A couple of weeks ago I read Brene’ Brown’s most recent book Rising Strong. The subtitle is “the reckoning, the rumble, the revolution.” The cover also says, “If we are brave enough, often enough, we will fall. This is a book about what it takes to get back up.”
One part that stood out to me involves what we do in the middle of a story and because I knew it would be a theme for us, I sat up and paid attention.
Let’s say you:
- Are unbelievably frustrated by a teammate who is consistently late to team meetings.
- Overhear the amazing language skills of someone who has been on the field less time than you.
- See a friend or family member on line, you Skype them, and they seem annoyed to hear from you.
You could see all of these happening, right? Because they are at the intersection of Normal and Life. So, the story has started, but it’s not resolved. It’s normal to play out what will happen next and envision how the story will end. According to Brene’, most of us finish our stories with some version of “not enough.”
- A kinder, more spiritual person would attend the log in her own eye than notice this speck. Especially with eternity on the line for so many.
- Her ministry is going to take off and I’m going to be scrambling for things to say in my newsletter.
- I’m a nuisance and when I interrupt people I bother them.
I thought through how I finish stories. Here we get to my light bulb moment. It was one of those
OH MY WORD.
Is that what I think?
My version isn’t “I’m not enough,” my version is “I’m too much and I need to dial it back.” This week in conjunction with the Holy Spirit, start listening to how you express yourself both in your head and how you promote yourself to others.
I am a bit seasick over how consistent this message is in me. I asked a friend to review a piece I’d written and this is a direct quote: “Is this too hand waving? Is it too much?” I almost never ask if I need to add more umph, instead I ask if I need to tone me down. I was telling another friend about a job I had left and said, “If I had just been less, maybe all this crap wouldn’t have happened.” A friend doesn’t reply to a text and I think, “Oh my word, I’ve gone too far.” Too much, been less, gone too far.
Now please hear two points of clarification:
One, there is a need to read situations and to moderate ourselves. This is called wisdom and maturity. You can sense the difference between being wise and having a false tape going, right?
Two, when I told a friend “if I had just been less” she saw the danger I was flirting with and lovingly said, “You are not too much, you are abundant. That is the truth about you. There is so much in you, so I don’t want any less of you, so don’t start doing that please. Please don’t. Please.” (This was in a Voxer message and she’s Brittish. I wish you could hear this spoken over you in a soothing British accent. Isn’t this a blessing?).
The heart of the gospel isn’t “you need to be more” or “you need to be less” it is “you are enough.”
You are enough–because you are made in the Image of God.
You are enough–because any and all and forever your sins are covered by Jesus.
You are enough–because you are abundant.
Let that last one wash over you. You are abundant. The middle of our stories need to be infused with the gospel, not the false gospel of not-enough or too-much, but the life giving gospel of
- You are enough on your team and team meetings are important. Being frustrated doesn’t mean you’re not attending to your own logs, it just means a boundary has been violated. You might need to talk to your teammate instead of creating stories in your head.
- You are enough in your language ability and it is not a contest between you. You will be at a different place than others. This says nothing about your value!
- You are enough in your family and with friends. They feel so comfortable with you they can be real with you. They were actually annoyed with someone else but felt safer showing you their annoyance.
Can you taste the power of the gospel infused into the intersection of Normal and Life. Sure, the Lofty and Special need the gospel too, but that’s not where we live. I am growing in asking myself mid-story, “Amy, what are you saying to yourself? Is it the gospel? Or a false message? How would God finish this story?”
Slowly, slowly, my self-talk is more and more sprinkled with the gospel and the ways God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit can enter a story and change the ending. And that, my friends, is good news!
How about you? Mid-story, do you tend to be not-enough? Or too-much?
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