One of the biggest things I learned from the Making Things Happen Conference last week was that I have been feeding myself a lot of negative mental junk lately.  I’ve been telling myself I can’t write this book.  I will fail.  I am not a good writer.  So, I am fighting to re-write that dialogue in my head and in my heart.

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You see, we do this to ourselves.  This self-sabatoge is what holds us back from greatness.  At our cores we are more afraid of — are you ready for this?success than we are of failure.  Why?  Because realizing our fullest potential means we may have to shake things up.  We may be seen or noticed.  We might have to live up to a higher expectation.  We might fail.  We might actually do the things we’ve been put on this earth to do and… then what?  We might have to do more.  These are the things that swim in our heads and make us tell ourselves that we aren’t enough.

You are enough.

You were meant to do great things for God.

You were meant to shine.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. – Marianne Williamson

Dear self (and everyone everywhere ever): your playing small and feeding yourself negative thoughts is not serving the world.

lara casey blog

One thing we had attendees to at the MTH Conference (full recap coming soon) is to rewrite these negative statements that hold us back.  This board is being LIVED – in tiny baby steps and giant leaps – be these alum now. (I am so proud of you all and inspired by the leaps you are taking!)  Rewriting negative thoughts is a daily, hourly, moment-to-moment fight, but a fight that is worth it.  A fight that yields good fruit.  Mine “I AM statement” is right in the middle in black: I am NOT OVERWHELMED.  I am an author and a mother of more and a missionary.

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My friend and MTH Conference attendee, Cheyenne, shared this yesterday that really resonated with me and many others:

One of my takeaways from the Making Things Happen conference was the idea of “rewriting my feelings”…flipping my negative feelings around to create positive ones. I have found it to be quite empowering and helpful in regaining hope and confidence: I am working hard and doing GREAT at making steady progress. There IS enough time and it WILL all get done. I am a great wife, a great mama and a great business owner. I AM worthy to come to God and worship Him. I dare you to try it if you are feeling down or stressed or doubting yourself. But, you have to say it like you mean it. :) Despite the crazy workload, tonight I chose what really matters: my sweet little family.

Yes!  Say it like you mean it and DO something about it.

I have been constantly saying to myself and Ari that I “have no idea what I’m doing.  I am not equipped to write a book!”  These statement, I’m learning, are excuses.   Ways to let myself fail.  Ari said to me, “Babe, you sound like Moses saying you are not equipped!” I am no Moses(!), but that hit my heart like lightning. My first post blog post this year was inspired by me reading Exodus for the first time where Moses feels unprepared to do God’s work.

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And that post was read by the lady standing to my left in this photo above (love you Katie!), who sent the link to the lady to her left, who sent the post to the lady on my right — the acquisitions editor at Thomas Nelson — who sent me an email asking me if I would consider writing a book with Thomas Nelson. A few weeks ago, they came to Indianapolis where I was speaking at the Influence Conference (recap coming soon — lots of blogging in the wings!) to encourage me and guide me in this journey. And I am singing Moses’ words through my whole being… words God gave him to say… ‘The Lord will fight for you, you need only be still.’ (Exodus 14:14)

Be still.

This is not a post about how great it is that I’m writing a book. What IS great is that God takes us lowly beings — simple imperfect humans — and He does crazy things with our lives for His glory when we say YES.  Things we may not feel capable of, but He can make the impossible possible. I am not perfectly equipped, but I know the good news. And that, I am learning, is enough.

I am a writer.

God has given me a story to tell.

I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.

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Sending my book contract off last week.

Fight the lies in your head that tell you that you are not good enough. Fight the distractions and the no’s and the false belief that you are not ready. Something Shauna Niequist said at the Influence Conference that struck me: “An opportunity dropped in my lap and so I decided to rise to the occasion for God.” Note to self: fight the fear and choose that. I am praying the same for all of you too!

What is the negative dialogue you’ve been feeding yourself?  Let me know in the comments and rewrite it with your own “I AM” statement here too!

