What’s Your Thing?

11 years ago, when my oldest was just a babe, I tried to scrapbook.  I really tried.  Back then it was all paper and doo dads and none of this fancy schmancy digital stuff.  Several times I went to late night “scrap till you drop” parties with friends, noshed on peanut M & M’s and Diet Coke and beat my head against the table coming away with a whole lot of money spent and a total of 4 pages completed.  4 pages, people.  In 5 hours.  That’s less than a page an hour.

I would sit there and think, trying to create a “creative memory”, and nothing would come. It was agony.  Truly. I would look around at friends whipping out 7-8 pages an hour and think, “What is wrong with me?” 

It wasn’t my thing.


Fast forward to life overseas, a combination of sweat and tears {and sometimes blood}.  I look around at my compatriate missionary wives and wish I had her administration skills {man is she good at organizing and remembering every detail!}, her musical skills {she is able to pick up any instrument and play}, her ability to decorate her home with such limited resources {and it looks just like a magazine}, or her ability to visit someone, welcome someone else into her home, and teach English, all in the same day.

And it would be easy to get stuck there and wonder “What is wrong with me?”

Maybe it’s getting older, maybe it’s God working in my heart, or more likely a healthy combination of both, but I am resolved to look at what I can do and celebrate that and not let what I can’t do define me.

So, do you wanna know what my thing is?

I sing a mean Itsy Bitsy Spider, people.

Yep. You read that right.

If you are in need of someone to be wild and crazy, energetic and fun, I’m your gal.  I love kids.  I love my own. I love yours.  I love kids! And, in the six years we have lived in Indonesia, I have taught English clubs every one of those years.

And I want to use the talents and gifts that God has given me for His glory, however small and seemingly meaningless they are.  So, if you need a spreadsheet or an event organized, don’t call me.  If you need music, not me.  If you want decorating advice, most certainly not me.  If you need someone who can handle a lot in one day, yep, you guessed, not me.

BUT, if you want someone to act a little loopy and love on some kids, give me a call.

Because it’s my thing.

What is your thing?

“I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  Wonderful are your works: my soul knows it very well.” Psalm 139: 14

and 1 Corinthians 12

Pictures are courtesy of my wonderful hubby, Dave Forney, and are of an outdoor education class that several of us taught.  You can read more about it here.

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  • Jennifer S

    I LOVE this post! I have only recently started following your blog – but I love your posts. My thing – PowerPoint. Publisher. Merging Documents. Spreadsheets. Data Management. That MAKES MY DAY. And I can cook. And I can encourage. I give a really great hug.

    Housecleaning, NO. Laundry, (snort) NO. Evangelism – not easy. Work a crowd. No way. Decorating – um, I hung a picture over a blemish in the wall – does that count?

    Working on embracing myself as Jesus embraces me. A woman of great talents AND great weaknesses – all in submission to the loving Father who made me JUST this way. Thanks for the encouragement this evening!

    • Joy

      Oh Jennifer! I love this!! I love how very different God has made us, wow!

  • Sarah DeSalvo

    Decorating? Not me. Super-organized? Not me either, but I can fake it for a while :-) Loving on other people’s kids? Sorry, they drive me crazy!!! Great writer/blogger? Not me!

    Crafts? Yep. Give me a craft, and I am a happy girl. Not something that requires creativity, but a sewing or knitting pattern? I’ll be busy for hours :-)

    Also… having people over for a meal. Or a coffee. Or donuts. I’m all about that. Especially on short notice. Because the longer I have to plan, the longer I have to stress out. But I can always make a meal stretch, and the less stressed I am, the more I can enjoy my guests. So, Joy, come on over to Wamena and I’ll fix you a meal, make you a “frappuccino”, and teach you to knit :-)

    But it IS hard, trying not to play the comparison game. “you have those gifts, I have these… but somehow yours seem ‘better’ than mine” You know what I’m talking about. I agree with Jennifer – working on embracing myself as HE made me! :-)

    • Joy

      Sarah, I just love you. This is why we all work so well together, because we all bring different pieces of the puzzle. I wish I could knit for hours…sigh. My daughter can!! :) Thanks for sharing your heart and encouragement, it is ALWAYS wonderful to hear from you!!

