3 reasons it’s okay to be great.

photo-1427348693976-99e4aca06bb9Finding out who you truly are requires admitting who you are not.

A few days ago I wrote a post called “3 reasons you need to get over the things you aren’t good at.” We are all composed of a unique set of gifting, personality, bends, strengths, and weaknesses. I believe it’s important to be totally okay with both our weaknesses and our strengths.

There are moments when I feel like I have so far to go in gaining freedom and confidence in who I am, and then there are moments when I realize how far I’ve come. I have to remind myself that is the goal is progress not perfection.

I recently took one of those personality tests that I have taken at least 2 other times. This time it one of my components was the same while another was completely different that I’ve ever got before. I realize there are so many dynamics to theses tests including team dynamics as well as my current season. But what struck me this time, is I was totally okay with the results. I wonder if the times before I was trying to be a certain personality because that seemed like the best personality.

I went from scoring and outgoing, center of attention personality to the steady, easy going personality. Which is in all honesty more of who I am. For years I wanted to be that outgoing life of the party, but now while I am thankful to be entertained by that personality type, yet I am completely comfortable with the nature that God has given me. When I think back to my childhood, I can see that that was more my bend. I always influence, but it wasn’t because I was asking for it. I was a kid with a big imagination that was happy playing alone or with the boys down the street.

My goal for these posts is to help each of us embrace who we are and let go of who we are not. So here are 3 reasons why it’s okay for you to be awesome.

1. Confidence is attractive to others. In case you happen to get confidence confused with arrogance, let me give you a quick definition of each.

Arrogance says I am great for my own benefit.

Confidence says I am blessed so that I can be a blessing to others.

Confident people aren’t looking for affirmation when you talk to them. They already know their worth and they are looking for ways to get to know you and make you feel at ease. It is a lot easier to talk to a confident person than someone who is struggling with insecurity.

2. It brings freedom to people around you. When you are at peace with who you are, it actually creates a place for others around you to step into that same peace. People can see that you actually like yourself, and this creates a curiosity. That leads to the realization that they too can like themselves.

3. Your greatness is more about serving others that your own benefit. Romans 11:29 says “for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable.” The Greek word for irrevocable is translated “un-regretted.” That means God placed a gift and a call in you so that you could be great, and He doesn’t regret that. God is confident in the gift he has placed on your life. Those gifts and calls are what make you a unique gift to this world. The heart behind God making you great is so that the world can benefit from who you are.

In the process of embracing who we are it’s important to guard one’s heart from pride. Just because I may not be the most outgoing person in the room doesn’t mean I can’t be thankful and appreciative of what they bring to the environment. It doesn’t make me greater than them or vice versa. Aren’t you thankful we aren’t all the same? That would be so utterly boring. So in your process of discovering the greatness in you be aware of the greatness of those around you. It is your responsibility to steward a heart that is thankful for what you carry and for what those around you carry. People are all different, and that is a part of the beauty of our Creator. He never makes two things exactly the same, and we get to celebrate our differences rather than resent them.

Thanks for being so great,

Anna

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3 reasons you need to get over the things you aren’t good at

