Remember To Breathe Out

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Grace Guests

I am not good at everything. I do not think this is big news to anyone who knows me. It should not be big news to me either.

But sometimes, it is news to me. Because sometimes, I feel like I should be good at everything; particularly when I have spent a lot of time on the Internet, looking for inspiration.

Sometimes the inspiration I think I am finding online is actually suffocation.

I breathe in original craft ideas I should make, powerful writing I should emulate, tasty recipes I should cook, and stories of world travels I should aspire to. Then I breathe in again, this time fashion combos I should wear, profound quotes I should remember, educational activities I should do with my kids, and Bible verses I should memorize. Then I breathe in again. And again. And again.

I suffocate because I forget to breathe out.

I breathe in these ideas meant to inspire me, and accumulate them into a new standard of what I think I should be. I suffocate under the weight of this idealized version of a real person.

I need to remember to breathe out. I need to breathe out with the words “I am not good at everything.” And that is as it should be.

Because that does not mean I am not good at anything. Ephesians 2:10 says,

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

Every person, including me, was crafted by God with gifts, to be used for a purpose. I should celebrate and explore the person God made me to be.

As I do that, I just need to remember that I was not crafted with every gift, for every purpose. That is why God also gave me community.

In Romans 12:4-6 says,

“For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.”

I think these verses can apply not only to spiritual gifts, but also to natural ones. So if my gift is crafting, I should craft. If it is cooking, I should cook. If it is writing, I should write. God designed me to use and share the gifts I’ve been given. God did not design me to spend my energy trying harder and harder to be good at the gifts He did not give me.

If I was good at everything, then I would stand in awe of myself. Since I am not, I can stand in awe of a God who created a diversity of people in a beautiful tapestry of interdependence.

So as we see others using their gifts, we should breathe them in. As we do, we can be encouraged and inspired. We just need to remember to also breathe out.

“I am not good at everything.” Ahhhh. That felt good.

by Stephanie Spencer, Everyday Awe

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  1. 1

    “Every person, including me, was crafted by God with gifts, to be used for a purpose. I should celebrate and explore the person God made me to be.”

    I so need this today. Thank you.

    • 2

      Charina- I’m glad you were able to hear those words today. None of us are not good at everything, but we are each good at some things. We too often get caught up in bemoaning who we are not instead of celebrating who we are. I love the Oscar Wilde quote, “Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.”

      I’m glad that you are you and I am me. Let’s celebrate that.

    • 3

      Ahhh..that’s me, finally giving myself permission to breath in and out. I am a grandma, living alone, left by my husband 22 years ago. My adult children love our Lord (such a blessing!). At 53 yrs old I find myself not knowing how to move forward from my blessed past. Knowing that God’s plans for me are for good gives me hope. This impatient, perfectionist, sad lady (me) needs comfort, His wisdom and reasons to laugh right now. Prayers from my sisters-in-Christ will strengthen my heart. Thank you ;)

      • 4

        Perfectionism is killer, Sandy. I struggle with it, too. Awhile back, The Gypsy Mama had a great quote, “Perfect is merely a street sign at the intersection of impossible and frustration in Never Never land.” http://thegypsymama.com/2011/07/the-only-way-to-make-it-through-most-days/ It is a contentment killer.

        You are right. God’s plans for you are good. Ephesians 2:10 says you are His masterpiece. He has taken time to craft you, and will continue to craft you for the rest of His life. You have unique gifts that will make the world more beautiful when you used them.

        In The Cure for the Common Life, Max Lucado said, “Da Vinci painted only one Mona Lisa, Beethoven created one Fifth Symphony, and God made one version of you. You’re it! You’re the only you there is… You can do something no one else can do in a fashion no one else can do it. You are more than a coincidence of chromosomes and heredity, more than just an assemblage of somebody else’s lineage.”

        I pray that you would feel those truths in a tangible way. That God would overwhelm you with His love and grace.

  2. 5

    You must be writing about me! THANK YOU for reminding me that I am not good at everything, nor should I expect to be.

    • 6

      Your welcome, Erika! They are words for me, too. I often fall into the trap of thinking I should do more or be better in certain areas. It seems like a good thing, but ends up with us striving and feeling suffocated. I love the NET version of Psalm 46:10 “Stop your striving and recognize that I am God!” (http://bible.us/Ps46.10.NET) We are not God. We can be freed from striving and focus on being. I pray that is a truth that brings peace to your heart today.

