I’ve been so thankful to have a chance to read a pre-release copy of Jennifer Dukes Lee’s book, The Happiness Dare. Her words have challenged me so much and taking the Happiness Dare is changing my whole perspective on life. (You can follow along with me on Instagram as I share little glimpses into how I’m seeking to wring the delight out of the ordinary days).
This quote from Jennifer was really powerful:
Women, in particular, work hard to hold up defenses. We disguise what we think is wrong about us. We try hard to keep it all together because we are afraid of rejection. Those things we struggle with, those things we believe are “wrong” about us, actually make us approachable to every other woman who are struggling with their own set of wrongs.
She goes on to talk about how we do whatever we can to mask our messes. In reality, the woman on the other side of the room needs to see those flaws about us, because they are dealing with their own set of insecurities. When they think we have it all together, how can we be approachable to them?
If we want to be truly happy, we have to live as who we actually are, not the made up person we pretend to be. There’s so much we gain by being to be vulnerable and open and letting others see our imperfections.
In the last few months, I’ve had to come face-to-face with how I really struggle with control issues. And I’ve been realizing that these control issues go hand-in-hand with my anxiety issues, my fear of the unknown, and my incessant pursuing of trying to have my ducks in a row.
I don’t want to live my life chained to chasing after perfect. That will only make me miserable and frustrated.
Instead, I’m asking God to help me let go of attempting to micromanage everything and everyone and be okay with not having everything in neatly laid out plans all the time. I’m also learning there is freedom in stepping back and letting go, as I wrote about on Saturday.
Now, my issues and my struggles are likely different than yours. But I know you have your own set of insecurities and struggles and I want to encourage you that you are not the only one!
Last week, one of my friends texted me how they were struggling with feeling so inadequate and like they were failing in every area of their life. I asked them to give me specific details of what thoughts they were having. They proceeded shared their feelings of failing as a parent, as a spouse, as a friend… and on and on.
When they were done sharing everything they could think of that they were feeling guilt and failure over, I texted back and said, “Could I call you?” I picked up the phone and called them and said, “Basically everything you’re wrote are feelings we all struggle with at one time or another. These feelings of inadequacy don’t mean you are a failure, they just make you normal.”
If you are struggling right now, I want to encourage you with these three reminders:
1. You are not the only one.
We’re all a little crazy aren’t we? Here’s the thing, your inner crazy is universal. That thing you are struggling with right now is more than likely not unique to you. I’m sure thousands of others are also struggling (or have struggled) with similar things.
If you shared your thoughts with those around you, I bet you’d find plenty of others who identify with you.
- You are not the only one who is behind on laundry.
- You are not the only one whose heart feels like it my break over a child’s poor decisions.
- You are not the only one who goes to bed at night and has guilt over what you did or didn’t get done in a day.
- You are not the only one who feels like you don’t measure up.
- You are not the only mom who loses her temper with her kids.
- You are not the only one to ______ (fill in the blank).
Can I challenge you to get brave and be vulnerable with your struggles with a few trustworthy people in your life? There is something about authenticity that binds our hearts to others in a way that nothing else can.
2. This is not a competition.
When we compare ourselves to others, we will almost always come up short. (And if we’re comparing ourselves to others so that we can feel better about ourselves, that’s just as unhealthy as comparing ourselves to others and feeling like we don’t measure up.)
I have totally been guilty of looking at someone and thinking, “She must have it all together and all figured out. Why can’t I be more like her?”
The truth is, she very well may be looking at you or someone else and feeling the same way. Even if she isn’t, I can promise you there are dozens of areas where she is struggling — even if might not look like it from seeing her across the room at Mom’s Group or by her pictures on social media.
Let’s stop making up stories and coming to conclusions based upon little snippets of someone’s life we see. We all have our own set of difficulties and hardships. There is no one who is exempt from struggle and setback.
I can waste my life wishing I had someone else’s gifts and life circumstances or I can choose to invest my life embracing the life I have and owning the gifts that I’ve been given. I want to stop playing the comparison game and instead choose to learn from others and be inspired by their special and unique gifts, and then own the gifts that I’ve been given. Because I’ve discovered that when I own my own gifts and the life right in front of me, I experience such fulfillment and excitement.
3. You are enough.
You don’t have to be more, try harder, or do more. You are enough. If you can really and truly believe this with all of your heart, it will change your entire life.
What kind of messaging are you playing and re-playing for yourself? Is it that you are loved, valuable, and enough? Or are you allowing lies to permeate the voices in your head?
Start kicking those lies that you don’t measure up and are not enough to the curb! Every time a derogatory, condemning statement about yourself pops into your head, name it as a lie, and then replace it with a truth.
This is how you slowly begin the work of changing your head messages from lies to truth. And when you know the truth, believe the truth, and live under the truth, it will set you free like never before!
You are not the only. This is not a competition. And you are enough. Keep reminding yourself of these truths today!