Wednesday, September 14, 2016

I Wish I Could...

I really wanted my could post to be ready for you today. I have several drafts started plus another separate outline on my iPhone in the hopes of effectively communicating what a battle it is to fight the could-monster.

But I just cannot get it right. Not today at least, and apparently, not last week either.

I'm okay with that, at least, I'm trying to be. I've been trying desperately to be alright with a lot of aspects of my life lately. Alright with diving into a new CC community, alright with homeschooling, alright with all the concessions I make to be able to CrossFit several early (very early!) mornings a week, alright with the demands of my husband's job... just trying, and trying, and praying, and attempting to convince myself of all the good that can come from all these different scenarios. But I'm not always very good at it.

Recently, it came to my attention that many of you, especially those I don't see very often, think I am "doing it all". I laughed so hard when I first heard a few of these comments, several coming from different people, from different groups of friends. I don't want to go around explaining my behavior, or forcing you to know me, but I also want to share a little more about myself. I want to be transparent and help you know where I am coming from. My hope in all this is that you don't think I have it all together, or have life completely figured out, but that my strengths and weaknesses would be an encouragement to you.

It took me a long time to not be offended every time a friend on Social Media would post common-knowledge tips about parenting. I kept thinking "Duh, I know this. Does she think I don't know this?" I'm pretty sure she wasn't posting just for me, but I still kept wondering if maybe she thought I was one of those people who needed to know about how to buckle my child or what to feed my babies. My mind insisted on obsessing about if I was really doing my best and if other people thought so too.

Mind you, I've come a long way in my perfectionism, but personality tests constantly reveal that I am several things many of you might not be, and much of my writing comes from this passionate place within my bones to be the best, to always be doing my very best, and to constantly achieve whatever goal I can. I know I have to tame these a bit, because following God is no competition, and only He really knows best, but the fire within me keeps on burning. And truly, it does not match up with my physical limits, my mental weaknesses, or my bad habits.

In college I was in a Freshman group where we read and worked through Now, Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham and Donald O. Clifton (affiliate link). It was incredibly eye-opening and emphasized working to use your strengths to reach your goals instead of always trying to rid of your weaknesses. I don't know what happened to my old copy of the book, but I do remember my strengths, and maybe they will help you read my blog and understand where I come from a little bit better.

- Activator - likes to get started, immediately jumps when new opportunities or plans arise.
- Achiever - I'm pretty sure you know what this means ;)
- Competitor - uh huh, I'm one of those.
- Learner - this makes me great with homeschooling, I love learning almost anything!
- WOO - Win Others Over. Frequently known as People Pleaser.

That is a pretty intense combination, yes? Add to these things my near-constant fatigue and poor cleaning habits (ask my husband) and you have a recipe for someone who is doing a lot of hyped-up, inspirational, self-talk. Then, add that I love to write and enjoy telling others what I am learning, and you get a person who cannot shut up about what great things lie ahead for those who have vision and motivation. No, you've never read those types of things on this blog ;)

I often look at these strengths and want to cry. I hate being misunderstood, and I want all of you to know that I don't preach living with ambition because you are all unambitious or because I have got this life figured out, but because it's the natural output of my heart. It's God-wired, and spurred on by my other strengths. I sometimes despair because all of these strengths exhaust my mind and body. I need more sleep than most, but I also have more ambition than most, and how I can I fit both of these together? I want to share all the wonderful things I learn, but I also want all of you to love me like your best friend and hate to sound like a know-it-all. I want to give up on striving so hard to always do what is absolutely best, but doing so often feels like settling, losing, or letting others win at life while I curl up in a ball and sleep.

If I have learned anything though, it's that all of these strengths combined force me to turn over my future, even the one hour away future, to God. I constantly have no clue how I will cross off the items on my to-do list, so I have to move forward, trusting God with the outcome, trying to convince myself that He will give me energy and discernment for the things that have to be done, even if many items on my list are left undone at 10:30pm. I have to strive to find my value as His created person, not in what others think of me. I have to let many ambitions and goals lay silent while I strive to serve my family with a willing heart, instead of taking up my creative endeavors and looking for fulfillment in my accomplishments. I have to come to peace with the fact that my busy mind needs down-time, and not to feel guilty for resting instead of achieving.

Often, being wired this way feels like a burden, and it feels worse when I consider how some of you might see me as having it all together. I do strive to put my best foot forward, to put my best images up on the internet, not because I desire to hide the ugly, but because I love things that are excellent. And being the achiever I am, if I can do something better, I'm going to work to make it happen.

It's a stretch for me to even put this up on the internet. I really wanted to have my could post done, but this post is going to have to be good enough. I will admit though, it still includes a bit of that striving for achievement. After all, it will allow me to cross off my mental "blog once per week" goal.  I can't help myself. I want to make great stuff happen! This post might not be incredible, or life-altering, but it's really how I feel about myself and my life. My strengths make me really great for some tasks, and not so great at others. My weaknesses will try to hold me back, and my strengths will continue to push me forward.

Much of life is learning how to balance, which is what I am going for here with this post. I'm settling for "not what I wanted" but still working toward my goals. Can you relate? Are the things holding you back causing you to despair or give up? Or will you press forward, taking any ground you can gain in having peace with your circumstances? This is what I really want, to feel at peace about my decisions, my progress, my life.

All these things rest in God's plans for us, and I think He really does want us to be mindful about our impact and our growth while we move ahead. I see a lot of growth in my life, and while most things are not how I envisioned, or what I would have aimed for, I still desire to see His plan in all of it, to be content with who He is making me to be. It will be very different from who He is making you to be, but we can all still find the good in each other and celebrate it without guilt, comparison, assumptions, or shame. And that is a really good goal, to be fully yourself, the best you can be, but not rest your hope on what that will look like or base it off what other people's lives look like. So here I am, not really blogging about could the way I wanted to, but hoping that you, like me, can take your eyes of what could be and are able to enjoy what is. In your life and in yourself.

No comments:

Post a Comment