My misplaced worth

Hi, I’m Leanne, I have two kids and my husband is in the ministry. I love coffee, berries, apples, writing and deep down I’m pretty insecure a lot of the time.

This is not how I typically introduce myself to new people. But it’s something I feel like I need to say today.

Writing has been one of the most healing practices of my life, it’s also made me face old insecurities and cause me to seriously examine where I’m placing my sense of worth and success. Can I show you something pretty embarrassing? I’m assuming you’ve agreed so… get a load of this, this is the inner monologue that happens when I submit something in writing.

Alright, it’s proof read and I’m gonna hit publish. I have to come up with something catchy to use on Facebook and twitter, people seem to like words like fantastical and ninja these days so “Check out how I ninjaed God’s truth in a fantastical way! New Post!” … Yeah that ought do it…. Okay, I’ve been faithful to you God, I’m going to call that good. (Close Computer)

Ten Minutes Later: (Open computer) “Seriously no retweets, shares or comments? This is because I’m a total hack. Let me check my WordPress stats… great 3 people have read it, it’s probably going to be like last Thursday when I had a page hit count of 11! I bet Ann Voskamp, Jen Hatmaker and Mary DeMuth never worry about their page counts. It’s because they rock and I suck, I’m a total joke. I’m going to go put my computer and my iPhone in my underwear drawer and watch the food network as I reflect upon how everyone is probably laughing at me right now.”

Yes this is a tad overdramatized, but only a tad. And I knew I couldn’t live like this for long…

So God and I had a heart to heart last week and I realized something profound that’s having a huge impact on how I define personal success. My sense of self worth and success need to be drastically more secure to allow God to work with my life. God can’t give me much more than I already have because it would only teach me that I need more and bigger to feel okay about myself and that appetite would grow larger and it would be unspeakably damaging in the end.

I’m starting to get the sense that this feeling doesn’t just apply to writing and blogging. As mothers, pastors, teachers, baristas, dog groomers etc we are all tempted to find someone around us we can use to measure ourselves against. And chances are we can always find someone that we think is achieving greater success, and by doing that we reduce them to a paper doll of a person, not a whole and cherished God-creation.

If I start to define my worth by blog numbers I am giving God the middle finger and saying I don’t care what you say about me, what everyone thinks is far more important.

I needed to ask myself the question: “Can I be content if I am never published, but am well known and loved to a God centered family?” Honestly, no, not if I keep going down the path I’m on, so I need to jump tracks and start to transfer my idea of success and tune into what God has to say. God has created us all with something beautiful to say to this world, we are all a totally unique color in his painting.

Maybe, just maybe, we need to stop with the measuring and the comparing and get to the wide-eyed pursuit of living, loving and just plain being. God gave us you and he gave you time and only you can use your precious time to bring your thing passionately.

Let’s all commit to not measure ourselves by
1) online stats, Facebook profiles or twitter followers
2) How clean our house is or if there is laundry in the basket (there will always be laundry unless you do laundry naked… think about it)
3) Anything having to do with a bank account, a car model or a boat.
4) The number on the scale, our pants size or where our boobs are now in relation to where they were when we were 21.
5) How great our kids do at WalMart or whether or not they have crumbs on their face when they get to school or church.

Do you use something ridiculous to measure your success? Can you add to the list?

Living then, as every one of you does, in pure grace, it’s important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you. The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him. – Romans 12:3, MSG

  • Celeste

    Leanne, I’ve been following your blog for about a month now, and almost every single entry has described your struggle with something that I am struggling with too. Sorry I never comment, retweet, or share, but keep writing. It’s good, and I need it. Thanks for putting into words what I can’t and for your desire to be used by God in whatever way He decides is successful.

    • http://leannepenny.wordpress.com leannepenny

      Celeste, thank you so much for your encouragement! No apologies needed for not commenting or tweeting, although don’t ever hold back sharing your heart here, it makes mine pop w joy!

  • http://rebeccannb.wordpress.com rebeccannb

    Leanne, I have “been there, done that” with my line of thinking over the past couple of years since starting my blog. Great post and gives me something to really pray about! :)

    • http://leannepenny.wordpress.com leannepenny

      thanks, it’s so good to know that I’m not alone!

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  • Hannah

    Hey, Friend! Even if just ONE person reads a post, you never know how that pebble is going to ripple the pond! If you’re doing what you feel God has lead you to do, then he’s going to use you–whether you can see the results or not. So sit back and relax–Gold is at the helm, and your blog is AWESOME!