      • Sarah DeSalvo

        Thank you, friend. You encourage me :-) Hope you are enjoying your conference – SO jealous that you get to soak up time with Kevin and Linda!!!

  • http://ourjourneyoffaith.net/ Mama D’s Dozen

    Great post!

    Sewing my children’s clothes? Not!
    Knitting or crocheting? Not!
    Fashion? I try to match.
    Decorating? I think my house would be considered “eclectic”.
    Spotless House? Not with a dozen kids, I don’t.
    Structured Lesson Plans for Homeschooling? Not on your life.

    Scrapbooking? YES! I LOVE it!
    Hostessing a Party? Oh My Yes!
    Loving each and every one of my 12 children? You bet!
    Cheering at 5 sporting events per week? Bring it on.

    I am not …

    “Susie Homemaker” (but I do the best I can)
    “Young & Beautiful” (lost that title a few years back)
    “Strong & Athletic” (used to be 30 years ago, though)

    I am …

    “a devoted, committed, loving, wife of nearly 30 years” (but certainly not perfect)
    “a fully devoted mama of a dozen children” (and a few “adopted big kids” too)
    “passionate about teaching my children at home” (without structured lesson plans)
    “a lover of Jesus, choosing to follow Him with a crazy, passionate faith” (even when none understands)

    I am an ordinary woman with an extraordinary God . . . who has chosen to walk a life of F.A.I.T.H. (Fantastic Adventure In Trusting Him).

    Laurel :)

    • Joy

      Laurel, you are awesome!! i love this amazing comment. You have outlined so well what God has gifted you to do, and I think that is just wonderful. Thank you so much for sharing what YOU are good at!! I LOVE your word FAITH. That rocks!

  • Sheri

    Oh Yes, LOVE this! Yes, my dear Joy, you do “your thing” so well for Jesus, and you are encouraging other girlies (and boys!! and mothers, wives, friends,) to do “their thing… with all their hearts, for HIS glory!” Love you bunches my friend! *Hugs*

    • Joy

      Sheri, The same thing goes for you. You are SOO good at what God has made you to do, such a beautiful and shining example of using your gifts for His glory! Thanks, friend!

  • Ashley Felder

    Thanks for this post. I recently started following your blog and am thankful for your encouragements, especially those that tailor to fellow “m’s” as I have to say from another Asian country north of you. :)

    What a great reminder to focus on what He has graciously given us instead of what we wish we had. We can spend our whole lives trying to be someone else (and I’ve spent a large portion of my 28 years doing so), but until I embrace who I am and who He continue to forms me to be, I’m missing out. Missing opportunities to bless others. Missing chances to be blessed in return. Missing chances to honor His name.

    I can make bread. In a tiny Asian kitchen with a tiny oven.
    I can bless others with a special treat or note when they least expect it.
    I can be goofy and full of energy with students.
    I can be open and vulnerable.
    I can make my boys laugh.

    Thanks for sharing your heart. It blessed mine today!

    • Joy

      Love it Ashley!! It is NO small feat to be able to make bread in one of those tiny ovens, I know! Isn’t it sad that it has taken us this long {I’m 35} to figure out that comparing ourselves gets us nowhere! Think of how much we missed out on! Thanks for sharing your heart, I am blessed by your words.

  • Thehomespunheart

    Oh, I love your thing! And, I don’t feel great at that – my thing is adding beauty, creating, ideas. My house is not super organized or even very clean most of the time, I don’t handle stress well, and I’m terrible at anything athletic. Great post! :)

    • Joy

      You do your thing so so well and bring so much glory to His name by the beauty you bring to the world. Love you, sister.

  • http://twitter.com/stacey29lincoln Stacey29lincoln

    Scrapbooking was never my thing either. My kids — none of them have a book. But, I do love Peanut M&M’s…

    Lovely post. Missing your sweet smile lately! You must be living and loving in the real. Which is the best.

    Oh, and this thing you do here? This is also your thing. I love it. :)

  • http://www.redemptionsbeauty.com/ Shelly Miller

    I love people like you, that love on kids and live crazy free. I’m not that way and need those people in my life to inspire me, fill in the places where I leave off. And I taught scrapbook classes and got pages published and now all I do is write. And loved helping those women around the table who struggled to get a page done. Love this post and the way He makes us all competely unique.

