The sidewalk around the fancy hotel bends and curves like a ribbon, and I cover every inch of it in search of something. This hotel offers a picturesque view, and I like to take it in while writing or simply walking around the grounds. And many a times, my camera takes it in, too.
But now what I’d like to take in are stairs I’ve seen there before, uniquely-designed stairs adorned with decorative tile. I really want to snap a picture of them, but of course, I can’t find them to save my life. I shake my head while talking to myself, Am I losing my everlovin’ mind? I know I saw them last time I was here, right around this part of the hotel.
Once again, I walk up and down the sidewalk that hems in the looking glass pond.
I see stairs, but only the plain ol’, nothin’ special concrete variety.
I want to find that spark of special, but I guess it’s not meant to be. As I sit on a nearby bench, I cross my arms and mutter to myself, After the week I’ve had, that just figures.
Sometimes I sound remarkably similar to a moody five-year-old.
Still, it has been one of those weeks when my attempt to create something special on a variety of fronts has ended in disappointment. And I’ll just go ahead and admit this: I want something to show for all the difficulty.
I want proof that even my disappointments and falling-down-failings aren’t for nothing.
Oh sure, sometimes I create something for my family, my friends, or my work, and the effort pays off in extraordinary ways. My hands hold glittery proof of something special that makes me grin ear to ear.
But what about those times when what I do or what I create flat out fails? And the letdowns load up and pile up like the never-ending laundry?
The dinner cooked is discarded.
The words written are declined.
The heart shared is dismissed.
We’re left with sagging shoulders and tired hearts holding all kinds of runaway thoughts — thoughts that say who we are and what we do are a whole lot of nothin’ special.
Words float from the darkness and you listen to them even though you know you shouldn’t: Maybe I’m nothin’ special.
I am desperate for proof this isn’t true.
“[Jesus says] if you feel unimportant in the eyes of the world, that matters not at all. For me, there is no one any more important in the entire world than you. I thirst for you. Open to me, come to me, thirst for me, give me your life — and I will prove to you how important you are to my heart.” ~ Mother Theresa, quoted in Bread and Wine
You want proof that you are something special?
Jesus says you don’t have to formulate or find it. Instead, you just have to enfold yourself in His all-ready approval. Jesus never asked you and me to prove anything. He only asks us to accept His grace and in faith believe that as His grace-receivers, we are absolutely something special.
In His grace we find we have all we need all the time. So we believe in faith that God abundantly gives so we can do an abundance of good work — whether it feels special or not.
I stand up from my bench and descend down those plain ol’, nothin’ special concrete steps from the hotel grounds to my car. Before I turn toward the front of the hotel, I glance over my shoulder and then see what was there the whole time: decorative tile on the stairs.
I couldn’t find them before because I was staring at them from the wrong perspective.
All the nothin’ special, letdown moments really do hold something good all their own. We just need to keep walking through them in faith. If we stop short, we’ll miss them. But if we keep going, we will one day turn around and see that hidden within them is something beautiful.
We’d love to know: Do you ever struggle to believe those “nothin’ special” moments really hold hidden blessings within? If you’re struggling with this now, how might we pray for you?
Kristen Strong, writer at Chasing Blue Skies
Denise Jarman says
It’s very true that we don’t see things from the right perspective always. God is the only one who sees the big picture. I have found that when everything is too hard and I can’t see what ‘s happening, all I can do is trust! I trust that God loves me, that He is faithful and that He has good plans for me. That is all I can do and I know these things from my experience of walking with Jesus.
Well said, Denise. Thank you.
Jenni DeWitt says
This is such a beautiful post, and Denise, you make such a good point too. We don’t always see things from the right perspective. Sometimes the only way we can see beauty is through the benefit of hindsight. I can relate to that when I think of the trials I’ve experienced. Trust gets us through the hard times, but hindsight helps us see the beauty in them!
Adore your comment, Jenni. And I pray I never forget this: “Trust gets us through the hard times, but hindsight helps us see the beauty in them.”
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
I love the line…”you just have to enfold yourself in His all-ready approval.” For me, I have found that when I let life down or life lets me down and I feel like I’ve missed the mark, it sends me running back into the arms of Jesus. I go to find my strength and comfort and purpose in Him. If everything went my way all the time, I would have no need for Him, so I see the disappointments in life as my signal to draw close into Him. I also need to remember to run to His loving arms when things are going swimmingly as well. Thanks for a wonderful post and the perspective I needed this morning!
You’re right on, Bev. We are in the best shape when we draw close to him during times of disappointments and satisfaction. Thank you for your presence here, Bev. You are loved!
Thanks for this post! It feels so relevant to my life right now as I have been struggling to find the beauty in the “nothin’ special moments.” Currently, I am in grad school and do not care for the school I am attending and have been wishing I went to another school. I also feel like school has kind of overtaken my life. Just this weekend I was told about an outreach opportunity but I could not go because of my schoolwork. I also have an internship where I feel that I am not doing much (and sometimes even forgotten about) and that my undergrad internships were more intense. It has been hard to see the purpose in some of these things, but I guess I just have the wrong perspective! I truly hope one day I will look back and be able to see the hidden blessings. Right now I just keep praying and moving forward and thanking God.
