one thing we’re waiting for (and why it’s time to stop)

Real talk. Last night I had a dream that the people in charge of the Women of Faith conference called (in my dream, they were called Women of Courage, but I’m going to go ahead and make an assumption) and they wanted me to join their lady tour.

And y’all? In my dream, I really wanted to do it. As in, I called up Jennie Allen and was all Wussup, girl?! Because I’m cool like that.

When I woke up and realized it was a dream (and also Women of Faith, not courage) I took a little time to figure that dream out.

I realize there’s a risk in telling you this dream because now I worry you all think I harbor a secret desire to speak in arenas.

I do not. But there was something about that dream that I couldn’t shake after I woke up.

I met someone once who is all dreamy (as in, she studies dreams, not that I want to date her) and she said the main thing to pay attention to in a dream isn’t so much every detail, but the overall feeling of the dream.

And so when I woke up after that Women of Faith dream I was struck with the feeling that lingered with me — it was the feeling of being picked.

Sometimes don’t we just want to be picked?

I know you think I’m gonna be all, But God picks you!

I’m not. I mean, God does pick you. He totally does. But there is sometimes a disconnect for me between God picking me as a child he loves and God empowering me to make an impact in the world around me.

My husband went to hear Seth Godin speak in Tribeca this past summer and you know what the theme of his talk was?

Pick yourself.

It’s an important message to me. Because even though I know as a believer that my identity is solid in Christ, if I don’t decide to believe it for myself then it won’t impact the way I love, the way I live, or the way I work.

This past year I’ve struggled through the writing process more than I’ve ever struggled before. I’ve been working through a lot of self- doubt and discouragement and it’s affected my writing voice – somewhat here on the blog, but more so in the book I’ve been working on.

Two years ago, Seth wrote a post called Reject the Tyranny of Being Picked:

“Once you understand that there are problems just waiting to be solved, once you realize that you have all the tools and all the permission you need, then opportunities to contribute abound. No one is going to pick you. Pick yourself.”

When I filter that statement through the reality of my life in Christ, it becomes even stronger. Have I been given a spirit of power, love, and a sound mind? Yes? Then what else could I possibly be waiting for?

Last weekend, I wrote this for you in my weekend post:

Go ahead and take time off from your self-doubt for the weekend. May the break be so freeing that you decide to make it permanent.

You know why I wrote that? Because I desperately needed to hear it. And I took my own advice after that. I made it permanent.

I decided that the self-doubt isn’t really working for me.

I decided that this book I’m working on for you is important.

I decided to have courage because really, what have I got to lose?

I picked myself.

What about you?


  1. says

    I have thoughts on this that haven’t quite coalesced yet, but one thought I can articulate: It’s hard to pick yourself when you’re applying for jobs waiting for someone to at least call you for an interview, let alone pick you. So your post is very timely when it comes to that. Not just in the reminder that God’s picked me in love, but the rest of it. I just have to figure out (as I’ve been trying to do for the last 6 months) what it is I need to pick myself for.

  2. says

    oh i love this.
    women of courage. between that & hearing you say “wassup” is just too good.
    i’m thinking WOF might just change their name or add the sequel tour and they’ll certainly pick you sister.
    great message to get in my teenagers little hearts too

  3. says

    So simple, yet so profound. Thanks for sharing your TOTAL walk with the Lord–doubts and all. It makes me feel better about keeping on keeping on. Doubts and all.

    Can’t wait to learn more about your new book.

  4. says

    My word for 2013 is CHOOSE. I am discovering that the biggest choice I have this year is to choose myself. After years of being the last picked and other baggage I am slowly dropping the cloak of “unworthy” and choosing to step into all God wants of me. One step in front of the other. Thank you Emily.

  5. says

    I needed to read this today. I too have been struggling (as in dragging my feet and procrastinating and giving into self doubt galore) with a writing project…actually multiple projects. I honestly believe God picked me for it years ago and I’ve been resisting that notion ever since…even though He keeps confirming it. I’m a mess! But i appreciate your words of conviction and encouragement today. Today i get back to the project!

  6. says

    This is a completely new idea, but one that makes total sense. Self-doubt – self-pity even – can paralyze me. The image of the guitar pick will serve as a reminder that nobody is waiting for me to contribute what they don’t know I can.