Show Comments (45)
  1. Alicia A

    I so can’t wait to be uplifted, inspired and encouraged by your book!

  2. Jennifer Skinner

    YES!!!! This is exactly what I needed to read today. I woke up with a heavy heart of guilt, self-doubt and general anxiety. Two amazing things happened this morning (one of them being reading your post) that have changed my day tremendously. It’s almost as if God guides me at times to the things I need to see to stay on track.

    Yes YOU are a great writer! Look at the power your words have to change someone’s day!

    I started to cry when I looked at the I AM board from MTH and saw my I AM statement — it was the very thing I was feeling guilt and self-doubt about. Seeing there so boldly and reading your post reinforced what I know…I AM A GREAT STEP-MOM!

    I love your heart Lara, you inspire me always!

  3. Nancy

    I can’t believe MTH was only a week ago. I’ve flipped so many things and guess what…my people have been so supportive. I didn’t tell people where I was going, I was just vauge and said a conference. The old me was to nervous of what other people would like of it. When I came home I corrected that and told my nearest and dearest that I attended MTH. I did so much work on my heart and soul. I left my baggage in Chapel Hill and it’s gone. I feel totally different and no longer speak negatively to myslef or anyone else. I AM CONFIDENT & ENOUGH!!!! I love you Lara Casey, you’ve helped me change my life :)
    XOXO
    Nancy

    • Lara

      I am so grateful to hear this, Nancy! God is so good and faithful!

  4. Jessica Welshans

    Personally, my negative dialogue has been that my anxiety is conquering me. It completely overwhelms me, and I keep telling myself that there’s something wrong with me, and always will be. How does this help? NOT AT ALL!

    I AM CONFIDENT THAT THERE IS A GOD WHO IS BIGGER THAN ME AND MY ANXIETY. I AM BEAUTIFULLY AND WONDERFULLY MADE.

    For my business, I have been telling myself that I will never grow. I’m trying to become a stellar Texas wedding photographer, but I’m so scared that I’ve invested a lot of money into something that will never become anything.

    I AM TALENTED. I AM DRIVEN AND DETERMINED. I DO NOT NEED CLIENTS AND PRAISE TO FULFILL ME. I AM A SERVANT. I AM NOT GOING TO SUCCEED BECAUSE OF SELFISH AMBITION, BUT BECAUSE OF SELFLESSNESS.

    Thank you Lara for having me do this. You are truly an inspiration!

    • Lara

      You inspire me so much! LOVE all that you wrote here!

    • christa jean

      Jessica! I just wrote half of what you said in my journal. SO good. I added: I AM FAVORED. I AM NOT RULED BY FEAR. And a few other statements.
      I can relate so well to your feeling that something is wrong with you. But, I have been learning (sometimes super slooooooowly) that the thoughts in my head are not all my own. There are whispers from the Accuser as well that like to lodge themselves. I can’t wait to read Dr. Carolyn Leaf’s new book, “Switch On Your Brain” and start kicking out those toxic thoughts that have sabotaged my life and small business. I pray for you and I that 2014 would be a year of more freedom from fear/anxiety! Bless you!

  5. Jenny Collier

    So proud of you for sending off that book contract! You are one amazing woman and I can’t wait to see all of the lives you change with your book.

    I posted about my MTH experience here:

    http://jennycollier.com/?p=9399

  6. Monica T Smith

    Love this post! This year my words of encouragement posted on the fridge and mirrors in my home, “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind…” (Romans 12:2) have brought me to my knees daily. I have learned that my mental state is what it is by my choosing, not people or circumstances.

    I have been making an effort to catch myself when my mind wanders to the negative and saying, “This is enough!” I follow up with Scripture that tells of who I am in Christ: I am the head and not the tail. I am blessed going in and coming out. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. I am redeemed, reconciled, restored and made righteous in Jesus Christ (this is a bible study in the works!). I am His and He loves me with an everlasting love. He has called me to Himself, to be loved and used by Him. The Bible is full of precious words that bring life. We must choose whom/Whom we will serve and follow the “how” that is applicable.