  • Mandy

    Thank you for your post, I look forward to reading each of them. As a fellow pastors wife/missionary I have found much is expected out of such positions, yet like you not all of it is my thing. How easy to play the role and go through the motions, yet doing it out of expectancy and not out of joy. Thank you for the reminder that God has blessed us each with specific individual gifts, and that He intends for all of us to use this gift for HIM.

  • Anonymous

    You are absolutely ADORABLE… your post got me thinking, what’s my thing? I’m doing ok at many many things, but is there something that I’m better at? I love singing but am always ok key, I can clean our home, but making real pretty not really my forte. I love to write but am not a writer. I love kids, my own and others but they drained me at the end of the day lol I must me good at something hehe!

    Have a gorgeous blessed day my friend :-)

    Love in Christ

  • Dayna

    I just love to read your posts!!!

  • http://www.operationorganization-mn.com/ Heidi Leonard

    Love this. :) organizing is one of ‘my things’ yet i fully embrace and accept that i can’t excel at everything else as well. i’ve been blessed to turn my talents into a business to bless my family. often clients i work with are embarrassed about the state of their home/office (which is why they contacted me in the first place) i always make an effort to encourage them by identifying something that i observe that they do well – naturally. (often things that i might not – like gardening or preparing elaborate meals) .

  • Kelly Busch

    Great post!! I wondered about “my thing” for years during my kids tiny years…. I couldn’t decorate, bake, have a clean house, host parties well, do much visiting (unless the crazy tiny 3 came with me). But now that they are older I am finding my gifts and passions as their teacher mommie…. and it’s wonderful to find “my thing”. It was there all the time just wasn’t being used.

    And I love that instead of comparing and looking at all the things we can’t do…. we rejoice and be faithful with the things that are “our thing”! If I could just be totally faithful in what HE has gifted ME to do:)

  • http://www.gracetoabide.com/ Catherine

    Well said! It’s so hard not to compare ourselves to others, especially in the ‘m’ world.

    These are NOT my things:
    - cooking
    - entertaining at the drop of a hat
    - being around people all day
    - deep cleaning my house
    - sewing, knitting, crochet, scrapbooking etc

    But these are, I think:
    - keeping things neat and orderly
    - organising, lists etc
    - giving other ‘m’s advice and tips to do with raising children overseas (at least that seems to be my thing since people keep coming to me with questions!)
    - homeschooling my kids

    Praise God that He’s made us all different! Where would the eye be without the hand, or the foot without the ear?

    A great reminder to be thankful for the gifts we have and not be envious about the ones we don’t have. Thank you Joy!

  • http://www.beingawomanofthebible.com/ Ann

    This is a GREAT post!! We waste so much time comparing ourselves to others–why, why, why?? I personally have wasted YEARS at it!! I finally realized I probably don’t have any one “thing”–I’m pretty good at a fair amount of things, but not outstanding in any. But that’s a gift, too, in a way. God is SO creative to have made us all individuals, isn’t He? :-) –Ann @ Being a Woman of the Bible

  • Anonymous

    Oh friend, I’m smiling a really really big smile! The Lord is so gracious to never give any one person EVERY gifting. :) I definitely lean towards the creative/domestic arts, but I’ve never been super organized! And, I simply can’t scrapbook…or follow directions…or recipes, or fit the mold–it’s just not my thing–but God has used my quirkiness for his glory as well! :)

  • Mary@Finding Healthy Hope

    we all have such unique and very special gifts.
    i try to remind myself regularly that comparison is the thief of joy.
    God delights in me using the talents He gave me. :)

  • http://forfunreadinglist.blogspot.com/ Marissa @ forfunreadinglist

    So funny that you being this post by saying you wish you had some other “thing” because I feel that way often – my thing is organizing, which doesn’t happen with a preschooler and baby – so I feel like my thing is nothing right now. But you are right, just find that thing and do it – your ability to love on kids is a huge thing, and one I wish I could have more of. But for now I’ll focus on my thing – being a mommy and doing a little organizing in the process

  • Rakel Thurman

    Cool…..so love you Joy!! Great thoughts….because so often I wish I could run and lead an English club…be fun and crazy and be loved by everyone….but no, I am stuck with my Excel spread sheets, my event planner, budget sheet and calendar…so glad for gals like you, amazing and fun…yes, we love you Joy, just the way God had made you….thanks for being who you are. And I do enjoy doing and being where I am..because I get to rub shoulders with so many amazing heroes of the faith, scattered all over this globe.