      • 7

        Oh no. I just realized that I broke the #1 grammar commandment. I mean “You’re” welcome,” not “your welcome”…. Just confirming that I am not good at everything.

  3. 8

    Yes, breathing out is good. I picture it as breathing in the different among us and breathing out our uniqueness. Everyone’s story makes an imprint in our lives, but how we digest it all is so unique, personal and blends so beautifully with our own heart. We’re “good” at what He wants us to be. No expectations for it all.

    Amen. :)

    Rich blessings as He disciplines you to breathe out.

  4. 10

    What a welcome thought . . . . and a necessary one to counter-balance the constant barrage of good ideas we face each day and from so many sources.

    Thanks for the reminder.

    • 11

      Glad it helped you! We do face a barrage each day, don’t we. I have a love/hate relationship with Pinterest because of that. It can make me smile and feel inspired, but it can also make me stress and feel inadequate. I’ve been practicing breathing when I look at it :)

      I thought The Tiny Twig had a great piece last week on Making Room for What You Value. There is power in saying no. http://www.thetinytwig.com/2012/02/02/make-room-for/

  5. 12

    This is so true – I learned this as a young wife. We had some friends and the wife was a Home Economics teacher — she was skilled at all things homemaking. :) Each season of the year she changed the decorations in her house . . . Easter, Christmas, Thanksgiving, etc. I would walk in and be so overwhelmed at my lack of — whatever. I eventually realized though that her house was not comfortable. I’ll take my comfortable, because that was what people liked about my house.

    • 13

      Wow, that would overwhelm me, too, Becky. I’m glad you realized that you valued making your home comfortable more than making it look like someone else’s.

      That seems to be the key in many ways- getting comfortable. Getting comfortable with who we are. Getting comfortable with celebrating others. Getting comfortable with what brings us peace and joy, and not worrying about what others think about it.

      I love the quote, “Please excuse the mess our children are busy making memories.”

  6. 14

    Thank you. For the reminder of something I could hear daily and benefit from, but especially for the breathing analogy. Thank you. (I am not good at everything, either)

    • 15

      I like the analogy of breathing because without it, our bodies die. Without understanding who we are and who we are not, I think our souls die. It is crushing.

      I need to hear it daily too ;) Funny, breathing shouldn’t need a reminder.

  7. 16

    Love this. thanks for “breathing out” and encouraging all of us. I am feeling a bit stuck and this is an encouraging thought today to just BE.

    • 17

      I read a spiritual formation book by Kenneth Boa in which he said “We were created to be human beings, not human doings.” That has always stuck with me. We don’t need to strive, reach, and grip for more. We were created with intention and purpose. We can rest in the arms of our Creator.

  8. 18

    Thank for this… I have been trying to be “those people” the ones on the Internet, friends, relatives. Trying to live in what works for them. And I fail. Every. Every. Single. Time. I forget that God made “me” me. And I am unique. When I remember that life is good! Thank you for the reminder!

    • 19

      I read something recently about how the danger of social media. We end up comparing the entirety of our lives with a selected sliver of someone else’s life. And when we do, we tend to compare the worst of ourselves with the best of them.

      Comparison is a monster that kills our contentment. Each of us are unique and wonderful creations. I’m glad this post reminded you of that today.

      And when I try to do what others do, “I fail. Every. Every. Single. Time.” too.

  9. 20
    Beth WIlliams says:

    Stephanie,

    Thanks for the reminder to breathe. Sometimes, as women, we get so focused on having the perfect everything, doing everyhing just so.

    We need to grasp that we were made individually in His image to do just what He has equipped us to do. When we stop comparing ourselves to others we will be much much better off!

    • 21

      “When we stop comparing ourselves to others we will be much much better off!” Absolutely Beth! Why is comparison a trap we so easily fall into? On my own blog a few weeks ago I wrote, “Comparison pierces my heart, and contentment bleeds out.” I called comparison “the monster that always comes back.” Because that’s what it is to me. A monster that traps me, that I feel like I can’t escape from.

      This post is for me as much as everyone else. I pray that all of us can kill the comparison monster and find contentment in who God made us to be.

