About the Author

Emily P. Freeman is a writer who creates space for souls to breathe. She is the author of four books, including her most recent release, Simply Tuesday: Small-Moment Living in a Fast-Moving World. She and her husband live in North Carolina with their twin daughters and twinless son.

Recent Posts

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Receive the gift, worship, share the gift–so much wisdom in this practice. Sometimes receiving it feels like the hardest part, when all I need to do is open my hands. Catch and release.
    Love reading your words as always:)

  2. “For example, it takes a long time for me to be honest. Not that I lie – I’m not a liar. I just have a delayed response to what is true. I can’t always tell in the moment how I feel about something, don’t always know right after I read a passage if I agree with it or not.”

    Oh my. This is me, too, and I’ve never seen it in someone else’s writing before. It’s a trait that leaves me feeling speechless and unsure how to reply when I can’t gather my thoughts quickly enough. Thanks for this post. I am so
    excited to read A Million Little Things.
    Ellen

  3. Thank you for speaking to me with this post. I’ve realized that I’m an introvert and you saying to be satisfied with my limitations makes me feel better that God made me exactly how I am and that he has a real use for me one day. Bless you!

  4. I LOVE this post. We have limitations, but our God is limitless! It is true we need to learn to work with our limitations. Use the gifts God has given us to live out the ministry He intended us to live.
    Beautiful post!

  5. “Stop waiting for perfect motives and a feeling of adequacy. Move anyway. Offer the gift anyway. Be who you are anyway.”

    Someone had to tell me about four years ago that the worst thing that can happen is I realize I made a mistake. Even I (age forty) had to admit that that doesn’t sound SO bad.

  6. I definitely needed this message today, “Stop waiting for perfect motives and a feeling of adequacy. Move anyway. Offer the gift anyway. Be who you are anyway.”

    So many times I procrastinate because I am waiting for some elusive, magical “perfect opportunity” to arise. What an encouraging reminder that the gift is not dependent on my adequacy, but upon worship and faithfulness.

  7. I’ve come a ways in accepting my gift (writing music) and have started sharing it, getting a very positive response. God is good. I am at a crossroads now as to whether a certain aspect of me is a definitive limitation or yet another gift that needs to be shared to show others that God can used ANYone, anywhere, and at anytime. How can we know the difference, Emily? When is a limitation something to be respected, and when is a limitation just another gift in disguise?

    • I appreciate that question, Linda, because there can be confusion when we start to talk about our limits.

      Does that mean we should only always do what we’re good/gifted at and not be faithful in the other things?

      I don’t think so.

      I do things everyday that I’m not that great at but I have to do them because I’m a grown up and they have to be done.

      I think what you’re getting at (and what I was thinking about when I wrote this post) was in those things we are pursuing – either vocationally or otherwise – as a way to be an influence in the lives of others. Where do we begin? How do we frame our desire to move forward in faith with our very real human limits?

      For example, Kristen from We Are That Family wrote a post called “I’m Still Not Brave” – http://wearethatfamily.com/2013/04/im-still-not-brave/

      In it she says this: “I’m good at organizing my family, carline pickup, making dinner (well, sort of). I’m good at mothering and helping moms, but running Mercy House continually stretches me further than I’ve ever been. As my husband held me, I whispered, “I just wish I was more brave.”

      To me, this is a good example of someone doing something beyond her own limitations – something she was led to do and felt called to do even though it didn’t exactly “fit” in her area of expertise.

      But I still think she’s living life in her corner of the pool even though she does it scared, even though she feels inadequate, even though there are aspects of it that rub up against her own limitations.

      Does that make sense at all?

      • Emily,
        Here lately (the last few years) I have felt that God wants me to start sharing my testimony of his amazing love and how I’ve been able to walk through the darkness into his amazing light because I have given my life to him. So I’ve been trying to figure out how, when, where, and exactly what he wants me to share and with whom. This morning I felt him nugging me again when I read the following from you:

        And the Spirit of Jesus now lives in you. How might he want to come out?

