As my primary role or 'position' in life is that of a stay-at-home mom... I realize that it's easy to fall into the temptation to become a 'super-mom' - Not that it's bad to be a SUPER MOM (I'm sure Sarah thinks I am... ahem), but it's when we're striving for that status out of a desire for others to 'notice' our accomplishments and praise us for how wonderful we are that things can get a little hairy...
I am a recovering depressive-anxious-isomniac. I'm also an exacting, competitive, perfectionist! Put this rather odd mix together and you have a young woman who has all the best intentions, but was too afraid of failure and getting a negative response from her loved ones that she just did... nothing! That's right... nothing.
I WANTED to have a clean, organized, beautiful home so we could invite people over without feelings of embarrassment or shame. I WANTED my husband to come home with dinner ready and his girls all beautiful and running into his arms after he had a long day of hard work. I WANTED to believe that God's Word was true & that He thought I was perfect just the way I was (without having to strive to become perfect)... but for some reason I just kept letting satan win & believed his lies... such as:
- "You are so behind on housework you're never going to have a clean home, just let it be. Having things organized around you won't make you feel any better (by the way this is a major lie! no need for perfection, but when things around you are chaotic you FEEL chaotic)."
- "You don't know how to cook! You were raised on macaroni & cheese and pizza - you can't cook a meal for a man that grew up on homemade dishes! His mom always made tasty homemade meals and even his dad was a great cook & a butcher, anything you could put together would be laughable..."
- "You've known your husband almost 6 years now... there's no mystery to be found in each other anymore, no excitement or passion that can be reignited - you're married now, married people don't gush about how much they missed each other or run into each other's arms when one gets home from work or speak dreamily of all their future holds... wake up and smell the coffee!"
Have you heard any of these lies?!?
I guess I thought it was just me... or is that just the way satan works? He tries to tear us down and make us feel like we're all alone - that nobody else struggles with these things - that we are always going to deal with these same problems and there's no hope for anything better...
I'm here to tell you (& remind myself) that these and more are all lies from the pit of hell... Have you ever heard the truth found in Jeremiah 29:11? It's really popular around graduation time, but read it through and really ponder on what it means for YOUR life, right now...
"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..."
This is a truth we can all stand on. We can't feel alone because it says right there: "FOR .I. KNOW... the plans I. HAVE. FOR. YOU...!!!" We also know that his plans for us are good plans: "PLANS. TO. PROSPER. YOU." He's not out to get us! He has no desire for harm to befall us: "NOT. TO. HARM. YOU." He doesn't want you to feel alone or down & out or to give up or stop dreaming: "PLANS. TO. GIVE. YOU. HOPE. AND. A. FUTURE!!!"
This verse kind of spells out God's heart for us... take it seriously, repeat it aloud a few times... keep saying it and pondering it until you believe it! The enemy comes to kill, steal, & destroy but God's heart is that we would have life... ABUNDANT life! The enemy works with confusion, God brings clarity. Don't be confused anymore... ask God to bring clarity & purpose & meaning to your life.
I was recently in a terrible place, a downward spiral - my habits just kept getting worse, the quality of my time spent with my little girl & my husband continued to dwindle - I felt confused about life & where it was going & what good I had to offer anyone... but by the grace of God I've escaped that pit!
I can't fully explain how it has happened or say that I did anything extraordinary to force it to happen, but I'm doing so much better... I guess I'm receiving more truth & rejecting more lies than I used to... that's probably a huge factor! My life is far from perfect, but I'm working on it. I'm growing from glory to glory into His likeness... I have an incredibly supportive husband, that has helped a lot as well! He asks me often "how can I help?" - I take him up on that offer, a lot :) and he has helped me so much...
SO, how does my life look different now than it did a few weeks ago???
- Instead of staying up til 4am with the excuse that I needed 'me-time', I get up early in the morning and plan my day (being intentional about how my time is spent and what needs to get done) so that I'm wide awake when Sarah wakes up hours later. I go to bed when the rest of my family does.
- Instead of being miserable & tired all day lying on the couch, my eyes are wide open... I'm smiling... I'm snuggling & chatting with my baby girl... we have fun.
- Instead of being overwhelmed by what I don't know how to do (cook) & just snack together all day, I decide that even if it's not perfect or 100% organic & homemade I'm still going to make 3 meals a day and have a couple snack options in the back of my mind. I meal-plan & buy the groceries at the beginning of each week now as well so I KNOW what food we have & what I want to make.When daddy gets home we all eat together at our dining room table after offering up thanks to God.
