Some things are hard to do:
- Waking up to an alarm three hours before your body wants to.
- Training for a marathon.
- Listening to your (very) verbose child as he tells you a five minute story in twenty minutes.
- Forgiving someone when you still feel the hurt.
- Choosing joy.
- Passing up chocolate. Any chocolate.
- Loving someone who makes it hard to love them.
- Setting goals. And then meeting them.
- Walking after leg day.
- Going a day without coffee.
Really, I could go on and on.
But consistently, the one thing that has been the hardest thing for me to do is believe in myself.
Not that I haven’t had cheerleaders. Throughout my life, family members, friends, random individuals have picked up pom-poms and sis-boom-bah’d me from the sidelines. And I love them all for it.
You can do anything you want to do! Uh, huh.
You’re so good at (fill in the blank), you could make money doing that! I know. And in some cases…I did.
The only obstacle to your success is yourself! Yeah, caught that.
I thought of the perfect thing for you! Perfect? That’s a tall order.
You have so much talent! If only I’d use it, right? I know.
The guy crossing the street during the opening credits of Pretty Woman walks across my mind asking his question over and over again…”What’s your dream? Everybody’s got a dream…”
And by the grace of God, I am living most of it. I am married to a man who loves me without fail. Even mascara smudged, crying, prideful and stubborn, stuffing my face with chocolate. Right?! I know…I’m a lucky girl. I have four, healthy children whom I also love. Even when they are driving.me.batty. We live in a house that suits our needs and quite a few greeds (except in the awful summer heat when not having a pool is like death).
For years, (re: most of my life) I have struggled with the idea of what I was supposed to be…when I grow up. Some of this probably has to do with my being the youngest of four.
But there really does come a time when you have to ask yourself: How much more grown up could I possibly be? I mean, I am responsible for lives, for goodness sake. Young, impressionable, miniature (mostly) versions of me and my husband, that roam around our house seeking to devour all our food and leave a trail of dirty laundry in their wake. There are little people living in my house who make big messes and they just keep getting bigger. I juggle homework (theirs, but it feels like mine), school schedules, small group, church activities, family, friendships, and everything necessary to keep up the house and make it a home…for six people.
I am not saying I am super mom, by any means. I am saying…I am no longer waiting to grow up.
I AM A GROWN UP.
Still, there is this nag. This pull. Sometimes, it tugs. Other times it full on yanks me down. Think lovely spring rain…ahhh…versus torrential downpour…AHHHH!!! You get the point.
So when our pastor did a series at our church titled (BSAC: Be Strong And Courageous) and tackled the idea that some of us were not living up to our full potential and all God was asking us to do because we live in fear, my jaw hit the ground. Because I knew. Our pastor might as well have been pointing a finger at me and using my name. I knew this series was going to wreck me in a good way. And it did.
You see….that growing nag I haven’t been able to get rid of shows up in my love of reading, my love of a good Netflix binge (don’t judge), and music I listen to. In all of these things, stories are woven in my mind and I think…gosh…that would be a great book. Someone should write that book. In times when I am feeling particularly good about my prospects, I’ll even venture to…hey, I should write that book!
And I have. Over the years, I have grappled with numerous beginnings of books. I have cried over the keyboard, typing endings to stories with no beginnings. I have sat at bedtime making up stories on the fly for my kids. They always tell me my stories are best. Swoon. My phone has a note page and it is filled with book thoughts. Most of which come to me at the worst possible time (either driving, or in the middle of a church service). I have completed two, full size novels. One has sat on the proverbial shelf of my computer file for years.
Of all the things I do and know I can do…this scares me to the depth of my soul. What if I do it wrong? What if I don’t do it right? What if God says no? What if people don’t like me? What if this is what feels like another failure when I want it so bad?
The only failure is never trying.
Cliche, I know. But the result of some of my fear and insecurity has been my trying a crazy amount of numerous ventures. Admittedly, some more successful than others. Painting signs, cookies, blogging (but the content didn’t work for me), secretarial work, teaching bible study, being absolutely lazy (I was, and still am very adept at this particular skill), and pouring myself into being the perfect everything-from-scratch mom/wife.
Not that there is anything wrong with any of this…I was finding myself. I was building confidence. I was focusing on my family. I was doing what I enjoyed. I was being wise and responsible. I was even being obedient. But somewhere, along the way, I was procrastinating. I’m so good at that. It’s a problem. Capital P: Problem.
I became a serial wannabe of so many things, picturing myself with the success of the moment, but never actually wanting to grab a hold because it wasn’t…quite…right. And almost always choosing something I knew I could do well. Limited rejection = limited fear.
So, when this series at church began, I soaked it up. I had almost completed an online writing course, just finished my second book, wondering about revisions and what the revision process would look like…ready to can.it.all. Because I heard it…the familiar fear saying I wasn’t good enough. If it wasn’t perfect, it wasn’t worth it. Any critique was going to send me desperate for my previous state of blissful ignorance. If you don’t try, you don’t get rejected. If you don’t try, you never have a chance to fail.
You also never have a chance to succeed.
*Side note: If I had put this much thought behind having our first child, none of them would be in existence today. I promise you. The world is crazy and my kids have to grow up in it. Nothankyouverymuch. Safetybubblesplease. Mmmmkaythanks.*
Funny enough (or not), the next series our pastor began after he raked me through the coals with BSAC was Seize Tomorrow. For real.
Sometimes, you should just throw your hands up to the heavens. Surrender. That’s what it looks like. So while getting up early, being a mom and a wife, and perfecting forgiveness is hard, surrender is more so. Surrender comes in a variety of forms, dependent on your life’s specific cocktail blend.
Maybe you need to surrender the idea of failure.
Maybe you need to surrender your pride.
Maybe surrendering your time is hard for you.
Maybe surrendering control is your Achilles’s heel.
This blog (and a few other things) just happens to be what mine looks like. For now.
I think it’s rum and a diet 7up.