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Why I’m Going to Stop Trying to Be Awesome

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So you noticed how I skipped doing the Homemaking Challenge yesterday and stayed in bed instead? As I shared on Periscope this morning, that is a big deal for usually-driven-push-hard me.

And it’s all part of my new mantra to do a better job of listening to my body, of giving myself grace, and of taking time to rest. Because the health scare of the last two weeks was a real wake-up call for me.

I finished reading For The Love by Jen Hatmaker last week and I was so challenged by many parts of the book, but especially by the first chapter. In that chapter, she talks about how we try so hard as women to be the best, do the best, and impress other people. In the process, we end up exhausting ourselves.

She sums this up perfectly with a quote that jumped off the page at me and stuck in my head all week long:

“We need to quit trying to be awesome, and instead be wise.”

What exactly does this mean? What does it look like? I’ve been mulling over that the last week.

For me, it means giving myself grace and doing what is best for me and my family. I can invest so much energy in trying to give my all — as a mom, as a wife, as a friend, as an employer, as a blogger, as a homemaker, as a homeschooler — and I can easily burn myself about by trying to be “awesome” in every area of my life.

But the truth is, when I try to be awesome in every single area, I end up so exhausted instead that I’m not really able to be anything to anyone.

Why I'm Going to Stop Trying to Be Awesome

So I am working on doing a better job of reminding myself of this. And I easily forget.

Take last week, for instance. Even while letting this quote resonate in my mind, I had a moment where I tried to choose awesomeness over wisdom.

As you know, the last few weeks I was feeling pretty overwhelmed and worn down. I had a lot of projects on my plate, to-do’s on my list, and people who were needing extra investment. As a result, I hadn’t been getting enough sleep or taking care of myself.

During a moment of sitting at home feeling like I was barely hanging on or keeping up, I received an e-mail from a reader that said, “I used to love your blog, but I don’t anymore, and here’s why…” She then listed all of the reasons why she no longer enjoys my blog.

I get e-mails like this from time to time. I have learned over the years of blogging that I can’t please everyone. I will always disappoint someone, because I am only one person and I can’t be all things to all people.

But this e-mail came right at a time when I was already feeling like I was failing big time. I was discouraged, and this e-mail felt like a gut punch while I was already down. It felt like I was pouring every last drop out and it wasn’t enough.

One of the reasons why this reader said she didn’t like my blog anymore was that I no longer hosted regular challenges — like the homemaking, cleaning, or freezer cooking challenges I’ve done in the past.

As soon as I read this, I immediately started looking at my calendar and trying to plan out when I could do challenges multiple challenges in the next few weeks, all because of this one e-mail. I mapped out a plan to do three different challenges — including a challenge last week right before my surgery.

I didn’t think about how exhausted I felt or how full my week already was. I was moreso just focusing on the fact that if I didn’t do these challenges, I was failing my readers.

When I told my husband about my plan to do a challenge last week and then this week and the following week, he looked at me like I was nuts. Because I was!

And then he spoke some truth to me, “Maybe you can another week, but this week you just need to rest.”

I knew he was right, I mean, I was worn out and worn down plus I was scheduled for surgery, but there was that part of me inside that was yelling, “But I’m going to disappoint my readers! I have to figure out a way to make this happen!

And then I remembered that quote. I had to remind myself to stop trying to be awesome, and instead be wise.

Why I'm Going to Stop Trying to Be Awesome

I’m so, so glad that I listened to my husband because last week ended up being a really hard week for me. Not only did I end up in bed with a fever for a few days and then have some serious nausea the day before my surgery, but then surgery recovery ended up being a lot harder than I expected.

My husband gave me permission to plan a simple challenge this week because I felt like I might go stir-crazy with all the resting! But he made me promise to take it easy, keep it simple, and skip any day that I didn’t feel up to it. Which I did yesterday!

I share this in hopes that it will encourage you to think of areas in your life where you might be trying to be awesome when you need to step back, cut back, and be wise instead.

Now, yes, when you start choosing to be wise over trying to be awesome, you will also have to be okay with disappointing some people. Because not everyone is going to be on board with you saying no, cutting back, or not being as available.

But it’s okay to disappoint people — provided they are the right people. I don’t want to disappoint my God, my husband, or my kids. There are a lot of other people I will have to disappoint in the process in order to not disappoint those who are my greatest priorities right now.

So today, my challenge for you is this: Think about the areas you’re trying to be awesome in and decide if you need to dial back and say “that’s not wise for me right now.” Do what works for you and what is best for your family. Be okay if it’s completely different than someone else.

You are not them, you are YOU. Do what works for you!

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77 Comments

  • Angie says:

    Crystal,
    We all love you just as you are. God has made you first and foremost for your husband and kids. We are just so blessed to get what you might have left. Take good care of (yourself) the daughter of a King!

  • Kristin S says:

    Yes, yes, yes! Jen Hatmaker herself is clapping all the way from Buda. Crystal, if He is calling you to rest, do it. The opinions of readers isn’t what you are going for.

    On a personal note, when you posted your kitchen KonMari post I sunk a little. Your pre-clean up was so much less cluttered than my kitchen. I love clean but clutter doesn’t bother me. Because of KonMari popularity, I’ve been more embarrassed by my home and my clutter and I wasn’t before! People have told me to read her book but I just can’t. Right now anyway. I need to be content where I am and not compare.

    • Anne says:

      I’m with you. I have no desire to read the book. I like a decluttered look for flat surfaces but I am certainly not a minimalist! Can I suggest you read Better than Before by Gretchen Rubin or listen to her podcast Happier? She used to think everyone thrives better without clutter but did extensive research and her findings determined that some people are happier with their things. People are just different and that’s part of learning to be wise and not awesome-knowing and loving ourselves.