  • Emily

    Oh how I can so relate to the scrapbooking not being your thing. :)))
    Just recently I have come to accept that our gifting from God can look so different. It is freeing to “let go”- so to speak, of areas that I’m not gifted in to focus on other areas that I maybe more gifted in.

  • Joanna Adams

    So glad I’m not the only one lacking when it comes to organization, or having mad multi-tasking skills and such… I’m a loopy for little people too (oh, and my sewing machine & camera). Awesome reminder on using our own gifts for Him!

  • http://www.averagehousewife.com/ Paula

    I am not gifted in scrapbooking either. I can play Monopoly all night long, or any other board game. I love playing games!

  • http://www.womenlivingwell-courtney.blogspot.com womenlivingwell

    You made me laugh! We’d be a great team as loopy song leaders – that’s me too girlfriend!!! Love it – great post!

  • http://thekoalabearwriter.blogspot.ca/ Bonnie Way

    Thank you! I was just thinking the other day about how I look at other bloggers and wish I could write as funny as her or with as much knowledge about a particular topic as her… but I’m not her. I’m me. I do like scrapbooking (I’m one of those fast people, mostly because I just go at it), but I can’t play anything or decorate my house. :)

  • amanda

    so helpful. i always compare myself but i need to remember that some things just arent my thing. i love to sing and bake….thats my things

  • Stacey

    Joy, I got SUCH good laugh out of this! Scrapbooking is not, let me repeat, N.O.T. my thing. If I opened my picture drawer in the hutch (a.k.a. the junk drawer), I just know that the crew from the show Hoarders would pull in my driveway. There’s easily 1000 pictures in there. And that’s not including the 5 memory cards I have in my jewelry box with at least 200-2000 pictures on each of them. The word scrapbooking makes me depressed in my innermost parts. But one day, when I’m done loving on my boys (ages 11, 10 & 7) and we’ve finished our homeschooling journey, then I may dare open the drawer again. There have been more times than I care to admit that I get jealous over others skills. I’m not the one singing & playing the piano, organizing all sorts of things for church, have the nicest decorated house, but I was blessed with the opportunity 2 months ago to teach a kid’s cooking class thru the recreation dept. here in our little Amish town in Ohio and I LOVED. it! I’ve always enjoyed working with children and have taught kids classes since I was in junior high (I still don’t know why on earth those in charge at church let 2 junior highers teach a Sunday evening kids class but wow, did we have fun!) and I’ve enjoyed cooking, also. God brought those two interests together and we had a great time! We even have 3 more classes scheduled for the fall already that I am so looking forward to. And you had great ideas for celebrating summer/school’s out, so we are hosting an ice cream party for some of the kiddos here in the neighborhood on Friday. We provide the ice cream, they’re bringing their favorite toppings. It’s supposed to be cold & rainy & we could have as many as 15 kids here, but it’ll be fun!! Thanks for sharing and blessings to you!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1367062260 Jennifer Ross

    This post was perfect for me today. Thanks Joy!! I’ve been thinking on “my thing” lately and I know what it is, and am finally getting to where I live what it is.
    Blessings dear sister!!

  • Laura Felipe Matias

    Loved your post! I am the same – I love working with kids here in Brazil and I am good at it! Love keeping up with your family’s journey in missions as I am on my own journey as a missionary in Brazil with my growing family. :-) Laura http://www.thematiasfamily.blogspot.com

  • http://bourlandfamilyblog.blogspot.com/ Carla

    Loved this Joy! Made my heart smile!

  • Anonymous

    Love this. And you make me want to let loose with my kids more :)

  • http://joyfulmothering.net Christin

    I adore you (and miss you!!!)
    Am I only allowed to have one? I guess I thrive on administrative work. And writing. And coffee. :) {Only with the grace of Jesus}

  • http://blessedbeyondmeasure-ts.blogspot.com/ Torrie

    This literally made me laugh out loud! All my girlfriends are scrapbook queens. They do all weekend getaways and make beautiful memories for their kids. Our oldest is 10 and I still have his first baby album (Creative Memories…lol) sitting in the closet untouched because I just don’t like scrapbooking! It’s NOT my thing…LOL!!