Natasha, right now I’m praying for you too…and thanking God for beautiful you. Here’s to one day looking back and seeing things with clear eyes. Much love.
Thanks so much 🙂
Beth Williams says
Praying for you right now. I see grad students all the time and don’t know how they juggle school, internship, and home life. Prayers that you will make it through grad school soon and land a great job!
May God guide you through this time and help you to finish! I pray you feel His loving arms and contentment as you work.
Thank you for your prayer, I really appreciate it! Thanks for being a blessing!
Joanne Peterson says
Oh my goodness, yes! I have two boys, 4 and 5 years old who have trauma backgrounds, and have been working on helping them to sleep through the night, messes, cooking, cleaning, potty training, laundry, temper tantrums, therapy, bonding, school issues, messes, (I know I mentioned messes, but there are multiples all day) etc. I so often don’t really see much progress, just the hard, and the mundane. Then there are some small breakthroughs, which I am grateful. And people say “You’re a saint, and I admire you” but it is a lot of me losing my cool, and the mundane, and the hard. Often me wanting something more, or wishing for something else instead of the hard.
I know Jesus loves me, without a doubt and I don’t have to do anything to prove anything, but being faithful is still just plain hard work and often I don’t see results. But, then my boys will pipe in with an “I love you” and knowing where they started, that is real progress.
Oh Joanne! I’m praying that Jesus Himself will give you a vision of the FUTURE of those precious boys that was made possible because of all those hard, mundane, trying, messy days you’re enduring now….Just think of it: You are impacting eternity! Keep loving…for their sake…
Big Hugs & Admiration,
Joanne, I couldn’t have said it better than Jeannie. Praying the same, and that your heart and soul are totally, abundantly nourished and strengthened in Jesus’ love for you. You–and your boys–are indeed something special. xoxo
Nancy Ruegg says
God bless you, Joanne, for your honesty, commitment, perseverance, and hard work. My heart goes out to you for the constant struggles you face. I pray that each day you’ll see a little sign of progress, like those “I love you”s. And one day, those boys will arise and call you blessed (Proverbs 31:28). It WILL happen, because you are sowing blessing into THEIR lives!
Beth Williams says
Praying for you Joanne. Dealing with the hard, mundane is never easy. You are making a huge impact on those children’s lives and it may not come to pass for a while, but it will be worth it! God sees your hard work and will reward you for it!
You are truly a saint for taking care of those boys and putting forth a good effort! May God richly bless you beyond your wildest dreams! I pray for peace and contentment! May God shower blessings on you and wrap you in His loving arms!
Karrilee Aggett says
Oh I love this… and specifically this: “All the nothin’ special, letdown moments really do hold something good all their own. We just need to keep walking through them in faith. If we stop short, we’ll miss them. But if we keep going, we will one day turn around and see that hidden within them is something beautiful.” So Much Amen!
Thank you sweet Karrilee. A big hug to you on this Monday!
Kristen, wow you described the struggle that goes on in my heart more than I care to admit. I loved your paragraph that talked about enfolding ourselves in His all-ready approval, and what you said after it: “He only asks us to accept His grace and in faith believe that as His grace-receivers, we are absolutely something special.”
It can be difficult to embrace the truth that we truly are something special to God. And it’s not because of what we can do for Him. It’s because He loves us so passionately. I’m still learning to walk this truth out, especially when those poisonous words of the enemy try to infiltrate my mind.
Thank you so much for sharing this post. It spoke deeply to me this morning.
I forgot to ask, Kristen. Are these pictures, by chance, from the Broadmoor? 🙂
Ding, ding! Sure are.
“It can be difficult to embrace the truth that we truly are something special to God. And it’s not because of what we can do for Him. It’s because He loves us so passionately. ” ~ Amen. Thank you for this reminder today, Jeanne. And here’s to you and me both not only tuning out the enemy’s poisonous words. Let’s also make him rue the day he ever messed with us because his ugliness only drives us straight to Jesus. Love you, sister!
Susan G. says
It doesn’t matter how long I’ve known Him…I still have to stay in the Word and hear His truths every day…about what He says about me and what He says about Himself.
The Truth and nothing but the Truth! 🙂
Thanks Kristen…nothing like a good dose of ‘perspective’.