        It’s true, you have limits. But it is also true that you have abilities. They aren’t from you, but they have your fingerprints. And now Jesus wants to touch the world through the filter of your personality, your desire, your passions, and your ideas.

        Stop waiting for perfect motives and a feeling of adequacy. Move anyway. Offer the gift anyway. Be who you are anyway.

        Reading Linda’s question actually brought me to tears because more than anything I want to do the will of God and be his hands and feet but I’m stuck in that place of insecurity.

        So my question to you is how do you get past your insecurities?

        • Carrie, I think we’re having a crying fest today because your post made me teary! I know you asked Emily this question, but I wanted to respond to you as well, because if anybody know about insecurities, it’s me. And anytime you’re in front of a bunch of people making yourself completely vulnerable by sharing your innermost thoughts, that’s really scary. Can I get an amen?!

          This is how the Lord has been leading me: He tells me that it’s not about me. It’s about Him, and about leading others to Him and to a deeper relationship with Him. He periodically re-focuses me because I tend to keep making it about myself.

          I have come to appreciate my insecurities because that’s what keeps me putting His face before me and leaning on Him, instead of going on my own steam. Even my insecurities are a gift.

          It’s my job to recognize what He would like me to do, to work hard and diligently. Then, let the outcome lie with Him, whatever that may be. It is all for His glory.

      • Thank you, Emily, for responding to me. Yes, you understand where I am coming from and you make a lot of sense. I’ll tell you one thing—I have never felt so alive since “living on the edge” like this. That freefall of faith where you *know* that God is leading you and you take that step out into the unknown, the very uncomfortable and the downright terror and you do it over and over and He is always there to catch and to comfort. THAT is the life He has called me to, and it is exciting beyond anything I could ever daydream about. I am LIVING it. Satan has this thing he does where he traps me in my own thoughts of inadequacy and sheer fright.

        But God beckons…so gently and patiently He beckons, just waiting for me to respond. I’m at the point now where I have the opportunity to perform my songs with a back up band live in front of a large group and I don’t know if it’s the right thing to do…my voice is not so good! Will it be a hindrance/distraction for the audience? Or will it be even more of a blessing showing that God is glorified through my weakness? There are other better singers who might perform my work, and I am content with that if that’s what God wants. My corner of the pool is a good and safe place to be, but there are several aspects that encompass that corner.

        I am grateful to you, Emily, for sharing your gift to benefit all of us. You and your Dad, you’re both such an encouragement to me to come out of myself to share what God has given me to lead others to Him in worship. How humbling that is! When I reflect on that, maybe that’s my answer.

  8. I’m working on my talk for the Jumping Tandem retreat next week and I’m sharing about what I feel God said to me about self-doubt. What you’ve said here in your post and in the comments really resonates as I write and pray and ponder. Can’t wait for the book, you are so very wise.

  9. You know, I’d honestly never thought about this before, but it’s all waking up that part of my heart that awakens when I have revelation that God’s been trying to give me for a long while. Thank you for this, Emily.

  10. Your posts have been so spot-on to my life right now. What a gift you are! Thank you for being brave and for speaking Truth and encouragement. Sometimes we need to read or hear someone tell us it’s ok to bold, to start small and dream big and above all, share yourself and your art. In sharing your gifts, you might not change the whole world, but it’ll make a world of change in you, which is what God might’ve planned all along. I will save this & re-read as I embark on a new album.

  11. When we step forward despite our limitations, we step out in Faith. It’s been my experience that God will use that every time. Each week I offer up to God a feeble offering as a children’s pastor. God creates a beautiful thing called Children’s Ministry each and every time. My offering is not perfect, but it allows God to do some pretty terrific things.

    Both quotes in these comments stood out to me too. I am not a quick thinker and often times I allow my fear of inadequacy to hinder God’s special gifts he’s given me to use. Great post. Thanks for showing us the path to bravery.

