Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Problem with Believing Lies.

I am starting to wonder if there is something truly wrong with me. What I mean by that is that I think I have believed a lot of the Enemy's lies- hook, line, and sinker. I've always been a kind of gullible gal. Quick to believe what anyone says. But lately, I'm starting to realize that some of the assumptions I've always made are incorrect and are in fact very wrong.

Now for those of you who don't struggle with people pleasing (fear of man), perfectionism (not accepting you're an imperfect creature), being a control freak (trying to play God) then you will think wow, she's just a really anal retentive mess... but if you find yourself relating on some level or another... read on.

I have what I like to call a Martha Stewart Complex.... what I mean by that is I get a hundred really great ideas. Creative, inspiring, whimsical, cute, thoughtful, etc. The problem is unlike Martha Stewart I don't have a huge team to implement these plans. But probably like Martha Steward I expect others to fall in line with my ideas of what I'm thinking... and I get my priorities jacked up. I tend to focus on the idea of something rather than the people. I get caught up in making a delicious meal... and an attractive table, as well as prettily wrapped gifts and place cards as opposed to knowing that I'm overdoing it (or practically killing myself) in order to obtain an image. And the problem is that everything might look pristine on the outside it's in the inside where I'm having a melt down. Not only that but people (especially my husband) would rather have cold cereal and have a happy, joyful meal, then a 5 course meal with a grumpy, frustrated wife.

I overwhelm myself and overload myself with expectations. Often these expectations do not come from others... but myself. I'm my own worst critic. In a day I will criticize myself over and over if everything isn't just right. I can clean the bathroom, feed the kids, do laundry, write cards, play with the kids... and feel like it's not enough if I didn't accomplish "everything else"... such as a great dinner (or any dinner) or working with the kids on something specific (bible memorization, fun songs and crafts, learning how to read, you get the gist).

I think I need to be the most creative, capable, thoughtful, loving, caring, hard-working person ever. I want the kids to always be clean, fed, and attractive (cute clothes, hair fixed, etc.) I want my blog to be regularly posted and updated with cute pictures and cunning thoughts. I expect my car to be cleaned and vacuumed and wiped out. I never want to eat fast food (ha)... I want to exercise. (ha ha) I want the house to be impeccable. I want everything to be clean, organized, labeled, fixed, and well, perfect. I want to be sure Michael always gets his physical therapy and the kids get their meds and that I'm working on solid foods with the twins. And that the kids get outdoor play and plenty of music, art, and creativity. And then of course there's ME- I need to grow spiritually, mentally, emotionally.... so I need to read the Bible, pray, fellowship, read academic books, history, biography, philosophy, and other books with a focus on spirituality (preferably the Puritans).... And then there's being a wife... but I'll stop now. Okay, are you guys following me?... Doesn't this sound ridiculous....

It should. Because it is.

I get so wrapped up in my worth being found in what I've done, what I can do, and what I'm capable of.

I find myself DAILY needing to hang up the wonder woman cape and say, it's okay to be me. Jesus Loves Me. He doesn't love me for getting things done or for being efficient or for trying so hard. He doesn't look at my to-do list and say, "Why aren't you striving more?" In fact His words are a far cry from my own!

"Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28)

"Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you." 1 Peter 5:6-7

Isaiah 40:28-31


28 Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.
29 He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might he increases strength.
30 Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted;
31 but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.



So, sorry to disappoint you but I'm putting my Martha Stewart self on the back burner and instead will take up rest, trust, hope, and maybe even Joy! Hoping that you can do the same. Rest in God's love and delight in you! Rest in knowing He knows you and loves you. He doesn't grow faint or weary and He is ABLE to carry ALL your burdens! So lay them at His feet.

I'm thinking of just waking every day... giving thanks to Him and then saying, "Lord, what do YOU want for me and my day? I lay down what I want... I want to have your eyes, your focus, and your purpose."

So Happy New Year to you and yours. Blessings on this New Year. Thank God he loves the wanna-be-perfectionists... and that He is still working, even in me.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Lies and other things we believe. Jen, you are blessed to cognize this right now. As a young woman, wife and mother. Some of us "older" women are only now getting some of this in these twilight years. I pray you will take off the expectation of perfectionism and as you commented, take each day, hour or even minute. We do have things that must be done, appts., grocery shopping, cleaning and mothering, laundry and all the things Moms do. But when we can enjoy simple moments with our kids, husbands and friends, watch a robin build a nest, a flower bloom,a sunset take our breath away. What joy and peace can fill our hearts and minds. You are an exceptional young woman whom I admire and respect. ASk Him what His agenda for the day or hour is........ask Him . He never leaves nor forsakes us and being in His will is the place to be. love you
faf

Beth said...

Jennifer,
You could call me your older "you" in some ways. I have even had people call me "Martha" (good or bad? not sure)!! But, I would love to share with you some of the things I have done to bring peace to my heart and mind in the midst of the busiest time of our lives. email me if you'd like! ba.longtine@gmail.com

AmyB said...

I totally relate Jennifer! Working through the same things myself...LOVE YOU!! Oh, and HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!! :-)

Anonymous said...

JL, this is a super helpful post for me right now. Thank you for sharing this!

I love you so much..

Kelsey Justine

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for sharing this, Jennifer! It was really encouraging.

Love you, girl!
Sharon

Sarah said...

Hey Jennifer - great post. Thanks for sharing. I know exactly what you mean. I think God gives us kids not only to bless our socks off but also to teach us that the perfection we strive for in the silly things we know aren't important deep down is just not possible - and He doesn't care about those things anyway! I'm learning the same as you - not easy but hopefully life-changing.

And how you get anything done with four gorgeous munchkins is impressive - our apartment looks like it's been burgled all the time and I only have the one!

Wish we could Starbucks and share stories - miss you lots.

Big hugs xxx

Anonymous said...

You described me, my life perfectly... Thanks for posting this and know that someone else is going to try and just be herself, not Martha Stewart:-) It is great that our husbands are so understanding and mostly put up with our desire for perfection, but that they can say to us, I would rather have the cold cereal. I get that line or the gist of it often enough to start to believe it some.