Monday, September 16, 2013

I am not Jen Hatmaker



As it turns out I am not Jen Hatmaker. 
I am not Sarah Bessey.
I am not Glennon Melton.
I am not Meg, Shannan, Ashley, Lisa or Ann or Ree.
I am not The Nester.


I have not purchased a funky dream house on dream property with a funky dream barn.
I do not have my own show coming soon on HGTV.
I have not adopted children from AfricaKoreaNextStateOver.
I don't have any tattoos.
I don't wear glasses. Not even cool ones.
I don't homeschool.
I haven't lost fifty pounds or overcome alcoholism or anorexia.
I don't have dreadlocks.
I don't have enough kids to make up a sports team. (Well, maybe Doubles Tennis.)
My blog isn't edgy.
My book isn't a New York Times Best Seller.
Anne Lamott doesn't know I exist.
Dayspring hasn't offered me a licensing deal.
Everyone in my family is white.

And I hate it. I really do. I am not even going to lie and say that I don't. I am not going to pretend that I am never jealous of families that adopt. That I don't look longingly at every family that has a rainbow of children trailing behind them. That I don't have to give myself a pep talk before reading a blog post about someones new farm or new dream house or new life adventure. That I never look at my Sweet Man and wish he was just a little more comfortable in front of a camera, a little more open to risk, a little bit better with chaos. That I never wish I was just flat out cooler in certain circles. 

Some days -many days -I manage to push this way down. I manage to walk in the light and choose  gratefulness and contentment and joy.

And then there are other days. The ones that I would rather not speak of.
Because here is the truth:

See that list up there? That is my list. This list is what Keeping Up with the Jones looks like to me. In my heart, this is the ladder I want to climb.
And it is dark and black and ugly. 

And yes some of these things are good, some are even noble.  Adopting kids for instance. That's a great thing. But as Jen will remind me, time and time again, adoption is not something you do because you are "into adoption." Adoption is something you do "because you are into parenting."

So this thing, this black, selfish, thief-of-joy thing, it's not about the kids or parenting.
It's about ME. 
It's about wanting to be cool. Noticed. Acclaimed. Liked. Promoted. 
To be popular among all the "right" people.
To complete some picture in my head that has nothing to do with being made in the image of Christ, and everything to do with being made in the image of The Cool Kids.

Ick. 
Seriously. I am grossing myself out even talking about it.
But it's true y'all. It's so true.

And it is so unfair to Jen, and Sarah and Glennon and Ann. What right do I have to take and twist their lives into idols for my own? How is comparing my journey to Shannan's, and Meg's and Ashely's showing them love?  How is coveting The Nester's wonderful new home and property showing her love? 
The answer is obvious. It's not.

I think we can safely say that putting other humans on pedestals is a toxic epidemic in our current culture. Whether it is our pastor, our neighbor, our favorite blogger, politician, or celebrity, our hearts - my heart - is so easily eaten up with idolatry for those whom I think have it all together. Who have what I think I want. 

When will I stop thinking in terms of Me and Them and Everyone Else?  
Them being those who have what I want. 
Everyone Else being those whose opinion I do not regard as highly. Whose lives I do not want to emulate, or even really notice. The ones I look straight past, searching for the acceptance of Them
And Me, of course, being Me, Me, and Me. All the damn time.

When will I think in terms of Christ. In terms of Love. In terms of His Love?
Where there is no famous or not-famous. 
No average or popular or uncool. 
No successful or marketable or profitable.

I think I am ready. Lord, help me.

 If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.
If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing.
If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.

1 Corinthians 13


  
Peace my friends-
here is to loving more
J







51 comments:

  1. Beautiful truth from your heart. Thanks for sharing! I started to fuss at you and tell you how awesome you are, what gifts God has given you, and all that, but I'm pretty sure you know. I just appreciate you sharing what we all struggle with.

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    1. Oh thanks! Isn't amazing how universal this is, no matter who we are??

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  2. Love this. But be easy on your cool-self. We all do this. Last time I left your house I was pretty ready to move to NLR and buy some chickens and start covering my whole house with bunting. Love you.

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  3. You always tell it like it is. It makes me think of what goes on in a woman's head ALL the time!! It must be a woman thing, though. Because when I tell my husband how we think on, and on, and on about EVERYTHING, and I go, "you know?" he just says- not really. Ugh. I can even pick a fight with someone in my head!! Go to some event, and see some other woman that appears the way I want to. I start thinking what she must be thinking about me..how I am such a slug in comparison...weird. She probably doesn't even notice me. But, I am so full of envy that I am yakking it up in my head about how I should do this and that and don't deserve this and that because I haven't worked hard enough for it...blah, blah, blah.Anyway, hang in there. It's just chatter.It's kind of funny really. Maybe we should have a secret little laugh to ourselves when we do this head game. Make us look mysterious!