  7. Jeanine says

    This is such a great post and so thought provoking! We adopted a daughter after thinking about it for literally twelve years. Yes, we believe that she was picked for us and vice versa, but in the end, we had to pick ourselves up and get busy with adoption paperwork, etc. despite our self doubts and self-ishness. You see, our youngest of 3 sons was ten at the time, and we could see the light at the end of the tunnel of parenting:). I can’t stop thinking about adoption lately, and I am humbled by God’s grace and so grateful to not have missed one of the greatest joys of our lives. Just by virtue of living in the U.S., we are richer than over 90% of the world, and so despite what we may think, it is possible for almost anyone to adopt. In the book, “Kisses from Katie” she makes the point that if only 8% of professing Christians would “pick” one child, there would be no more orphans in the world. I know this is a little off topic, but maybe it will encourage someone today to go ahead and pick up their cross and follow Jesus to do whatever He is calling them to, whether it be adoption or something else. All I can say is don’t miss out because time passes so quickly!

  8. says

    Thanks for this post. The words “pick yourself” resonate with me for many reasons. I’ve heard others say this to me recently as well. Funny how you can hear something multiple times and then there’s that one time where suddenly it hits your heart in a way it hasn’t before. This was that for me. I’m going to be thinking about what it means to “pick yourself.” Apparently I needed to hear this once more. I think it’s sticking now. Thanks!

  9. says

    I think God it trying to tell me something…I have heard that verse from 2Timothy several times in the last couple of days…2Timothy 1:7 – for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control… Thank you for the reminder that it is all we really need!

  10. says

    i had lunch with a girlfriend this week and she stopped me in my tracks with, “what are you afraid of?”
    we haven’t had a heart to heart for 20 years.
    and she nailed it.
    we are worth getting past the stuck.
    we are worth it.
    i love pick yourself.

  11. says

    Oh to go from picking on or at myself to choosing me. That’s a leap that I need to have Russian Ballerina Legs for. Yet, what else is there? Thanks for choosing first, and remembering to cheer loud enough for us all still on the other side to hear you.

  12. says


    This is exactly what I’ve been wrestling with lately–the certainty that I have a calling, a vision, a passion, but the realization that I’m not always the first to be included or picked. But I include, I pick, others. It’s what I’m good at. It’s what I do.

    I’ve started and stopped ventures because of the feeling of being overlooked, and I think it’s time I stop that.

    Instead, I have this assurance: platform or no platform, community or no community, God has called and created me for a specific purpose, and despite others’ perceived rejections of me or my feelings of inadequacy or fear of failure, His will is certain to be accomplished. I trust in that and abide in His Spirit to guide me.

    If others want to join along, I welcome them. If not, I bless them nevertheless. But I’m not going to quit my dream just because I don’t feel accepted, included, needed.

    I’m needed despite everything and, with this knowledge, I’m going to go forth and do, in Jesus’ name.

    Thank you,
    Renee Ronika

  13. says

    I had a dream one night last fall where I was preaching at my church, as in front of the entire congregation on a Sunday morning like it was no big thing. I am not a pastor. I do teach Bible study to women. I thought it was an odd dream so I told my friend about it and she immediately responded that I must want to do it, preach at my church. The truth is I do not. But I love what your friend said about the feeling. What I felt in the dream was acceptance, that I could be preaching. Me, a woman, who has been told I’m not enough because of my gender, was finally enough. Just as I am.

  14. says

    Emily – here I am again. The one who sounds like a broken record, but the truth is your words never fail to meet me right where I am (I mean exactly!). Who said the older women teach the younger? You are my daughter’s age, and I constantly learn lessons from your life. I am, without question, a very slow learner.
    These are all my struggles too. I’ve about given up on trying to write a book. All the second guessing just freezes me up and I can’t write a word without editing – let alone find my original voice.
    So thank you – again and again – for being open, honest and so very wise.
    Keep writing sweet girl.

  15. says

    The past two weeks have been crazy frustrating and I have been feeling a lot like God’s unloved stepchild. I know in my head that is not true, but it feeeeeeels that way. You know? My website ate my subscribers and my email will not authenticate, and even the remote control will not work for me!

    I needed to hear that I could pick myself and that I have all the tools to succeed…even if it takes several ( like going on 25), tries to authenticate the email. God is for me and even this crazy email cannot prevail against me!

    That’ll preach!

  16. says

    I’ve been living in this disconnect far too long. Thank you for being courageous enough to pick yourself out in the open, and in doing so, allowing others to be encouraged in the truth that they can too. Love what’s in this post, Emily.

