Let Go of the Measuring Stick, You Are Enough

by | Oct 24, 2012 | Uncategorized

I’ve been all twisted up inside, like the lure cast wrong on a fly fisherman’s pole. I’m trying to untangle the line inside my head hooked on self-worth. It needs to be cut off.

H and I sit in armchairs facing each other, pondering a contract to cure the terminal disease on my front lawn. I’ve always done the gardening but sometimes you have to let go of what you don’t know, as much as cultivating what you do.

While we talk about the cost, guilt rises to the middle of my throat. I tell him I think I should get a job, contribute something to the family.  Because someone already helps me clean and now we’re thinking about someone to help me do the yard work and I’m capable, feeling like an invalid when I can walk.

“No,” he shakes his head, arches his eyebrows. “I want you to do what God has called you to do. You haven’t spent a year on this for nothing.”

I’m writing. Towards a dream not yet fully formed while hanging on to God’s coat tails over craggy courage and dark days of waiting. I have no idea where He’s taking me but He stops long enough to let me linger in the landscape. Capture slanted light illuminating the beauty of his sheep for brief moments.

H reminds me what the sheep look like, the ones that come to the altar of this blog. They carry loneliness, discouragement, sickness and loss. Struggle with miscarriage, separation, adoption and divorce. Wear scars from the church, their parents, adult children and strangers.

And while I’m preoccupied with value, there just isn’t a measuring stick for serving words, offering the cup of prayer, yielding to the voice of consolation?

Perhaps I’ve stood in the same spot too long, distracted by the crowds grazing on the hillsides of plenty, while Jesus searches for one.

The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance. (Psalm 16:6 ESV)

Do you measure your self-worth by what you do, instead of who you are? Let’s hurl that measuring stick together, shall we?

Linking with Jennifer, Ann, Duane, Emily, Life Unmasked.

This is #24 in the series 31 Days of Letting Go. You can read the collective here. If you are a writer, I invite you to link up any post you’ve written on the theme of letting go in the comments here on Friday. Subscribe to receive the series in your inbox or feed by adding your address in the side bar under Follow Redemptions Beauty.


Subscribe for Shelly’s stories and free resources here: https://shellymillerwriter.com/free-resources/


  1. rachelgoode

    Awesome post for all of us who write without pay, hoping to glorify God and serve through it. Thank you!

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Thank you Rachel. I think it helps to have someone encouraging us from the sidelines from time to time to get perspective. It’s so easy to live in an insular world as writers that I often find my view a bit cloudy.

  2. Jody Lee Collins

    shelly, this post brings to mind the scripture, “Comparing themselves to themselves, they became fools: (paraphrase from Somewhere in one of the Corinthians.)
    Hurling that measuring stick with you and encouraging you to follow the nudging of the Holy Spirit in your walk to what’s next. How blessed you are to have a husband that supports and understands the call you have.
    I’ll be praying for you.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise. 2 Corinthians 10:12. Thank you Jody, for bringing this scripture to the forefront, very timely. I am committed to keep walking Jody, I just have to let go of wanting to know the view up ahead. Thanks for all your love and support, it means a great deal to me.

  3. Pam@Writing...Apples of Gold


    Your paragraph starting “I’m writing. Towards a dream not yet fully formed…” and ending . “Capture slanted light illuminating the beauty of his sheep for brief moments” is exactly what I’ve been feeling for a long while now. And I think God is telling me not to worry about where it is all going, or if it is all going… But more importantly, that in the doing of this blogging, He is using it to encourage, to uplift and inspire and if that is only one person, then it is worth it. I think you are saying the same thing… Doesn’t mean we don’t pursue sending out our writing professionally, but all of us who are writing in this way, we are where He wants us right now. And He is using it…I see that in all your comments here. And what a blessing to have your husband behind you in it. Freedom to write and let God whisper it to hearts He will… Life just seems to be going going going… and in the end, it is only that which will last. So true, let’s get rid of the4 measuring stick.

    Gorgeous photo – another from England?

