identity

How to Hide Till You No Longer Recognize Yourself

How to Hide Till You No Longer Recognize Yourself

A couple months ago I picked up a new book, just one of many I borrowed for a little spring break read-a-thon.

When I look back on that sunny afternoon, I can’t remember how I happened upon this book. Was it on my Goodreads to-read list? Was it recommended by someone? Was it a random librarian pick, propped on the end of a shelf with a tantalizing cover calling out to me?

I really have no idea.

All I know is, by page thirteen, I was bawling. Continue reading →

Posted by Janna Wright in grace changes everything, 0 comments
how to win the not enough game

how to win the not enough game

Do you remember that game your brothers tormented you with when you were little called “Why are you hitting yourself?” Growing up with five brothers, this game was a favorite around my house. Usually it went something like this: Older brother gets a gleam in his eye while younger brother eyes him warily. Older grabs younger’s arm and whacks the poor kid in the head repeatedly, taunting, “Why are you hitting yourself? Why are you hitting yourself? Why are you hitting yourself?” Younger yells, a fight breaks out, furniture’s knocked over . . . . yeah, you remember how it goes.

Our Grown-Up Version

For some reason I was thinking about this silly game recently, and I was struck with the thought that we women play a grown-up version of this. Believe me, it’s just as annoying as when we were kids. Most of the time it makes you want to scream. And it can be just as hard to avoid as your big brother who’s a head taller than you. The grown-up game is called “Not Enough” (a.k.a. “Guilt Game” or “Blame Game”).

This winning the gamegrown-up version usually starts with a voice in your head that says something like, “You really messed that up” or “You know you should/shouldn’t . . .” or “Remember that awful time you . . . .” And the mp3 player of your mind locks onto the idea and loops the track so it plays over and over in your head. It’s like Guilt and Shame are gleefully torturing you with the “Why are you hitting yourself?”, banging on you with your own thoughts.

The Consequences

This game wreaks havoc in life. I’ve played this game a thousand times at least. For me, when Guilt and Shame start in, I wanna sit down and mope or something really adult like that. Sometimes I wanna quit everything because what’s the point. I don’t feel one ounce like serving others because I’m sure I’ll mess it up. And heaven forbid that anyone asks me to do something more or help them. See, in the middle of the Not Enough game, it’s impossible to feel brave or fearless or empowered because those not-enough thoughts steal your confidence.

Rigging the Game

So how do you stop that frustrating loop? Funny thing, but looking back to childhood days can help. When those taunting voices tell you you’re “not enough and you really messed up and you should be . . .,” I’ve found it helpful to do what any self-respecting sibling would do – tattle to Dad!

You just march right up to your Heavenly Poppa and say, “These guys, Guilt and Shame, are picking on me! I’m sick of them. Make them STOP!” And He will tell you that Guilt and Shame are just feeding you a story – and a false one at that. He will remind you that because of Jesus, you are His chosen one, His adored daughter, a precious gem that He created to shine brilliantly. He will tell you how very much He loves you and believes in you. And He will reassure you that with Him you can do anything – and like a rock star too! In that moment, if you grab onto God’s true story of you, your confidence will return with a vengeance, and Guilt and Shame will be properly trounced.

I guess we can learn some things from childhood! So, here’s to winning the Not Enough game and sending Guilt and Shame crying to mama!

true confidence - gracethread

 

Promo-title only 315x177P.S. This whole confidence/not enough thing is exactly what we’re exploring at the Unleashed Retreat in a couple weeks. There are still a couple of tickets left. Why don’t you join us?!


Posted by Janna Wright in grace changes everything, identity, 0 comments
carrots or kelp? why people don’t always get you

carrots or kelp? why people don’t always get you

I have a not-so-secret obsession.  I’ve tried to stop, but I can’t. I am compelled to collect words — especially quotations. There’s just something about stumbling over a thoughtful phrase that perfectly describes something I know to be true (and could never say as prettily) that thrills my little heart!

Here’s a recent favorite:

I complained about this recently to a friend,
this disconnect between who we are and how
others perceive us. I said: “The trouble is,
I’m a fish, but everyone thinks I’m a rabbit.”

The friend just looked me in the eye and said:
“Then why do you surround yourself with people
who can only give you carrots?”

(from I Knew You’d Be Lovely by Alethea Black)

Rabbit or Fish Moment

I had a carrot vs. kelp moment not too long ago. It was a wintry Tuesday night, and I was sitting in a metal chair in a drafty basement, surrounded by a crowd of women.

It was a community choir rehearsal, and our regular director was out of town on a much-needed vacation. So, a visiting conductor was leading. You only had to listen to him for a minute to tell this was a jolly man who knew music well, longed for us to love it like he did, and aimed to create “community” as well as “choir” with his rehearsals.

Before warm-ups he had the idea that we should introduce ourselves and share the last piece of music we’d listened to.

