My eyes are pretty much sealed shut this morning.
The first explanation is I’m a mom. I know I might have lost about half of you to that statement. (*Men* cough cough)
The other half, you sisters, probably feel me. I was up literally all night (and I’m using the word correctly in this case) out on the couch with a squirming, crying, teething baby. I swear I’m going to get PTSD from laying on the crack of that damn couch, my arm falling through, as my baby pushed up against me, knocked me in the teeth and poked his finger in my eye about seven times.
I. Am. Spent.
But the second explanation of why I didn’t sleep is because I was awake after getting some feedback about my parenting, or a correction mind you, that didn’t settle well. It was an opinion–and nothing more–but it stuck. And I couldn’t sleep.
I have many weaknesses (I’d fill an entire blog if I decided to disclose them all to you), but the weakness I’ve battled with the very most in my life and have actively tried to correct–is how deeply I feel and believe what people say to me.
I have an uncanny knack for absolutely trusting and buying in to any form of feedback. I know, super lovely talent of mine.
I have this strange memory, way back in 7th grade, of picture day. I was standing in line with a pin striped top (I still love pin-striped to this day by the way) and those god-awful corduroy pants that for some reason were considered fashionable back in the day. I felt super cute that day. I still, oddly enough, remember how good I felt in my new outfit and freshly cut hair. I was at that awkward stage in life right before braces swooped in to save my face and my baby fat still lingered in weird places. But I felt good.
And then it happened. “You should never wear horizontal pinstripes,” a girl in the line said to me. “They make even skinny girls look wide.”
Crushed. Just about instantly.
I believed her and didn’t wear stripes until my senior year of high school when I decided to hell with it, I like stripes. But I can’t look at that school picture without remembering that I instantly believed what that faceless girl in my memory had to say about my new shirt. Without question, without any doubt, I simply believed her.
Fast forward to being an adult, and I still find myself in similar situations. As women, I’ve come to realize the older I get, I think we all sometimes fall into that pattern of belief. Maybe it has to do with the fact that by nature we are pleasers. We are nurturers. We are trusting. And with the smallest stabs of opinions, comments, or even body language from others we can totally reinvent the image we have of ourselves and start speaking untruths.
I’m not a good mom. I’m a slob. I don’t make enough money. I’m dramatic. I’m not very smart. I’m too emotional. I’m too needy. I’m a bad wife. I’m too loud. I’m too opinionated. I’m the reason he drinks. I’m the reason the kids are acting out. I’m the problem. I’m a bad friend. I’m not creative. I’m not leadership material. I’m not enough.
I think as women especially we try so hard to fit molds, make people happy (especially our families) and be who we NEED to be for others. We tend to subconsciously adapt to a society that tells us what pant size we should wear, what we have to own to be considered prosperous, what we have to do with our kids or feed our kids or say to our kids to be a good parent, what we have to aspire to and work toward to be considered successful. We are constantly being told what to be and who we are and here’s the kicker–
We are constantly believing it.
But my question to you, sister, and even to my self-doubting, often insecure and adapting self, is this: Why then, don’t we believe what God says?
When he speaks to our spirits to tell us we’re a good mom and when He, above all else, knows the intent of our hearts and knows the earth-shattering ways you sacrifice daily, trudge through tired days, give of empty hands and still somehow produce substance–He above all else, sees you. He sees you going to work and pushing with full force to make your bonus that month so your kids can have enough to go to camp. He sees you cleaning the house as the baby is crying and the dog wet on the carpet, feverishly working to make sure your husband comes home to a clean space.
He sees you crying behind the wheel of your car to the songs that remind you of your worth when someone tried to completely take it away and He sees you praying in the dark when everyone else is asleep. He sees you sick and weathered and wishing for just ten minutes to take a nap. He sees your heart desiring for the best for your family, even in the moments when you snap that someone left their shoes on the couch. He sees your tired hands rubbing a child’s fevered back when you’re hacking up a lung yourself and He sees your effort when you’re sweating on your run to make your body the best version it can be, even when others judge you for still wearing a plus size, years after having a baby.
He sees everything and still–He says you’re enough.
It hits me like a chill to the face when I remember what he says of me and realize that once again, I believed the opinion of someone else or the voice inside of my head instead. It fills me with shame when I realize that I let the words stay or the opinions matter.
This morning in the car I heard my favorite Lauren Daigle song, Say, and it reminded me yet again of my greatest struggle and the struggle of so many around me.
As women, as sisters, as mothers, as daughters, as wives, as leaders, as all of the roles and titles we represent–we are first loved beyond reason or further explanation.
We are gifted grace and understanding by a God who sees our heart, and not a cut-out version of the worst thing we’ve ever done. We need to start believing that.
As I was losing sleep over something someone said, I could have been resting and soaking in the moment where my baby needed me, and I was selflessly right there, keeping him warm and safe and fed. I could have given myself the recognition God did in that instant rather than buying in to untruths that hold no weight and don’t define who I am or the millions of things I do when no one is looking.
As I was losing sleep I could have been resting easy in his opinion of me–which is frankly, spotless.
It’s International Women’s Day today–and what better day to remind you, sister, that you’re buying into all the wrong stuff. You’re believing the wrong person. You’re following the wrong voice. You aren’t living to your potential when you buy in to the noise.
Today, say it out loud if you must. Say it in your car and at your desk and in the face of your screaming children. Say it to your spouse’s back when he grumbles at you and walks out. Say it to the bathroom stall. Say it again and again until you believe it deep in your bones and no longer doubt it. Say it until it becomes natural to say.
I only believe what HE says of me.
You are enough, simply because He thinks so.