  10. 22

    Thank you! Just today I was forming a mental list of all the things I “should” be good at but am not. I loved this message. I will not stand in awe of myself when we have an awesome God to do that job. Great thoughts.

    • 23

      A list of all the things I “should” be good at but am not would be long. And a heavy burden.

      I’m glad you found encouragement from this post. I hope you rid yourself of that list. I once heard of someone hanging a sign in their house that said, “I will not SHOULD upon myself today.” I love that idea. Although, maybe these days, that sign should be above our computer monitors.

  11. 24

    Thanks for the reminder. We are not meant to be good at everything. Otherwise we would not need others in our lives. Blessings to you:-)

    • 25

      I’m naturally an independent person, so that’s a lesson I need to learn over and over again. But, the more I have been blessed by the gifts of others, the more I can see them as that- blessings. Not gifts to strive for or be jealous of- gifts that are blessings to me in the same way my gifts can be blessings to others.

      I wonder if this is as much of a struggle in countries with less of an independent spirit amongst its people? Hmmm…

  12. 26

    Sometimes, the hardest thing for me to remember is that I can’t do everything.

    Thanks for this! Your words inspired my own today :)
    http://lifefaithful.blogspot.com/2012/02/i-cant-do-it.html

    • 27

      Hi Mandy- Glad the words were inspiring. Our most precious commodity is time. It is the one thing that once it is spent, we cannot get back. We don’t have time to get everything done from the lists that form in our heads. We have to make choices about what to do and what to leave undone based on our priorities, passions, and gifts. We literally cannot do it all. Though, as women, I think we just about kill ourselves trying.

      I pray for some fresh, deep breaths to fill your soul today.

  13. 28

    If I was good at everything, then I would stand in awe of myself. Since I am not, I can stand in awe of a God who created a diversity of people in a beautiful tapestry of interdependence.

    ^^ <3 this.

    Great post.

    • 29

      Thanks, Kaitlin. I think I need to remember that line, too. Even in writing a post like this, it’s hard to not look for the accolades- how many likes, how many comments… But that’s not at all the point, is it? Using my gifts is not about glorifying me- it is about glorifying God and encouraging others. Just as others using their gifts is about glorifying God and encouraging me.

      I remember seeing this beautiful video of a Special Olympics race, once. One of the competitors fell. And the rest did not hesitate to stop running and help him up. They all finished the race together. It was a beautiful picture how we need each other, and what is really most important in life.

  14. 30
    Melody Ann says:

    You certainly capsulized well what I’ve been struggling with the last year or so…overload of great ideas and ways to do things. Good to read it’s similar with others. Thank you for the perspective! Bless you.

    • 31

      Yes. Overload. That’s a great word to describe the world these days. There is so much information bombarding us all the time. It can be overwhelming.

      It’s why sometimes my dinners are more pleasant when I choose my “fall back” recipes- they may not taste as good as something new I might have discovered, but my heart and soul are more relaxed to enjoy them.

  15. 32

    Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh!

  16. 34

    I love this! God gifts us all differently. Recently I had to step away for reading blogs and now I am very selective of the blogs that I do read. It’s so easy to look at other Christians and what they are doing and think that we are not doing enough. God cares more about our hearts than what we do. If our hearts are changed, then, we will do the good works that WE were created to do.

    • 35

      That reminds me of 1 Samuel 16:7, “The LORD doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” There is so much we don’t know about what we see on line. We see what people choose to show us. We only see a sliver of reality. It can be inspiring, but it can also be oh so dangerous.

      “If our hearts are changed, then, we will do the good works that WE were created to do.” Absolutely. Trust what God has for YOUR journey.

  17. 36

    Love love love this.

  18. 38

    Steph… so good to see you over here! And what a great message God gave you to share! Why is it so hard to learn to have grace on ourselves? Remembering to breathe out… yes, I like that…

    • 39

      Hi Denise! Yes, I was thrilled to be have a guest post here. I do find that often grace is easier to give than receive. I pray for grace for you today!

  19. 40

    Hi Stephanie-

    I so agree with you – we need to not measure ourselves against what others do. If we compare we always seem to lose! I am learning that my weakness is HIS STRENGTH! So no, I NOT good at everything and love it when HE HELPS me. I will try to remember to breathe out in those hard times! Thanks for your great post!