    • wynnegraceappears

      Pam, your words here bless my socks off. I clicked to come to your place and couldn’t get there:( I’m striving to come to your place for your words today.

      • Pam@Writing...Apples of Gold

        Thanks, Elizabeth! Been busy last several days and unable to post, but hoping to post something new soon… 🙂

    • Redemption's Beauty

      It’s comforting to know we are sojourners here Pam, of course I’ve known that since meeting you. We are hearing a similar message and to be honest it seems to be an echo around the blogosphere too. I read so much yesterday that inspired me to rest in who I am and let go of the outcome.
      And yes, another from England with a little picmonkey magic.

      • Redemption's Beauty

        btw Pam, did you read Ann Voskamp’s post yesterday on blogging? It was long and I didn’t read it all but much of it was a sacred echo for me on what I’ve been sensing regarding writing and blogging. Just fyi, thought you would enjoy it.

  4. kelliwoodford

    yes, yes. i measure that old, tired way, too.
    and you must have *such* a ministry here, dear Shelly. our emails have meant more to me than you know. in fact, i often quote some of the advice you gave as some of the best i’ve received in my current struggle. oh, He’s using you. yes, of that i am sure.
    thank you for loving. thank you for serving.
    “he (or she) who is faithful in the little will be trusted with more” — or something like that, eh? 🙂

    • Redemption's Beauty

      I’m grateful for the ministry that takes place off the blog Kelli. I think it is what helps me swallow all the division going on in my church of late. I’ll put up my altar here while they pick their dodge ball teams.
      And I am truly, truly humbled by your comment about our email conversations. You bless me so. To God be the glory.

  5. jenni

    I think if people are disabled in some way or other, then yes we do perceive ourselves by what we can do. Me included. We see it as failure towards our families/ourselves. So I have total empathy. If you know that you are travelling the path that has been set for you, then keep on putting one foot in front of the other

    go in peace

    • Redemption's Beauty

      You’ve humbled me here Jenni and given me perspective. Thank you.

  6. kd sullivan

    Oh how often I’ve tried to measure myself with this nonexistent measuring stick. The enemy always makes sure that I am found wanting, not good enough. How often I have had this same discussion with my husband, not recognizing the true measure of a wife/mother/writer at home. You worth is far about rubies! You are priceless to God, to your family, to your congregation…to me.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Thank you Kim and right back atcha friend. I was taking care of a baby today and mindful of the fact that our need to know we have value in this world starts from the very beginning. But when we seek it anywhere other than Him, it’s so very empty. Like a neverending black hole.

  7. wynnegraceappears

    Shelly, throwing it like a javelin in an olympic competition. Far flinging it with you. Looking with expectancy to your next writing chapter. But this present one is a gift, a treasure and a blessing worth staying on for a long winter’s night by the lamp of grace.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      It is worth staying Elizabeth and I love that imagery. Makes me want to curl up in a cabin with a fireplace and read a good book.

  8. Genevieve Thul @ Turquoise Gates

    I know this feeling. Felt it all along, especially on the days of zero comments and you think, “WHY am I wasting time writing this?” Because. Because of the still small voice of God whispering words in the deepest and darkest places inside that just simply must wriggle out. That voice began speaking in me when cancer came to call and it hasn’t quit, so I haven’t either, despite the comings and goings and winnings and failings of blogging and writing in general. Just stopped by from Joy’s to encourage!

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Genevieve, so glad you stopped by. I am so very grateful for your encouragement. And I am there with you friend, standing on the precipice of wondering why and looking straight into the eyes of Jesus.

  9. claygirlsings

    I was forced to face this a few weeks ago, when “what I do” was threatened to be pulled out from under me. Why is it so much more difficult to learn who we are instead? Thanks for sharing this!

    • Redemption's Beauty

      I think the world’s voice shouts very loud about who we are, by what we do. It’s like swimming upstream when we are settled with being outside of doing.