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    1. In my experiance almost everyone is so worried about themselves that they never even notice how awkward or inadequte others around them feel! That's why it is pointless to go down this road- it doesn't do anyone any good, and only serves to make us lonely! Here is to rejecting those voices and embracing grace and hope!

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  4. I could not relate more to this post. Exactly where I was (while reading Jen Hatmaker even) and giving in to that big joy and love killer, comparison. Well said, lady!

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    1. Thank you Erica! And yes, after the HGTV announcement today I just had to let it all out. Grateful for this place and readers like you who stick with me :)

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  5. Tears over this post. I'm sad to say-me too, in the comparison/wanting to be like others game. Thank-you for the reminder of what being about Christ should really be like. XO.

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    1. you are welcome sweet friend!! xo

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  6. Thank you...and just so you know, you are on my list of people I am not! You are one of God's good ones JJG...keep fighting the fight and shining your light....

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  7. The Lord used you to speak to me today. Thank you for having courage to be truthful in the Truth.

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  8. Beautiful post. Remember you are super cool, my friend. Love you!

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    1. Thanks friend! You are pretty darn super cool yourself!

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  9. I've just recently found your blog, don't remember from where, probably Pinterest since that seems to be where I stay! But the reason I've stayed reading is that you are real. I'm a big word person and so many of the other blogs sugar coat things over so that you only see (read) what they want you to. I stayed because in your words, I hear I'm human and that is so refreshing! I live in a small apartment. My son is grown and it's just me and my husband. I'm blessed to be able to stay home and watch my great niece after school. But there are days that the perfect houses and the perfect wives are so appealing and I want what they have. But I have to remember that it's an illusion. None of us are perfect. So stay human, stay true to who you are that's what matter in the end!

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    1. It is an illusion! That is exactly it. Each life and situation is so much more complicated than we will ever know. Thank you for sharing a bit of your story with me. What a sweet gift you are giving your niece through your choices!! XO

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  10. Bless you for your honesty sweet friend. I am proud of you. I am proud I get to call you my friend. I think that you, and your words, and your life are pretty darn exceptional. Believe me, we all feel this way about one thing or another. Love you.

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    1. I love you friend. Thanks for being on the "keepin it real" train with me. XOXO

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  11. Kiddo, you are human, we all fight this battle, I believe. Especially women. And like the others, I'm am so in awe of you for saying it OUT LOUD. Life is a struggle whether you are Jen, Shannan, Liz, Hedy or Jerusalem, but the trip is amazing sometimes and the payoff is glorious. Thanks for your honesty. Hedy

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    1. Hedy you are so right. Glorious is the right word. I am so very grateful for my life, and I know that those girls lives are not perfect, just as mine is not perfect. It's just about reorienting my perspective daily. On Christ and not me or them! xoxo

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  12. Yes! I hear you! The sin I think I struggle with most is envy. And it is a truly insidious creature. I completely empathize with you. (P.S. I happen to have envy where YOU are concerned. The grass is always greener on the other side, isn't it?)

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    1. Oh that damn green grass! Envy is awful and can poison every joy. Thank goodness for grace and mercy and the ability to start fresh each day. thanks for being such a constant friend here in this little space. :)

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  13. Well if this wasnt refreshing then I'm just not quite sure what is. Kudos...Hats off...to you! Seriously, what a great post. Way to speak it out and in truth. Needed this read for my day.

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    1. oh thank you so much. I am just trying to shine light in the darkness, as others have done for me countless times!

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  14. One of the reasons why I love your blog, because you are YOU and you speak about life just the way it is. The truth is that EVERYONE struggles with this. We all live in these fleshly bodies and we all want what we don't have or think that we don't have. Our hearts are not content when our eyes are on anything but the Lord and what He has done for us through Jesus Christ. And man, oh man, is it ever so easy to get distracted in this life and take our eyes off of Him! I hate that but it's true!
    So thankful for His sufficient grace!
    and thankful for the people in this life that are willing to be themselves and share that with the world, rather than trying to be something that they think the world wants or will like.
    You are beautifully talented and loved Jerusalem! :)

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    1. Thank you thank you. And yes, his grace is sufficiant. Thank goodness!! Here is to a new day of gratefulnes!

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  15. Awww Jerusalem, love you. I think unlike the other commenters here I actually am missing this particular gene (?). And it made me sad for you. I think sounds braggity or something when I say that, but I am just totally cool with where I am in life right now. I wish the same for everyone, genuinely. I have been sitting here every week watching your Saturday morning vlogs and thinking how much more I love you every week I watch them. Keep rockin' on with your awesome self. :-)

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    1. thanks friend. you know I don't think you are braggity at all - just being real. which is the best. xoxo

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  16. Yes to all of it. Especially the "I am not_____." I can easily fill in the blanks with my own list of names and things and wants and wishes. Thanks for picking my heart out of the comparison and envy gutter.

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    1. You are so welcome. And thank you for letting me know I am not alone!

