Wednesday, June 20, 2012

the mathematics of grace. {guest post by connienoelle!}

i'm so excited to share with you today a guest post by connienoelle. connie and i went to youth group together but never really got to know each other then. we have since reconnected through tumblr, facebook, twitter, blogging, etc and it is so cool to hear about the things God is doing in her life!

you can catch connie blogging at connienoellewrites.wordpress.com and tweeting at connienoelle

a miniature biography:
standard starbucks drink: I can't tolerate caffeine, so I always go with the grande strawberries and cream frappuccino, with whipped cream (even in winter!)
all-time favourite book: The Giver, by Lois Lowry
someone you look up to: My mom is the most godly woman I know, and I am so thankful for her. Her life echoes the sacrificial love of Christ, and she has the most amazing relationship with God.
if you could be anywhere right now: Meat Cove, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. I was there last summer, and it is probably one of the most beautiful places on earth.

thank you for sharing connie!


pic via tumblr
Reading through my RSS feeds this morning led me to an article on Desiring God entitled “Are you Mom enough?”

While it is about “the Mommy Wars” and feeling inadequate in the roles that God has given us to play, there was one phrase that particularly stuck out to me.

And somehow, in God’s mathematics of grace:

Mom (never enough) + God (infinitely enough) = Mom enough.

There are so many areas of my life where I feel inadequate and short of the standard I have set for myself. Being a (recovering) perfectionist, I am not only considering the standards others set out for me, but I will often set out standards for myself that far exceed the ones given to me.

I remember this perfectionism kicking in two summers ago, when I singlehandedly created, marketed and recruited for a city-wide job fair. Not content with a very successful job fair, I continued this drive in the other aspects of my job as well, coming close to reaching 200% in most of my targets that summer. I set out to prove that I was adequate, enough, and worthy.

I remember receiving my final review at that job. I was sitting with my supervisor in the room, listening to her tell me that I exceeded her expectations that summer. When she handed me the review package, my eyes were drawn not to all the Exceeded Expectations marked off, but immediately to the few Meets Expectations. My stomach churned as I thought about the ways that I had failed to exceed expectations – and, in a way – failed to be adequate, enough and worthy.

I remember being 14 years old, out on a excursion with family friends, and being told that I was fat. Perhaps it wasn’t exactly fat, but it came out as “my daughter [who was also 14] will never be able to hit the ground on the seesaw because you’re so much heavier”. I doubt he still remembers that day, but I carried that scar on my heart for many years as I struggled with body image. I was not skinny enough or beautiful enough.

I remember watching as friends entered into healthy, Christ-centered relationships and not understanding what it was about me that was lacking. Was it better hair? Better skin? The right perfume? I could find ways to cover up any flaws. I could spend more time in the morning getting ready. Was it some kind of charm? Was I lacking in some kind of flirting etiquette? I could read up on things. Maybe consult more friends. The question loomed: Am I now enough? When will I be enough?

I remember believing that I was not in a relationship because I was not godly enough. I believed in this lie that I had to be a perfect woman before being able to be with someone else. Instead of seeing relationships as a process of sanctification together, where God uses two sinners to continue His work, I saw it as some “happily ever after” that only the godly-enough could experience. Were other people in a relationship because they were somehow more godly, that they reached this supposed “relationship maturity boiling point” before I did? Not only did I dwell in my own insecurities, but I had somehow created a standard that superseded God’s standard for me.

I could go on and on.

I could talk about the ways that I feel I have failed my family, in being the obedient daughter or the perfect older sister. I could talk about how my independence and self-centeredness sometimes leads to me being a terrible friend. I could speak about how I have failed in living out integrity in all I say and do as a leader and mentor. I could speak about how I have failed in my relationship with God because I struggle with so many ongoing sins.

But, somehow, in this complex and beautiful mathematics of grace – I am enough.

I am enough because He is infinitely enough. My friend Amber, who passed away in September 2010, held these words close to her heart in her battle with cancer: “I can do everything through him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13). He declares me enough – who can say otherwise?

Relishing in His enough-ness today,

Connie

3 comments:

  1. This post is great, Connie! Would you and Allie mind if we featured it in FaithVillage? Also, Connie, I'd love for you to get signed up as a contributor yourself. Let me know if you want me to send you more details via email. I know you're already registered in FV and have your blog networked, so it'd be fairly easy to get you all set up. :)

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  2. I needed to hear this today..."I am enough because He is infinitely enough." This was beautifully written. Thanks for sharing your heart!

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  3. "Instead of seeing relationships as a process of sanctification together, where God uses two sinners to continue His work, I saw it as some “happily ever after” that only the godly-enough could experience." Wow. That really hits home... Awesome post! Thanks so much for sharing!

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thanks for reading! leave sweet comments here! i appreciate them so so much!