I had one of these kind of moments today with my 3 year old daughter. We were listening to a Christian children’s music CD while sweeping the kitchen floor together. There is a part on the CD where they sing the song “I Love You Lord (and I Lift My Voice)” and I was excited because this is one of the songs I often sing to her before bed at night. I thought she might recognise it and have fun learning it with me so I got a big smile on my face and cheerfully asked if she’d like to sing the words with Mommy. I began to try to teach her the words but she blankly starred at me and looked completely disinterested. I doubled my efforts and sang enthusiastically while twirling and jumping around the kitchen with my broom. Her eyes glazed over and she seemed even less interested. I felt so defeated. I drooped my head and went back to sweeping. We finished up our chore together and went on with our afternoon. Please pray that I will not give up and will continue to seek out special moments with my daughter even when her level of enthusiasm is lacking. Also, that I would be willing to enter wholeheartedly into the situations that she is excited about even though I may find them much less interesting (like playing ponies and pretending to be princesses!). Ultimately, I pray that she sees the love of Christ in me and that she will give her life to Him.
Beth Williams says
Prayers Christine. May God show you that your efforts are worth it. One day she will come out and sing that song loudly! I pray that you find peace and contentment during this time. May shower you with blessings and peace!
Thanks so much Beth. I appreciate your prayers and encouragement 🙂
Liz Emmett-Mattox says
This hit me right between the eyes (and smack in the middle of my chest). I’ve come to realize that I spend so much time and energy over-achieving in order to prove that I am ‘something special.’ And when my efforts fall short, or aren’t recognized in the way my ego would like, I get discouraged, frustrated and/or resentful. It’s been a practice over the last little while to notice when I fall into the habit of thinking that what I do is the measure of my intrinsic worth. Connecting with the Divine helps me remember the truth. Thanks for this reminder today!
It’s such an easy thing to do, is’t it? To, as you say, “fall into the habit of thinking that what I do is the measure of my intrinsic worth.” Lifting you up in prayer, sister-friend. Thank you for sharing your valuable perspective here!
Beth Williams says
Last year my job changed and now it feels like “nothing special” no big deal. I’m in the process now of looking for a different job, but each time I do God says no. I realize He sees the big picture and know what’s best for me. I may need a new perspective of looking at things.
This blew me away: “Jesus only asks us to accept His grace and in faith believe that as His grace-receivers, we are absolutely something special.” Some how I never thought about that! Thanks for making my day!
Beth, I’m praying that the just-right job for you comes into view soon. And thank you, for so faithfully encouraging those in this community! You are a gift, and I also pray you know it today. Love you!
I love that you are a “joy hunter-downer” Kristen! Sounds like we’d be great friends IRL! and like everyone else here, I can relate to your post, and am encouraged by it! I love the point Susan made, no matter how long we’ve known Him, we need to hear His Truth every day – that is so true! and I love Bev’s description of running back into our Savior’s arms when life gets us down – so good! Have a blessed week!
Don’t we have the loveliest community here? The most encouraging one on the ‘net, I believe. And ya, you and me? I’m quite sure we’d be friends IRL! Thank you for wrapping an arm around us, June. You are a gift.
thankyou for this..today. im struggling with just getting over pnuemina, then our daughter got it for 2 weeks then our son has it now.. all over the span of 6 weeks, im a stay at home mom and really love it but this has got me down a lot.i enjoyed your write up and thankyou, im getting happier and working on praying more too as I clean up daily !! and same thing, my hubby walks thru the door and I cant even tell him what all I did today but it mattered.
Amy M says
“I cant even tell him what all I did today but it mattered.” That is exactly how I feel, too! I’m in that chasing toddlers stage of life and sometimes I have to work extra hard to see the magic in my days. We’ve all been sick and had unusual amounts of trial this winter, so the very idea of spring is feeling sparkly and amazing to me. Hope you have a wonderful week!
Leigh Ann says
And all the mamas of little people said amen.
eliza menchaca says
Hello, where is this hotel?
Shawnelle Eliasen says
Mmmm. Just accepting His grace without needing to prove…what a precious thing! Thank you, Kristen.
I totally agree with you. Thanks for your encouragment. I need much right now. We are independant missionaries who live here in the states. Husband is a contractor and since we are in between trips. He hasn’t worked for a couple of months. We trust God with everything and we have nothing to fall back in hard times, we just trust. Sometimes I do waiver in my faith. Taxes are due, April’s bills will be due and there is no money. I am praying for a miracle,
Connie, I hear you and am praying for you and your situation right now. May deliverance come in tangible ways you can see and feel. Keep us posted as you feel comfortable? So much love to you and yours…
Thanks Kristen: Still trusting and praying. thanks for your encouragment and prayers.
Ginger Harrington says
I can’t tell you how many times over the past few weeks I have found myself saying, “Perspective makes ALL the difference.” Loved this post today, Kristen.
Katie Howard says
Yes – I often have days where I feel as though I’m nothing special, have nothing to really offer.
“Jesus says you don’t have to formulate or find it. Instead, you just have to enfold yourself in His all-ready approval. Jesus never asked you and me to prove anything. He only asks us to accept His grace and in faith believe that as His grace-receivers, we are absolutely something special.”
This little paragraph really speaks a lot. Seems like I’ve always felt I had to prove myself, earn or repay a kindness. And it just never seems to be quite enough.
So, thank you for the perspective that maybe I don’t have to do anything but trust, and pray. I know I will struggle with that idea, but it is one to work on.