why you can actually love yourself (and not in the creepy self-help way)

I don’t usually say things like “love yourself” (unless I’m quoting J Biebs. Can I get a what, what?!…Bueller? Bueller?), because “loving yourself” sounds very Oprah-y. And sounding Oprah-y is not one of my goals. Nor is sounding like the Biebs. As much as I love the kid.

But, here’s what I mean:

I had to learn to be comfortable in my own skin this week. I’m writing full-time now. It’s literally my dream come true. I can’t believe this is my job. Writing. ALL. DAY. WHAT?!

Yes. Just me. And the cats. And coffee. And pajamas. And….my characters.

I spend time getting to know my characters during my 9 to 5. I genuinely enjoy the fictional people I’ve created in their fictional worlds and it sounds so goofy saying that..and yet…

…to write authentic, real, riveting books with depth and heart…I have to actually spend time with my characters, getting to know their pasts, their hobbies, their desires, their likes, their dislikes, their fears, their hopes, their hair color, from which parent they inherited their hair color, how do they even feel about their parents, why do they feel that way, and about a million other questions.


just me and the crazy one being…us

And then there’s the task of building other worlds. It could not be more fun. Really. How much fun do you think J.R. Tolkien had in creating Middle Earth, or J.K. Rowling had in creating Hogwarts, or C.S. Lewis in creating Narnia, or – let’s just pause and consider the greatness of this for a moment – the fun Jane Austen had in creating Mr. Darcy for Elizabeth? Sigh.

But earlier this week I felt insecure about spending time in my imagination all day.Because,” Insecurity sneered in that snarky tone, “What are other people doing right now? Something more productive? Something more normal? Don’t you wish you were like other people?

Yes, I was tempted to say. “Yes, I do. I want to be like other people.”

Because…don’t we all sometimes?

But then God swooped in, like He always does, (Aslan…it’s why we love that Lion) and swept me up in this refreshing truth: God is the Creator. He’s the One who dreamed up giraffes and stars and dandelions and porcupines and men and women and humor and emotions and so…

He’s creative, too! He’s the Creative One! Any creativity I have, any desire to dream up characters and worlds, any desire to string together words to form a specific beauty for His glory…is from Him and is for Him and…my own creativity is merely and gloriously a reflection of His own perfect creativity.


And if I’m too afraid to embrace who He’s made me to be, then the world is missing out on the piece of His image He’s so fearfully and wonderfully purposed (psalm 139).

I’m so glad C.S. Lewis didn’t shrink back. And Jane Austen. (WHERE, I ask you, would this world be without Mr. Darcy? Far less romantic, that’s where.)

So then I began to wonder…who else is being hoodwinked into thinking they should try to be someone other than who they are? Who is being hoodwinked into listening to insecurity rather than the One who came that we might have life, and have it to the full? Who else is being tricked into hiding the glory of God that He has so lovingly imparted to them?

We are His workmanship, not His “mistake.” We are His beloved, not His “okay, fine,” we are part of His plan, not just His “well, here he is, I guess.”

Don’t be hoodwinked. Gift us with who you are. You’re very much on purpose.

Math people, I love that you understand numbers and order. Nurturers, I love that you comfort so well. Snorters, I love your laugh. Curly-haired people, I. Love. Your. Hair. Thinkers, wow, we need your ideas. And what’s amazing is…it’s all to His glory. Not to ours. We’re just receivers of Him and His grace…there’s no pressure here. Just gratefulness and awe. We’re created by Him and to Him and through Him and He loves us the way He made us…How much fun is that?!

We have nothing to be insecure about. Quite the opposite, friends. Quite the opposite.

In Jesus, we’re fully secure, fully His, fully alive, fully loved. No pretending need.

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do,” Ephesians 2:10.

“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen,” 1 Peter 4:10-11.

“This is the day that the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it,” Psalm 118:24.

a clinched fist is tiring, but an open palm can hold all the chocolate

I’ve learned this year that…to receive the blessings of God, the promises of God, the Word of God, the confidence of God, the love of God, the glory of God, the rest in God, the peace, the joy, the steady heartbeat that comes with simply being loved by Love Himself

I have to open my clinched fists of control. So that, open-palmed, I might receive from Him.

That I might receive Him.

Control makes no sense. So then, why do I want it so badly? Is it maybe because I don’t trust God fully enough to take care of things?

That’s embarrassing. Because that would mean…I myself want to be God…instead of letting Him be God.

Seriously. That’s embarrassing.dsc_7386

So how then, I wonder, do I combat the need to clinch the fists and tighten the grip and strangle the carefree life in search of elusive control?

Heart bowed, humility washing, I ask the Lord to gently uncoil my fingers…

…and suddenly the breathing is easier. I notice the sun on the pinestraw outside and the whiskers on Tuck and suddenly there are enough hours in the day to do everything I want to get done because suddenly all I want to get done is…enjoying God.

And the work is more fun. The words are beautiful. The pressure is gone. The rest is easy and the burden is light. Jesus didn’t lie about that part.

I always wondered what He meant when He said, “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matt 11:28). Because I must have been coming to Him all this time with my fists clinched. Head-butting Him, probably. Knowing me. Because with fists clinched all I can do is head-butt or punch. And head-butting is more fun. Just ask Michael.

But with open palms, I can receive from Him. Receive life. Receive more of Him. Right where I am. In the middle of the work day. In a night of anxiety. In the quiet moment on the couch with coffee. In the triumph of progress. Wrangling the cats. Waiting for an answer.

And we can, you know? We can open our palms to receive from Jesus..because He can be trusted. “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness” (Lam 3:22-23).

Gosh, it’s hard. But clinching the fists tight, I’ve learned, is harder. And much less fun. I prefer joy over worry.

I can, I must, to really live, open my palms to Him. And I can, I remind my heart, because He, in order for me to really live, opened His palms for me. He engraved my name upon His hands (Isaiah 49:16). He let the nail pierce His hands, knowing it was for me. Me. If He saw me as worth His very life, can’t I trust Him with mine?

I will open my hands to Him. I will receive the restful life He promised. I will receive Him.

Because I can trust this God-man, I tell my heart. The One who gave His life for me. I can trust Him.

Jesus holds all things together, and everything is in His hands. Col 1:17, John 3:35.

So I’ll live with open hands today, thrilled and kid-like to see what God places in them. Marveling at how God holds them gently. Loving the easy-going rest.

And you know, with open hands, there’s just flat-out more room to hold all the chocolate.


Blessings and joy and freedom and a handful of chocolate to you,