Friends, for this one I just started writing.
I didn't worry about if it made sense, if all the back-story was there, if I even used correct grammar and punctuation. I just started to type.
So please forgive me if there are questions left unanswered. Excuse the spelling mistakes. Overlook the short-comings, inconsistencies, and inadequacies. I'm sure there are many and I don't care. Not even a little bit. Not this time.
Let's just join together in a little Good Friday Grace, shall we?
What is it about that blinking cursor that is just so intimidating? Now that I actually have purchased that ticket to the conference, I feel like I really need to make something special out of my blog. What if this whole thing ends up being a waste of someone else's money? Of course, I never would have actually gone if it meant spending such a big chunk of our money on something like this but now that it is someone else basically sponsoring me to go, I feel that much more pressure to make it worth it, to make it an investment. It's been made very clear to me that God wants me to devote more of myself to writing. Let's see, what have been the signs recently? The comment from LauraP that my humor has brought her closer to God because she realized that people who love Jesus can also be funny, the encouragement I get from readers like Karen and Nicole and so many others when I post something, the visit from JBU and the excitement about writing something for them, the list goes on and on. I've been searching for margin, for a way to really make this into something special and now God has basically dropped this opportunity on my lap.
But how do I do it WELL?
I'm still so afraid of failure. If I'm being really honest, I suppose I consider mediocrity to be failure. In all things. The writing piece I wrote for work was good, really good. Got great feedback and was told it was going to be published. Found out later that the project was scrapped, not because the writing wasn't good, but just because it wasn't the direction they wanted to go in as far as a new project. It devastated me. Why? Because I wanted to see my name in print? Or because I felt like I had failed? Both? Never even mind the yucky feeling in my belly when I acknowledged how selfishly I wanted that book to be published.
Every area of my life is affected by this - how I mother, how I wait tables, how I clean (or don't clean) my house, how I write. I need to feel like I am succeeding. Even in my marriage, I feel like ordinary and normal is code for underwhelming and mediocre. I know that the desire for something extraordinary is deeply rooted, a good thing by design.
But I still feel so defeated when I fall short.
It would seem that I have only applied Grace to my salvation status and completely forgotten about how profoundly it transforms my earthly breaths.
I don't want to smile in the photo because I'm only in the second week of using that new teeth whitening toothpaste and you're darn tootin' I'll be using a photo editing app to whiten those suckers before it goes on Instagram.
When I make a mistake at work, I immediately start wondering if I should just quit and save everyone a lot of trouble.
My idea didn't get picked, so I many as well just start doing as I'm told rather than imagining new directions.
The cursor keeps blinking in my face and the voice of the Enemy is there, sending pulses of poison into my mind with every blink - You've got nothing. You've been fooling yourself. There are real writers out there - you're nothing but a knock-off. Stop wasting everyone's time, money and attention.
There is no such thing as "good enough." I am never EVER going to feel like I am good enough because I continue to burn out trying to impress a holy God who is not impressed by anything short of perfection. I saw a quote on Twitter today from Dr. Tony Evans - "The reason he had to die is because even on our best day we are not acceptable to a holy God." That's really it, isn't it? Even if we were operating on all cylinders, blasting out home-runs every single time we so much as stepped up to the plate, it still wouldn't even be a blip on the righteousness radar to the One who arranged the stars on his canvas and spoke the earth into existence. That battle that we constantly fight against those feelings of worthlessness and inadequacy stems directly from our desire for intimacy with our holy Father.
He made us this way so we would be drawn to relentlessly pursue Him.
But when holiness feels too far away, we run from Him.
We hide among the trees of the garden, using their shadows as refuge and hoping they will obscure our failure from His view. We wait there, afraid of being found out.
He had to die because even on our best day we are not acceptable to a holy God.
We need His grace. His overwhelming, all-encompassing, never stopping, never quitting, always faithful, unconditional, love you right where you are, as you are, forever and ever GRACE.
We will fail. Over and over, every day.
And every day, over and over, he finds us hiding in the shadows, takes that fear and failure gently from us and carries it with Him to the cross.
With all my anxiety, doubts, shame, fear, selfishness, and pride.
Holy. Accepted. Redeemed. Loved.
Let's dare to step out of the shadows and walk in sound assurance of His grace.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
-Ephesians 2:8-9 (ESV)