I’ve known for more than a decade that something inside me wanted to encourage people toward living bigger lives, thinking more deeply about their passions, and then going for them, looking long and hard at the talents God had given them and then putting them to work.
I used to blog, for instance. I’m thinking lots of us could probably list that experience as part of our résumés. At first, when I was living a few states away from my parents, blogging was mostly just a tool for keeping my mom and dad in the loop with what was happening with our kids. I’d write funny stories and share pictures that would make my guys blush now if they saw them—you know, like the picture where a little boy was potty training and was constantly wearing his underwear backward? That’s the cutest thing on a two-year-old. Not sure why all of us moms were comfortable posting pics of our kids in their Spiderman undies, but whatever.
Dreaming Big Dreams
At one point, after our family began the adoption process for our two kids from Haiti, I updated my blog and gave it a new look, as well as a new name, because I now had a new message to share. I was dreaming big dreams, and I wanted to share those big dreams of our new journey and endeavor with everybody who chose to read about it.
Now that I think about it, not much has changed since that time. I want so much for you to chase your dreams and do big things because I am confident big things are awaiting us all. I believe you have world-changing abilities inside you, that your ideas are truly worth something, and that you should pursue your dreams as far as they will take you.
I say all of this, however, with one huge caveat.
You’ve probably heard and seen these sayings pop up in your Pinterest feed, the things people put out there to motivate and inspire us.
- Girl, you got this.
- You’re enough.
- Hustle more.
- Get things done.
- Pick yourself up by your bootstraps.
- You can do anything you put your mind to.
- You control your destiny.
- You are your own boss.
All of these ideas are good. They’re super motivating. But I’d like to suggest they’re lacking. They are shallow and unsustainable. Not one of them is capable of bringing lasting hope and peace to your life. Not one of them is powerful enough to help you overcome whatever real-life struggle you’re facing. I’ll even go far enough out on the ledge to proclaim that these truths alone can be damning.
Notice I said, “these truths alone.” Most of them are not entirely bad in themselves. In fact I’ve probably said them all to different people at various points in my life. But what I’m seeing today is a world where women of faith are taking these cute little sayings and standing on them as if they were the way and the truth and the life.
You’re not enough.
That’s the danger in these sayings. They can’t hold up under the pressures of the world. Because, no, you’re not enough, girl. You ain’t got this. You can’t hustle enough, can’t get enough things done. You can’t do everything you set your mind on, no matter how badly you want to do it. You don’t control your own destiny, because the One who made you has the days of your life already numbered, planned, and written for you. And sometimes, no matter how American it sounds to think it, life can be so hard sometimes that there aren’t enough bootstraps in all the world to pull yourself up with. Know what I mean? Yes, I think deep down you know what I mean.
We are only enough because Jesus is enough. The only good things coming from you and me are coming from the Father.
So when I say You Be You, understand I’m not just spouting a cheap shout-out. I’m saying YOU have a strength of calling that originates in the mind of God. I’m saying YOU have a voice and platform that matters immensely today simply because it’s the voice He’s given you. I’m saying YOU have talents and giftings that He’s invested in you, designed for a purpose way bigger than yourself. I’m saying YOU can be definitely, biblically assured that no trial, no tragedy is oppressive enough to suffocate what He’s put you on this earth for.
And this means YOU can experience satisfaction today. YOU can experience success today. Real satisfaction, real success, comes from doing what YOU do, doing it where YOU are, and doing it in faithfulness to the God who has lovingly, strategically put YOU there.
more about Him
I realize things may look different than you imagined them being at this time in your life. It may not feel as satisfying as you’d hoped, not as satisfying as life seems to be for the people you’re constantly comparing yourself against. But that’s because of how easily we confuse satisfaction and success with a pretend, phantom lifestyle that doesn’t really exist.
I think we’ve been asking ourselves the wrong questions about our lives. Instead of asking, “Did I do enough today?” what if we asked ourselves, “Did I become more like Jesus today?” Instead of asking, “Was I successful?” what if we asked, “Was I faithful?” Less about us and more about Him. Less about accomplishments and more about our hearts. Less about my glory and more of His glory. Less about comparing our life to their life and more about comparing our faithfulness to His calling on our lives.
I really, truly believe you can do more than you think you can. I believe it’s possible to come to the end of your days and be absolutely certain, all the way into your bones, that your life mattered. That you made a difference. That you did the best with what God gave you. That you became more like Him that day. That your striving wasn’t for yourself but for a greater purpose than your own.
And I’m here being your cheerleader, promising that you can live out God’s will for your life, no matter what season you’re in, no matter how your days are looking right now.
You can do it—because God Himself has already put it there inside you.
This post is adapted from You Be You.