  12. Emily,
    I confess that sometimes I want to “lifeguard the whole pool at once” rather than mastering my own corner of the pool. God-sized dreams don’t always have to be tremendously large…I try to remember that I am writing, truly, to an audience of one. If one other soul benefits, then that is a praise! Thanks for your concise and on- target advice!
    Blessings,
    Bev

  13. Oh Emily, thank you, thank you. Your post, such a gift in itself. And your weakness- your processing time? Mine too. And living with a strong minded, quick thinking husband all too often makes me feel… Slow. I have never seem this as a strength in any way, and so appreciate you sharing your weakness and, in doing so, giving me strength (and direction for how best to work with this). Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    • Sarah, Won’t heaven be great. Never a moment of feeling the pressure to hurry up. I have a feeling that heaven’s going to be even better for us girls who live life slow.

  14. Emily, You are precious! And your posts are God’s gift to me! A hearty thank you to you and the incredible God that’s using your insights to encourage me more than words can say.

    I’m a thinker, too. I see bloggers pumping out wisdom left and right. I love to speak and God’s gifted me to love it and do it with joy! But I’m supposed to build a platform (yikes, the p-word!) and part of that is blogging. But things don’t come out on my blog like they do when I’m there with real live open-hearted women. So I trust God to go before me and be the platform I cannot see—one that defies blog stats.

    I write talks slow. At the pace He sets. As He reveal pieces (dots as your dad would say) in his Word, his world and the daily encounters of life. That’s a gift. The blog writing—a limit—turns me to funnel time into the being with Him, learning at His feet and trusting that I may not reach the masses, but He may have a few women here and there that will know and be more of what He has for them because I stood before them in God’s grown-up version of show and tell.

  15. I love the lifeguard analogy! It perfectly fits where I’ve been at. I set out to do a bunch of things last year but then having a second baby turned out to be a lot harder than I thought it would. I realized my focus needs to be right here at home with my husband and kids. Those other things will either still be there later, or God will direct me differently. The best I can do right now is be where I’m at. 🙂

  16. How do you know what your gifts are? How do you know if you’re waiting for clear guidance which can also take courage or just scared to move? I have just moved to Arlington, VA with my husband, who will be finishing his career here. I am a nurse by trade, not passion and my husband is encouraging me to find my passion in this new season of our lives. So I’m following HIM first, and praying HE will make something of my life. Does that sound like I’m on the right path or missed the boat?

  17. Emily… Yes. Yes!! I have been reading your blog for a year-ish now, and God has been using His work through you to work on me. Your thoughts, process, as well as the links you give, have been encouraging and strengthening for whatever it is He is preparing me for beyond the current challenges of diapers and dailies (which your words have, of course, been awesome for, too). I am so so excited for your book, and this topic, and the growth that is coming in His perfect time. Thank you for being brave!

  18. As always, LOVE THIS! 🙂 Thank you, Emily. Your gentle yet direct words of wisdom always hit the spot. May your weekend be blessed as you are continuously living out Jesus.

  19. Thanks, Emily…what an encouragement! I just left a comment over on your blog, but wanted to share something here too. Sara Groves has a wonderful song, called “Finite,” about embracing the fact that we do have limits…we are not “every woman.” Take a listen, be encouraged, here’s a link: http://youtu.be/ISqVc4KNxpg.

  20. I’ve never left a comment before on any website, but gurrrrrl, you just BROUGHT it with this post. Can’t wait to read the book and see what God gave you to share!

  21. This is lovely. Thank you so much for writing this. It’s exactly what God needed me to hear at this moment on this morning. Our little family has been going through a difficult transition and the past six months or so I’ve felt God pushing and urging me to use my gift to write, that I was using but not in the ways I think He meant for me to use it. I’ve just been blocking myself–not freeing myself (within His gift and my limitations, like you were saying) to just write and share in the way He needs me to.

    It’s also challenging because of outside circumstances (we just repatriated from Japan after 5-6 years there), trying to find work for my husband and my health issues. Working on trust. It’s strange for me to be back in this place again–being anxious, people-pleasing and perfectionism. Especially when I had worked so hard to get past all of that and was successful (with God’s help, of course) several years ago before moving to Japan. Now it’s all back, and it’s discouraging.