    Like you, I don’t know if it’s age, God at work or both either; but I have discovered “my thing” is being an encouragement to others. I’m not good at evangelizing, children’s ministry isn’t for me, loved being on the praise team for years, but God had a different plan. He has made me to speak encouragement into the lives of others, reminding them of HIS promises, HIS love, HIS wisdom, grace and mercy. Discovering “your thing” isn’t easy. It’s a process. But once you do, and you embrace it for the glory of God, WOW!!! What an amazing gift it is for both parties. :)

    From one non-scrapbooker to another…thank you for this post!! Also, I am starting a new ministry at my blog, Blessed Beyond Measure. On Thursdays we are giving women the opportunity to share their testimony, not just conversions, but whatever God has done that has changed their lives. You can read more about it here http://blessedbeyondmeasure-ts.blogspot.com/2012/05/my-storyhis-testimony.html . So if you know of anyone who would like to share their testimony, please have them contact me (torriesorge@gmail.com). I’d love to share their story for God’s glory!

  • http://www.carriesbusynothings.com/ Carrie @ Busy Nothings

    Dear friend,

    Embracing who God made you will be the most freeing thing you have ever done. Hands down.

    Itsy, bitsy spider away…


  • http://lifewithdesirie.wordpress.com/ Desirie

    I just love this! It’s taken me years (and still working!) to figure out ME and stop comparing my gifts and talents to those of others.
    I’m a musician, I’m a big-picture visionary, I’m a missionary at heart, I’m an introvert, a loyal friend and a whole lot of other stuff :)
    I’m NOT crafty, detail-oriented, awesome with kids, or very emotional.
    I’m so glad I am learning that God made me just the way HE wanted me!

  • http://www.crossandquill.com/journey Cheryl

    My thing is procrastination and writing which incidently don’t go together. Due to renewed interest in one of my posted research papers I am committing to blogging again. Somehow I’ll manage to eke out some posts with trying to clean, organize, and homeschool. Did I mention I’m really good at procrastinating?

  • Amy Campbell

    Love this post, Joy.

  • Kathy

    So, um, the bad thing is that I know exactly who you are wishing about in every one of those things on your list! And I could probably add some more. No, make that, “definitely add some more.” God’s working on me to be ok with “my thing,” even though it’s a pretty normal thing. Because it’s what He’s given me to be faithful in doing.

    And I don’t know how to post a comment on a bloc bit I will be annoyed if it doesn’t work!

  • Becky Daye

    LOVE this post, Joy!!!! And oh that we would celebrate each other’s strengths instead of expecting each other to fit into the box!!!
    It seems like my strengths are similar to yours, but how in the world do you get your hair to look that good?!!! :)

  • Betty Draper

    Grace, loved your post. We were dorm parents in Bolivia, South America, high school boys. God knew exactly where to put me for my gifts to shine…cooking. I loved having cooking baking when the guys would come home from school. Their favorite meal was fried chicken. I still hear from those guys all grown into men, married, their own children and they still talk about the fried chicken. Years later we spend seven years in Papua New Guinea in the support role again, adminstration, member care, my husband was in leadership. It was us who helped buy food for those in the bush for the pilot to take in…and I continued to fry chicken for those who graced our home. We were a little touch of Grandma and Grandpa to those children living with parents tucked in some remote place.

    No one ever ask me to teach at a boarding school, take care of finances, fly a plane, but tons have ask for that fried chicken. Yeah great post Grace, you have learned the secret of contentment…shine in the area God gifted you for. So very grateful for those such as you who are willing to work with the kids…just give me a kitchen and I am happy. Blessings my wise hearted sister. Shine, shine, shine.

    • Betty Draper

      opps…meant Joy…but Grace seems to fit you…

  • Kmelissasmallwood

    Kudos to you for embracing your thing..that is a lesson that took me a long time to learn! And, what joy filled work you do- love the pictures!

