The last few weeks I’ve been struggling with an identity crisis of sorts. “I’m a terrible mother” was on repeat in my brain and I couldn’t figure out why I was in a funk.
This crisis became crystal clear when I attended a networking event a few weeks ago. I was SO excited to get out of the house. I prepped dinner for my family, started laundry, scrambled out of my “mom clothes” and tried desperately to look professional. I drank champagne and attempted to transition to the new environment. I introduced myself to another woman who was warm and cordial. It was a beautiful and purposeful event. I’m glad I attended. However, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I didn’t belong. I wanted to be home. I was missing story time with the boys. We were almost done with the Magic Tree House #2 book. But I had looked forward to this evening for weeks and now that I was there… I wanted to be home.
What Do you Want Woman?
I left super confused. On the way out I literally said to myself, “What do you want, woman?” I’m typically decisive and this inner turmoil had made a weird few weeks. On the drive home, I prayed for direction and clarity. Am I just discontent? Am I seeking for something the Lord doesn’t have for me right now? When I got home it was quiet and my husband was folding laundry. (Yes, I know I’m lucky. ) . He asked, “what’s on your mind, babe?” I didn’t have an answer but managed to mumble, “I don’t think I belong. Anywhere. I feel like I’m terrible at everything I do. I don’t know who I am.”
While I’m struggling to find words, I pick up my phone and mindlessly scroll facebook. (I don’t like processing emotions and often use my phone as a distraction. Just me?) Anyways. I was surprised to see the woman I mingled with 2 hours earlier commented and tagged me on facebook. I wasn’t connected with her on social media so I was intrigued.
What she said shocked me.
Background: Earlier that morning I was discussing a very minor, local community issue online. It wasn’t hostile or controversial. But this woman was angry and insulted my character based on my comment. She didn’t realize we had just met in person and I was stunned at the interaction. I do believe the Lord answered my prayers for clarity faster than I expected.
I was indeed seeking approval of strangers. And very quickly the Lord showed me how fake those connections can be.
We know intellectually that people’s social media life isn’t real. We know that…but it doesn’t stop us from trying to portray perfection. Take this for example. You all know I’m a Professional Reviewer for Amazon, right? One of the books offered this week was entitled something like “Curate Your Life” . The topic was a “how to” increase instagram followers and gain popularity.
It’s a brilliant title. “Curate” is a PERFECT word to describe our current obsession with social media.
cu·rate: [verb] to select, organize and look after the objects or works of art in a museum or an art gallery
My life isn’t an art gallery. Trying to get my husband or children to fit into a social media museum is cruel to everyone involved.
So here’s the truth.
A few months ago, I received a voicemail from my friend Amy who left me the most amazing message. She was struggling with some of the same issues and her words were amazing. Summarized it basically said,
“I’m feeling overwhelmed in my life and I know your life is crazy too. But can you tell me your life is crazy too? It’s not all perfect at your house, right? Because sometimes it seems like you’ve got it all together. But I know that’s not true. I know that. But I’ve started to believe that you’re outsides are better than my insides. Can you just call me and tell me the truth?”
It was perfectly timed because I listened to her voicemail while in urgent care with my then 1 year old. He dislocated his finger and it was facing the wrong direction. No – my life isn’t perfect. And yes – it’s crazy.
But here’s the truth…
I’m a terrible employee.
Working from home I often feel I’m not a “real employee” sometimes. Working from home also means my attention is precariously balanced. I work very hard to organize my day so when I’m “on the clock” I’m focused and 100% present for my clients. But it doesn’t always work and when the dominos falls…it’s not pretty. And who takes the brunt? My babies. My husband. Life happens and my clients are marvelous who give me plenty of room to be a mom FIRST (not just in words). But it doesn’t mean that I’m perfect. I cut it close and miss deadlines.
I’m a terrible Mom.
My children don’t care about schedules, organization or my agenda for the day. So I feel guilty when they beg me to play…. but I’m on a deadline. (Real or self-inflicted) All moms struggle with this regardless of where they work. I constantly put order and structure above “fun”. It’s a constant battle letting them be messy boys and simultaneously keeping a home that’s calm and fun. I lay in bed and replay the terrible things I said to my kids in frustration. I think about tomorrow and how I will “do better”. But I don’t. I miss opportunities to play and connect with them. I sing and pray with them every night. And every night…I softly cry over my shortcomings. I pray they grow to be men of God despite my shortcomings.
I’m a terrible friend.
My life with 3 young boys at home often means I don’t connect with friends whom I love and desperately miss. I often end the day feeling bad about not wishing someone a happy birthday or reaching out in a meaningful way when I know they’re hurting. Anytime I leave a group setting, I kick myself for talking too much. I need to listen more. Ask more questions and inquire how I can pray or help them specifically.
I hesitated to write this…
because I think people will be tempted to offer compliments to encourage me. That’s not what I want. I know there will be those who assume I’m seeking compliments. This honestly was uncomfortable to write. I wanted to reveal the chaos and mental turmoil that’s real life. I wanted to share what the Lord has been doing. Refining and pushing me to re-evaluate my purpose and calling.
Social media, networking, accomplishments and distractions tell me that:
- “I’m not enough.”
- “Do more.”
- “Be better.”
- “Try Harder.”
The voice inside my head is loud and can be fueled my social media. Not always. But I must be diligent and aware of influences I allow into my mind. I am certainly not enough. That one is true. I cannot do this alone without the help of someone much greater. Someone more powerful.
If you are struggling and feel like you don’t belong…you aren’t’ alone. Don’t work so hard to make your life a museum.
The truth is… I am NOT enough on my own.
I’m late to the party on Lauren Daigle . I only recently heard of her and this song… is indescribably perfect. It seems fitting to end with this truth and her music.
What about you? What do you do…when you’re in a funk?