    • 41

      Yes, Maxine. That is a key point to this too. That “my weakness is his strength.” When we try to be good at everything on our own, we miss the special grace God gives us when we are dependent on Him for help.

      Glad you enjoyed the post.

  20. 42

    SUCH a great reminder!

    Thank YOU for being “good at” keeping it real! ;-)

    *breathing out*

    • 43

      I’m glad you thought I was keeping it real. Sometimes I’m good at that; sometimes I’m not.

      I think the world would be a better place if we all did that more often. If we showed our real selves, not just our best selves. It would help us all give an receive grace about who we are and who we are not.

  21. 44

    Yes! Such a great reminder – thank you for sharing!

  22. 46

    Oh, how I want to be good at everything… But God didn’t design it that way! We are gifted in certain areas so we can better serve Him and minister to others. He wants us to do everything we can to magnify Him through the gifts He’s given us. Thank you for the reminder!

    • 47

      “He wants us to do everything we can to magnify Him through the gifts He’s given us.” That’s right, Katie. It’s all about God and His glory, not our own. When we strive for gifts we don’t have, it is often because we are seeking to glorify ourselves. When we joyfully use the gifts He has given us, that is what brings glory to Him.

      And I want to be good at everything, too. I have to remind myself that it’s not possible, and even if it was, it would not be good for me.

  23. 48

    “God did not design me to spend my energy trying harder and harder to be good at the gifts He did not give me.” Oh, to be able to embrace and put into use those gifts God did give to me! I think the first step is to identify them. Sometimes this can be a daunting task because we have such a hard time looking at ourselves objectively. Great reminder, Stephanie. Thanks!

    • 49

      Hi Julie. Have you ever seen the Strengths Finder materials? I thought it was one of the best evaluations I ever took- and one of the best perspectives. http://www.strengthsfinder.com. The writers talk about how much time people waste trying to get good at their weaknesses instead of thriving within their strengths. It is not Christian, per se, but I think it is right in line with what the Bible says about gifts and our uniqueness.

      I heard, though, that even on assessments, the results tend to be a little skewed. We can’t help ourselves from responding according to gifts we wish we had, instead of gifts we do have. It is a daunting task to be objective about ourselves.

  24. 50

    Oh yes, this was wonderful! I recently joined pinterest at a friends’ invitation and only just put my finger on the helplessness I felt looking at all those images of perfect food to eat, clothes to wear, home decor, crafting. It definitely gives us that skewed vision of one person being able to do all of that. Thanks for this post!

    • 51

      Oh, Lydia. This post was inspired by my love/hate relationship with Pinterest. Some days it can be inspiring, and some days it can be suffocating, depending on my perspective. I found my new favorite sinfully delicious dessert (layered cookie dough, oreo, brownie http://pinterest.com/pin/71494712804124847). But I also end up wishing I could do more, look different, and have better things. I take all of my life and compare it to the sliver of someone else’s life, and end up feeling inadequate. Writing this post was a reminder to myself that I was not meant to be good at everything I see there. I hope you find inspiration and not suffocation there, too.

  25. 52

    Thank you for posting that! It applies to me more often than I’d like, but from now on I’m going to use Holy Spirit Breathing when I want more inspiration. IN with the appreciation of the new idea, OUT with the reminder that I can’t do it all! :)

    • 53

      Hi Terri- I like that you called it “Holy Spirit breathing.” I love the practices of breath prayers. Have you ever tried them? The most famous is “Lord Jesus Christ (while breathing in) have mercy on me (while breathing out).” I find they are great ways to center my soul regularly throughout the day. So maybe the breath prayer for this concept could be something like “Father thank you for who I am (while breathing in) and for who I am not (while breathing out).”

  26. 54

    Ah-Ha! So that’s it! Many times after reading other’s blogs, checking what’s on etsy & pinterest I feel ….. well, kinda blah. Now, I know why. Thanks! I’m gonna remember to exhale and take joy in who God made me to be. :)

    • 55

      Yes. Sometimes I love the Internet, and sometimes it fills me with uneasiness. As we look at things, we do need to inhale and exhale. It is okay to not do it all. And, like you said, “take joy in who God made me to be.”

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