Nothing I Hold Onto

“Her father told his children to pray for patience, for courage, for kindness, for clarity, for trust, for gratitude. Those prayers will be answered. Others may not be. The Lord knows your needs.”
Home, Marilynne Robinson

Anything else I have writen seems trite and oversaid and annoying so I am just going to write what I am feeling with very little prologue:

I am a failure, I am an embarrassment, I am stupid, I am worthless, and I am especially lost. 

Recently I announced with optimism and ecstatic joy that I was pursuing Teach For America. I was expectant and excited about where I would go, what I would be teaching, and how I would affect the lives of precious children. Not once did I even stop to consider that I wouldn’t be accepted.

So, Friday afternoon when I heard that very familiar e-chirp I hastily opened my email.

It was not what I had planned for.

It hurt. I felt like my stomach was going to fall out my butt as Cady Heron would say.

I cried. I was mad. Confused.

I failed.

I was not accepted into Teach For America.

What in the world am I going to do next?? Why did I spend 21 days fasting and praying asking God to guide this process?

Why did I post on Facebook about this? Now I am going to have to tell everyone what a huge stupid idiot I am. (insert 10,000 various crying emojis.

I really must be kind of an idiot. How else could I over look all of God’s fingerprints over this situation? 
As soon as many of my initial reaction emotions drifted away I began to feel better. 
It took hours for them to drift away, but as they did I began to see more and more of God at work. It was like finding a magnificent fossil under thousands of years of compressed rock and dirt, or in my case compressed high emotions. 

The first book I read in 2016 was Daring Greatly by Brene Brown. If anything prepared me for my huge failure moment it was this. Daring Greatly is about finding the courage to be vulnerable — this is exactly what I am struggling with.  Until I read this book I didn’t understand how the culture of shame had seeped into the cracks of my life. 
Shame loves to tell you what you are. You are a failure. You are an idiot. You are unworthy. 
Shame worships perfectionism, straining continually, reaching for the always unattainable dream of perfection. 
“Perfectionism is exhausting because hustling is exhausting. It’s a never-ending performance.” 

By not getting into Teach For America I had failed to be perfect. 
Brene Brown really hit me with this:  

“Regardless of where we are on this continuum, if we want freedom from perfectionism, we have to make the long journey from “What will people think?” toI am enough. That journey begins with shame resilience, self-compassion, and owning our own stories.” 

This was the start of my journey of shame resilience.

I needed to get myself out of the sick messy thinking of shame.

I am not a failure, I am feeling like I’ve failed. 

I am not an embarrassment, I am feeling embarrassed. 

I am not stupid, I am feeling stupid. 

I am not worthless, I am feeling worthless. 

I am not lost, I am feeling lost and unsure. 

This shift in thinking is crucial and has begun to change me deeply in my core.

I am so thankful for friends that I have been able to be vulnerable with in the past 48 hours.  For their encouragement, their love, and their prayers. Especially their prayers.

I am thankful for a God who shakes me to the core and speaks gentle and reminds me why I was fasting to begin with — to grow closer to Him and follow his will.

How foolish of me that as soon as things go against my will and my plan I am furious that God would ignore my wants.

How blessed are we to have a God that closes doors that aren’t meant for us.

And honestly, thank you God for having folks like Khloe K remind me of that truth. 


Yesterday at church the worship sets and Albert’s sermon were so on point and wonderful that I cannot doubt for a second that God is over this situation. 

Why am I even worried? I am in the best place I could ever be. 

I am enraptured and captured by God’s love.  

When I am feeling hurt, lost, embarrassed, worthless, or uncertain about my future I will remember what Albert proclaimed on Sunday regarding Haman’s plans to kill all the Jews in the 6th century BCE. 

“God moved the chess pieces, and the queen was a Jew.” 

Thank you for allowing me the space to be vulnerable, to profess my absolute need for God’s grace. 
Love, Jen

please enjoy this beautiful song I will be proclaiming over my life for years to come 

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