Wednesday, October 15, 2014

{i'm a quitter}

I'm a quitter. I mean, I'm an almost quitter. I'm a "but I have good intentions." So that's ok, right?
I have shiny ideas and big dreams. I have vision. Vision that sometimes seem more than I can handle.So instead of trying to handle it,  I throw in the towel. For like a day. I get overwhelmed and I quit everything. You name it, I quit it. Extra curricular activity, social media, writing, church...out the window it goes! In my head anyways.

Anytime life seems to shift and change a little too uncomfortably for my liking, I put the kabosh on everything I had been working towards or dreaming about. It suddenly feels too overwhelming. I suddenly feel too under-qualified. That's it. I've had it. I quit. 

Anytime my feelings get remotely hurt or people come off sounding snarky at me, I throw my hands up in the air and I surrender everything I wanted to be to their snarky comment. I roll my eyes with a heavy sigh and a "Whatever!" and I place my destiny in their lap. And they don't even know it.

When life feels less than graceful and filled with rhythms of chaos, shouting my inability to gather my thoughts and structure well...pretty much anything.... it overtakes me and everything I am working so hard for, I tell myself "You know what? No one will notice if you quit." So do it. Just quit. Sit quietly. Cower a little. You've got plenty of purpose and meaning right in your house. 4 kids is more than you can handle anyways. Your plate is full. So just quit. C'mon. Everyone else is doing it.

And suddenly I remember it's not about me.
And suddenly I remember, it's not even supposed to be me going at this thing alone.
It's not about my hurt feelings or lack or qualifications. It's not about my ability to carry out this vision with complete and total dignity and  graceful beauty.

It's about HIM. 
And it's about looking at who I am and seeing someone else. 
Seeing Jesus. 

Lately every time I feel like throwing in the towel because I just don't have what it takes, He reminds me "It's not by your might. It's not by your power. It's by my Spirit anyways. Together, we've got this, girl. Of course YOU can't do this. You weren't supposed to do this. You are supposed to be willing to let me do it through you.

And I breathe. Ok, Lord. I take two steps forward.

I think about all the people I have come across or read about these past few years who "almost quit" because life got hard. People that have spoken volumes into my life and thousands others. And I wonder "What if they would have quit like they were tempted to do? What if they threw in the towel when they felt broken or depressed or overwhelmed?" I might not be where I am today. I may not have the drive in me to keep going.

But I am where I am because they didn't quit. And it reminds me~Neither should you.

Don't do it.
God needs to use your mouth. People need you to speak into their lives. Whether you think it or not.
You are where you are because YOU are needed. You are valued by people and you are honored by God.

So I am asking you, whoever you are, please DON'T QUIT. 
Whatever it is God has you doing. Whatever he is asking of you...
Don't throw in the towel. 
Life may seem bigger than you can handle right now. But HE needs you to rely on HIS strength so HE can become big and strong through you. So He can climb into your hands and your feet and speak through your mouth. HE needs you to stop believing the lies that no one will notice.
Because someone out there will notice. He needs you to stop relying on yourself so much...
IT's all him, Girl. Just let him get this one. 

Sit tight. Be Open. And enjoy the ride.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Your One Stop Shot For Perfection

"There is no such thing as a perfect mom. There is a loved mom. And a needed mom. And if you are there, that's perfect enough for them."
Those are the words I found myself writing earlier today when asked "What is something unexpected you've learned from being a mom?" It slipped off my fingertips with all the grace and dignity in world. (She says sarcastically).

I remember when I was around the age of 14 and getting into a scuffle with my mom (not an actual physical one) because in our Sears (or JC Penny, maybe?) 'family photo' I was not smiling. Back then you only got one shot to make your family look perfect, and I apparently ruined it. I was the oldest, so obviously I was to blame.  As soon as we got home and re looked at said photo, it was discovered that I was in fact smiling.
It was just a crappy picture in general (and I needed braces), so I don't blame anyone.
I'm not bitter...

Back then you had your one shot at perfection. 
Fast forward 20-(5) ahem years later and it seems our complete identity is somehow summed up in the perfection of our perfectly perfecto photos on our perfectuous Instagram (or Facebook or Twitter) feed~
Our adorably and perfectly cute kids (I mean!) with their cute outfits (You guys, I can't!) making cute (and not messy at all!) crafts. Today, we've taken away the JC Penny backdrop and have replaced it with the current definition of being a perfect mom with a perfect family. We plop it into our photo editing program and suddenly, we are "Perfecto Mom!"
Yes? Um, no.

