I am a "words" person. I always have been.
I truly believe words are a gift God has given us as a way to express something deeper on our hearts. Although, more often than not, words do not suffice for what we feel, they give us an opportunity to express what, in reality, is impossible to articulate. When we communicate with others about the things weighing on our hearts, we have an opportunity to share our burdens with one another. It is a way we can love one another, and remind each other we are not alone.
Years ago I read something by one of my favorite authors...
Dare to believe you are loved, exactly as you are – not as you should be, because you are never going to be as you should be. –Brennan Manning
There was something about that little line "as you are" that struck a chord in me.
Somewhere, over the course of many years, I had latched on and developed a firmly held belief in a lie that I could not be fully accepted until I had made myself into an ideal version of myself. The people in my life, the culture I was around, the schools I attended...all these things subconsciously chiseled away at this fabricated image of who I needed to be.
This perfect version of myself haunted me, and followed me around every day; nagging me to work harder, to perform and achieve, or else face shame and disappointment from those I loved.
It was not until my pride was broken down by a number of events and circumstances, I finally fell on my knees, consumed with anxiety and utterly exhausted – I admitted I could not attain this ideal version of myself, and I was too weak to try anymore. But it was then and there, I finally understood the Grace of God.
The second I opened my hands and asked for help, all I could hear were those words – "Jennie, I love you as you are."
What would happen if I actually dared to believe that I was loved? Not as I thought I needed to be, but exactly as I am. Even if "as I am" right now, in this moment, is not the ideal version of who I am becoming.
It was out of this vivid understanding of Grace, and Severe Mercy, that everything changed, and I began to believe I am enough, as I am. It is out of this same understanding, I want to share other stories with you...
For a couple of years now, I have been bewildered to watch my little story impact so many people, specifically women. Every time I tell my story, I watch a light ignite in women's eyes, and they begin to ask themselves, "Hey, what if I pursued what I really love? Am I worthy enough to do the same?"
I am aggressively passionate about encouraging women to believe in their own worthiness, and out of that, accept the call on their lives to believe in who they were created to be and boldly pursue whatever it is on their hearts. I would not be here today if I had not had women (many of you) constantly reminding me "You can do this. You are enough, as you are."
I have severely underestimated the ability of one story-one life to significantly impact the life of another. Even though, I still constantly struggle to believe I am enough as I am, I want to start a blog series of stories. These stories will be from individual, ordinary women (of all ages!) whose lives have been significantly changed by this truth- to be loved exactly as you are. It is out of these stories, I hope truth will be spoken into your lives and you can find enough courage to keep going in whatever it is you are good at, but too afraid to pursue.