I AM, I am not

An Essay By Hannah W. // 8/27/2009

We all want to be many things. For example, I want to be, firstly, a writer. Also, I want to be a beekeeper, sail-boater, published author, botanist, and possibly mother someday. And the list keeps growing. 

But with all these ideas, interests, and ambitions comes discouragement, because it is very easy to let that mean little voice inside tell you, "You can't do that." And you... you believe that little voice. It is hard to squash it. 

I was thinking the other day (crying, actually, to be honest with you) about being a good Catholic. I worry, often, that I'm not doing it right, that I'm ruined, that I'm not good enough. I worry that my priorities are wrong, that I should want to be something else besides all these things, that I'm too secular and.... oh, it went on and on; my mother (bless her, she stayed up half the night trying to console me) can attest to that. 

And today I was thinking, how many times I think of these things I want to do, these things I love, and I say, "I can't. I want to be a published author, but I'm not. I want to sail, but I'm not a sailor. I want to... but I'm not." 

And then I thought, "That is one reason why God is called I AM." When I feel that way, I see now what He is saying back to me:

"So you want to have a sailboat, but you're not a sailor? That's okay. I AM."
"So you want to be a author but you think you're not? That's okay, AM."
"So you want to be braver but you're not brave? That's okay, becuase I AM."
"You want to keep bees and plants, but you're not an expert with either? That's okay. I AM."

God is in us, and He completes us. Whenever I feel that I am not, I need to remember that that's okay, becuase God is with me and He IS, and though Him I can do all things. 

Now my prayer when I feel discouraged: "I AM, I am not. But You are, and You made me and You know my heart and where to guide it. I will trust that You guide my path, and so it will be okay. I AM, I am not. But You are." 



wow....very deep

Used to ask the same questions at your age. Still do, in fact. And to the same devestating consequences (aka crying)! All these desires in my heart, but without a way to express them. The desire to travel, learn, explore, and become something other than my boring, mundane, 8 to 5 life. But as kids, we really had no choice. You really can't go anywhere, do much of anything. So for a long while I gave up on my dreams. Part of me died, slowly, the kind of death Thoreau described as the "quiet desperation" that so many men, and women, live. Recently I've been getting back to my dreams, though, because of God's urgings. But it is still hard sometimes, hard to have hope and faith in a discouraging, broken world. I still feel weighed down frequently by the feeling that I am not enough, that I cannot do it. Or even that my dreams are selfish, and that I don't deserve to reach them.

This really encouraged me, Hannah, what you wrote. So thanks! I'm glad that God shared this bit of wisdom with you. It is a comforting thought to know that while we will never be enough, that our Heavenly Father is, and that He will never leave us or forsake us (Joshua 1). We've got the biggest, strongest, kindest, fiercest Bodyguard, Friend, and Daddy on our side, and knowing that, whom shall we fear?!?!

One thing I might add to what you wrote (not that I need to, you pretty much hit the nail on the head!): your desire for MORE from life is not secular. God is the One put these dreams in your heart. Why? Because they are HIS dreams, too. What does it say? "Seek ye first the Kingdom of Heaven and all these things will be added unto you." Elsewhere, "Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart." Fulfilled dreams are the God-given gift of obediance and love for Him, not secular, selfish motives.

You are no more the rebelious, evil sinner. Nosw as a redeemed Christian, you have received the New Covenant, spoken of in Ezekiel 36, whereby you have received "a heart of flesh," tender and soft to the urgings and movings of the Holy Spirit, which was given as a gift after Christ's ascention to the right hand of the Father, where He intercedes on our behalf. You are now good. Remember how God described Adam and Eve in the garden, before sin entered the world? As good! ("And God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good.") Now, because of what the Second Man (Jesus) has done to redeem the sin of the First Man (Adam), we are RECONCILED to our Creator, whereby we cry Abba Father! (Romans 8). We are good. Just as we were before. We have been forgiven, transformed into the likeness of Christ, reconciled, and reinstated. God has called us sons and daughters, and if sons and daughters, then also fellow heirs in His inheritance (Romans 8 again). That is your inheritance. And don't you ever forget it!


Taylor | Thu, 08/27/2009


Let me tell you something right now: you are an amazing writer. Seriously. Your poems truly have a rhythm and a pulse to them. My writing mentor told me once: "You write from the enthusiasm you feel for life." And that seems true for you, from reading your pieces. I wish I'd been as good as you when I was 14. I'd love to see you publish a book of poetry or such some day--I'd buy it!