  • http://www.wellfedhomestead.com Brenda

    LOVE IT, Joy! Thanks for sharing your heart. I stunk at scrapbooking, too. I started a baby album for all 4 of my kids–and yet never finished *any* of them. I was teaching the kids about England the other day & pulled out our honeymoon scrapbook (with photos of England) and the pages weren’t even totally in the album & I realized I still have some pages to finish. OOPS. :)
    I am also guilty of comparing myself to everyone else. I love hosting people, but then eventually, I get exhausted. Some people go and go like the energizer bunny and can keep chatting with a big smile on their face. I can’t. My face hurts if I do that! ;) I love people, but I need quiet moments.
    Give me a spreadsheet and I’m happy. Give me a pencil and some paper–maybe graph paper! Ooh! I’ll make a map of a room and draw all of the furniture and move it around–and design an addition while I’m at it. :) I can re-design my homeschool curriculum 50 different ways, organize all of my books (on a spreadsheet) by chronological order, alphabetical order and by genre.
    But I don’t play instruments well. I pretended to play the flute in 4th grade, but really, I couldn’t even read music! :)
    But my recipes are organized and ready to go–by season, by meal type, by ingredients! :) I can make up recipes on the fly and they usually taste good (but my memory is terrible, so don’t ask me to remember how I made it, unless I wrote it down!). I don’t think I’ll ever be a cake decorator, though, or a person who can make perfectly smooth looking truffles. (I’ll eat them, happily, but make them? I’ve tried! They just never looked as pretty as other people’s truffles).
    Anyways! Love your post! Now you need to post a video of you singing with the kids! We’d all love that! :) :)

  • http://coolbeans3.blogspot.com/ Nancy

    What a coincidence that God has been working on the same area in my life. No one ever wins the comparison game. Still not sure what my “thing” is but I’m thinking if I stopped comparing and just “let me be me,” God will show me and use me in the fashion He designed me for. Thanks, Joy!

  • Anonymous

    This is a timely post for me. After getting out of the legalistic viewpoint that all Christians look exactly the same, I am awestruck at how different God made me to be. And I rejoice in it!

  • http://myhometableau.com/ Johanna Hanson

    What a great post. Decorating-no. Music – yes. Kids and education- YES!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=792294189 Janine Baker Sabin

    And this is where we can be BOLD, LOVING & SENSIBLE… for Him day in day out. Thank you for this truth! Needed to let go of some things and this really helped me let go!!!

  • laura

    Thank you SO much for sharing these thoughts! Was just reflecting on what my thing is not this morning…

  • http://jellibeanjournals.blogspot.com/ Jelli

    Great post! Looks like you and those kids really have a hoppin’ time together. I wish I were better with kids, but I know God’s given me other talents to develop. Granted, I’m a new mama and still learning the ropes with my baby girl– who knows, maybe someday I’ll be kid-friendly too. For now, I’m happy with mine and seeking to make the most of who God made me. Take care, Joy.

  • Susan

    Oh wow, I was a graphic designer so I though digital scrapbooking will be my thing but unfortunately it is not ! It gets me very occupied that I forgot to fill myself with the Word. Then blogging ? Well, I do have some ideas to write but then I lost the mood to write and forget about it.
    Some people do say that I’m good with organizing & administration. That is totally different from what I view myself as. But I really think that I haven’t found my thing yet. Uh, well…

  • Alissa

    Fun story about being HORRIBLE at scrapbooking…

    My husband (we just got married on May 12) told me a couple months after we met that if he ever proposed to me he knew how he would do it, and he told me that while we were on a trip to Winchester, VA to go to a hot air balloon festival. That Christmas I decided I would give him a scrapbook with pictures from our trip. I got all the pictures picked out for it…and one page done. Literally. I got the first page done…and that took FOREVER. When I gave it to him on Christmas I said, “Sorry! I really thought I’d be better at this!” We put it aside and I promised I’d finish it at some point, but as a mom of three, a full-time student, and full-time billing specialist, I wasn’t even able to think about touching it. Fast forward to last Thanksgiving, with both of our families gathered around the table…and he handed me back the scrapbook…completed…with a picture of our first adventure together and a few more we had taken from the year…and a picture he had taken of my hand, but that he’d added a ring to…and a letter at the back asking if I would give him the honor of being his wife.

    See?! It pays to be bad at scrapbooking!!

    Just kidding. In all reality, it’s just not my thing. It requires patience, diligence, creativity, organization, and the ability to sit still. I have some of those, but not really in the combination necessary to really be great at it.

