I’m wearing my overalls today.
I’m lying on a dock outside of a Mennonite cabin with my hair on top of my head and my tennis shoes on and a flannel shirt wrapped around my waste and my diva-girl sunglasses on and if there was any moment in my life that would be an excellent scene for some coming of age, angsty sort of movie, it would be right now. In this moment.
I’m not sure why, but when I wear them, I feel more confident. More “Me.”
It’s like I’m saying, “Hey, Nashville….I know you say we’re only supposed to wear skinny jeans and wedges and tops from expensive little boutiques in 12th South, but I’m going to walk around in these somewhat unattractive, cropped overalls that are a cross between a farmer and a homeschooled kid in the 90’s [I can say that because I WAS that homeschooled kid] and I’m going to rock them.
I think that they’re my superhero cape. The thing that reminds me that it’s OKAY to be different. That who I am is more important than what I appear to be. That it’s OKAY to think outside the box. To dance in the car at red lights despite who might be watching. To say “no” to good things so that I can say “yes” to better ones. To make mistakes and say stupid things and have to go back and apologize.
To remind me that I’m not defined by what I wear or what I do or who I impress or by how “put together” my life seems.
That my value comes from something greater.
But most of the time, my overalls stay hung up in my closet.
Because I feel some need to fit in. To wear what my culture tells me I’m supposed to wear. To wear something more flattering or less dorky. Most of the time, I don’t say “no” when I need to because I’m worried about what people will think. I strive to be something that sometimes I’m just not.
Because so much of the time, I feel like I’m not enough. I look in the mirror and I wonder if I measure up.
Am I lovable? Am I smart enough? Creative enough? Talented enough? What do people think of me? Do they think I serve enough? Am I humble enough? Am I positive enough? Do I meet everyone’s expectations of who I’m meant to be?
But what I’m really saying when I look in that mirror is, “God, am I enough for you?“
Enough. Enough. Enough.
I sit across from beautiful women–strong women–women you’d never imagine would question their worth because they’re so very obviously worthy. Yet, we’re all asking the same question.
And oh, our hearts and minds and spirits are tired from the wondering.
I lay here and my hands are stretched out to the sky and the sun beats down on my arms and all of my spirit seems to cry out, “Pick me! Choose me! Value me enough to use me in big ways!”
Most of the time, I don’t feel like God values me enough to use me. I’m overwhelmed with guilt and shame that somehow I don’t match up to those around me–that He must see more worth in the way they follow Him. The way they pray to Him or listen to His voice.
That because I sit in a room each Monday morning with a therapist and usually leave with tear stained cheeks and an anxious heart, I don’t have as much to bring to Him. That He won’t use me in the same way that He uses other people.
So I serve more. I volunteer more. I try to be more kind.
I put on my “spiritual outfit”—The one that looks good to everyone else around me and must also look good to God. And it gets me through the day to day.
Maybe you do too.
But any time we do this out of our own desire, out of fear, out of obligation, or out of our own strength, all it brings is exhaustion. Burn out.
And at the end of the day, after my hands have been worked and my heart has been wrung, still, the question ever lingers. God, am I enough to be used by you?
But there’s a shift beginning to happen inside of me. I’ve been soaking in the words of an author I love, and I’ve been wondering if maybe I’ve been crying out the wrong things. Asking the wrong question.
Instead of “God will you use me?” what if I asked, “God will you walk with me?”
Because He does use us. Every single day that our eyes open and our lungs continue to fill up with air.
I’ve been standing here with my hand raised, asking God to pick me. To let ME–the real me— the flawed me– the less than perfect me–be on His team.
But what if I believed that He already had?
What would happen if we all put on our overalls? Or our floppy hats. Or whatever it is for you and we walked in the freedom that we don’t have to prove ourselves anymore because Jesus took away that burden when we died with Him on the cross?
I have a feeling that it would deeply transform the way we love others. The way we love ourself. And the way we love God, the Father.