Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Stepping out of her shadow

One of my friends recently joked about dusting with one hand, cooking with the other, and folding clothes with her toes. I'd love to see an illustration of my mental picture because it had me cracking up. It's so true though. What woman can't relate to feeling like her daily tasks require inspector gadget arms?

Don't we all get tired? Can't we all share in the "I'm not enough" sentiment? Why, when under stress, do some of us so quickly develop a sense of inadequacy and tell ourselves "I can't do anything right?" or "I'm such a failure." Why are we so hard on ourselves? I know that I am my own worst critic and I'm finding the same is true of a lot of women. We can easily see the glory and beauty in each other but we deny it in ourselves. Sometimes we notice each other and we become jealous or feel the need to compete.

Earlier this year I was reading through a book that summarized and paraphrased the "Proverbs 31 Wife" and I just felt sick after reading it. I remember writing in my journal, "Really? I kind of hate her." I went to Patrick with the book and read it to him. He was confused and didn't see the problem with it. He said, "I don't understand. That's you."

I was speechless. "This isn't me," I thought. I was frustrated that the idea of this woman even made it into the Bible because now every woman has to live in her shadow. When is this woman supposed to rest? When does she read a book or catch up with a friend? How does she plan and prepare healthy meals for her family? When does she find time to exercise? How does she keep up with her tasks and still have time for her Spiritual needs? What about her husband? Does she even have time for sex? How was she not too tired for it? She must have found energy at some point because it says her "children" praise her. I was convinced that there simply aren't enough hours in the day for a woman like her to exist in today's world.   

Then I remembered Patrick's kind words. I realized how truthful he was being in that moment. He meant every word of what he said to me. Nobody has ever told me that I'm a failure- I did. Nobody has ever told me that I can't do anything right- I did. Clearly, I need to extend myself grace. I need to focus more on the way God views me. I needed to adjust my expectations for myself and rest my heart. Maybe we all do?

"The Lord your God is with you, 
he is mighty to save. 
He will take great delight in you,
he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing."
Zephaniah 3:17

We all have assignments in life- things that demand our attention. They don't define us, but they define where we go, what we do, and also what we don't do. For example, I am a daughter, sister, friend, wife, mother, nurse, and youth volunteer. However, there is more to me than these roles so how do I find a way to balance it all? What about hobbies? What about reading? What about Spiritual transformation? What about home maintenance and self maintenance? My biggest question has been how do I honor and glorify God with my life and all that it encompasses?

Balance is hard. However, I feel like balance can provide structure and space for growth. Balance is establishing a rhythm to life and the tasks it requires. I don't think balance means getting it perfect but instead, knowing what you're aiming for.

"Aim at nothing and you'll hit it every time."

Some days I hit my target and some days I'm not even close and both days are okay. The days that the floors don't get mopped or the days that I don't get my quiet time are the days grace must come in. I don't think the Proverbs 31 wife was supposed to make me feel inadequate. I think she was supposed to encourage me to focus on Christ- to maintain a kingdom perspective. Above everything we should "fear the Lord."

So ladies, let's step out of her shadow- whoever she is. Quit comparing. Quit telling yourself you don't have what it takes. Stop doubting your ability or stressing over what hasn't been done. Just rest. Take a deep breath. Remember your aim- your power for living who is Christ the Lord.


  1. Amen sister, Thank you for this. Ir was quite needed today.

  2. Thanks, Lauren. Praying for you and your cute baby boys!