I’m Not Good Enough

There I sat among peers at an awards ceremony, previous employers with their flashy and well-known construction projects, while we walked on stage to receive our award for a triple-wide trailer.  Talk about a humbling experience…

I’ll admit, I still have a love for architecture and new construction.  The smell of fresh lumber and carpet glue does something to my heart, as does the smell of my drafting supplies (I wish I had more use for them these past 20 years).  So despite my moving past that career and into something much more rewarding, I sometimes reflect on and appreciate many of my experiences and the good sides (as few as there were/are) of the construction business.

This particular award ceremony was for the top projects in our metropolitan area.  Most of the awards were for projects in my old stomping ground, the oldest parts of the city that are still being revitalized one by one.  Walk through any of those buildings, over 100 years old, and if those walls could talk…  As much as my heart flutters at the smell of freshly cut wood, it is also nostalgic for the musty smell of old buildings.

So, next to these multi-million dollar projects that continuously change the city’s skyline and affect traffic was our little triple-wide trailer, not-for-profit project.  There we were, standing out like a big, beige, drab, sore thumb.  Sitting in the audience, I definitely felt like I didn’t fit in (“I’m not good enough,” ringing in my ears).

The truth was, we TOTALLY didn’t fit in that day.  …Sometimes in life, for some of us it’s more often than not, we just stand out.  Some of us come by it naturally with boisterous and/or quirky personalities and others of us maybe just don’t fit in with our colleagues, acquaintances, even our own blood.

This made me think of a poem I heard once by Mark Nepo.

Breaking Surface

Let no one keep you from your journey,
no rabbi or priest, no mother
who wants you to dig for treasures
she misplaced, no father
who won’t let one life be enough,
no lover who measures their worth
by what you might give up,
no voice that tells you in the night
it can’t be done.

Let nothing dissuade you
from seeing what you see
or feeling the winds that make you
want to dance alone
or go where no one
has yet to go.

You are the only explorer.
Your heart, the unreadable compass.
Your soul, the shore of a promise
too great to be ignored.

In one of Liz Gilbert’s “Magic Lessons” podcast episodes this past season, she brought in the poet, Mark Nepo, to assist her in counseling a young aspiring poet (Cecilia) who had received 12 rejection letters upon applying to MFA (Master of Fine Arts) programs.  The young woman was so distraught about this happening that she slipped into a season where she was unable to write anymore, her passion snuffed.  For a time she believed that maybe she actually wasn’t a poet because the world in which she needed approval from wasn’t allowing her to continue on as a poet, in her mind.  After a wonderful exchange between Gilbert and Nepo, Nepo read the above poem for Cecilia.

As I was listening to the podcast, polyurethane was drying on a wood project I was finishing and I was painting a mandala that never seems to be finished (and I’m currently thinking of scrapping the silly thing).

As I was pondering this poem, and the industry I gladly left behind, I am reminded of who is in charge of our lives.  Whether you’re choosing to build a triple-wide trailer to help a business in a sea of multi-million dollar projects or you’re choosing to write poems, your calling is YOUR calling.  Our lives (even our businesses) are our one shot to do with it what we will.  People will be on the sidelines with their very different lives and projects, never let their opinions (or your assumptions of their opinions) dissuade you from anything that your heart is calling you to.

Understand that following your calling requires sacrifices.  Few people will understand you, or think like you, or live like you.  Just like not many projects are completed with volunteer efforts and true 0% profits, not many people choose to live out their passions in life.  What people don’t understand they will poke holes at.  Being yourself and following your calling reeks of vulnerability and it sometimes makes people uncomfortable.  Don’t let their discomfort keep you from being what God has called you to be.

I'm not good enough

A recent project I was asked to do… before I felt like my painting ability was “perfect.”