As to the not feeling good enough: Let me tell you, the times when you do feel "good enough" are the times you're most likely to fall. Nothing you do is adequate, but as you wrote, Jesus is the "I AM"--He IS adequate for everything.

And you know what, not only He, but all your family and friends (including us on AP) love you even when you don't feel like you're good enough! I had to learn to accept love even when I thought I wasn't "good enough"--I finally, fully realized it last December when I entered into a courtship with the guy I love, Justin. And since learning to accept that God, family, and true friends can love me even when I'm not good enough, my relationship with Christ has grown and matured so much!

LOL, I sound like I'm preaching to the choir, because it sounds like you already figured all that out. Anyway, I appreciate you writing this, Hannah. It was a major encouragement to me, and  it brought to me a moment of kinship--I've been there before. I know what it's like. And I'm sure glad you wrote this piece so I could have the blessing of encouraging a sister in Christ!



Heather | Thu, 08/27/2009

And now our hearts will beat in time/You say I am yours and you are mine...
Michelle Tumes, "There Goes My Love"

this was...

this was amazing. this ment a lot to me, becuase I'm going through the same thing right now (I really mean right now) this was very true, very 'un-chezzy' (it wonderful to know that someone can write somthing about life from 2009 that's not chezzy!) I loved it Hannah, just love it.

p.s I miss you!!

Bernadette | Thu, 08/27/2009


This was such an encouraging peice. I really connected with it all because I long to do many things and be many things as well, and to think of Him accomplishing and fulfilling the things I can't accomplish is so beautiful. Thank you for this thought, Hannah. :)

Mairead | Thu, 08/27/2009


"Sweet is the love that never knew a wound, but deeper that which died and rose again." - Mother Mary Francis


Hannah, that was lovely. :)  Thank you, it really spoke to my heart. :) 

Clare Marie | Fri, 08/28/2009

"I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve." -Bilbo Baggins [The Lord of the Rings]


This was just sooo beautiful! It gave me a lot of joy!

Elizabeth | Fri, 08/28/2009


The Holy Spirit is the quiet guest of our soul." -St. Augustine


Hannah, it is a word from the Lord for you and for all of us.   The Lord's "Is-ness" is all that is real and truthful and beautiful and good and every promise, every desire fulfilled.  He lifted the veil so that you could see and then give to us the same hope.....Here we are, all together.....Thank you, Hannah....I love you...


Anonymous | Fri, 08/28/2009


Thank you all! It was very encouraging to read your comments, and know that others have gone through the same things. It really lifted my spirits when you all seemed to agree that wanting my dreams was not too secular or selfish, if they are God's dreams too. Since writing this piece, I've been feeling more like if He's given me these gifts and talents, it must be for a reason. So thanks for your affirmation and encouragement in that. :) And it feels so good to know that I am not alone! 


Hannah W. | Fri, 08/28/2009


As C.S. Lewis said, "If you find yourself with a desire you cannot satisfy in this world, the most likely answer is that you were made for another world..." This was an amazing essay, and you hit the nail right on the head.

Julie | Fri, 08/28/2009

Formerly Kestrel


Glad to hear that you agree with yourself, that dreaming isn't selfish :-) It just kills me to see so many of my friends who love God and want to do His will abandon their dreams for "the missions field" or bible school or what not. Not saying that some are not called to these areas of ministry, or that wanting that isn't good. But its just that, I guess I realized a while back that we can serve God in so many other ways, through other less "spiritual" or "religious" avenues. When I see someone truly on fire, gungho, passionate about life and their work, it stirs something in me. As Howard Thurman said, "Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive." I think we as Christians can let our light shine just in the everyday comings and goings. We don't need to go to some foreign missions field in Kenya to spread the gospel. Doing what makes you come alive: that, I think, gives God a lot of glory. And people will see that, and it will transform their lives.

Taylor | Sat, 08/29/2009

Well Said, Taylor

I thought that for years. As long as we give God the glory, and He's given us a passion for the thing we do (be it writing, meteorology, or whatever) then we will automatically point people toward Him in our careers.

Many of my friends didn't know what they wanted to do--I only met a few who truly felt called to do something and Justin was the only one I ever met who knew from an early age, like me. It's always nice to meet others who know what they want to do in life from an early age.

Heather | Sun, 08/30/2009

And now our hearts will beat in time/You say I am yours and you are mine...
Michelle Tumes, "There Goes My Love"


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