?" (I bet you didn't know that I love Frozen. ahem.)
This weekend God reminded me that I am free to shine. He loves me and it has nothing to do with what I can or cannot do for him. My life is beautiful because he works in it. He gives me words to say that can heal and encourage and lift up others. He uses me to start to heal the broken, to love the unlovable, to fight for justice. My shining is not a measure of my worth. I'm worthy because of him. My shining is just what happens when he works in my life. You shine too when he works in you.
So today, I choose to shine. What God has done in my life is full of light and life and joy. I shine so that you can see the ways in which you shine too. My shine just makes yours brighter. My prayer today is that you see your shine and let it show. Be beautiful, be talented, be fabulous. God made you that way. Shine on, my friends.