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  17. I have about 40 blogs that I follow and read them about every other day. Who's blog do I scroll past 14 other blogs to read first? Yours. I think you and my sister are twins, she is just as beautifully imperfect as you are! Check out her instagram account and see what you think (elizabethelliot77) Don't stop doing what you are doing, I really enjoy your blog.

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    1. Thank you Pamela!! The interesection of beauty and mess is were I live. Somedays I just wander a little further into the mess than I should. xoxo! And I will have to find this twin of mine!

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  18. Oh, Jerusalem darling, yes. You struck a chord. Except for me you'd have to add, "I'm not Jerusalem Greer, living in a sweetly decorated house, featured in magazines, and raising chickens." ;) it's a hard, old life sometimes but lord if we don't make it a hundred times harder for ourselves with our wandering hearts.

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    1. that' pretty sums it up-we make it harder than it has to be. Prone to wander...so true.

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  19. Oh man, I fight these lies ALL the time.
    Satan uses this crap to pull our focus from where it should be.
    He gets us so inward and so worried about ourselves...and it was never about US or anyone else, for that matter.
    Just know you aren't alone.
    I'm not sure how I ended up on any list, because I feel woefully small and weird most days, but I so understand the heart of this and pray to be rescued.
    You are lovely, Lovely.

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    1. You know I love you! Thanks for letting me "out" my envy of bits of your life. xoxo

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  20. How did you crawl into my brain and read my thoughts? ;) So eloquently written, friend! I, too, fall into the pit of jealousy. It's not that I don't want those amazing things for the sweet girls who have them, but it's more of a "why not me too?" We all have places that others could covet, say like a cool book and magazine connections (you) or a new farm house (me). Sometimes I forget to be thankful for where God has placed me. Usually it has to do with me being self-consumed. I loathe it.
    I am so thankful for GRACE. Need it every. single. day.
    Thanks for your honesty. It is beautiful.

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  21. Well I have to say I don't know but two of the names you mentioned. But I do know who Jerusalem Greer is. And I always play the would they be friends with me game (which I think you totally would :-) ). But sometimes that dark voice sneaks in and says negative things and I start to believe it. It does make you feel lonely. Thank you for sharing. I think we are all guilty of this.

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  22. Yes. This. I have struggled with many of the same thoughts and, what's funny is, if it weren't for the internet, I wouldn't know who most of those people were. Or at least not to the degree that I "know them" now... which, technically, isn't saying much because I only see what they wish to show me. We all do, as bloggers. We lead "public lives", so people see our book deals and dream properties and multiracial adoptions more than they would at any other point in history. And this is neither good nor bad. I know that most of the people you mentioned would cringe {if not quit blogging all together} if they knew that they have become an idol in the life of someone else. But that's the thing... they're only responsible for being humble and genuine. They're NOT responsible for that pedestal that we place them on. All that to say, thank you for sharing your heart in this post and reminding the rest of us that we're not alone in feeling less-than-cool in the midst of such awesome people as those on your list. It reminds us that we should ask God to forgive us of making an idol out of their lives and, instead, ask Him to show us ways that we can genuinely love them. *Sigh* Now that I got all that out, I'm off to share this piece of your heart with my social media friends...

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  23. You are not one of the "cool kids"?? Ok, then I must seriously been in the dark about this. When I got a chance to meet you and buy your book at AWBU, I was a closet lurker and was so excited to see the awesome you. However, I do feel the way that you do from time to time. But you need to remember the reason that you began blogging.

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  24. LOVES friend! We all feel this way so often! How about "I have never published a book." SO YAY YOU FOR PUBLISHING!!!

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  25. SO easy for us to go to the place of comparison and feeling inadequate! So much harder to learn to embrace the unique package we are and bring our best selves forward with confidence! Thanks for the true words!

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  26. i have a list too... just wish that not so many of the folks on mine live within a half hour in any direction... they play the same stages (albeit more often) and travel in the same circle of friends and acquaintances. i have spent my whole life trying to get a seat at the cool kids table... which is the most likely reason i have never gotten invited to sit there. :)

    thanks for this... really.

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  27. Jerusalem Greer, you are a COOL GIRL and I LOVED this post : ) I found you recommended on another blog and came for a visit. I want to be you when I grow up ( and I'm already way older : ) Your message is so true

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  28. Outstanding. This is fantastic. I'm not Jen Hatmaker, either - and dangit, that bums me out some days! Thankfully the Lord prompts me quickly to remember that I'm ME - and that's way better than pretending or wishing to be someone else. Even the cool kids. :)

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  29. This is really good, Jerusalem. Thank you for sharing what so many of us have somewhere inside us as well and helping us to bring it to the surface and acknowledge it and GROW!

    Also, I know you did not write this post for this reason at all, but I do happen to think your book is great. :) Kelly

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ok, really. tell me the truth... do these comments make me look fat?

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