Sometimes I am the most awesome woman/wife/mother/room mom/entrepreneur/leader/writer.
Sometimes I don’t know science and help my child make a school project that rots before the due date and makes our whole house smell awful.
They smelled SO. BAD. #weirdscience #literalstressballs
I would say they even out, but I’m usually on the smelly science side most of the time.
There is just such PRESSURE to have it all together. Most days I can keep perspective and realize that nobody really has it all together. But then there are some days where I am fully human, desperately human. Hopelessly flawed. And painfully aware of it.
This is healthy, I think. The awareness that God is God, and I am not.
It’s what we attach to that awareness that becomes destructive. Yes, God is God, and I am not, but… I should be able to do all those things I feel pressured to accomplish.
Yes, God is God, and I am not, but… why does she have it all pulled together while I am over here being a mess?
If God is God, and I am not, there is peace in knowing I don’t have to have all the answers. I don’t have to have superpowers. It’s okay to say “YES” to caring for myself, offering myself gifts of grace and forgiveness. I can admit my own shortcomings.
No shame allowed. Ain’t NOBODY got time for that.
I just want to keep it real and fall in love every day, all over again, with my one wild and precious messy life. Here’s how I’m trying:
I find myself pulled hard between two life philosophies. The first is the achieving entrepreneurial mindset. The belief that my life is a summation of my own choices, leading up to this moment. I am capable of anything I desire to be/do/have, and my destiny is in my hands, ripe for the plucking. Totally valid. And FUN to work and live by.
The second is the belief in God’s ultimate master plan. The belief that my life has been designed by a loving and gracious God, who gave me unique abilities, and a specific job to do here on this earth that is mine and mine alone. I have limitless potential when I walk the path He has laid before me. When I stop my grind long enough to be still and listen to know that HE is God, I can align myself more closely on that path. Also totally valid. And peace-bringing to realize I just have to offer my best and the rest is up to God.
These philosophies really can go hand in hand (I think). But it’s so easy to get pulled to one side or the other when I take my eyes and ears and heart off what matters most. I pull mostly towards the side where I get to take everything into my own hands because I feel strong and confident and powerful there. I can make my plans all day long, but if they aren’t lined up with God’s vision for my life and work and actions, then they’ve been a misuse of my time.
So what’s a girl to believe? What do YOU believe? Can you articulate it, put it on paper, live your life by it? I think most people stumble through life not really knowing – or understanding – what they believe. I think it’s why so many people spin their wheels, find themselves frustrated with their lives/jobs/spouses, and never quite feel like they’re standing on solid ground. If you need help with this, check out how to create your Marriage and Family Mission Statement.
Ultimately, I believe there is a purpose for me here, unique from any human before me or still to come, and that when I keep my eyes focused on the Master Planner, He will show me where to go, what that specific purpose is, and equip me with every tool and resource I need to fulfill it. I don’t get to know the timeline or very many of the details. (Oh, how we LOVE that.) It will require every ounce of my willingness, hard work, commitment, and it will involve pain and disappointment before I see a victory. As every good epic tale does. And isn’t this one wild and precious life the most epic tale of all?
The lesson I get handed over and over again (usually in the form of a colossal life meltdown because the subtle redirections weren’t enough) is that this illusion of control I hold onto so tightly is just that – merely an illusion.
But I don’t want to live in an illusion. I want to be the main character in my life’s epic tale – knees skinned, eyes shining, sword drawn, ready for adventure.
Real is hard. It requires owning my flaws and giving grace to others. I have to admit I do not know it all, and certainly cannot do it all. This sounds so simple here – and in a vacuum, maybe it is. But we walk around living our lives every day with other human beings in a world that, like it or not, bombards us with messages that we are simply not enough. We aren’t successful enough, we aren’t fit enough, we aren’t outgoing enough, we’re not stylish enough, we’re not charming enough, we’re not a good enough wife/mother/friend, the list goes on.
The world does this, by the way, to sell us things… ideas… habits… and while those things we’re “buying” may improve our circumstances on the surface level, none of them are improving our souls on a level that matters. They’re just perpetuating the illusion.
There’s nothing else I need. I am enough, and so are you.
Whatever junk you’re carrying – lay it down, far away. Any belief that you are not enough will never serve you well. It also won’t serve your family or the people you care most about.
If it isn’t freeing you to be the most spectacular version of yourself, it’s time to release it. Or break it.
Hard truth: when I am comparing my messy don’t-have-it-together life to someone else’s life, all I’m envying is her illusion. The illusion she holds onto with a death grip so no one else will know the ways she’s messy too.
What if by letting go of all this pressure, we can give everyone else permission to do the same?
Here’s to the best, messiest, free-est versions of us.
Keep it real, loves.
This I Believe: The Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women edited by Jay Allison and Dan Gediman
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Jessica is a writer, musician, entrepreneur, wife, and mom. Jessica's mission is to write "real" - shining light into the dark places of the tough stuff we all experience. She and her husband Jack live in Houston, Texas and have weathered the storms of grief, infant loss, adoption, and a marriage that almost fell apart. Jessica and Jack have 4 children, LJ in heaven, Grace, Jackson, and brand new baby Elisha.