“Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.”
–St. Catherine of Siena
I had a lot of evidence of how I was not enough.
As a child and teen, I learned that:
*I was not skinny enough because the numbers on the scale told me so.
*I was not pretty enough because I didn’t get asked to the Homecoming dance.
*I was not popular enough because I didn’t get elected to student council.
*I was not talented enough because my art teacher had her favorites, and I was not among them.
*I was not athletic enough because I didn’t make the volleyball team.
*I was not smart enough because my third grade teacher wouldn’t let me in the highest reading group.
Whatever I was good at, there was always someone better.
As an adult, I learned that I was not enough in the most significant area of all.
I learned what a “good Catholic” is. (Insert your denomination: different title, different specifics, same idea, I suspect.)
*accept and live out every teaching without exception.***
*search for ways to make reparations for everyone’s sins.
*Not only attend Mass each Sunday and holy day, but also during the week as much as possible (the more frequent, the holier you are)
*Pray the rosary daily, on their knees, with the whole family.
*Make a holy hour every week.
*Have lots of children, who sit quietly, clean up after themselves, carry on intelligent, meaningful conversations, and answer with “Yes, Mom.”
*Teach their children lessons of selflessness with exercises like asking for no toys in Happy Meals.
*Obey anyone who is in authority.
*Volunteer their time and talent for the church ministries whenever asked.
*Must speak out against anyone living in sin (Ahem…)
*Make sure people know when they disagree with their sinful choices.
*Must minimize contact with non-Catholics to avoid the risk of losing their faith.
*Must avoid passions; they are indulgent and self-centered.
Stumbling was scandal. Struggling was to be “offered up.” (Which to me meant “sucked up” with a smile slapped on.)
When a mom of twelve children offered to chair a committee, how could this mom of then-two children say I was swamped?
My experience with the homeschooling sect of Catholics proved to be even worse. I lived in a land of “less than”.
Living up to the man-made standards within my religion, and my distorted interpretations of them, crushed me.
Certainly life could not be about this elitism, this legalism.
Enter the lovely Ms. Holley Gerth.
“’You think you have to take what’s broken and make it perfect in order to be used by me (God). But I think in a completely different way. I took what was perfect, my Son, and made him broken so that you could be whole. And because you belong to him, your brokenness can bring healing to others too.’”
–Holley Gerth, page 20 of You’re Already Amazing: Embracing Who You Are, Becoming All God Created You to Be, parentheses mine
God used Holley’s words, and her heart, in You’re Already Amazing to speak truth to me and refresh my thinking.
The title of Holley’s book reveals her main point. I am enough.
Who I am in Christ is what matters.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.
The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”
–2 Corinthians 5:17
Last week, we looked at Who God really is. This week, we examine who we really are.
Did you catch the adjectives in the photo?
Although this is not a book review, I found so much life-changing goodness in You’re Already Amazing that I want to summarize some of Holley’s ideas for you:
*God made us the way we are on purpose. He planned each detail of us: our gifts, talents, physical appearance, and even our weaknesses. He wants us the way we are and loves us the way we are.
*God made us the way He did for a purpose. All of our attributes are designed for us to accomplish a mission that is unique to each one of us—for God’s glory. When we explore our interests, desires, and passions, and then seek to honor God with them, we are accomplishing what He put us here to do!
In a way that only we can!
I worship and glorify God in a way that only I can.
*All that I’m responsible for is what God is asking me to do. Which begs the question: how much do I take on that He isn’t asking me to? I lived fatigued, stressed, and overwhelmed, and then I beg God for mercy and demand that He release me from my burdens…when He never put them on me!
*God knows me intimately, so He knows how much I can handle and when I need rest and healing. His expectations are not the world’s expectations.
Holley approaches the “how” of balancing life and “course correction” as I imagine God would. She is gentle and suggests abandoning the judgment and self-condemnation that comes with “failing”. She suggests that you simply adjust your behavior so that you are living in your strengths instead.
That’s how I imagine God relates to us. Not in the gasp-I-can’t-believe-you-did-that mentality. More in the gentle redirection one. I think of Him saying, “Child, this path you’re on? It’s not good for you. You will be hurt. Let’s turn in this direction.”
I love the exercises that Holley includes in her book. They help you identify your strengths, interests, the way you relate best to people, and more.
For instance, when I recognize that I work best in a small group, or in a support position, then I can plan my activities accordingly. And when I must engage in activities and situations that are outside of my strengths, I can prepare accordingly.
In summary, consider the words of another amazing woman, Lysa TerKeurt, who echoes these sentiments in her new book, Unglued: Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions:
“I am a child of God, holy and dearly loved, whom God has set apart for a mighty plan. And there ain’t nothing in this world worth trading all that for. Indeed, I must remember who I am.”
There’s one more thing you need to know.
Nothing you say or do, and nothing anyone else says or does can change your worth.
In Christ, you are amazing!
Enough? More than!
***Please note: I love the Catholic Church, and I do accept all of her teachings because I believe them to be straight from the lips of Jesus, Scripture, and/or the Holy Spirit. My interpretations of those around me are a partly a reflection of my insecurities, my past, and my fallen human nature. My issues stemmed from humans in the Church and not the Catholic Church itself.***
*The God’s Heart Block Art is a product of Blessings Unlimited.
- In which areas of your life do you feel “not enough”?
- Which characteristic of being “in Christ” speaks to you and why?
- Which unique characteristics and strengths had God placed in you?
Take some time to reflect on what it is that you are passionate about. What is your dream—you know the one that you may be afraid to even speak out loud? Might God be asking you to accomplish something mighty for Him through the pursuit of your dream?
Let chat! Share your answers with me. I would be honored to hear about your dreams! Tell me your story. The comments are open, as is my e-mail inbox: mandy (dot) mianecki (at) gmail (dot) com.
Photo credit: Kerri Bradford
Frequently linked, with gratitude, to:
A Holy Experience, CEO of Me, Teaching What is Good, Funki Planet, The Better Mom, WIPWednesday, Whatever Wednesdays, What’s Up Wednesday, Women Living Well, Denise in Bloom, Unwrapping His Promises, Thrive @ Home Thursday. Just for Fun Friday, Leaving a Legacy