I think it's safe to conclude that February was an emotional bust. I gave myself a thankfulness challenge this morning and the best I can do is to be thankful I survived it. I'm not given to drama, so I for real mean that I am not just glad it's (almost) over, I'm truly thankful that the tide didn't take me under.
This month has just been ... rough. What an inadequate word, yet if I don't choose the one, I may let loose with the millions and you don't need to hear them and I'm pretty sure it would not be helpful to me to give them voice. Suffice it to say that it's been dark around here, as it is every February, and even though I should know by now, somehow it catches me off guard each year.
Seasonal depression is a real thing. I have so few words to give right now, but I hope it's ok that I whisper out loud that I have struggled. And if you are my fellow traveler I want you to know that I see you and I understand and can I just say that this part of our lives sucks?
If I took the thankfulness challenge in February it would look something like this:
Day 1. I am thankful for cold cereal. Because dinner.
Day 2. I am thankful for Law & Order reruns. They entertain me between naps.
Day 3. I am thankful that my pajamas look like workout clothes because I don't have to change if I don't want to and I can pretend I, like, worked out.
Day 4. I'm thankful that what I was thankful for on Day 3 means a lot less laundry.
Day 5. I'm thankful that HyVee delivers groceries so I don't have to leave my house. Because it's so peopley out there. (Not even kidding, they bring them right to your door! Best February discovery ever.)
Day 6. I'm thankful for voicemail. 'Nuff said on that one.
Day 7. I'm thankful for coffee. Duh.
Day 8. I'm thankful for sunshine. Or I would be if I ever saw any.
And so on.
Truly I AM thankful for a husband and family and friends that love me and "get" me and shore me up in the storm and never give up on me. You peeps are the reason that the tide never wins the battle.
Here's to March!
Wednesday, February 3, 2016
Let me just burst your bubble now: There is no to-do list, no step-by-step program, no quick fix.
Dr. Charles Stanley says this: "Drifting into security is impossible; we must work toward it." ("In Touch" magazine, January 27)
Don't stop reading though, because ...
There is hope. There IS a fix. Insecurity can be overcome. For real.
Don't we all struggle with feelings of insecurity somewhere in our lives? Maybe it's our appearance. Maybe it's our parenting skills. Maybe it's our job. Maybe it's our home. Maybe it's our marriage. Maybe for you it's (fill in the blank). Regardless, we have that feeling that we just.don't.measure.up.
Insecurity is destructive. It wounds and maims us on the inside. It leaves us sad, or mad, or paralyzed, or striving. And it usually (always?) comes from comparison. We compare ourselves to that skinny friend, that mom with the perfectly behaved, always dressed just right kids, that person that excels at (whatever) effortlessly. Or that beautiful, always clean home, or that joyous loving wonderful couple that never struggles in their marriage.
So let's look at all those perfect people to whom we compare ourselves.
Newsflash: no one's perfect. I promise you that those kids are brats sometimes, that house is messy sometimes, that couple fights from time to time. Even if the outside veneer looks amazing, behind closed doors is reality.
And in reality, I can almost promise you that those same people are feeling the insecurity struggle somewhere in their lives.
So if nearly all of us are facing this hopeless feeling of not being good enough, what's the answer? I want there to be an answer, because I'm tired of feeling less-than, weary of wasting time and emotion trying to fix myself and always always falling short of the other [wife mom house co-worker] no matter how hard I try.
If Dr. Stanley says that security is something we must work for, and I'm working so hard to measure up, then what? WHAT am I missing? How do I shake this feeling?
For me, I will confess that most of my insecurities revolve around writing. I feel anxious when I read other people's books or blogs. They blow me away with their insight and wisdom and I can't imagine how I can ever be that good.
Where does that leave me? Defeated. And afraid to try. Wondering what in the world I have to say that hasn't already been said (better than I ever could) before. In-se-cure.
So I try harder, I set a writing schedule, I fail to keep it, I search for topics and can't find anything that seems important, I DO write something and then fear no one is reading.
I want to just drift into feeling secure in my own skin, with my own abilities, just like God made me, comfortable and sure of myself in a way that's not arrogant or prideful.
That's my deal. I think we all have a "deal" that is making us feel we are missing the mark and we don't have the skills to hit the bullseye and asking for help will admit failure and just NO THANK YOU. I will keep hiding it from you and keep pulling myself together for you and anyone else that's watching.
But here's a question.
Is it possible that by the way we handle our own insecurity might make OTHER PEOPLE feel insecure?
If we hide it and fake it and pretend we are the most secure women God ever made, not only is that untrue but maybe, just maybe, we are the mark others try to live up to. Maybe other people see our abilities better than we can and they see our fake facade and think we have it all together and they feel insecure because of how we present ourselves. They feel less-than us, and have we ever thought about insecurity that way before?
So where's the hope? What's the fix? I want to feel authentically and truly secure without causing anyone else to feel less-than.
Here's the gut-level, honest truth. It takes work. And it takes time. And it takes honesty, with ourselves and others, and sometimes you have to be broken before you can heal.
First and most of all, you must know the truth about who you are. And not compare you to the truth about who someone else is or might be.
The truth is, you are the only you God made. The ONLY ONE. For real, think hard on this. It's only five words but once you grasp it, it can be life changing.
Because if I am the only me, that means no one else can be me and more importantly, I can't be anyone else. If I am the only me, trying to be you will probably be a disaster. And if I'm comparing me to you, I won't take the time to learn how to be the me I was made to be.
Read that paragraph again, real slow. It's lots of me's and you's and it's all a bit confusing but when you read it twice can you hear the ring of truth there? That's hope you hear.
We are also called individually. I am not called to write like [insert any of about 500 names of great writers here]. Just because someone else has already said "it" doesn't mean I don't have a different perspective to share that will resonate with just one person.
We have to ask, what does God see in us? Because THAT'S the fix. Really and truly seeing ourselves in the light of the One who made us, just like we are, with our abilities and our limitations and our faults and our difficulties He made us. He loves us with an everlasting love (check out just about any Psalm in the Old Testament if you don't believe me). He loves the "me" he created and my security will only come from believing that I.am.enough in His eyes.
Where is my focus if I'm comparing myself to others? It is on others, and on myself, and how I don't measure up, and yes, on my insecurity, if I'm honest.
If I believe the truth, that God made me to just be ME and He loves the ME he made, then my focus changes and my eyes clear and I am secure in the knowledge that I am enough. That even if I'm not sure yet what He plans for me to be when I grow up, He DOES have a plan, and it's good for me, and it's good for others, and it is just for me based on just the way He made me.
Can I just drift into this new focus, drift into believing this truth, drift away from focusing around me and comparing myself to others and into the marvelous security we are offered, free of charge?
I don't think so. I think it takes practice, and reminding, and it takes reading the words of this God who loves me desperately, so much that He wrote a whole book about that love. It takes a gradual shifting of my attention from myself and my shortcomings to God and His promise that He loves me and He will keep loving me until finally, finally I believe Him.
This is not striving to be better. This is accepting the truth of who I am and being A-ok with it. I think we move in and out of this place of security (at best), but I also know that the more I know about the truth of me the less insecure I feel. Some areas are easier and some are harder, but I will keep working to learn and live the truth about me.
Here's to accepting,
at 12:23 PM