By Lisa Littlewood
I walk through the front doors into the hotel lobby and immediately notice polished, trendy, modern adornments— geometric patterns, smooth lines, squared furniture, swanky light fixtures.
I quickly feel very far from my messy and disorganized home.
I notice the women. Dozens of women. Many of them gathered in groups talking excitedly and comfortably about projects and networks, tweets and Facebook posts, handing out beautifully designed business cards with smart and quirky sayings and professionally taken photographs and scripture verses formatted in lyrical fonts.
A smiling girl hands me a cupcake. She has purchased spiced cupcakes to distribute as a way to say hello, a way to connect with other women.
I do not have cupcakes. My business cards are not as beautiful as I would like them to be.
All I have is a “hello”, my simple business cards, a suitcase full of (what feels like) all of the wrong things, and a smile that attempts to cover the fear of inadequacy that looms in my heart.
I was at a blogging conference for Christian women. I wanted to run to my hotel room and blog about why I should not be a blogger. About how I had deceived my readers (all two dozen of them!) into thinking I was something that I was not; I was surely not as organized, trendy, confident and pulled together as all of these wome. Those of course were the requirements for writing, for speaking, for ministering, for connecting with the hearts of others.
And then I read the words of Ann Voskamp, in a blog post highlighting her keynote speech from this very conference just one year prior, “You are brave. You didn’t know what this would be like. You didn’t know if you would belong here. Would your hair be okay, your clothes, your weight—your inside? Would anyone like you?”
Come to find out, as I mingled throughout the weekend and listened to other women, many of them sounded just as insecure and unsure as I did. They too had real fears and real questions about whether or not they were pursuing the right things, in the right way, at the right time.
And that, after all, is the point. That none of us have a ministry, a word of encouragement, a testimony or story to share without first having to work through our own struggles and feelings of inadequacy. In the process, we seek grace and wisdom, then, eventually, a filling up that cannot be found in earthly things.
Ann goes on to say, “I am a mess and I tell you my messy story—and it may be the story of the women who read your stories—real women looking for real lifelines…for that is all I have, all we have, really—the word of God making our lives into lines that we throw to each other.”
Sometimes we think that in order to have an influence on someone, we need to have it all together. God gently reminded me that it is often in our inadequacy that we learn to trust him and it is from this place we can reach the hearts of others with encouragement, hope and inspiration.
Lisa Littlewood is a freelance writer from Buffalo, N.Y. who has a heart for writing about how God uses imperfect people to accomplish his perfect will. Her articles have appeared in Buffalo Rising, Thrive Buffalo, Bay State Parent Magazine, Unite Magazine and The Buffalo News. She also blogs about faith, writing and life as a mom at www.littlewritermomma.com.