Monday, September 29, 2014

Who Told You That?

Sometimes as women, we have a habit of comparing ourselves to others, of taking on more than we can chew, of allowing others to shape our identity. 


Why?


Why do we allow Pinterest to laden us with guilt over what we are not doing? Why do we allow the lives of our friends shared on Facebook to give our inner voice a platform for self-doubt? 


Why do we compare the lives we live everyday to the lives that people edit and glamorize before sharing on social media? Those short posts and pictures are only a small snippet of what is truly going on their lives. We don't know what happens behind closed doors. We don't know the struggles and messes that occur for them. We only know the messes and struggles that we go through. One of my pastors once said that comparing our lives to people on Facebook is like comparing us at our worst to them at their best. It's just not fair to do that to ourselves! 


Why are we, as women, so hard on ourselves? Who is creating the standard that we feel that we can't measure up to?

“Comparison is the great thief of Joy.” -Theodore Roosevelt
 


I was listening to a podcast the other day on InspiredtoAction.com.  Kat Lee and her guest, Elisa Pullium, spoke about the comparisons we make. There are two different reasons and outcomes when we compare. Sometimes we do it to grow and be encouraged and to learn something from that person. We do it to become a better mom, wife, sister, daughter, or friend. But sometimes, we compare ourselves to others and it's negative. It leads to questioning our self worth. This type of comparison is not healthy.  It is not productive to who we are and the person that God created us to be.

Comparing our life or circumstance to another should be about having a teachable spirit rather than an achieving spirit. What is our motivation when we compare? Is it to say that we are better than that person? Or are we tearing ourselves down because we feel that they are better than us? "The only person we should compare ourselves to is who we were yesterday, last week, last year." 

Kat Lee at Inspired to Action


God has created us uniquely. Psalm 139:13-14 says, "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well."
 He has created us with a specific purpose and has placed us in our circumstances for a reason. 
We cannot see the entire picture, but he knows the beginning and the end. We need to trust the process. 


"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11


He has designed you to be the mother of your children and you are perfect for them. He has designed you to be the wife of your husband and you are perfect for him.  He has designed you to be a daughter... both HIS daughter and the daughter of your earthly parents.

Does this mean we shouldn't grow in our walks with Christ? No.

Does this mean we constantly be striving to better ourselves? No.

But it does mean that HE sets our measure.

It means that we shouldn't change our whole being to be someone that we are not.

It means that we are NOT worthless in who we are because we don't measure up to this "ideal" that we have imagined but cannot possibly obtain.


I am not meant to be a calm, go-with-the-flow mom. As much as I try, I will always find myself writing out a schedule and labeling something. Trust me. I can always find something to label. It is who I am. It's not something I gleaned from reading organizing blogs and magazines or scouring Pinterest for homemaking tips. When I was in elementary school, I was given a rotary label gun. Complete with a rainbow assortment of labeling tape! I was in heaven! And I labeled EVERYTHING that I was allowed to label... well, and probably things that I shouldn't have labeled, and definitely things that do not really need labels (like labeling which bunk was mine). Each shelf on my bookshelf was labeled with the genre of the books that sat on it. All of my boxes and bins were adorned lovingly with the brightly colored embossed labels. Currently, if you were to look on and in my fridge, you would find a weekly schedule broken down into times. There is a slot for bedtime, breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, gymnastics, therapy, puzzle time, game night, chores, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. You will also find a bedtime routine chart and a morning routine chart. And opening the door will reveal labels for each shelf and bin (that, for the sake of full disclosure, were probably put there during a "MOMENT" in which I was losing my mind and the stress had mounted just slightly too high). If my plans get messed up, I can self-combust in T-minus 2 seconds. 
Organizing and planning is who I am. Denying it, would be to deny part of myself. So try as I might to be an easy going, calm, go-with-the-flow mom, I'm not.

I'm like a duck, calm on the outside, but paddling like crazy underneath. I am high strung and neurotic. I've embraced it.

But do I let those moments of self-doubt creep in? You bet!!

Is it beneficial to me? Mostly, no.

Do I have room to grow? DEFINITELY, YES.

I know that this is not only who I am, but also a stronghold that needs to be broken in my life. And this is something that I am working on so that I can lead a more balanced life. But I need to learn... and I encourage you to do this also... to take those doubts and comparisons to God and discover whether that is in His perfect plan for you.


Discover His purpose for your life, not your purpose for your life. 


Discover who He has created you to be, not whom you and others think you should be.

Be a beautiful mess. 

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