I've got news for your friends. Our perfect Instagram feeds are not an indication of what a great mom we are.
It merely indicates what a great photographer we are. And even that's sketchy in this day & age because apparently anyone with a camera can have their own business.
My sister truly has a great eye when it comes to photography, particularly fashion photography. At least I think she does. She doesn't just have an eye for the picture taking, but for the photoshoot and style as a whole. She follows these super adorable Instagram feeds of these kids all decked out in the cutest kid swagger that can be and she always asks me if I "follow them" and "why not?"

Well, because I have kids. It's not reality .

Although, it makes for a cute kid photo, there is very little real about that photograph. It just doesn't inspire me as one would hope. What does inspire me is real life moms in the trenches of nitty gritty dirty momdem (that's not a word, I know) finding God's grace to wipe boogers and calm fevers and raise teenagers and eat old macaroni and cheese they find caked in the cushions (is that stretching it?). Moms who have special needs kids. Moms who want to have more kids. Moms who have too many kids (I know that's not possible, but you get what I mean). Moms that are probably tired of their kids, but Moms who still sacrifice their world for their kids.
Of course, they manage to mess it up, but they aren't afraid to admit it.

Moms that have to get up 6-7 times a night with their baby who won't sleep.
(Me. That last one was me. I inspire me.)

I'll admit. 
I get a ting of jealous of the perfect Instagram feeds. The one's that everyone follows. The ones that have perfect photos of how stylish and white and clean life must be on the other side of ...the midwest? Accessorized in balloons and stripes and chevron. With colorful quilts and mugs and quotes. I think we all get jealous to some degree. (Unless we really do have it all together.)

I LOVE those photos. I do.
But what I love mostly is truthfulness. And if I find an Instagram feed with both those things, it's pretty much the best day ever. However to compare myself to one of those feeds (highlight reels), because my photos don't always have the best lighting or I haven't gotten around to redecorating my living room in 5 years or my kids hair hasn't been brushed in two days (and even so, I still want to take AND post a picture) is where I have to draw the line. We all do.

Because our Instagram feeds are not an indicator of what a great mom we are or what a perfect family we have. There is no such thing as perfection when it comes to humanity. Technically.
Unless of course you are looking through the two little eyes who look up to you. Than you just being there makes you entirely perfect. Perfect to my 5 month old is buckling his bouncy seat seatbelt apparently, because that is what I just had to take a quick break to do, and he thought it was HILARIOUS!

It's a sad day if we we ever become too embarrassed to post pictures of our lives or our kids because the picture in itself doesn't match up to the creative, bright and colorful, 'we have so much fun together' stamina of someone else's family pictures on social media. Are we trying to show off how much we love our kids and celebrate our lives... or just show off? I dare say our social media activity some days can actually be an indicator of where we are lacking, because we are too busy trying to present the perfect image to everyone else.

We have all heard it said before. The thought isn't new in this day and age.
And Steven Furtick said it best when he said "The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scene's with everyone else's highlight reel."

The struggle is real, friends. Isn't it? We tweet about it, blog about it, preach about. Yet we still do it.
We compare. We let our identity be wrapped up in big bulbs on our deck and trendy banners on our fireplace and in a seemingly perfect presentation of who we really are. Awhile ago, I tweeted something like this "A Pinterest Girl is not the same thing as a Proverbs 31 Woman!" and it was one of my very few tweets that had a decent feedback. Achieving perfection in the eyes of the public is completely different than in the eyes of our Children...
and certainly different than in the eyes of God.
It's unfortunate. Because when we see someone, we should see the very thing He sees in them.
And it is who we should see in ourselves~ just the same.

Charm is deceptive. 
Beauty is fleeting. 
A woman who fears the Lord 
is to be praised. 
Psalms 31:30

We probably breeze past this scripture too often because we hear it so often and attribute it to modesty, yet what about the charm and beauty we so often put on display for the world to see in the other areas of our lives?
Is that what we are to praise?

My hope and prayer for my life (as a woman) is that I find my perfection:
~ In the eyes of my creator & redeemer. That everything that I do in my life is glorifying to Him. That it's not a false sense of charm or beauty of any kind that deceives others or even myself into wishing, thinking, hoping that my life is better than theirs/ or should be as good as theirs...

My hope and prayer for my life (as a mother) is that I find my perfection:
~ In the eyes of those little precious hearts that matter most. That my perfection isn't found in perfect social media photos or non messy craft days found on Pinterest only, but my being "perfect" is just being Mom to them when they need me to be. Perfect to them is being there. That's it. Nothing fancy or pinteresty about it.

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