Moment of Truth Monday: I am the student who sometimes requires a do-over. As much as I long to learn concepts the first time, certain lessons just don’t stick. While I used to begrudge my “slow” learning style, I’ve come to appreciate that some lessons are worth repeating.
I originally wrote a version of this letter as a guest post during a book launch series, and I find myself returning to it frequently for encouragement. The message is one of the lessons I’ve discovered is worth repeating. Let me explain.
I tend to vacillate between resting and striving, self-care and self-loathing, and steadfastness and wavering. In moments of weakness, I tend to give myself little margin or tenderness. My unconscious self-talk centers around what I’m NOT doing and skews my perspective, so I struggle to see anything good I AM doing.
If you’re in the habit of rehearsing what you’re not doing, you’re not alone. If it seems like everyone is nailing it EXCEPT you, I get it. If you aren’t sure what good you bring to the table, listen up. It’s high time to develop the muscle of turning grace inward–extending to ourselves the same generosity and kindness we freely give to others.
If you are tired of repeating the same lesson, pull up a chair and sit with this idea for a minute. Today, instead of busying yourself with the needs of others, lavish yourself with gentleness [repeating this to myself]. I’m not talking about becoming selfish, I am talking about creating enough margin in your life to have time to listen to the lecture your soul’s been preaching–and you’ve been ignoring. Give yourself permission to show up, listen, and learn the lesson…even if it’s for the millionth time!
Dear Younger Me,
I see you caving under the weight of all you are trying to get “right.” You are worn out and discouraged from trying to earn your worth. You may bristle at what I’m about to say because these words might feel like an ill-fitting garment, but I’m begging you to lean in and listen carefully, so you can experience freedom from the grip of striving and unbelief.
It’s not all up to you. That’s a lie you have believed far too long. You don’t have to prove you are smart, capable, or worthy. When you accepted the love of Christ, you were immediately justified. All your past failures and regrets were canceled. I know that’s more than you can comprehend, but you were acquitted.
Because your acquittal is hard for you to receive, you have been seduced into believing your works are the bedrock of your worth. That exhaustion you feel is from carrying an invisible burden into every arena of your life. All the striving to make yourself presentable [for some unspoken/unseen standard] is leading you to look less like your unique self and more like other people. This has left you burned out and discouraged.
You have worked diligently to conform to the norm, but that unsettled feeling you can’t shake is begging for your attention. The discomfort that nags at you is a combination of your gifting and the Spirit’s leading. Follow your instinct to chase faith outside the lines, outside the constraints of tradition, and outside your own comfort zone. Don’t worry about the side-eye from others, you weren’t made to conform to their expectations. You were created with a unique gifting, and you are the best version of you when you are walking in that endowment.
Resist your inclination to satisfy others. People pleasing leads only to dead ends and heartaches. Lean in and exercise your yes, but don’t forget to flex your no just as often. You will avoid painful breaks and disappointments if you value your personal boundaries over the temporary comfort of the approval of others.
I give you permission to sit down when others stand up, or stand up when others are seated. Stretch farther than want, love the unlovable, dip your toes into the rushing waters, and choose risk over your own understanding. Don’t wait for a cheering section. Don’t fashion yourself in the reflection of any man or woman. Be encouraged by others, but don’t make others your god.
Sweet one-God delights in you. He quiets you with His love and he rejoices over you with joy. He is the shield about you, the lifter of your head, and the lover of your soul. Linger in his love for you. Once you’ve been filled up with the immeasurable, unfailing love of Jesus, walk confidently in your calling. Love God. Love others. Don’t get that order reversed.
You are worth the cost Jesus paid on the cross. It was enough. Rest in his provision. It will keep you from the crash and burn that awaits a life filled with the temporary buzz of people pleasing.
The Older You
#momentoftruthmonday #dearyoungerme #lifelessons