There was once a skit on Saturday Night Live where Stuart Smalley went on and did his daily affirmations: Because I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and Doggone it, People like me! It seemed so silly at the time and everyone would laugh. I've been thinking about this quite a bit lately.
Life seems so hard sometimes. It feels overwhelming...as if we work and we try and nothing we do is ever good enough. We run ourselves ragged and yet nothing gets done. We save and we budget and there isn't enough. You tell your kids how magnificent they are from birth, they are beautiful and smart, and kind and loving and loved and they don't believe you. One kid tells them something different and all your work is for naught. You follow a recipe and try to make healthy meals for your family and they don't turn out. You work a program to lose weight and you put ten pounds on as soon as the program is over. You look for jobs and you don't qualify for any of the jobs that sound challenging and fun. (Interesting how many things you don't qualify for having spent your life dedicated to your children) Your kids don't think you are as smart as dad and you don't think so either. You're quirky and sarcastic and a people pleaser and people don't get your humor. You go on Facebook and everyone has their crap together. They can do it all. You go on Pinterest and everyone is a professional decorator and gardener and chef and you cannot possibly do all of it...or even some of it.
Somewhere along the way we get lost. I get lost. Maybe it is just me...it could just be me. I moved and I live in paradise. I have everything I ever wanted. I have the husband, the children, the house with the palm trees and I've been lost. Sinking, trying to keep my head above the water, just treading water because my feet can't touch the bottom and I can't get my footing. I've been so busy trying to make everyone happy that I've forgotten how to be happy myself. I'm exhausted...all. the. time.
I haven't even been reading books. Me! Not reading books. I buy books. I bring books home. I read a couple of chapters and put it down or maybe I'll read half of it, then put it down not to be looked at again. There was once a time when I would sit down with a book and a cup of coffee (that doesn't actually taste like coffee) or tea and read. I could read for hours. Laundry would pile up, dinner would need fixed, the kids could fight and I didn't care. I was in a book and I was filling my tank.
I haven't even been writing. Obviously...I haven't been writing because if you are one who follows this blog you know how far and few between the posts are.
There was a time I didn't concern myself with what people would think of my posts. I wrote for me and no one else. Everyone else was just bonus. The actual writing was cathartic for me...as if by doing so it healed the broken vestiges of my heart. Writing stories about my kids reminded me of my blessings. Just typing out what I was figuring out in life helped it to sink in somehow. If what I wrote for me helped someone else that was God's business and not mine. Somewhere along the way I tried to take that from God and worry about that myself. I started concerning myself with who was reading and what they thought about it. Do I look stupid? I shouldn't be writing. I have no formal training....who am I anyway? I should leave this to professionals. Who do I think I am anyway, Beth Moore? I love Beth Moore, but I cannot BE Beth Moore, nor do I want to. I can't go talk in front of people. I'm more of a Lizzy McGuire....RUN!!!!! kind of girl. My mind would race and wouldn't shut down. What once was healing and only for me, two books later, was no longer just for me and I wasn't sure I was that person. The enjoyment disappeared and was replaced with a real sense of total fear.
Transitions are hard. We moved a year and a half ago. We settled in and made some friends and found a church and jobs. The transition was hard on everyone but I made it my mission in life to do whatever I could to make sure everyone was transitioning well and they were happy. They would be happy if it was the last thing I ever did. They would be happy if it killed me. Working and doing everything for everyone because that is what we do as wives and mothers. We bend over backwards to take care of everyone else and we forget to take care of ourselves...or maybe we just run out of time or get too tired.
I started reading a book recently (a couple actually) one asks "who told you, you weren't good enough?" the other asks "what measuring stick are we using to measure perfection?" I can't seem to find the balance. I never feel like anything I do is good enough and I will never achieve perfection. My meals will never be gourmet and my house will never look professionally decorated and will likely never be without dust or a pile of papers somewhere. It's stressful. Never feeling good enough, or smart enough, and never being able to tell if what you think is what God wants from you is really what God wants or what you want is stressful. Having your kids growing up and leaving and not knowing who you are without them and how to fill your days once they are gone is stressful. So many make it all look so effortless. Why is it so hard? Why do I continue to tear myself down and knock myself down to size the moment I think I might be on to something that maybe I could do?
Does God talk to you? Does he tell you stuff? I mean...do you know how to tell the difference between what you think God wants and what you want? What if it's the same thing? Does that happen and if so what do you do with that? I don't know...maybe God doesn't talk to me. Maybe I don't know how to recognize it if he does.
I have questions! I'm scrambling through this life full of questions. Anyone? Just me then? OK ...I got it. But if I'm anything I'm real. I keep it real and I don't pretend to be something I'm just... not. I am also pretty sure that when I feel like God is wanting me to do something I tend to want to pick and choose. I also tend to be pretty sure that it can't be God asking me but it is just my own selfish desires coming into play. I'm also quite certain that I am really good at running. (Not actual running because that would be ridiculous and someone or something would have to be chasing me. If you see me running it would be a good idea to send help.)
I love this place I call home. I feel blessed to be here. I love this crazy family I get to spend this life with and I love God. I don't talk nice about myself. This has been pointed out to me. I also have a growing relationship with the words "I can't" this has also been pointed out to me. These friends are not wrong. I just haven't figured out how to reprogram my brain into thinking or reacting another way. I am not unhappy I'm distressed. I'm confused about my role not only in my family with my growing/grown children but also my role in the kingdom. I'm also really quite scared about what I might find out. I never said I made sense.
In church today we talked about Got equipping the called and that he often doesn't call the equipped. It makes so much more sense the other way around. Although when I really stop and think about it, maybe it does. Maybe it is easier to learn from someone who is or has been where you are. Maybe it is harder to take things in from beautiful perfect people who seem to have always had their crap together because when you're scrambling around trying to figure things out what they have going on seems unattainable and out of reach. Maybe it is easier to take things in from people who are just like you, just like me, lost sheep in need of a shepherd. When you think about it like that it doesn't seem quite so crazy.
So here's what I've got: Maybe daily affirmations aren't so bad. Maybe they can be helpful when (like me) your inner voice isn't really very nice to you. We need to take some time to fill our tank. I am not now nor will I ever be perfect. It is completely unattainable and maybe that it ok. I didn't use to care. My goal was always food-edible, house-not condemnable, kids-loved, husband-loved, and the rest would just sort itself out. My daughters are both going to be out of my house soon and I have to come to terms with that. I have to learn to let them go and do and be what God wants them to be. My baby is no longer a baby. He's in high school and as hard as that is to come to terms with I have to deal with that too. I don't know how or where that leaves me once they are all off living their lives and leaving me behind but maybe that's ok too. I don't have to have it all figured out in a day, or a week or even this year. What I really need to do is learn how to let go and let God handle it all and stop trying to do His job for him. It is far too much for my tiny brain to handle and frankly it is exhausting. Lastly, why should I be so concerned about living up to what I think others expect from me when I really don't know what they expect. And does it really matter? I'm a mom and I have the love of my husband and my children (most of the time) and so what if I don't have some high profile thing to talk about at reunions. I don't like or go to reunions and it shouldn't be a competition anyway. I'm not on anyone's journey but my own and for now I don't know what it holds and I need to learn to be ok with that too.