We have to be braver than we think we can be, because God is constantly calling us to be more than we are, to see through plastic sham to living reality, and to break down our defenses of self-protection in order to be free to receive and give love. - Madeleine L'Engle
If we are qualified, we tend to think that we have done the job ourselves. - Madeleine L'Engle
In Walking on Water L'Engle writes about her awkward childhood, which was mostly spent alone with her books. When she discovered writing, she found that she didn't have to be qualified according to the world's standards to write.
L'Engle has many stories of awkward young girls who don't quite fit in to their own lives, and these were encouraging to read as I grew up. I've been rereading some of her books this fall, and am reminded of all those out-of-place feelings I had too.
When I write, I feel that my strengths are coming together. I'm observant, good at listening, I like to read and research, and I can sit quietly for hours. But those aren't qualities that the world values. When I find myself at a cocktail party or even church social hour, I feel unqualified in life. Small talk, pop culture, and sports are just not my things.
When I focus on these failures and wish I was different (and I have spent a good amount of time wishing this), I feel that God must have made a mistake. When I was fired from a church for not having the right personality for the job, I felt like God must have made a mistake.
But God doesn't make mistakes. No part of us is a mistake - our personality, our bodies, our education, our health. We may prefer something else, and the world may tell us that we are wrong and insufficient, but we are not made by mistake.
God is working through us and in us to accomplish wonderful things that he has planned. We can't see his plan, and we can't stop his purposes with any mistakes or failures.
If "with God all things are possible" (Matthew 19:25-26), then without God are all things impossible?
Do we really believe that God can accomplish the impossible?
Do we really believe that God can use all of us, including our mistakes, for good?