We throw off the lie of perfection and cling to our identity in God as we strive to be whole, healthy, and fit. Our goal is wholeness, not perfection.

Posts tagged ‘fear’

You’re Already Amazing Monday: Chapter 2

This is my second attempt at recapping Chapter 2.  My first attempt read too much like a middle school book report.  Okay, maybe elementary.  So I’m going to share my personal highlights and takeaways from the chapter.

  • God planted the “Who am I really?” question in our hearts to help us understand who he created us to be.  If we don’t know who he created us to be, then we can’t fulfill the purpose he has for our lives.
  • Knowing who I really am is necessary to love God, others, and myself more.

Strengths

  • A strength is a personal characteristic that can be use on behalf of God in service to others.
  • The three strengths I identified – trustworthy, cheerful, supportive
  • God is the source of my strengths, I am not (Philipians 4:13)
  • When I come up short, I need to focus on who I am in Christ
  • My divinely created strengths are supported by my weaknesses, because if I was good at everything (which I’m not by the way), I wouldn’t focus on much of anything (which is difficult enough already with ADHD, thank you very much)
  • My assets (strengths) can easily become defects if I don’t keep my motives and their intensity in check

Skills

  • A skill is a strength expressed in a specific way that builds up others and benefits the kingdom – NOT the definition I would have given before reading this chapter
  • Mad props to Holley for referencing Napoleon Dynamite and making me giggle
  • The three skills I identified – relating, encouraging, guiding
  • Strengths stay consistent throughout life but the skills that express them can vary depending on the season of life I’m in
  • God wants my heart more than my skills – Thank you, Jesus.  Because some days I feel like a complete failure for not getting enough accomplished.  Or for not being cheerful or supportive enough.

My “Who” and Who I’m Called to Serve

These were my favorite sections of the chapter.  It took me several years to identify my social circles, and My “Who” served as a nice refresher.  This came at the perfect time, since I am returning to work after an extended maternity leave.  I don’t have the opportunity to regularly interact with adults (other than my husband), so remembering that I can’t truly share who I am with everyone there was a timely reminder.  Who I’m Called to Serve was an encouragement to keep striving to work on my dream of serving in ministry full time.

your strengths + your skills + who you’re called to serve

=

you making a difference in the world in your own amazing way

God’s Heart for Who I Really Am

This section made me cry.  Every time I read it.  Growing up, I struggled with being mixed.  I believed that I wasn’t Latina enough because I don’t fluently speak Spanish.  I believed that I wasn’t Black enough, because, well, I don’t look Black.  (I don’t use African American because my family is Caribbean and it just doesn’t fit) I knew that I could pass for being White but didn’t want to.  I wanted to be accepted for the unique person that I am.  I wanted to feel like I belonged.  God healed this particular heartbreak, but reading these words let me see how God has used the break to shine through me.

We are much more than pretty…we are wonderfully made.

We are much more than likeable…we are deeply loved.

We are much more than okay…we are daughters of the King.

I think the enemy tricks us into believing we are not enough because he knows if we discover the truth, we’ll be unstoppable.

Tears.  Tears of joy.  Tears of relief.  Tears of regret over wasted strengths and skills due to fear.  Tears of grace.  But then I wiped away my tears with a renewed sense of determination as I read these closing words:

Girls, let’s stop shaking in our boots and instead start standing tall for him together.

Let’s use our strengths, skills, and relationships to make a  difference.

Let’s be who we are, really.

I can’t do it alone – are you with me?

YES, I am!  How about you?

You’re Already Amazing Monday: Intro

In her introduction to You’re Already Amazing: Embracing Who You Are, Becoming All God Created You to Be, Holley Gerth invites me to pull up a chair so she can share a secret with me.  It is a secret so profound, that when I read it, I exhale deeply and my whole body relaxes.  “You don’t have to be more, do more, have more.”

YAA Intro

My whole life I’ve struggled to feel like I’m enough – Smart enough.  Articulate enough.  Funny enough.  Sweet enough.  Attractive enough.  Strong enough.  Brown enough.  Bilingual enough.  Ethnic enough.  Enough for you to accept me into your circle.  Enough for me to feel like I belong.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve experienced a great deal of freedom in these areas.  But every now and then a small voice will hiss, asking me, “Are you sure you’re ______ enough?”

Just when that doubt starts creeping in, Holley speaks encouraging, empowering truth over me – “You’re a daughter of God, a holy princess, a woman created with strengths you’ve yet to fully grasp and a story that’s still being written by the divine Author himself.”  Whoa.  I believe I am a daughter of God.  So much so that it’s the first thing I write in any “about me” space of social media.  And I know my story is still being written because, well, I’m still here.  But a holy princess?  The mom of three boys who is ecstatic to get a shower before supper?  The wife who does her best but can’t seem to keep both the kitchen table and counters clean at the same time?  I have strengths I have yet to fully grasp?  I’m praying they include time management, staying organized, and budgeting.