    I’m starting to ramble, but it’s brought me to tears once again that God is trying to encourage me to move out in the way He wants me to and to not worry about the rest. To be like a child again (my 19 month old helps with that!) and accept the gifts God gave and wants us to use, and worship by using them.

    Thank you SO much, again! Your writing is encouraging and looking forward to your new book. 🙂

  22. Your description of Mary brings me new insight for “give thanks for ALL things”. What a poignant example of displaying trust in God’s purposes, carrying every burden that the challenge may bring, and giving thanks for the role one’s life may play in His greater design.
    Your recent posts are KNOCKIN’ IT OUT OF THE PARK!

  23. I love that you started with accept your limitations. I find it easy to get sidetracked now and again, trying to develop gifts that are really not mine to give, missing the mark on occasion at what I am gifted at. I am so thankful to God for His unending mercy (and patience) in my life as I continue this path of faith. Good words as usual Ms. Emily!

  24. The part about the delayed response to honesty – YES. I have that TOO! I didn’t realize that I was completely ashamed of it until I read it here. I sometimes verbally react to a question or comment with words that, as they are coming out, I think, “Wait, IS that what . I think?” It takes me a few minutes to realize that many times, my words are less true than they could be.

    In thinking about it, I guess I am made a little anxious by long pauses in conversation, which I probably truly need if I am going to speak honestly and from my heart.

    I just have never really thought about it constructively before, and instead, have gotten really confused and frustrated at how my responses are frequently wrong. Lies, sometimes, but not about facts – about feelings. And I am not a liar, either, but I think I have struggled under the guilt of feeling like one.

    I am going to give myself permission to take the pause in the conversation that lets me be true. Thanks for helping me to do that!

    • I respect women who take a moment to think about responses. Rather than jumping on the conversations “bandwagon opinion” or going along with the world, you consider Truth and your own values. Something that is truly admirable! Stay true to that!

  25. Emily,
    Not only are your words timely they are also timeless. I think throughout all of history mankind has struggled with being brave when it comes to stepping into her/his giftedness. Whether it was Deborah in the Bible, Queen Elizabeth I or a new mother struggling to do the right thing. We all want to release our gifts to help others but we doubt the importance of them. As you say we just need to be brave and “stay in our corner of the pool” — start small and see where God leads us.

    Thank you for your words today.

  26. I struggle with being brave. My struggle is knowing what to do, when & what my gifts are.

    Actually all I really need to do is pray about it and ask God to reveal my gifts, & how to use them to Glorify Him!

    Love reading your post!

  27. Two things really stand out to me in this. First, acknowledging your limits is important. As a student, I have always held myself to impossibly high standards. In fact, I hold myself to higher standards than God probably holds me, which sometimes causes me to miss out on the things He is trying to teach me through His grace. We learn though living, we learn through what we consider mistakes.

    I also love the line, “Sometimes there is no ready. There is only belief.” We are taught that preparing is good. Like a Boy Scout, “Be Prepared.” But at what point do we need to just stop preparing, stop planning, stop studying, and take a leap? Maybe we are missing out on the experience God has planned by being overly prepared and not believing that He will equip us for anything.

    Thanks for posting this!

  28. Can you give me this pep talk every morning? 🙂 Thanks for your beautiful and inspiring words, as always.

  29. Re: accepting our limitations and working within them, can you offer advice as how to handle those who chide us and say our limitations are just excuses for not doing more because “THEY KNOW God wants us to do more than that”? We’re all made uniquely different and we all have different gifts and we all worship and do God’s work in our own ways, the way God made us to be. How GOD made us to be. I’ve expressed these things to some and they refuse to see it this way, saying I’m in denial, I’m not a “real” Christian and not a “real” follower of God because I don’t do what they do. It’s exasperating. So, I’ve kept my distance. I don’t even go to church any more.