I was seated about two-thirds of the way through the group, and as the introductions began, the entire room turned into a Reality TV Voting System. When one person announced her music choice, some voices would agree, others would titter or comment, and the collective ooh’s and aah’s rose and fell based on how “acceptable” the piece was.

My cheeks grew warm, and I fidgeted as I waited for my turn because:

  1. I hate “judge” situations and try to avoid them as much as possible.
  2. My every day allows for little music listening, and I was having a hard time remembering the last piece I’d heard.

My turn came, and after I said my name, I blurted out “Pandora” (partly because it was the truth, and partly because I felt a little bit rebellious). The room grew quiet, and the director blinked at me blankly for a few seconds before nodding pseudo-enthusiastically and moving on.

Changing the Lenses

When I think of this silly, small event, I’m drawn back to the carrot quotation. In that moment, sitting in the metal folding chair, it dawned on me that many of the people in that room saw life a certain way – through a Music-Is-Ultra-Important lens. And while I used to wear those glasses too (like when I was taking 15 years of piano lessons, winning state competitions, earning my bachelor’s and master’s degrees in fine arts, doing music ministry in church every Sunday, singing in traveling groups, soloing in a women’s ensemble), I’ve taken them off.

I value other things now. Not because I suddenly hate music or anything — just because I know myself better today. Now I know more things I truly love, know who I am, know clearly what I’m created and called to do.

horse and carrotDo you ever feel like the people around you just don’t get you? That maybe
you view life from a far different vantage point than they do?
Are you ever confused about why people keep handing
you carrots when you’re a radiant angel fish?

You should never have to convince yourself you love orange with stripes when turquoise with bubbles is more your style. No one deserves to be force fed. That’s why knowing who you are and what you want are so important.

You are marvelously, intricately created by the Greatest Designer in the world who’s never made a mistake on any of His works of art. Maybe it’s time to swim out to sea a little? Find a new circle or two? Or perhaps take some time to sit and ponder what you really love and who you truly are.

That’s one of the first steps of living a true adventure story – discovering who you are then surrounding yourself with people who support you in being the best you possible.

(Psst… pass the kelp, please.)

Posted by Janna Wright in grace changes everything, identity, 0 comments
mistaken id: i am an athlete

mistaken id: i am an athlete

Have you ever considered that we answer the question “Who am I?” multiple times a day in our heads? From wife to business owner to cook to bird watcher, we tell ourselves who we are over and over.

And after a while whatever we say sticks with us — for better or for worse.

Here’s the true story of a girl who thought her identity was one thing until God showed her it was bigger and more beautiful than she’d first thought!

*P.S. I’m excited to introduce our new video series on Mistaken Identity. Stay tuned for more fun to come!

Posted by Janna Wright in grace changes everything, identity, 0 comments

what if your biggest weakness houses your greatest strength?

One of my favorite lines from the detective show, Monk, is when Monk admits,

“It’s a blessing and a curse.”

See, Mr Monk is a man who refuses to shake hands for fear of germs, touches light poles consecutively (backtracking for any missed ones), and wears an identical shirt/pant/sport coat ensemble every single day.

He’s also an absolute GENIUS at solving crimes. When he enters a murder scene he inevitably finds the smallest overlooked detail or some random object that’s missing or moved – and ultimately unlocks the who-dunnit!

Sure, we shake our heads at his compulsiveness, but that same attention to detail makes us shake our heads in wonder when he solves the unsolvable!

I think when Monk says, “It’s a blessing and a curse” he wisely sums up what most of us can’t realize about ourselves:

Our biggest glaring weakness often houses our GREATEST STRENGTH!

binoculars

Our Weaknesses . . .

If this line were here for you to fill in what you feel your biggest weakness is right now, what would you write?

                                                                                               

Today, I’d write emotionalism. (Is that even a word? . . . Just looked it up and Webster says it means “a tendency to regard things emotionally; undue diligence in or display of emotion.” Yup, pretty much on the money.) I’ve always had Anne-of-Green-Gables tendencies — either overcome with joy or in the depths of despair.

In trying to make a decision this morning, Dave lovingly told me to set the emotion aside and think with my True Self. Such wise words (and much needed in that particular moment)!  As I was processing later, I realized I’m often annoyed by the emotion I feel so deeply, and I hate it when it seems my emotions are running the show.

. . . Are Strengths

Then God brought to mind the storytelling book I’m devouring lately that’s teaching me the two keys of sharing a good story are authenticity and communicating emotion. God reminded me that story is important to who He created me to be and what He created me to do and that He didn’t make a mistake when He gave me emotionalism!

Sure, feeling things deeply might seem a glaring weakness when I let it run away with my thoughts. But it can be one of my greatest strengths – the one that turns me into an engaging grace and truth storyteller. A blessing I’d love to have!

So, what would you fill in the blank above? And how might it be your greatest blessing – something God designed you to be – and not just a curse?

Posted by Janna Wright in grace changes everything, 0 comments