It is (apparently) one of my greatest goals in life to never, ever, under any circumstances practice what I preach. It’s as if I find something to be passionate and preachy about and then make very sure that I am very not good at that thing.
Some of my favorite things to preach are encouragement and vulnerability.
Quality time and words of affirmation used to be neck and neck,vying for first as my ultimate love language but I have VICIOUSLY SUPPRESSED the need for quality time since living far from home. Gotta trust my mama loves me even without that good ole QT. Because of this, words of affirmation now reign supreme as my number one love language. (If you have not taken the love languages test STOP READING THIS AND GO GOOGLE THAT NOW. You will thank me.) Since words of affirmation are so important to my heart, I naturally assume they are important to everyone else’s as well and I inevitably find myself passing out love and encouragement like penny candy.
YOU are beautiful. YOU are talented. YOU are creative. God has a plan for YOU. YOUR story is important. YOU are young and have all the time in the world to do incredible things and YOU’re totally on the path to do so. God forgives and adores YOU. YOU are loved. YOU are special.
Don’t worry because right after this encouragement comes my two-for-one-special follow-up lecture on vulnerability:
People, open up. Be real with your hurts, your struggles, your joys. Share your story, even the messy parts. Be honest with what you’re struggling with now, not later when it’s all wrapped up in a neat bow. We need people to walk with us through the pain. BE REAL. BE OPEN. BE VULNERABLE. LET ME PRAY FOR YOU. GOGOGO DO IT NOW.
No no, not me though. Shhhh stop asking. I’m fine, guys, I’m fine, I’M FINE.
Yeah, clearly not. It’s true. Lately, I have not been encouraging to myself. Quite the opposite actually.
It’s cool though, because while I have loads of these un-encouraging thoughts, you will never know of them because I am also conveniently bad at being vulnerable.
I love the idea of vulnerability. And don’t get me wrong, I think it is super important for you. The action of vulnerability for me, however, leaves me feeling absolutely stark naked and I am not one of those cool hippie types who enjoys being naked in public. I PROUDLY donned my “modest is hottest” t-shirt all throughout middle school (with, ironically, my mid-drift showing. I bought the wrong size, sue me.)
I want you to be encouraged and vulnerable with each other and I will probably continue to preach that until the day I die because it is insanely, ridiculously important that you know how wonderful, unique, and messily beautiful you and your story are.
Yes, yes, that’s right. I can see you putting it together. Here it is, coming full circle: I, Emilie Finke, am the absolute worst at my two favorite things.
I do not like to linger on unpleasant feelings. Crap happens and I will feel crappy accordingly, but then I do not linger. I have a generally sunny disposition. I can honestly say I love that about myself. The enemy, however, likes to take what I love and hurl it in my face like a cold, icy snowball. (He is seriously, like, so mean. Like, just give me a break, you know what I mean?! Ugh.)
Due to that crap-bag idiot alien-faced enemy, lately I have been lingering. He has been whispering lies and I have been believing them and just basking in their horrid fart-smell. He tells me I am unnecessary, untalented, unliked, unworthy. He tells me I will live and then die and probably do nothing of any true value and that is just about it. He tells me I shouldn’t trust my Father because my Father has a bigger picture in mind and bigger things on His plate than my small little life and my silly little worries.
Friends, if he whispers these things to you too, then I want you to know you are not alone. I also want you to know that we are all, all of us, horribly, horribly mistaken. I know this because my Father told me. And not in a vision, or something weird, okay? Calm down. His Word, His voice, His music can do a lot of talking if we just sit still for a second.
He gently reminded me that I am His. He chose me. He adores me. He asks me to trust Him because He is good and love and just and, you know, smart.
It’s so silly. It’s so silly. I hear and preach grace and forgiveness over and over and over and over and over and over andoverandoverandover again and still cannot grasp it in my own freaking broken, spiderwebby, gray, small heart.
But it’s okay because He will repeat Himself again. “Draw near to me and I will draw near to you.” Just sit still, Emilie.
I am broken and ugly and messy now. Not just a couple years ago or a few weeks ago. I am a CURRENT MESS. But He is in charge. He loves me unconditionally. He likes me. He sees me as whole and clean and beautiful. He created me for a purpose. His way and promises are sure. And there’s this beautiful, beautiful thing called sanctification that I get to be apart of too.
[“Sanctification is the act or process of acquiring sanctity, of being made or becoming holy.” – Google]
“May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully.” Ephesians 3:19.
And so since sinful human nature is a thing and I can’t place all of the blame on the devil, though I certainly would like to, I think I need to apologize to myself:
I am so sorry for telling you those horrible things about yourself. I am sorry that I convinced you of being unnecessary, unmotivated, untalented, unloved. I’m sorry I continue to put trivial things in front of our time with the Father. I’m sorry I listened to the enemy’s words more than Jesus’. I’m sorry I made you feel like God’s grace wasn’t for you. I’m sorry I persuaded you to choose isolation over community and vulnerability. I’m sorry I convinced you that you were small. I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.
His power is made perfect in my VAST TREASURE TROVE of weaknesses. I will continue to work on encouraging myself. And this little post is the first step of vulnerability. HEY WORLD, SOMETIMES I’M STILL INSECURE AND SCARED ABOUT STUFF. Oh my word, ow. Why on earth is that so embarrassing to say? Maybe I am the only human left who feels this way. Hopefully not.
I literally just admitted to hoping other people struggle. Oh yikes. Sorry, everybody.
The End Before I Say Anything Else Horrible.