“Stop saying you’re sorry, Cassandra”
I heard this more times than I could count growing up. From the time I was a young girl, I had the desire to please. I drew my contentment from making people happy and proud. My worst nightmare was disappointing a friend, teacher, or especially my parents.
“I’m sorry” was a statement that rolled off my tongue a lot (and still does sometimes just out of old habit). In my mind, I just didn’t measure up. Through childhood, high school, and college… I spent SO much time trying to either impress people or fit in as I tried to discover my identity.
The truth is… until I really understood how God saw me, I was just wondering around trying to fill a void that only He could fill. I was walking around with a huge burden of worries, problems, and fears that crippled me… Until I grasped the fact that I couldn’t do it all, I lived in a constant state of performance driven tasks. Maybe if you are reading this, you have gone through a similar season of life or are in one now?
In typical Jennie Allen fashion, this book was written with raw, real, and vulnerable words that pierced my heart.
While reading this book, I was reminded of the character of God in so many ways… and to stop pretending! No perfectly orchestrated performance or task can prove anything because GOD IS ENOUGH.
Here are a just few of many of my favorite quotes from Jennie in this book:
“So many of our problems come when imperfect people try to act as if they have it all together. We have all been here. And what’s the result? We hide behind images of our happy, clean, impressive lives. We are exhausted. Because if you create an image to hide behind, you’ll have to spend all your energy holding it up.” -Jennie Allen, Nothing to Prove
In a world inundated with social media, it’s easy to get caught up in “measuring up” to others or “being better”. Sometimes after a scroll through instagram or facebook, I walk away feeling a little inadequate, comparing myself to others, or maybe even judgemental (even though I don’t want to). We’ve all done this… created an image of ourselves- what we want to be seen as. What if we ditched the beautiful images and started doing raw, real life with people? What if the next time you meet up with someone who asks “how are you?”, you can be real and open up about something you are struggling with?
“It’s all supposed to blend together- our everyday roles and the story of eternity. But all too often we compartmentalize and miss it… The mundane parts of life aren’t the enemy to God’s movement; they are the soil for it.” -Jennie Allen, Nothing to Prove
For so long, I thought that serving God and being close to Him meant going off to a foreign country to be a missionary. This book reminded me that in the mundane moments of life that we dismiss, look past, or check out of….we have the opportunity to see God MOVE in those moments if we open our eyes and become present.
“What if we stopped doing things for God and started doing them with God?… God is not after great performances or great movements. He is after US.” -Jennie Allen, Nothing to Prove
As a natural-born performance driven person, I normally thrive off of feedback. Not proud of this, but words of affirmation have always been my love language. Before I realized what it meant to work WITH God instead of FOR Him and others, life was hard and I depended too much on the “atta-boy” statements for contentment. Instead of looking to God for sustainment, I was looking to those words, nods, and smiles from people. Serving became hard and I got burned out quickly….. because I was trying to do everything in my OWN strength.
I like what I heard my pastor say recently…. “We worship with our everyday lives… serving is an extension of our worship to God, not a duty.” Holy cow, if only I would have grasped this concept sooner! So many people walk through life thinking “If only I could be a better Christian….” Let me tell you, this is NOT what it’s about. Which leads us to the next quote…
“God couldn’t care less about successes, failures, visions, disappointments. He will just use all of it, whatever means possible just to get to you, to be with you… We live in a fallen broken world. The goal is not that we make sense of suffering because we can’t. The goal is that we wouldn’t fear suffering. His word has become my hope. Heaven has become my home.” -Jennie Allen, Nothing to Prove
Mike and I have been walking in a season recently, where so many people in our community are experiencing unimaginable suffering. Death, sickness, loss and heartache often leave us looking up and saying “Lord, where are you?”. But then we are reminded by His Word, that He is with us. Through it all… He promises to be with us. And He promises that when we seek Him with all our hearts, we will find Him. (Jer 29:11-13) This is where we find our peace friends. Instead of hoping in the world, my prayer is that we would hope and delight in HIM. The Provider and Giver of all good things.
I hope you’ll pick up this book on Jennie Allen’s website in the future to read… and while you’re at it, check out Jennie Allen’s other life-changing book, Anything.
If you are reading this, thanks so much for stopping by. Praying for you this morning and all the time.