You guys blew me away with your commentary on my recent post. Not here, on this site, but in personal, one-on-one messages. What started as me leveraging a creative outlet to vent some major stress, turned into an incredible, communal experience of suffering and healing. And it was just within a few short days! Your words, not only of encouragement or support, but also of affirmation that yes, we’ve all been there, and some of us are still there, compelled me to go a little further. To ask myself some tough questions. And share some of what I believe is a little window into self-discovery, or self-creation, depending on how you want to look at it.
What I realized in reading through so much heartache and sadness and perseverance and determination, was that there’s something very significant missing in our culture right now: transparency. Don’t get me wrong- I am the QUEEN of the Facebook filter. Look at this blog! But here’s the deal- there’s something very real about feeling a little bit less than everyone around us, and empowering one another with words of affirmation is just not enough to do the job. We need more.
At the beginning of our homeschool journey, I went to several Christian homeschool conventions. And while I loved the workshops and the curriculum fairs and all the great info I took away, I also left with this ENORMOUS feeling of inadequacy. Seeing all these women with no makeup, long denim skirts, breastfeeding what appeared to be baby #11 with no nursing cover and no concern whatsoever with what anyone else might be thinking, actually made me feel like a total failure. I’d looked at YouTube to figure out how to braid my hair that morning, squeezed into some leggings, which I know are not pants, but which I absolutely used as pants, and struggled like a contortionist to get my baby to latch under an absolutely ridiculous nursing coverup. I wanted to be free like those women. Clearly they were at peace with God, at peace with their children, and at peace with themselves.
And so I tried to be like them (of course, not knowing them at all, and ignoring the fact that most likely, they felt the same type of emotions as me). I subscribed to a bunch of Christian education podcasts, started following some awesome speakers on YouTube and Facebook, and I attempted to be totally comfortable going makeup-free. Wanna guess what happened? I was still MISERABLE. Inadequate. Feeling like not only do I suck at being a homeschool mom, but I must also suck at being a woman, confident in the way God made me. Looking back I think, “you silly girl. That’s not you. You just need to do YOU.” But in those moments, I, wrongly, leaned on advice from people in different lifestyles and life-stages from mine. I didn’t need to be encouraged to drop everything I’d been and change, I needed to be encouraged to be the best version of myself for my current season in life.
That’s what’s missing. There are two philosophies prevalent in women’s media right now: 1) “You’re perfect exactly as you are and changing a thing means you’re selling out,” or 2) “everything about you should change and become more like _____, which will lead to the ultimate happiness. And here are my steps to prove it!” Eek. Two extremes, and neither of them feel particularly good to the person who is aspiring to do more but can’t quite find her way. I don’t know where you turn, sweet friends, when you start feeling that way, but I always go back to my senior high girls’ group days, when we studied Beth Moore’s Believing God. In it, she highlights five truths of faith, which are unchanging in regards to our relationship with the God who made us:
In my moments of self-doubt, I lean heavily on these. Particularly the phrase “I AM WHO GOD SAYS I AM.” I know He calls me to a purpose, and sometimes I am legitimately unworthy of that purpose. But He calls me anyway, and He believes I can do it. He believes it about you, too. No, I may not have the most friends in the world, and I am assuredly not the coolest woman in the world. Yes, I am usually covered in baby goo and chasing after out-of-control kids, all while hoisting a wild infant higher on my hip. No, my children do not sit quietly in the corner and read the Bible by themselves, and yes, the few inappropriate words they know may have been overheard from my mouth. But I have a purpose. Sometimes it’s an awesome, clean-eating, crafty-mama, billboard-for-Pinterest kind of purpose, and others, it’s a “holy crap I HAVE to catch up on laundry because no one in this house has clean panties to wear” kind of purpose. He’s alive and active though, friends, in the midst of all that.
This is me, the sometimes supermom: I’ll always want to wear makeup. And I’ll probably always be skinny without really trying. And I’ll always like to cook and clean. I’m also neurotic, insensitive at all the wrong times, and entirely overly-involved in things that are none of my business (which I may also admit is obnoxious). And every day I’ll try to overcome those more-obnoxious traits in favor of the more amiable ones, to mixed rates of success. Truthfully, this is probably every “supermom” or “super-person” out there. What about you? Whoever you are, you, friend, you are who God says you are. You have a purpose. He’s alive and active in you. You’re beautiful as you are. You’re loved as you are. Whether you’re a voice for someone who has none, you’re a shoulder or an encouraging word to friends who need you, you’re a pusher to those who need pushing, or you’re a high-five at the end of a big win. All those things are okay. And while you work on becoming who you want to be, there is someone in your corner. You are who He says you are. We all are.
Here’s to striving to be our best, in search of our purposes, great and small.