    I have struggled with comparing myself with others A LOT. However, I don’t just compare their gifts to my gifts if their different. Oh no…I compare similar gifts. I can sing and write decently. However, I am constantly tempted not to do either because others do them so much better. I can sing, but I’m not Whitney Houston or Celine Dion. I can write, but Hemingway or Dickens I am not.

    I’ve found in recent years, though, that God can use my talents just as they are and if it’s His will and I’m using them for His glory, then those talents will grow, but no matter what, it’s His glory and His will I need to seek…not my own.

  • Clearviewpro Amber

    Wow! All I can say is, “Thank You!”

  • Erin

    I love this, and actually teared up reading it today!
    Its SO easy to know what I’m NOT, when in fact, there are a few things I am good at, and I can be happy for those gifts that God gave me.

  • Hannah

    Joy, I love this post! It’s funny, this is exactly what I was talking about with my husband last night. We have been married 7 1/2 years and he is still trying to figure me out :) So we were talking through what I’m good at… what God has gifted me in and how he completely doesn’t understand it because they are not things he is gifted in. It was fun, because I think I’m beginning to slowly understand those same things. I’m good at doing things for people, sewing them things, taking beautiful pictures for them and making beautiful cakes. I’m pretty organized and enjoy cooking and baking for people. I’m totally NOT a kid person (except for my own, and praise the Lord for people like you), I have a hard time being hospitable with people that just drop by, and have to WORK at keeping my house as clean as my hubby would like. Oh and I get overwhelmed with too much social time very easily :)

  • Sharon K

    I love your balanced perspective on how God gifted each of us. I always wanted a large family (12 children to be exact) and I thought children were my area of expertise. I was wrong.

    God gave me no biological children but kept throwing me into ministry with college students until I finally got the hint. My ‘thing’ is to individually teach college girls ( from all over the globe) who Jesus is and how to walk in His ways. One-by-one… carefully opening the Word and answering their questions as I lead them to Jesus.

    I never would have dreamed I could do this, let alone have a passion for it. It take my breath away that He has enabled me to do this each day. And God has given me countless spiritual children who now span the globe.

    God gave this shy girl a boldness to do His ‘thing’– which has become my ‘thing’.
    Praise Him!!

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  • http://houghslife.blogspot.com/ Sarah

    Awesome. Thank you so much for the encouragement to remember how unique we are each created!

  • Janamfraley

    I loved this ! So often I get caught up in the comparison trap, and know that is just where Satan wants me because I’m so focused on what I CAN’T do that I’m not able to do for God what He has equipped ME to do. Your comment on scrapbooking made me laugh because I do love to scrapbook, but I don’t scrap anything like my girlfriends do and too often I compare and leave discouraged! Now I just enjoy my own individuality that comes out in my pages. Isn’t that what it’s all about? God created us each different, with different gifts and talents, and quirks and personalities! We should celebrate them, not get bogged down in wishing that we were more like someone else!

  • http://twitter.com/StefLayton Stef Layton

    Well, I’m not a good cook. And I totally stink at house chores. I can’t keep my cool and I shout a lot. I can’t fold laundry before it wrinkles. I keep praying for the desire to take care of my home with joy … 10yrs unanswered prayer.

    BUT … you want a cheerleader — that’s me. I love to encourage.

    I want to love my kids like you love others Joy – pray for me?!

  • alison

    I love this! It is so hard to feel that we are adding to God’s purpose when something cannot be measured by the world’s standards. Thank you, Joy.

  • Anon

    Great articl! I love reading and gathering info.I love reading commenmtaries and always learning how to do something and love to share what i learnt wheter it be a recipe or a book i just read that is my thing :)

  • Amy Walker

    Love this! I was an elementary ESL teacher and boy was my thing the same thing. It’s been a while though…I was helping at a backyard Bible club last year and all kinds of nervous about it…but boy did it come back. Still my thing! :) My dear friend who is a missionary in Brazil told me about your blog! I love it! Blessings to you.

  • Janelle

    Loving and serving people of any age or past is my thing!!!! Talking about Jesus is my thing!!!! Oh yeah, I can cook!!! Not my thing: Sewing, organizing, scrapbooking, watching movies, eating mushrooms. Joy, this was such a sweet post….you are beautiful. love and miss you!

  • Lisa Fischer

    Only when we embrace our differences can we begin to grasp the greatness of our God! It took me so long to see this… well I’m still working on it really. My thing? This would be a great blog post all on its own… thanks for the inspiration.