    Keep standing in Him, Lara. He will guide you just as He did Moses. As God told Joshua, “As I was with Moses, so I will be with you” (Joshua 1). Trust that He is there and in His promise that He will never leave you nor forsake you.

    Love you girl!
    Monica

  7. Michelle Amarillo

    AHHH! This post is seriously what I needed today and always. I was just wallowing in self pity the other day but for what?! I am ENOUGH. I GOT THIS!! Cheers to making things happen!!!

  8. Melissa Dell

    Yes. Yes yes yes. I’m in that spot right now. My husband and I know I need to change – I need a position I feel passionate about, challenged, motivated. I’ve been at a desk job for 9 years that I can do in my sleep. I come here for a paycheck. Nothing more.

    He’s been encouraging me to find my passion but I think I’m too scared to write down all my strengths and put that against what I should do. I see posts come up with things I think I’d love – a content creator for a local company to work with other small companies, or your MTH client relations. I get scared, think i’m ill-equiped but I know if I was someone else looking at me, I’d say YOU’RE CRAZY! You started your own business, you blog, you network, you motivate others, you partner people together so their needs can be fulfilled. You help all. You have a master’s, you are a born leader & helper but then self-doubt sets in and another year passes at my job.

    I took a leap of faith and “pitched” myself to a blogger group owner, and now we’re working on things together to build it up, encourage each other. I felt God calling me to contact her even though I thought she’d think “who IS this girl?” (we had met twice – once before BlogHer ’12 and then in NYC for it) but ya know what? We work well, I’m helping find sponsors for our local conference next spring. I keep thinking I have to prove myself to her but each time I realize I’m just trying to prove to ME that I can do it. Baby steps. But yes. thank you.

    I sent this post to my husband, too, because I feel he sometimes has those same thoughts that keeps him from doing great, amazing things.

  9. Jenna Beach

    Exodus 14:14 has been our life verse the past few months as we’ve been in the thick of therapy for PTSD.

    You are a brilliant woman and God has big plans for you. You personally touched my life and encouraged me to be a writer and tell our story that God has given us. It seems crazy to me right now, but Eric and I have been encouraged by a few people in the past couple weeks that one day we are meant to write a book about our story. I am amazed how God continues to use you to encourage me. You have a special place in my heart Lara! <3

    An amazing woman from my church is an author and her passion is helping authors get started. If you ever need guidance or encouragement, she would love on you in a heartbeat.

    LOVE,

    Jenna

  10. Nicole

    Someone once made me feel like I wasn’t enough. That I wasn’t creative enough, that I was a copy-cat of a dream that we both shared and it hurt my heart. I attended MTH in March and was so scared to admit that to anyone, even then. All this time I have been harboring those words and letting that one person drive my fears that I’m not enough and today it stops. I am enough. I am creative and a business owner. I am worthy of following my dreams. You’ve got this Lara!!

    • Lara

      Yes, you are more than enough Nicole!!!

    • Beverly

      Thank you for sharing this, Nicole. I let go of my dream job/path 5 years ago because I allowed people to make me feel I wasn’t enough. Ever since then I have been settling and running from my true self… Your post tugged at my heart. Thanks.

      Wishing you all the best in your creative endeavors!

  11. nakeia

    This is so big for me! I even wrote a blog and recorded a video about it not too long a ago. I titled it “How To Know When To Shut Up!”

    It can be difficult silencing those negative voices. I am soo excited that you are silencing them and can’t wait for your book! What you say + how you say— is God’s gift to us THROUGH you!!!

    Can’t wait!

  12. nakeia

    Oh, my I AM’s…

    I am a good mom!
    I am capable of running 2 businesses and loving on my family!
    I am in divine health!
    I am an overcomer!
    I am fine—just as I am!