photo-1421809313281-48f03fa45e9f When I ordered our cable two weeks ago they asked if I wanted to pay to have someone install it, or if I wanted them to send me the “easy connect kit.” Little did I know the phrase is an extreme oxymoron. After an hour on the phone with tech support, and talking to FOUR different people, a girl finally offered to send someone out. Yes please. In case you didn’t already pick up on this , I am a do-it-yourself type. When I was 18, I once installed a CD burner on my computer without ever opening a computer before. I have no idea how I did that. Believe it or not my dad used that very computer until recently. Bless him, and yes patience is a strength of his. But lately, I am becoming more comfortable with the things I am not good at. I often see cute little signs on Etsy, and think I can do that. So rather than paying the $80 for the sign, I make a sign that looks more something from a murder scene. Helpful hint: if you are out of white paint, go buy more before crafting, red paint cannot be substituted for white paint! Here’s the realization I am coming to, it’s okay to not be good at everything. The need to be good at everything is actually rooted in pride. God has designed each of us with a unique set of strengths and weaknesses so that we need one another. Can we just go back to bartering people? Alas, here are 3 reasons we can all let go of the things we aren’t good at- 1. It lends to a healthy society. In a healthy society and community we need each other. Whether that’s exchanging services or paying for services that contributes to the economy around you. We are designed for community and a healthy interdependence with those around us. 2. It frees you up to spend time doing the things you are good at! What do you do really well? What are friends always asking for you help with? When we are willing to admit our weaknesses, we find freedom to pursue the things we are good at. If you are trying to do everything yourself, stop. Odds are you aren’t doing much great. 3. It will be far less frustrating for you and those around you. I am not doing my husband any favors when I continually try to do-it-myself. He’s taught me that sometimes you just need to hire someone. There are times when my confidence has grown us and we’ve realized we can do more than we thought, but there is a balance with this. Often humility says I need help with this, while pride says I can do and I know the best way.* I may or may not have gotten lectured by our apartment maintenance guy for trying to open the water heater cover a couple weeks back. It did spark and I did jump. Thankfully I am still here working on letting them do their job while I do mine. *If you’re not sure which camp you fall into, ask your spouse of your best friend. They can probably tell you if you need to let go of some of your to-do’s or if you could grow in some confidence and try some new things. I am going to write about living in your strengths another day, but for today I wanted to share some ways to become free concerning your weaknesses.

writing and vulnerability

RONyPwknRQOO3ag4xf3R_KinseyMy book isn’t even “out” yet and already my appreciation for other authors has sky-rocketed. It is not because writing is SOOO hard, and I finally realize what it takes. But it is because I see the vulnerability in other’s work, and I know the courage it takes to write your story.

And to be vulnerable doesn’t mean you have to share every single detail of your personal life. In fact, please don’t. Being vulnerable means showing your humanity. It means being free enough to let everyone in on what they already know, but sometimes forget,which is nobody is perfect.

It is a breathe of fresh air in our Instagram worlds. No one’s life looks like Pinterest. No one’s. Google “pinterest fails” if you are battling perfection today. One of my favorite authors candidly shares about the time that her little girl asked her, “mom, what are we going to do about your mustache?”.  Another shared about how in a stressful situation she started to sweat and smell like onions. I laughed out-loud! Then I thought it’s page 2 but I am hooked. This chick is real and I want need to hear her story.

When my editor and I went through my first edit, I blushed as we read one part of my story. She then asked for clarity on what I was really saying. Suddenly, I realized, oh my gosh, I don’t know who is going to read this, but this is me sharing my heart. I am showing a piece of myself that would normally be shared over coffee or in a late night conversation with a close friend! I am not only sharing my successes, but also the things that didn’t go the way I thought they would.

Yet, as I read others stories, I am compelled to share my own. I gain freedom from the imperfections. I gain courage from the battles they have won. Deep down I know that I am just getting started on this journey of sharing my life. Even deeper down, I know this is why I was made. My life was made to be shared. I was made to be known.

Dear writers and future writers, I cannot wait to read your story. There is something deep and beautiful for the world to gain through your words. You have something to say that is uniquely yours. You would think in the final stages of the book process other books would feel a threat, but for me it’s anything but true. I smile my way through Barnes & Noble, and enjoy each page of my current book. I am so glad each of the authors took a risk. I am so thankful they broke off a piece of their life, so that I can laugh, cry, and relate to the imperfect parts of life. So cautiously and courageously get started. Silence the fears, that only your mother and grandmother will read it. Let go of perfectionism. Tell me your story please!

With Love,

Anna

the voice like many waters

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Not long into our marriage, Chuck realized that I love water. It’s true, when I sit by the ocean I know what David meant when he said “He leads me by still waters, He restores my soul (Psalm 23:2-3).” I get it. There is something about water that soothes me. We’ve visited the Caribbean or Hawaii 5 times in our 3 years together. (And Australia 3 times!)

The ocean pushes my reset button like nothing else.

When I can’t have the ocean, lake, or pool, I’ll happily settle into a nice hot bath. I may have been accused by a roommate at one point of being religious about my baths. Guilty if you consider a bath a day religion.