    I’m a roll-with-the-punches gal who plans for good measure. I like to collect ideas into calendar squares only to abandon them for good weather and great company. Have a burden? Would love to approach His throne of grace on your behalf… in fact it’s quite an honor. Trying new things is my thing. Reading and writing is my thing. Arithmetic is not! Worship is my thing (not because of talent, only because of heart). Running is my thing. Oh and worshiping while I’m running? Yes!!! Encouraging others in Christ is my thing. Coffee is my thing and over good conversation is definitely my thing. Team cooking with my hubby is our thing and having people over is our dream thing. If you’re ever stateside in CO, swing on by.

    I appreciate your things and I love how they make you uniquely you. And I love how your things spill into this space and encourage us all. Humbly, thanks.

  • http://ourjourneyoffaith.net/ Mama D’s Dozen

    I wrote a post about this tonight, and linked over to you.
    :) :) :)

  • Akeelah

    Wow, this is so encouraging, Joy! I often compare myself to other women, feeling not pretty enough, slender enough, tall enough, good enough, but OH how amazing would it be if all that energy was spent simply being who GOD made me to be!?! I oughta try that! Thanks again, girl! Keep writing, please!

  • BethanyL

    Thank you so much for this. I’m single and praying daily for the Lord’s will, but in my time of insecurity and uncertainty, your blog truly encouraged me. Your description of yourself reminds me exactly of myself and for so long I’ve struggled with feeling “known.” If that makes any sense. I appreciate you and will put you and your family on my prayer list.

  • shannon nixon

    This really blessed me, thank you!

  • Ashley

    Good for you, sister. I struggle with this! Women LOVE to compare themselves to one another. For some reason, we are programmed to do that. And I use the term “love” loosely. In actuality, we drive ourselves nuts in the end because living a life drawing comparisons to one another is not healthy or productive.

    Thank you for this encouraging post. Your “thing” is awesome. And your blog is wonderful – that might also be your “thing.”


  • Christa Sterken

    Fantastic message, I’ll be sharing for sure! If only we could celebrate our “can do”. I hear women all the TIME feeling less than their friends and neighbors. In the last few years I have accepted that I am not good at many things. They aren’t MY thing. But if you need x, y and z then I am your girl. I can write and make people think deeper about how they see things. I can’t bear any responsibility that includes organizing and discovered Im sort of commitment phobic. But that comes on the heals of discovering I think God wants me to be “available” when people need someone to hear and see them

  • http://gospelhomemaking.com/ Amy Clark Scheren

    I’m so glad you’ve been putting these archived posts on Facebook. You always encourage and challenge my heart. Your humility strikes the perfect balance between the two.

    I think my “thing” is that I can empathize with others. I try to put myself in someone else’s shoes so I can realize how to pray, offer encouragement, or meet a physical need.

    Hope you’re surviving (and enjoying!) your family trip!

  • Lindsey Knott

    Thank you for this. I quite often feel inadequate for all the things I am not & am learning to embrace what I AM in Christ. Such a great encouragement!

  • Living So Abundantly

    Love this! I am with you. When there’s a talent show, I don’t normally fit in. However, I LOVE kids and acting goofy. My hubby says that’s why I was an amazing teacher–ha! My baby boy laughs at everything I do, which of course fills my love tank. I appreciate your perspective and that you are embracing who God made you to be.

  • jswathome

    What an encouraging article. I have 10 children and when we first began having our children I got caught up in all of the stereotypes. Sew your children’s clothes, make all food from scratch, create amazing scrapbook pages, etc. The reality is I would rather spend my time talking with my children, instructing them, working with them. Whenever strangers talk to my children they say, “Your mom must be really organized.” I have instructed my children to politely say, “She is more organized than she used to be.”

    We happen to make most of our food from scratch because we love to! We raise chickens, goats, a cow, ducks, dogs and cats because we love to (most of time). Every woman and every family is going to look different. Praise God!!

    My hope for my daughters is that they find there sufficiency in Christ and not in how they compare to others.

  • Heidi Hinnenkamp

    I think I may have found a kindred spirit in you. This post made me tear up. I love your authenticity and sweetness. I’m so thankful my sister in law sent me the link to your blog! Thanks for sharing!