Monday, August 12, 2013

Subterfuge

I've heard it said that the whisper of a single negative voice can drown out the cheering of the multitudes. 

As a mother, a blogger, a teacher, and a waitress I think it is safe to say I have had more than my fair share of opportunities to prove this to be true.  Despite the repeated compliments and kudos of my students, it only took one parent with an axe to grind to send me into parent/teacher conference with quivering hands and a shaking voice.  I've had several customers applaud my skills as a server, but it only takes one person with a short fuse and a bad attitude to send me into an hour long fit of tears.  I seek the approval of pretty much everyone around me with a kind of unhealthy determination that has led me down a dangerous road where Perfectionism meets Comparison.

And oh, the company of fellow moms.  Never am I more aware of my appearance, income, shortcomings, accomplishments, stretch marks, and ragged cuticles than when I am in the company of my peers, the other mothers who seem to just be so much better at EVERYTHING.

Why do I do this?  Even when I do something well and I know darn well that I knocked it out of the park, I will purposefully undercut my accomplishment or talent by making an excuse for it, downplaying it, or deflecting the credit elsewhere. 

It's an impossible situation I put myself in - stuck smack dab between insufficiency and assurance.  Aren't we supposed to have all this figured about by now? There was no class in high school or college that prepared us for the uneasiness that comes from just trying to be who we are.


Geez, I started writing this post as a way to reflect on turning 30 in a couple days and look what it's turned into.  Perhaps it began when I was stupid enough to venture into the comments section on my piece on Huffington Post Parents.  I thought I was above all the hurtful words, immune to the sniping comments, and impervious to the ignorant analysis of those who don't know me from a basket of unfolded laundry.  Turns out, I was wrong.  Despite scrolling through screen after screen of encouragement and applause, the first nasty accusation I came across slipped silently and painfully into my heart like a spear. 

Let's just say I was grateful that all Isaiah could see on the screen was his smiling face holding a baseball and couldn't read some of the hurtful things being said about his Mommy.


So how do we rise above?  Is it even possible to break free of the bondage that public opinion can inflict upon us?  All I can rest in the is the knowledge that there is only one who truly knows me inside and out and that there is nothing, NOTHING I can do that will lead him to abandon me.  Regardless of what I do, his opinion of me remains the same as it did the moment he formed me in my mother's womb.  Eternally speaking, His is the only opinion that matters.  As I prepare to start of new decade of life given only through the grace of God, I will call on his strength to remember that I am living a life for His glory and that the appro val of men should be of little concern to me.

"Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God?  Or am I trying to please men?  If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.(Galatians 1:10)

Unlike high school, life is not a popularity contest and the stakes are so much higher than the tiara sitting atop the up-do of the prom queen.  There's going to be some big changes as a 30 year old.  I can't really explain why, but I just feel like God has something pretty cool in store for this phase of my life.

Do you ever struggle with trying to find the balance between your identity in Christ and your identity in the world?  Why do you think it's so difficult sometimes to make the two of those meet?  
 



9 comments:

  1. Sarah, I struggle with these same thoughts almost daily. I think every woman does and if they deny it, they are lying to themselves. Just last night I decided to begin to write journals to my kiddos for each school year. I began writing to my daughter and a flood of emotions and thoughts kept flowing from my pen that I couldn't even keep up with. I want to prepare her for the hurtful things in life, to tell her not to sweat them, to love God and herself and to just tell her that each obstacle she goes through, the ones that will make her feel as though her entire world is crumbling... she will be alright. I think all we need to remember as women and fellow moms is that we ARE NOT ALONE in these struggles that go through our minds. My hubby calls them "crazy thoughts."

    And yes, when you turn 30, something definitely changes inside you...I'm embracing it and loving every second of it! :) God Bless! And have a very happy 30th birthday!!!!

    Tiff

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    1. I'm pretty sure I have those "crazy thoughts" nearly every day. No joke.

      Thanks for your kind words, Tiff!

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  2. Your an amazing woman with an amazing family! Don't let anyone steal your thunder. People hate on others to make themselves feel better about their own life and/or situation, it is very unfortunate. Everyone strives to be and do better in life, all we can do is be resilient and persistent. Negativity and obstacles test us daily, and with a little faith and hard work we persevere. No one person will have the same life as another, so it is important for us to embrace ours through the ups and downs. You have a great mind and outlook, enjoy the adventure into your 30s. I enjoy your posts, thank you!

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    1. I'm looking forward to the adventure in my 30s! With the kids entering elementary school, my whole world is about to get turned upside down. Should be a crazy ride. :)

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  3. All of this self-worrying fades with time, trust me! My children are grown & on their own & I no longer worry about if I measure up. But it happened over time, life lessons & age mellows it all out & you finally get to a point when you really don't care!
    Enjoy this time of your life, but please know.....it gets better every year!! I do not miss my 20's or 30's, life was so busy! Never forget to nurture your marriage, because when the children grow up & leave home, life begins again! Happy Birthday to you!
    Thank you for sharing!

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    1. Yes!! I feel like I barely have time to catch my breath right now. Thank you so much for these kind words and how wise of you to point out how important it is to nurture marriage. We've actually been talking at home about this recently and it is a sincere concern for me. It will be like getting to know one another all over again - crazy!!

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  4. Girrrrrrrrrlll... uggghhh... it is so hard to say that everyone feels like this.. I can't speak for everyone, just me.. I go on facebook, other blogs, hear stories, and think I am like failing at life.. my hubsband has taken a job in Virginia and I'm in Chicago, so now I'm in limbo...and when I see people with happy families I get jealous... so I don't know if this helps.. but its honestly NOT YOU.. its ALL OF US!!! BTW.. I have you on my favorite blog list and I think you are doing a GREAT job!!!

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    1. First of all, I love that you started your comment with "Girrrrrrllllllll."

      Made my day.

      Hugs to you Suzanne! That must be so hard to be so far away from your man. It's hard not to get jealous of all the "normal" and "happy" families who seem to have it all together, isn't it?

      Thank you for your comment and I truly appreciate your compliments. I needed a little pick-me-up. :)

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  5. NO problem!! I love your blog.. I literally wait for your stitch fixes like waiting for Santa... can't wait for the next one!

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