  10. simplystriving

    I’m with you, friend. Have never been able to read that silly measuring stick, anyway ; )

    Striving to listen to His whispers of worth instead of my selfish wails of inadequacy…

    • Redemption's Beauty

      I think perhaps I’ve worn myself out striving and now I’m just letting go and walking in peace. This 31 Days of Letting Go, I think it was more for me than anyone. 🙂

  11. Lynn Morrissey

    Shelly, God has given you extraordinary gifts with which to feed and nourish His sheep. Thank you so much for your beautiful bread-and-meat-words from which we sheep are strengthened and sustained. I think the Enemy of the Shepherd and the sheep can distract us with things like false guilt, taskmaster measuring sticks (which are miles high, so we could never measure up anyway), a sense of valuelessness, and the crowded crowds congregating on other undershepherds’ hillsides, where their grass looks greener and shinier than ours. Your photo is exquisite (another of your great gifts!), and reminds me of riding horses in the Scottish lowlands with my beloved, Michael. We came upon one hill with a grey-stone wall encircling lazily grazing sheep. There was only one way in, and it was a narrow opening. Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and no one comes to the Father, but through Him. We sheep follow our Shepherd, and the way is narrow to salvation. And we continue to follow Him to whatever hillside He leads us, individually, in this journey called life. As you focus on your Good Shepherd, you will focus on *His* worth and not your own. And you will feed particular sheep who graze on the hill to which the Lord has led you for now. And when the grass is worn, He will lead you on. Oh, Shelly, He is taking you places. He is taking you to mountain tops that you cannot even imagine. And it will all be about Him. When you look up, all you will see is Him, and when you look down, you will realize you could never have made it without Him. He is everything. He is worthy. And because He has gifted you so exceptionally, please continue to use your gifts just as you are doing now. And the housework and the yard can remain a little tangled, while your words sing freely. God bless H for helping to let you be free to follow the Good Shepherd and His call!

    • Redemption's Beauty

      I read your comment twice, like a devotional that I was trying to take into the crevices of my understanding. And I’m just so thankful for you Lynn. For the way you believe in me. I think that is what ministers to me more than anything else when you comment. And I think you know why.

      • Lynn Morrissey

        Oh I truly do! And I believe in God, who does! May He bless and prosper your work, Shelly.

  12. Heather Kopp at SoberBoots.com

    Shelly, this post resonated with me so much. Especially the conversation with your husband where he encourages you to keep doing what you do–for free. I have had the same pangs of guilt and doubt when for years I wasn’t bringing home any bacon whatsoever. I totally get that, as well as the tendency to want to measure value by what you do. I always told myself that if I did finally ever finish that silly memoir and sell it, then I’d feel better about things–not question what I do. Another part of me knew it would make absolutely no difference. And guess which part was right? It makes no difference. What I mean is, I still have to keep reminding myself that I am not what I do or don’t do on any given day. Unhooking from my blog for a month helped me a lot, but of course the answer goes deeper. I’ve come to accept that I will always struggle with this and always need to keep making adjustments. And strangest of all–I find I have the fewest ego issues when I have nothing for my ego to hijack. But God in his kindness won’t let us hack off our writer selves in order to free us from the problem. We get to keep going and keep laughing at the way we can’t seem to permanently overcome this issue. Better to just lean on the shepherd’s staff and get comfortable with needing it. You inspire me so much and I love to read your writing and I am so glad that God won’t let you go. Hugs, H

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Heather, you have no idea how much your words minister to me. Like a sister picking out a gift for her sibling and knowing exactly what she would love to open. You have said everything that I feel about this whole process, like you knew exactly what I was saying without saying it. Makes me teary. And coming from you, someone who has walked this road many times before I have, your words are so valuable to me. Thank you. I wrote a post last Friday about something Lauren Winner said regarding publishing, that it doesn’t change your life as much as you think it will, your still stuck with you. Your words reminded me of hers. http://redemptionsbeauty.wordpress.com/2012/10/19/when-recognition-rips-you-wide-open/ Much love to you friend. Would love to know how things are coming along with your new site and I’m praying for your son.