As far as that 'exciting marriage' thing goes... this is all still a work in progress, but something new we're trying is to acknowledge each other at the 3 'gateways' of our day with a kiss and full hug (that's just always gonna be important, but for some reason it's so easy to skip)... the gateways for us are: When Steve leaves for work in the morning, when he gets home from work, & before we all go to bed... Also, on a daily basis take a second to remember why we fell in love in the first place & thank each other for something we appreciate about them or what they did. This is all very small & very easy... and I'll tell ya, we don't always remember to do even this but it has helped us 'see' each other more.
Don't get me wrong - our marriage isn't crumbling by any means, but after 4 1/2 years of marriage we have settled into a state of 'ordinary' & forgot to keep things alive & exciting so this is our way of 'remembering' each other everyday. We also enjoy that bit of time between Sarah's bedtime and ours to just talk. Starting tonight we're going to bring back what we always used to do & read the bible together and pray over our family & others on our hearts every night before bed (a family that prays together stays together ya know!).
My prayer for you is that you will take away from this a few important things:
- Your worth is not found in what you do or don't do, it is found through God's eyes... how He sees you... & He thinks you're pretty great.
- We need to be intentional with our time & spend it on things that matter - don't get lost in work - fight for time with your loved ones - this is WORTH FIGHTING FOR!
- Get yourself organized! I agree with the sentiment that 'true friends won't mind if your house is a mess' & the phrase 'don't mind the mess my children are making memories'... but whoever said that probably has never seen a REALLY messy, unorganized house... the kind that makes the owner feel scattered & worthless. I can attest to the fact that you WILL feel better if you get things in their place & get the junk out of your life (this applies physically as much as spiritually, mind you). I'm not talking about some dishes in the sink or toys scattered across the floor... I'm talking visibly dirty floor, mountains of dishes, piles of papers on your dining room table, & countless items that just don't have a place. PUT THEM AWAY & GET IT CLEAN - I just can't say enough about how my debilitating, overwhelming feelings of failure went away when I realized I just had little messes to deal with at the end of the day instead of a complete hurricane throughout the entire house! (note to all my loved ones: I don't care if your house is a mess, I just love you and that we're together - this is just my thoughts on how to make yourself feel better and enjoy more peace & calm in your day)
- Relationships are worth fighting for! I'm talking about your relationship with God, your relationship with your spouse, your relationship with your children, your relationship with your family, your friends, neighbors, other believers... in case you didn't know: being a workaholic isn't a gift - it's a curse if you can't make time for relationships. All that money you're working so hard to make isn't going to make a dime of difference if you can't find the time to spend with your Creator, spouse, & children. On the flip-side you can be overly relational & still forget about the most important relationships (God first, family second...)
- Finally, GET OVER YOURSELF! No really, I'm totally serious - get your focus off of yourself! I believe one of satan's favorite ways to pull you away from God & the good things He desires for you, is selfishness. One thing I now use to smack myself out of my self-absorbed-whoa-is-me attitude... is in reading over my list of 'gifts'. If you read my first blog, it references Ann Voskamp's book 'One thousand gifts' - in the devotional I use along side this book, there's space at the end to begin writing your own one thousand gifts... It encourages you to take in even the smallest things & realize that these are gifts, blessings from God. I've written things like: giggling at my dog snoring, the hum of the fan that helps me sleep, my daughter's adorable pony-tail... nothing earth-shattering, but it's in this place of Thanksgiving for the seemingly insignificant and easily taken for granted that can pull us out of our rut and reminds us...
"In all your ways acknowledge Him & He will make your paths straight" Proverbs 3:6 (Blessing to you)
(found this at: http://www.google.com/imgres?hl=en&tbo=d&biw=1280&bih=635&tbm=isch&tbnid=E5BnkOSomc4IZM:&imgrefurl=http://www.confessionsofahomeschooler.com/blog/2010/02/super-mom-vs-abiding-mom.html&docid=ywF7G7_qU79dTM&imgurl=http://cdn2.confessionsofahomeschooler.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/abidingmomsm1-761x1024.jpg&w=761&h=1024&ei=BKf5UPDRBoTd2QWP04DACQ&zoom=1&iact=rc&dur=388&sig=106002186577528031249&page=1&tbnh=154&tbnw=114&start=0&ndsp=23&ved=1t:429,r:7,s:0,i:103&tx=69&ty=95)