But here’s where Holley had me hooked, eager to read more – “And if you really take hold of who you are and what you’re called to do, there will be no stopping you.  That’s because there’s no stopping him in you – and he’s got bigger plans for your life than you’ve even imagined.”  This quote ignites a fire in me because I know this season of my life is boot camp – preparing me for God’s next assignment for me, for what I’m called to do.  But there’s a lot of fear involved in knowing that this season will end.  There’s safety sticking around boot camp and not having to go into battle.  But the second sentence of the quote has me wanting to suit up and fight because it’s my life verse: With God’s power working in us, God can do much, much more than anything we can ask or imagine. (Ephesians 3:20 NCV)

Whether you’ve read the book before or not, I hope that you’ll join me every Monday to recap each chapter and share what it means in real life to embrace who we are and trusting God to mold us into who He created us to be.

No Filter

I have been hesitant to  I have been reluctant to  I have been afraid to post postpartum pictures of myself on Instagram or Facebook.  Easter was unavoidable because we had family over and everyone was taking pictures.  How could I tell them, “No thanks, I’d rather wait until my skin clears up, my face isn’t so round, and I’m back to my pre-pregnancy weight”?  But if you look at my FB wall, or my IG profile, you’ll see that on Easter Sunday I flooded both accounts with pictures of my boys and posted just a couple of pictures with me in the shot.  Other than Easter, I think I have a handful of pictures with me up, but I’m either wearing make-up or used a filter.  and I most definitely strategized (auto correct tells me I just made up a word) so as to avoid showing any rolls or squishy bits.

I’ve never considered myself a particularly vain person.  Maybe when I was a pre-teen, but that was really to cover up other insecurities.  But pregnancy – especially a multiples pregnancy – can change a girl.  I didn’t mind belly pictures while I was pregnant because God was growing two miracles inside me.  But I wouldn’t let anyone capture my image unless I was wearing make-up.  And I probably still applied a filter.  Pregnancy hormones are no joke and they did a number on my skin.  I had never experienced acne like that.  And I not only had the pleasure of being embarrassed while I was afflicted with the acne, I now have the pleasure of wearing the scars. Oh, the joys of having the skin pigmentation of a “whitish brown” (you can thank DJ for that one) girl.

I felt like I had to wear make-up at all times, filter all pictures, and explain that I was pregnant with twins if anyone ever saw me without make-up.  That is, until just recently.  In May I rediscovered Francheska of “Hey Fran Hey”. I got a serious girl crush on her a couple of years ago, as she is curly girl.  And I consider all curly girls to be my curly-haired sisters.  She’s all about being healthy by being natural – clean eating; DIY hair, skin, and body care.  While I’m not quite ready to dive back into the world of eating clean, I did feel prompted by God to take off the mask I created with make-up.  I had to admit that I was looking for security more in make-up than I was in Him.  I was letting it define me whether I was wearing it or not.

So, I packed up my make-up and started following Francheska’s lead.  I took a picture of myself on “Day 1” of my new skincare regimen.  I almost posted it.  I thought better of it.  I talked myself out of it “I’ll save it and use it as the ‘Before’ when I share the ‘After’ in six months.”  That is the much safer route, isn’t it?  Isn’t that the allure of “Transformation Tuesday”, “Throwback Thursday”, and “Flashback Friday”?  We can securely post a picture of our “Before” because we can confidently point to our “After”.  Unless we can’t.

I couldn’t.  I didn’t feel confident in pointing to my “After”.  And to be honest with you, I still don’t.  My “Before” is a glowing, even through make-up, mother-to-be. My “Before Before” is a strong, fit, and trim group fitness instructor.  My “After”?  I’ve been far from confident in my “After”. Frankly, I’ve been ashamed to post my picture.  And I find myself wanting to somehow mention that I just had twins – either in conversation or in the caption of a picture.

I’m working on it though.  Today I posted my first postpartum, no make-up, no filter selfie to Instagram.  I posted it on my new IG account, @catalyst_move, that is connected to Catalyst Movement – this blog and the Catalyst Movement ministry.  Some people may see the picture and wonder “What’s the big deal?”  For me, letting go of security blankets, masks, false idols – whatever you want to call them – is always difficult.  Even though I know that letting go allows me to better grasp onto my true security.  Have you let go of anything lately?  Is there something God is prompting you to let go of?

No Filter

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