  17. says

    Hi – I can’t tell you how much this speaks to me. I struggle with self doubt a lot, especially when it comes to serving in the ways I want to serve and living out the passions God’s given me. Every time I start to step out I fear rejection. God has been hitting me over the head (gently, of course) from so many angles with this message. Thank you for putting it into words that completely resonate and give me courage. :)

    (I haven’t commented as much as I’d like to have over the past year, but want to let you know that your writing has been such a blessing! Your words on creating helped me heal following years of illness, and I think of them all the time!)

  18. says

    Come sit a spell.
    Just a word, if I may.
    Chatting at the Sky arrives daily on my screen.
    Its always opened, always read. Whether the post captures the word weaver, the photo bug, the faith seeker, the long ago girl, or the woman of half a dozen decades; it always catches a bit of me. A bit that is inspired and swells for the better. Flourish my unmet friend. Flourish because your voice is distinctive and the breadth of your message shines with brilliance.

  19. amanda says

    I love this.

    For so many reasons. Most of which are a bit difficult for me to put into tidy sentences on a comment box.

    The simpliest reason is that I just recently had a bizarro-dream with a very distinct message for me. And sometimes, getting messages from dreams is a little crazy. So hearing your message from speaking at Womenn of Courage makes me feel less crazy and more certain that there was indeed a lesson wrapped up in my dream specifically for me. Right now.

    I’m grateful for your writing style and all the room that you leave for your readers to figure things out. Glory, God uses your words so often to get me thinking!

  20. says

    Hi, Emily. I’m glad you’re picking yourself to continue the work of using your gifts for God’s glory and our enlightenment. You truly make an impact. This post really spoke to me, thank you.

  21. Laura says

    If you only knew how your voice speaks directly to my soul, you’d never doubt yourself again. THANK YOU for sharing your heart and life through your gifted writing. You are a blessing.

  22. says

    ahhh…i love that you are in this place too. practically everything i have been writing and speaking about lately is about bold confidence in christ {hebrews 10:35} and using the platforms we are given to know him and make him known. i have had to fight for every ounce of the confidence to do some of the things God is calling me to do. i’m encouraged to hear someone else is putting their foot down…right down on top of all that fear and doubt that keeps creeping up on us. thanks for being courageous.

  23. says

    i love it when God speaks through others. I SO NEEDED TO HEAR THIS! working with youth girls as their “girls ministry director” i get so self-doubty. i forget that He’s chosen me for this spot in this season and I’m it.
    so, here’s to picking myself!!!

    love to you!

  24. says

    Yes, this. I don’t have a project or a specific now adventure I’m hesitating on. . .it’s more like a mini-depression from feeling like I’m not up to the challenges of my own life(which truly are not that heavy right now). Self-doubt is choking me and I didn’t even realize exactly what it was. Thank you.

  25. Linda says

    Oh my gosh! Thank you for the whack on the head with this post! I am slogging through my own writing project and self-doubt is my constant companion. I keep looking at what I am writing and me standing on my own personal soap box and wondering how this could possibly be relevant to anyone else. But you know…. maybe what God has burned in my heart to say needs to be said. I can’t write what’s not in my head–only what’s there. I just wish it wasn’t such a slog lately.

  26. says



    Thank you very much for writing what I needed to read. To be honest, I tend to waver between a ridiculous sense of thinking I can do it all and a ridiculous sense of thinking I can’t do anything. Not until now did I realize that those feelings have quite a lot in common.

    Your kind but forthright way of sharing insights is really helpful. You know that, don’t you? You should.

    Love you much.

  27. says

    You know, I was out to lunch with a friend today, and when she asked how the book-writing was going and how much she was looking forward to reading it, I said something like, “Nah, you don’t want to read it. It’s going to be boring.” And she said, “You need to stop saying that. Because it’s not true.” I was so filled with self-doubt (self-loathing?), that I was putting my book down before it’s even finished.

    Suffice to say, I needed to read this, Emily. I need to ditch the self-doubt and pick myself. Thank you.

  28. says

    Right on! Thank you for writing this. It’s something I’ve been learning over the past few months as well. So hard to put into practice but also so very freeing. Praying we all pick ourselves. :-)

  29. says

    LOVE this post. First of all, it made me giggle because I can’t hear anything about Women of Faith without remembering your friend, Melissa, at your book-signing party. She was like, “Marian Vischer is going to be at your party?!? Isn’t she some famous speaker on the Women of Faith tour?” (Or something like that.) So funny. Because I am not even almost famous. And I’ve never been in an arena full of women.

