A Rogue Pine Cone, Big Little Lies, and How I’m Completely Full of Shit

I’ve been thinking about last week’s blog post for… well, a week now.

If you didn’t get a chance to read it, you can peruse it right here. (Also, this is your last shot. If you miss another blog post, you’re outta the will!)

See, even though I felt all empowered and shit writing it, something about that post didn’t sit right with me.

But I couldn’t, for the life of me, figure out what it was…

Was it the name-dropping of Beyonce, sort of an overused buzzword these days?

Was it the weird attachment I felt toward a Disney movie soundtrack?

Was it the shame of admitting I’ve never taken myself seriously enough? (Nah, I talk about that all the time around here).

It wasn’t until an early morning run, with Creedence Clearwater Revival blasting in my earphones, that it hit me like a rogue pine cone from a neighborhood tree:

IT WAS TOTAL BULLSHIT.

I had fallen squarely into the society-spun concept of “owning my personal power,” and to me, there is no such thing.

We aren’t designed to wield power on our own. It’s a dead-end. A neatly-laid trap. We’re far too fallible and fragile.

We are expressly engineered to rest and exist in God’s power alone.

It’s a frustrating truth, I know. Particularly when God is so often portrayed as a bearded white man telling us what to do, keeping us under His ginormous thumb.

Been there, done that, amiright? Around these parts, that’s a way of life. And it really sucks.

But bear with me for a minute here… close your eyes (or maybe don’t, because you’re reading this) and erase everything you know, or have been taught/ told, about God.

Done?

Okay, now, let me ask you this: has your personal confidence ever reached a glorious height, where you felt invincible, majestic, fucking Renata-Kline-in-Big-Little-Lies reigning supreme…

… and then, your bubble popped?

You discovered you had broccoli in your teeth. Your hair was doing a weird bird’s-nest thing. You used the wrong word in a work meeting and sounded like a complete ass-hat.

Worldy confidence can be shattered. Easily. Suddenly. Completely.

Leaving you with nothing but the embarrassment of believing you were hot shit, when you so clearly weren’t.

No? Never had that experience? Wow, okay, maybe it’s just me…

In that case, MY experience suggests that the only enduring confidence is the kind that comes from – everybody say it together now, the right answer in Sunday school was always: JESUS.

Because Godly confidence runs deep. He is a power source that is unchanging, ever-renewable, and profound.

Now, I’m not saying you shouldn’t feel pride in your achievements. But there’s a distinct difference between being proud of your work and defining yourself by it…

Blessed is the woman who trusts in the LORD and has made Him her source of hope and confidence- she will not be put to shame (Jeremiah 17:7).

As much as I may try to find my identity elsewhere, my true confidence doesn’t come from what I do or don’t do, how often I succeed or fail, whether I’m smart or sexy enough.

If it does, I’m in for a real beating when I make a mistake, yell at my kids, fuck up a client project, or experience hormonal break-outs on my chin.

Rather, the only way to thrive and feel whole is to place my complete confidence in who God says I am.

And He says I’m victorious. That I am built to break the chains of decades-long family curses. To pick up the baton from my parents, who did things a bit better than their parents, and do even better than that for my kids.

He says that the power He supplies me is sufficient to raise up Joey and June as a better generation, one not enslaved to fear and anger but filled with and fueled by other-worldly, everlasting hope.

It isn’t easy to remember this. After all, we are – you and I – wandering through the wilderness set between The Cross and the Big Finish.

Here, in the fog of our shared humanity, it’s hard to see past the bleakness of reality TV and click-bait news.

In this place, we shield ourselves from shame or discomfort by obsessing over figuring out a formula for appearing powerful and self-possessed.

Glossier Instagram photos. A fluffier LinkedIn bio. A livelier Twitter feed.

We’re engineered to define ourselves in the context of a community, a shared system.

But the world’s system is rigged. It only leads to a continued feeling of powerlessness. It’s built to spotlight and exploit our brokenness. It leaves us continuously longing for wholeness.

When our confidence comes from God, there isn’t anything to do. It just is, already.

God’s system obliterates the striving and empowers us to… simply live.

No more trying. No more doing. No more keeping up appearances.

His is a kingdom drastically unlike the broken system we now know- one of freedom and hope, not oppression and fear. One created to give us hope, lasting identity, and purpose.

Seeking confidence within myself is futile. I’ve dug far enough into my inner recesses to know, there isn’t anything helpful in there.

And, while Beyonce is certainly a force to be reckoned with, she shouldn’t be our model for living in confidence and power.

We’re made to aim higher.

Our mission is to shed the shame of past mistakes, the fear of future failure, and the constant self-doubt that comes from not trusting ourselves.

It’s time that you and I stand up, leave the filth and frustration of our mats, and walk in the power and confidence that can only come from above.

After all, we’ve had legs this whole time – we just haven’t trusted Him enough to use them.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Valerie Keener says:

    I have a rogue pinecone (this is on topic, I promise). I found it when I was in the home-search process in a completely different and seemingly foreign state from where I lived. I kept it — brought it back with me in a suitcase as an icon of “burn the ships — I can do this!”. And so I moved. But not because of the significance of the pinecone. Because God freed me from decades of existence in a place that wasn’t where He needed me to be. And for now, I feel that I’m in Eden, with each day providing more of His mercies and grace. Without His unfailing love, I would be a definite shell — no, ghost — of a person. Thank you again for your amazing insights.

    Like

    1. TheLauren_E says:

      That’s really good to hear- not how hard the last season of life has been, but that you’re in a place of healing now. Thanks for sharing that story!

      Like

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