Monday, July 25, 2011

Being Ann Voskamp

No one ever describes me as "sweet."

It's true. Of all the descriptors people use, "sweet" rarely makes the list. I get "funny" or "sassy." Even a few mentions of "spunky" in between the (half-joking) utterances of "lazy." I mean, I'm capable of doing some sweet things—once in a while I'm even thoughtful!—but my overall demeanor isn't necessarily sweet. I don't seem to have what people call a "gentle spirit."

But you know who does? Ann Voskamp.

She made an appearance at the Saturday night session of She Speaks. I'll be honest: I didn't know who she was until about five minutes before. I had to ask someone. I'm apparently not up on all the hip books.

Keep me informed, people. Really.

Ann Voskamp. And she's pretty, too! Jeepers!
Ann Voskamp is the author of One Thousand Gifts, a new book about gratitude and thanksgiving. As soon as she got on stage, you could tell that she was just a sweet, humble person with a gentle spirit. She said, "I'm not really a speaker," and then she proceeded to spend an hour spilling the most beautiful words I've heard in a long time. Truly, it was like poetry. I was mesmerized. And silent.

And that doesn't happen very often.

As she spoke, I thought, "I'm not like that. She's so calm. She's so gentle. She just seems like such a godly woman. Is that what godly women act like? Because that's not me, then, Lord." I actually cried thinking about it.

As I left the session and headed to my hotel room (trying not to speak to anyone, lest I transition to a full-out bawl), I asked God, "Should I be more like that? Am I too sassy to be godly? Should I not be that way? What good could I possible be to you when my personality is so loud and sassy?"

After a few more tears, I felt God speak to my heart:

Rachel, I need you to reach different people than Ann does. I've got something else for you.

Oh. Right.

Isn't it amazing that God can use both someone soft like Ann and someone sassy like me? We both have a place in ministry; we both have a purpose in God's kingdom. I'm sure Ann's not always gentle and calm. I mean, the woman has six kids—she's got to freak out once in a while. I'll bet there are times when I'm gentle and calm, too.

Even if it's only for a nanosecond, I'll bet it happens.

It's fine to think about how you fit into ministry or into God's kingdom. Just don't doubt that you do. God made you. He knows who you are at the core and how you fit into everything. He's made Rachels, he's made Anns, he's made everyone in between, and we all have unique traits that make us indispensable to God. And if you're not sure how or where you fit, don't hesitate to ask him. If you're willing to serve, he's got a spot for you. Seriously.

I mean, he's even got a spot for funny, sassy, spunky, lazy me! So, clearly, he can work with anyone.

Do you ever doubt your usefulness in God's kingdom?

P.S. - I just ordered Ann's book. I'll let you know how it is!  :) If it's anything like her presentation the other night, I'm prepared to have my socks knocked off. You should go get it, too, and then we'll have something to talk about!


  1. What a PLEASURE it was to meet you sweetie this weekend. truly. Thank you for sharing your heart here...your realness, your thoughts. Remember the skit before Micca's talk yesterday -- we ALL have our own special unique gift wrapped up just perfectly from God -- YOU my friend have a very special gift, I'm so happy you see it!! YES, Ann's words were amazing and touched us all, I am sure -- but don't compare...Your words even through this simple post will touch and impact those who read it.

    After this weekend, there is NO DOUBT in my mind how God plans to use me. I don't know all the details {which is probably best} I will just keep putting one foot in front of the other focusing on Him...

    Keeping it Personal,
    Teri Johnson

  2. Isn't it amazing how God made us each so different, but we all have the same purpose - to serve & love Him. Reminds me of the song that basically says, doesn't matter if you are flipping burgers, raising kids, or on some remote mission, it's all bringing glory to God if you are doing it for thr right reason.

  3. Sassy friend I heart you! Thanks for being generous with your twitter knowledge this weekend at She Speaks. You blessed me! And please keep the laughs coming! The Good Lord knows we all need some funny :) Get ready for the book. It will blow your mind. We serve an Awesome God. Steph

  4. Nice to connect with you even if only for a moment. Love this article. Can't believe you wrote it already...I still have fog mind. BTW, I had similar feelings and similar whispers from God. We all have a story and there is someone who needs to hear it! Go girl!

  5. Rachel, Amen and Amen sister. God is good to make us different and use us as He made us. So glad we connected this weekend. ;)

  6. Well done, friend! I'm so glad we were able to spend time together this weekend. And I'm especially glad that God spoke to you in this way. I like you just as you are! We all have different roles to fill. I'm glad I can learn from both the Anns and the Rachels.

  7. Amen! We all reach different people, and the world absolutely needs "The Lazy Christian"! By the way, I'm still speechless over Ann Voskamp's words Saturday night. Simply life-changing.

  8. What a beautiful message He whispered to your heart this weekend!

    You truly have spoken a truth, here Rachel. The one thing that is easy to do in attending conferences (or simply reading a book by a well known Pastor or ministry leader) is comparing our gifts to the gifts of others.

    The one thing I've learned from Ann's book thus far is this - count it all grace. God's grace is found in the personalities He has created each of us to have. I am completely empathetic with you concerning the lack of having a sweet spirit - but as I grow deeper in Him, I am discovering I do have my own sweetness that He created my heart to have. I express is much differently than Ann, or others who have calm, sweet spirits. And in her book actually, you will discover just how crazy it is inside her head and home...and how she finds peace & grace in thanksgiving.

    The more I enter into what she explains as the Latin term, "Eucharisto" is that our thanks...our constant thanks...transforms our hearts into the likeness He created them to be.

    We can still be sassy, and sweet.

    We can still be blunt, but graceful.

    We can still be angry (at times), but thankful.

    That is the beauty, and mystery, of His grace. He makes the ugly...beautiful. And you...Rachel...are beautiful. Inside and out.

    I adore your sassiness...and I am thankful that I was privy to experience it first hand this weekend. Your life embellishes mine...and I am so thankful for you.

    Thank you for this post...thank you for hanging out with me a bit this weekend...and thank you for your heart. Always. Love you!

  9. I get you! I get you! I have never been described as sweet or gentle. Typically people say confident or funny. (i.e. loud). I feel the same way you do sometimes, but God has a place for all of us. And for that I am so thankful.

    "Chatty Kelly"

  10. p.s. I am doing a meme at my blog about She Speaks, and I'd love it if you have time to participate.

    Head over and see.

    www (dot) chattykelly (dot) com

  11. Great, great stuff. I compare myself to other MOMS who are gentle, soft-spoken and quiet - total opposite of me.

    What you've said is something that everyone needs to grab a hold of: God made us all unique ON PURPOSE.

    And part of the reason I {HEART} your blog is BECAUSE you are sassy and funny. :)

  12. Yes! There are definitely times I wish I was as gentle as Ann or some of my closest friends. (That gentle spirit is one I'm drawn to greatly.) This post holds such encouragement, though. God made me to fulfill different purposes than the next girl. How amazing!

  13. I love how God stepped right in and spoke such a radical truth to you, Rachel. He MADE you the way you are, and we both love you AS IS. :-)

    You will touch many people with your unique gifting and personality. The cool thing is, He knows who you can reach, and they NEED you! Seriously.



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