I was reading this verse this week, and it occurred to me why the water affects me the way that it does.

His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters.   -Revelation 1:15

His voice is compared to the sound of rushing waters. His voice is the very foundation of me. His voice spoke and everything begun! He spoke me into existence. How ironic that my body is approximately 2/3 water, and when we are babies, it’s more like 3/4! This is interesting-

“The amount of water in the human body ranges from 50-75%. The average adult human body is 50-65% water, averaging around 57-60%. The percentage of water in infants is much higher, typically around 75-78% water, dropping to 65% by one year of age.”*

Listen it’s not that I am about to worship water, it’s that water reminds me of the foundation of my being. It does reset me to my original design which is in complete union with my original Designer. His voice is what I need at any moment in any season. I need His voice to be louder than anything else. His voice can carry us through the most difficult of circumstances. When we float on water, we weigh less. Our physical bodies don’t hold us back the way they do on land. We were designed to live by His word, it’s the bread that Satan knew not of when he tempted Jesus in the wilderness.

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'”     -Matthew 4:4

When we live by His word, things can’t weigh us down in the way the enemy intends. We are living in an awareness of a higher reality. Jesus never left connection with the Father. He never left the voice that sounds like mighty waters.

Praying that today you are restored as He leads you beside the quiet waters. May your soul be at rest and your spirit be at full attention. May His voice be louder than all the rest.

Love,

Anna

*http://chemistry.about.com/od/waterchemistry/f/How-Much-Of-Your-Body-Is-Water.htm

Four things I learned at Bethel Church

4 things I learned at Bethel-image

Towards the end of 2008 while friends were praying for me they said, “I feel like you are going to Bethel”. To which, I responded, “yeah I am going to visit.” Less than a year later, my car was packed and a friend and I made the 2000 mile journey to begin first year. I started first year in a bit of a frazzled place. 2008 had been one the best/hardest/strangest years of my life. My heart was about to start sorting through that season and Bethel was the perfect place for that.

Here’s a few things I learned-

1. We can never overestimate the goodness of God. As I said, I came to Bethel picking up the pieces of my heart and what I learned is how to hope again, actually like never before! I watched people who truly believed that God is good all the time.

2. He doesn’t cause bad things to happen, but he does promise to work ALL things together for our good. My last Sunday at Bethel I wept. For so many reasons, but one being that the worship leader was joyfully proclaiming that God is good. What’s so special about that you might think? Well, a few short months ago, his son was born pre-mature and didn’t make it. We undoubtedly face resistance on this earth, Jesus told us we would, but thanks to the examples I’ve seen at Bethel I am learning that my loving Heavenly Father is not the one to blame.

3. At the end of the day, it all boils down to friendship and intimacy with God. I sat in a Bethel staff meeting a couple weeks back, and staff where asking Bill Johnson questions about praying for the sick. As he answered their question, it wasn’t a formula, it was about connecting to God and His heart for people.

4. How to embrace mystery. The first message I heard Bill preach was on Divine Tensions. The premise is that we don’t know all the answers, and that is okay! All God desires is that we KNOW Him, and that is our anchor for the seas of life.

It hasn’t all been an easy season. So many don’t understand Bethel. I get it. The Internet can paint a terrifying  and in accurate picture of it. There’s an intense spirit of fear attached to those lies. When you know the people involved, their families, the cost the paid, and the lifestyle they live, it’s truly unfortunate.

There has been a cost. I have paid a price, but what I have gained is a beautiful treasure. I am forever thankful. Bethel doesn’t do everything perfect. That’s no secret, but it’s one of the most amazing conglomeration of hungry, hopeful, pure, gracious, want to change the world humans I’ve encountered in my 30 years of bopping about this planet called earth. Yes humans, nobody’s perfect, but for some reason God has been using imperfect humans since the beginning. (Oh wait, that is His only option if He wants to include any of us!)

Thank you Bethel for teaching me how to hope in the unseen and so much more. Thank you for loving us, speaking truth over us, and calling us a son and a daughter. I am forever grateful.