  13. Kylie

    AHHHHHH!!! I am leaping with JOY right now!!!! This post and your heart and these words are pure gold. Needed to be reminded of these things so, so badly this morning! I am capable of making BIG things happen, right now and in this season of my life. Amen and hallelujah!

  14. Jillian

    Wow. I am incredibly grateful for this post! My husband and I just had a conversation last night about my next steps in achieving my dreams. I broke down when it all came pouring out that I just didn’t think I could do it. I didn’t know what I was doing. The striking phrase ” I feel like God has pushed me out on a boat with no paddle” came out of my mouth. That feel was so real, but also is so incredibly wrong. Because God doesn’t do that. So here I am. It’s a new day and I AM..

    ENOUGH
    A GOOD DESIGNER
    DOING WHAT GOD HAS CALLED ME TO DO
    A GOOD WIFE
    CAPABLE OF OWNING A SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS
    WORTHY OF GRACE

    Thank you Lara! I needed this challenge today! Totally blessed by you!

  15. Jasmine

    Lara, your written words are what drew me to you and they still have a great influence on me. You were MADE to write this book, just know that you will be speaking to a lot of us almost personally!

    Now GO write :)

  16. Emily

    Yes!! Thank YOU for sharing your heart..I needed this encouragement. I have realized lately how prideful I am and that pride steams from the belief that I am to enough and that I can not succeed. What God has been teaching me lately is that I talk, think about ME too much. I am nothing without Him and His grace. When I connect with Him, refocus on my priorities and humble myself His grace becomes sufficient and His power is revealed in my weakness.

    I am a humble, joy-filled servant of the King of Kings.
    I am Him
    I am enough because He IS my all.

  17. Becky

    Lara, I’ve been following you for a few years now (read: a lurker) and I’ve decided that I will drop a comment about this. PLEASE, write that book. I know I’m going to buy it, already. The world needs your wisdom, and I believe you *are* fully equipped with all you need — look at this blog! Look at MTH! You’ve done greatness before, just continue doing it. No overthinking — just do what you believe needs to be done.

  18. Sara Beth Fachetti

    That “I Am” board is what inspired my tattoo I got the day after MTH! To remind me that I am and of I AM. With God all things are possible.

  19. Tabitha

    I’m buying that book girlfriend! Can’t wait! YAY!!!!!!

  20. Lissa

    THANK YOU!
    I find negative talk to be such a struggle for me! I’ll be doing my own “IAM” board- Love that idea.

    IAM
    a great mom
    a good wife
    enough
    capable
    valuable despite what my to-do lists say.

  21. Zachanta

    I AM created for a purpose. I am more than a fancy corporate title. I am going to own a successful business. I am everything my husband and son need me to be. I AM God’s child.

  22. Sylvia

    WOW this just knocked my socks off!
    With God I am well equiped to be and do all that he has called me to do and be. I am a great mother, wife, sister,friend, daughter, teacher encourager, go getter, connector

  23. alana taylor

    This reminds me how necessary it is that we preach truth to ourselves. When we feel those doubts creeping in, we can remember how God sees us. We then remember that, not only should we value God’s opinion of us above the opinions of others, we should also value His opinion of us more than the one we have of ourselves. After all, we didn’t create ourselves or set ourselves apart. He did all of that! And He will continue to accomplish great things through us.

  24. Kristen Ostow

    Hi Lara,

    Thank you so very much for this post. I am launching my very own business in January and as I work on final items I find myself fearing there isn’t enough time to be a wife, a business owner, and possibly a future mom. But today this post encouraged me, it was refreshing, and I am starting over. I have my Little Black Book of to dos out and I am writing in there now:
    You are enough.

    You were meant to do great things for God.

    You were meant to shine.

    Thank you today and always for being such an inspiration. :o ) Proverbs 16:3 Love, Kristen O.

  25. Sara

    I’ve been telling myself my blog is no big deal and I don’t know what I’m doing with it, or why I’m even doing it. The truth is that I am a writer with a story to tell (like you!) and I love sharing. I am head-over-heels passionate about it, about healthy living, about growing and changing for the better… I AM!! ((Of course, that’s just one of the many negative things I tell myself… your post inspires me to change the tune!!))