  13. Pam@Writing...Apples of Gold

    Yes, Shelly… right after commenting here, I read part of what Ann wrote (it was late and long, so I will have to go back) – her prayer for bloggers – and thought the same thing! Sacred echoes, yes! 🙂

  14. Dea Moore

    Baaaa…….here’s another sheep bleating in on the conversation 🙂 I love that H knows us!! Ha! And I think he is wise and you should listen to him…I know you will. I too resonate with what Heather said about the ego and how it is easier to deal with it when there’s nothing to hijack. To think of your writing as a non-profitable in that it brings in no monetary profit really is a ruse. You can go tend the yard but you will leave something of greater importance unattended. I know you love gardening but it is in your writing where your heart beats. Who can measure that?

    I have more to say….but I’ll spare you 🙂 You always bless me Shelly and if it helps any I am waiting with you for that dream to burst out of the darkness and into the glorious light.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Dea, so thankful that you and I have husbands who are the loving voice of reason. He’s pulled my off the ledge of my own cracked thinking many times. And I know you’re right and I’m thankful for your prayers and love, for the way you believe in me.

  15. kendal

    oh, do i ever. i even find myself ticking off what i’ve accomplished each day to my husband. as if the number of chores i’ve done increases the amount of love he will mete out….a formula that exists only in my warped and sinful mind.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Oh I do that too Kendal. Or I say I haven’t accomplished anything and H recounts all that I’ve done that didn’t make the list of things I found worthy of ticking off.

  16. Tanya Marlow

    I can totally relate to the guilt of ‘not contributing enough’ and the grace of a husband who encourages me to pursue my dreams and gifts. I think there can often be so much guilt inherent in doing what we love to do…

    Keep doing it, lady! 🙂

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Thanks for your encouragement Tanya and I’m so glad you have a husband that encourages you too. You are a gift to the world. And I guess it does make me feel a bit guilty, getting to do what I love to do more than anything else.

  17. Paula

    Shelly, This was a beautiful post. And, you indeed captured the light on His sheep. I personally feel your truths, so deeply spoken from your heart, help to cast His light on many! BTW, the photo is so beautiful; but not sure I understand the appearance of white brick in the background…didn’t think it perspectively could have been a wall?? And, “this effort to measure up” is such a human element in most of us. And, truly, we must attempt to “let go”. Truer words were never spoken.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      The brick in the photo represents the wall we create in our lives when we begin to compare ourselves to other sheep, or take out our own measuring stick of self-worth.

  18. Joy @ Joy in this Journey

    Beautiful writing. We are so good at beating ourselves up because we fall short of a standard we made up and that no one else holds us to. God loves us because he loves us. Not because of anything else. Why is that so hard to remember?

    Thanks for linking up this week!

    • Redemption's Beauty

      It is hard to remember that we can’t DO anything to earn more of His love. It’s constant and unwavering. I wish I could fully grasp that but realize I won’t until I meet him face to face. Thanks for visiting Joy, I’ve really enjoyed your posts.

  19. Brandee Shafer

    So many of us struggle in the same or similar ways. What to do with the woman of Proverbs 31? And yet…is house(yard)keeping the most important work God has for us?

    • Redemption's Beauty

      And I suppose this knowledge, of how its common to all of us, it isn’t a surprise to God either.

  20. Lori McClure (@lorimcspeaks)

    This brought tears to my eyes because I am forever feeling guilty for not bringing money in when things are tight. But my husband says the same things yours does to me, that I am right where God wants me. And I feel it in my bones, but I also feel the weight of not contributing. Thank you.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Let’s let go of that false guilt today together Lori. I’m throwing my stick over the cliff, now its your turn.

  21. Laura @ Pruning Princesses

    Hurling. I am so glad you have a cheerleader in your husband. He helps you hurl. And while it embarrass me to admit it, almost a year past before I realized I should pray for those who leave their aches in the comments on my blog. It’s hard to write and not wonder about acceptance.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Actually, I wonder about the immediate gratification we get as writers with our comments and stats, if its really helpful or harmful. Just a few years ago, writers didn’t have that luxury of affirmation after they wrote a page or chapter. But they just plugged away. Sometimes that immediate response can be a hinderance too, if we depend on it to affirm our validity as writers.

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