Thursday, January 06, 2011

Who I Am

 I am committing to blogging more regularly this year.  I definitely got off track last year and intend to remedy that.  I think two things contributed: my new camera that takes lots, and lots of great pictures and facebook which makes it easy to share little blurbs of our life without sitting down to actually tell the whole story.  I really am going to try to do better this year.

My older two children are starting to ask me not to blog about things that happen with them.  Not always, but they are definitely aware and are asking at times for some web privacy.  I, of course, mostly respect that.  As such you will probably see a lot more about me - my thoughts, opinions, struggles, etc. in the coming year to fill the gap that some of their antics used to take up.

In that vein I start with an epiphany from last year. Last year brought many changes for me.  I quit my part-time job of five years, I started working out, and in general started taking better care of myself.  What brought all of those things about was a revelation I had about myself in April 2010.

I don't at this point remember how it came about, but one day it became crystal clear to me that God made me to be ME.  He did not make me to be like anyone else.  Yeah, I know, so far this doesn't sound very earth shattering.  But, for me, it was.  I had struggled for about three years to be a person I was not meant to be.  And as a result I had failed miserably.  I had tried to meet society's expectations of me.  Society tells us women that we can do and have it all.  We can be great wives and mothers while having perfect houses, children, bodies and careers.  I am sure there are some women out there who can and do have it all and are fulfilled by doing so but in my attempt I failed miserably.  And then I felt horrible about failing.

As the number of hours I worked increased, I became more stressed and if I am completely honest, depressed.  I loved my job, I loved my husband, I loved my children but I was a mess.  Why? Because everything I thought needed to get done did not get done.  The house was a mess, the laundry was never done, there was never time to work out, or cook, or do any of the things I enjoyed.  When I tried to push to get all these things done, I would end up physically sick, annoyed and grumpy with my husband and children and then further behind, more stressed and more depressed.  Again in all honesty, I probably should have seen a counselor and probably been medicated for anxiety and/or depression. 

So what changed?  My epiphany.  The moment when I truly understood that just as God made us with different skin, hair, and eye colors, he also made us with different personalities, strengths and weaknesses.  He made us unique.  He did not make us all to accomplish or desire the same things.  And more importantly he did not make me  to "do it all."  He made me  to be a person who needs order and some amount of solitude.  He made me to need down time.  He made me to be the tortoise, slow and steady, not the hare, fast and furious.  And once I realized that, I realized that I did not have to "do it all" and I didn't have to feel like a failure when I admitted that I couldn't successfully "do it all" if I wanted to!

It was a freeing moment for me.  And once I had this epiphany I was able to start making changes in my life without the guilt of failure.  I had not failed.  I had not been true to the me God made me to be. 

So I looked at my life and what was in my ability to change. The glaringly obvious choice was to give up my job.  It contributed very little to our overall household budget and greatly increased the amount of stress I felt.  Not because I didn't enjoy my job but just because of the number of hours it required.  I really loved most aspects of my job and all of the people I worked with.  It was very hard to resign.  

Then I started focusing on what I could do successfully without making myself physically and mentally unwell.  I started working out again and not feeling guilty about dragging my kids to the gym against their will because I needed to work out.  I stopped putting myself at the bottom of my priority list and started taking some time to myself when I needed it with out guilt!  I started cooking more because I enjoy it, not just because we need something to eat.  I open a book and read everyday because I enjoy it.  I do things out of my comfort zone like zumba, sledding, being silly with my kids, because I no longer care if you think I'm crazy, silly, foolish, etc. 

All of this has made a huge change for me.  I am definitely happier and less stressed.  Most days I'm a much more patient mom and more loving wife.  I am still not perfect and still don't have a perfect house or children or body and I never will.  But I no longer beat myself up over those things because I know I am embracing the person God created me to be.  I have slowed down and become much truer my real strengths and weaknesses. 

There are still days that I'm grumpy and yell at my children or husband.  My floors are still more likely to be dirty than clean and there is most assuredly a load, or more, of laundry that really needs my attention.  But I am much more emotionally present for my family and much more loving to boot. 

So my friends, I highly suggest that if you are not satisfied with the status quo of your own life, that you stop and reflect on who God intended you to be.  It has been literally life changing and freeing for me.


PS I also realize that while these are the changes I need to make right now to be me, that in the future what I need to be the best me may be completely opposite of what I need right now.  And I'm perfectly OK with that.

1 comment:

JanaB said...

WOW, Jenn! I have chills! This is such a special post! It has really hit home for me! I am really glad you chose to share it! I'm so proud of you! Love ya!