Also, it feels better to wait until everything is “perfect” until we go out into the world with our unhatched idea of calling.  We need more schooling, more studying, more figuring things out.  Author Brene Brown has some comments about this from “Daring Greatly.”:

When we spend our lives waiting until we’re perfect or bulletproof before we walk into the arena, we ultimately sacrifice relationship and opportunities that may not be recoverable, we squander our precious time, and we turn our backs on our gifts, those unique contributions that only we can make.

I’m Not Good Enough

With that, I have been thinking about this parable, from the Lord’s mouth – a lot lately:

For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property.  To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away.  He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more.  So also he who had the two talents made two talents more.  But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them.  And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here, I have made five talents more.’  His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here, I have made two talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’  He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed,  so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here, you have what is yours.’ But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed?  Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest.  So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents.  For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.  And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ – Matthew 25:14-30

Man oh man.  Sometimes I feel like the guy with one talent, and Lord knows that I’ve buried it into the ground more than once.  …And we see that this displeases the Lord.

In Romans 12:1, Paul basically tells us not to live a half-baked, mediocre, and sloppy life.  Choosing to do so is unreasonable and unintelligent.  God has designed us and, thus, already decided what we could and should be.  In honoring this relationship with Him, we have ZERO right to be without vision and no right to put a basket over our lamp.

Jennie Allen gives this a good visual in “Nothing to Prove“:

This isn’t just random risk, throwing caution to the wind.  This is you stepping out of the boat toward whatever risk God puts in your path, no matter the cost.

Guess who said we could walk on water and move mountains…

I’ve not really written openly or in great detail about me quitting my job (my career, really) almost a year ago.  I’ve never believed I owed anyone an explanation or reason, even though I had plenty.  And I still don’t owe them.  Yet, rather than focus on what I left behind I am more than happy to look forward and share all of that with you.

Nope, not a “good enough” watercolor artist, but I’ll keep after it anyway.

No, I’m not good enough.  I’m not a good enough writer to put out a book, yet I’m going to do it anyway.  I’m not a good enough woodworker to put out my pallet wood signs, yet I’m doing it anyway.  I’m not a good enough artist to put my art out there, but I’m going to do that anyway too.  I’m not a good enough musician but I need to do something with that too.

But, HE is enough.  And He will fill in those holes where I’m not enough.  He will make everything I do ENOUGH.  Because what I do, I do for Him now and I’m overjoyed to write that.

… and, truthfully, it is good for the ego to realize that we are not enough by ourselves anyway.  If we don’t depend on Him, we start spinning our wheels trying to control things that were never in our control to begin with.  I have found such freedom in this new way of life.  Knowing, and seeing, how God provides for us in so many ways, without our need to fret and worry.

Some of you may already be living this out and to you I give a huge hug… you’ve likely been an inspiration to me.  Others of you, you might be in my camp, just starting that warm up jog before the sprint.  Others of you, yet, you are in the starting gate.  Maybe you’re trying to figure it all out.  Maybe you no longer see how God is using you.  Maybe you feel called to something bigger but it’s REALLY big and scary.

In the first paragraphs of the book, “Chase the Lion,” Mark Batterson says:

You are one idea, one risk, one decision away from a totally different life.  Of course, it’ll probably be the toughest decision you ever make, the scariest risk you ever take.  But if your dream doesn’t scare you it’s too small.

I can tell you that the BEST decisions in both my professional and personal life have been the riskiest and scariest.  Somewhere I’ve recently read that you don’t get courage first and then make the big decision.  Courage meets you on the other side of the first step in that decision.  I can attest that this is true.

So, come dream with me.  Come shine your light with me.  Come take those “talents” and show to the world the glory of God.  The rest of the world will start to shine their light too.  Won’t this be a beautiful place?

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3 Comments

  1. I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed. Michael Jordan

    Sometimes you have to take that first step, fall down many times, to realize and achieve your dream.

    If you can dream it, you can do it. Walt Disney

  2. Way to go Jamie! (And I particularly liked your first two paragraphs – and the last two!)

    • So i could’ve cut out the other thousand words?! HAHA. Thanks, Karen. I always love it when you stop by. ❤

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