  26. Katie Bond

    Love YOU, friend. Honored our paths have intersected, humbled to play a role in your story, and grateful you’re sharing this message with the world. Thank you for your faithfulness!! xoxox

  27. Holly

    I read this blog post earlier today. I kid you not, later tonight at Small Group, another member shared the Exodus 14:14 verse! God is so good!

  28. Tamika

    You are a beautiful inspiration. I can see God working His Love through you. I am truly grateful for the messages He’s sent along the way and I will not let the opportunities He’s granted me fade away because of fear and anxiety. He needs more from me and I am finally ready to give Him more. Lara, thank you for not giving up because He won’t and as long as you trust that, everything H e wants for you is yours.

  29. Beverly

    Lara, thank you for sharing your heart and bringing together a community of creatives – encouraging each other and loving God. I never imagined I could find so much inspiration and hope from people I have never met before; including you. Thank you for all you do, write, and share.
    My ‘I AM’ is… I am NOT alone. In a season of life when I feel so far from my family (geographically) and myself most days, I MUST trust that I AM NOT ALONE. God’s with me on this crazy path I’m traveling, teaching me… something… Praying for discernment, direction, and finding my way ‘home’ (literally) soon.
    Good luck with your book! You’ve totally got this – He’s working through you and touching the hearts of so many.

  30. Lauren @ Every Last Detail

    Definitely definitely DEFINITELY needed this this week! I’m going through a rebranding process, and a big part of why I even started rebranding was because of some self realizations. However, those self realizations have also caused an extreme amount of self doubt. So rewriting my negative dialogue…
    I AM good enough.
    I DO have something special to share with others.
    I CAN DO THIS.

    And Lara, SO very proud of you. It has been so amazing to witness YOU and all of the amazing things that you have done, are doing, and will do!

  31. Julie

    Negative dialogue- where to begin. “You’re life is out of control. You are powerless. You are not capable of losing weight/ getting control of your eating issues. Why would any man want to marry you with the amount of student loan debt you have/ the crazy family you have. You will never be able to finish your Masters, what made you were smart enough.” All things I’ve thought this week alone. When you come from a very critical family who only likes to point out where you have messed up, it is so hard to get out of this mindset.

    So, how about this: “Jesus is in control. I am capable of being free. Some guy will be lucky to have me. I will be a wonderful designer and all those years of hard work will pay off in the end. Jesus has taken care of me the past 28 years and will continue to do so.”

  32. Hope Easter

    That i’m not good enough, and not equipped to do what God’s called me to do. But the truth is……I AM equipped! God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies those whom he calls! And instead of running around in circles I will do one actionable step each day to make my dreams come true. Right now I’m back in school getting my degree. But I’ve bee hiding behind my computer scared to move, scared to make those dreams a reality. But not anymore! I’m done hiding. Lara thank you so much, I seriously feel like you stalk my life, because everything you write about is where I’m at in my life now. Thank you for being you! Love you!!!

  33. Links à la mode // 11.1.13 | Lovely Thoughts

    [...] You are enough. // the loveliest, most inspiring words from one of my role models. If you need a gentle nudge to pursue the dreams God  has placed on your heart, then please, check out Lara’s blog – so much goodness and encouragement! Also, please keep me in your prayers – I have so many ideas and drafts started of books I want to write, but my fears, insecurities and excuses keep holding me back from making progress. [...]

  34. Shefali Lindsey

    I am so excited/happy/excited/overjoyed/did I mention excited for you, friend. So proud of you! xoxo

  35. Ashley

    Thanks for sharing these words of encouragement, Lara! You are an inspiration!

  36. Katie Wade

    Thank you Lara for always being so honest and up-lifting. As I start this new business venture and work my 9-5 I often feel frazzled. Whenever these moments happen I read your blog and it creates a sense of peace. :) Thank you.