    Also, I totally want to be picked. Maybe you never really grow out of it? I tend to think, “Well, God will pick me if He has something “important” for me to do.” (And I kind of secretly hope that He does.) Maybe that’s a cop-out. Or maybe it’s just where I am in this season of my life. But honestly, I don’t know if I’d ever be brave enough to pick myself…

    (maybe I need to go to Women of Courage)

  30. Denise T says

    In regards to learning to live a good story, I want to say a few words, it is courageous that you choose to do what is important to you and your family. Saying NO is what I am working on and I have been wrestling with career change decisions. By the way, I was surprised to learn that you have a degree in Educating Interpreting. I am deaf and I am the subscriber to one of your blogs. I enjoy Nesting Place, she sent one of the posts about you and Gary Morland. Thank you for the excellent post today.

  31. says

    I cannot even tell you the God journey that brought me here to this post today. If I wrote out all the details, you’d shake your head and ask yourself why you ever wonder at how God uses you. Truth is He doesn’t really need you— except that he does. He chose you for the very purposes you are fulfilling in His kingdom. By the way…God gave me the word “Courage” for this year :)

  32. says

    I get this–totally. The self-doubt has reared its ugly head lately, stopping me just when I thought I was hitting my stride. I needed this as a “reminder” to buck up and just push through it–I don’t have time for self-doubt! I’ve got things to do, that God picked just for me.

  33. says

    I made the choice in the last few months to pick myself, and since I’ve done it, I’ve felt the most crippling self doubt. Sometimes when you let other people pick you, you can transfer some of that insecurity about performance onto them: “if they didn’t think I could do it, they wouldn’t have picked me for the job.” When you pick yourself, that responsibility rests on you.

    I think I’m still trying to work through what this idea means for me, and this post came at just the perfect time.

  34. says

    thanks for not being afraid of the risk in sharing this, emily~
    your raw honesty spoke straight to my heart and it’s like i couldn’t nod my head fast enough. i get it . i so get it!

    for what it’s worth i wish jennie allen would give you a call. {oh, jennie! are you listening?}

  35. says

    Women of Courage – isn’t that what it takes to silence the doubt, step out in faith and follow God. So letting go of the doubt is a way of grabbing hold of God and courage. Thanks for the post – now to go let go and grab hold!

  36. says

    Self-doubt has hit me pretty hard this week too. I actually had to pull out my 7-day doubt diet notes from Renee Swope that I printed out a year ago. Thank you so much for this post. I know I am not alone and I am encouraged. Have a blessed weekend!

  37. says

    Love this, love it. But here’s the thing, Emily. Even though it won’t make a hill-o-beans difference to you – I PICK YOU, TOO. And so do hundreds of us out here. So go right ahead and pick yourself – you’ll be joining hands with a whole bunch of us who think you’re the cat’s pajamas.

  38. Jennifer D. says

    Thanks so much for writing this!! I just got to read it today, but it was exactly what I have been dealing with. Thanks for putting into words exactly how I have been feeling.

  39. Annette says

    Well, to this, I say, I will pick myself to pray for and hope for, instead of trying to focus on those whose problems and trials seem larger than mine. In ministry sometimes we can focus on those who are more obviously in “need” when deep down we are just as needy, but we know how to hide it well, whether behind our reputation, closed doors and fear of opening up.

    I pick myself to be healed, to be freed and to know hope again. Because God answers prayers, He will answer mine as well. I pick myself to be changed.

  40. says

    This is me. Yep. I’ve spent years and years feeling picked over. Over looked. Not part of ‘the group’.

    I finally had to step away and out in courage. Still struggle with self-doubt. But I’m getting there.

  41. says

    I keep coming back to this post. Thank you for being vulnerable and courageous. Even before I read your post here, God had been using that same verse in 1 Tim to convict me in my spirit. I printed the same verse out and hung it on my wall to be reminded of what is already available to me. That even though I struggle with self-doubt, He has picked me and I can claim His promises for my own and ‘pick me’ too. It is just so hard.
    I appreciate your words here on your blog and as I make my way through your first book.
    Thank you, Emily, for taking hold of God’s promise in 1 Tim and being an example and an encourager.

  42. says

    Have been going through a few my own self-doubts about where I’m going with my writing. In fact, I’ve been away from my own personal blog as I have worked through this.

    It’s been getting clearer these past few weeks…. and now I ‘find’ your posting. I’d say it’s perfect timing. (I’d like to know how He does that!)

    And yes, I pick me for the job! I’ve got things to say and books that need to be out there for those of my tribe.

    Thanks soooo much!

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