    • “I need to be content where I am and not compare.”

      SUCH a good word there! Also, some of my friends thrive with more stuff than I do. And I’m a big believer in surrounding yourself with what makes you feel most energized and creative. I think that my kitchen probably would feel drab and too blah and boring to some people. So just be YOU and be good with your kitchen as it is if you love it that way, okay??

  • Diane says:

    Absolutely great reminder! We can’t be keeping everyone happy anyway. Praying for your continued recovery.

  • Brenda says:

    Thank you for this post! I would so love to hug you right now for “speaking” these words that I desperately needed to hear!! I have For The Love on my reading list for next week and your message just reinforces why I need to make time for myself to read and process it!! I had to step back and say no to something this morning and I am feeling a bit guilty about it because I always feel like I need to be the problem solver and go-to person….but I also know that if I had said yes I would be setting myself up for a huge headache and a very stressful week next week and that wouldn’t do anyone any good. 🙂 I pray you are recovering well and I truly appreciate your blog! Have a blessed day!!

  • Joyce says:

    I think your husband is a wise man. People think they can say anything trough email even the things they wouldn’t say in your face. I love to read your blogs.

  • Nicole says:

    This post really spoke to me. In the past I have been one of those not so gracious readers who said “wow, why would she say that,” before coming to the realization that we are both just ladies and do not owe one another anything. I needed time to rest my feelings, to make over my mornings, my time and disconnect from social media. I’m grateful for your positivism, and realized that my criticisms of you came at times when your posts contradicted of how I was carrying out my days ,not you. I think we all need to step back from time-to-time to reflect on our own lives before castigating disappointment onto others. For that I’m very sorry. Thank you so much for this post, it really moved me.

  • Donna says:

    I’m still shaking my head in amazement. If someone doesn’t want to continue reading your blog then they should stop – I don’t understand the extra step of them reaching out and explaining why. If I didn’t want a taco I just wouldn’t eat the darn TACO – not tell the taco it needed to be a better taco!

    • Genny says:

      Ha! That taco quote just sums it up!

    • Luba says:

      Love the taco quote too, Donna. 🙂

    • You know, I don’t think the reader meant to be hurtful. I think they just felt the need to share because they’ve been a long-time reader and they wanted me to know. And I want people to feel free to share honestly because that’s how I learn and improve and grow.

      However, sometimes I also have to just remind myself that while I wish I could be all things to all people, I can’t. And that’s the beauty of there being hundreds of thousands of blogs on the internet!

  • Amy says:

    I think you choosing wisdom over awesomeness makes you awesome. I love your blog. I love how real you are. I can relate to you and you encourage me daily.

  • Julie says:

    I don’t usually comment on the blogs I look at…But after reading your post, I felt the need; if only to say that I am a “new reader” and find myself deeply encouraged by your transparency. Being authentically you, an evolving and maturing person, is what draws me to your blog (and, I’m sure, what draws the majority of your readers). The tips and challenges and stuff like that are all fine and good and I know some people thrive on that, but I know the majority of us are – again – just looking for someone else who is a real person having real struggles (and victories!) and who is willing to share and encourage through it all. So….a big thank you…

    And….I definitely need to stop trying to be “awesome,” and just try to be wise and “good enough” in some areas.

    Julie O.

  • Kathryn says:

    Crystal- you encourage me so much and I am so thankful for you and the journey The Lord has you on (and you are graciously sharing) to enter His rest. It reminds me of Luke 10:41-42; be encouraged!! Many of us are on a similar path to learn this lesson and your insights are welcome reminders. Blessings!

  • Bronwyn says:

    Thanks so much for posting this! As a new mom who works outside the home, I am having to learn that I can’t be all things to all people, and that sometimes I have to say “No” to what is good in order to be able to say “Yes” to what is best.

    I have been reading your blog almost since the beginning, which is unusual for me, I usually tire of blogs and magazines after a few months as they tend to just recycle the same content. So while the shift in the content of your blog may have lost you a reader, it has kept me hooked, and I am sure I’m not the only one 🙂

    • “Sometimes I have to say ‘No’ to what is good in order to be able to say ‘Yes’ to what is best.”

      Such a good word! And thank you for your sweet encouragement! Your comment really blessed me!

  • We evolve and grow as people, and sometimes we declutter relationships as well. Nothing wrong with that!

    You just need to do you Crystal. 🙂

  • Donna says:

    I love your post! I am so trying to change from doing the everything and putting me last on the list. Listening to my body more and taking care of it. Stay encouraged your blog is wonderful and I enjoy following.

  • Suzanne says:

    Great post, Crystal. Love your transparency. And I just gave to say that Jesse is the best husband ever. ☺

  • pamela stamps says:

    I have been reading your blog for several years now. Change is hard for me, so when you change something, or how you do something, I tend to struggle a little, with the difference. That being said, please, know that is NOT your problem, or you failing me, as a reader, in any sense. Your willingness to change and try new things, or let go of other things, inspires and challenges me. My legalistic side finds misplaced security in routine. You make me get out of my mental, comfort zone, box. I am praying for you and your family as you continue to heal. Continue to listen to your wise husband, as he encourages to rest and take things easy. God bless.

  • Sherri says:

    I’m glad you were able to see this. As I read your posts, I often wonder how hard it must be to constantly live your life before people. Maybe I just like a little more privacy, but I think it would be hard to be sure I’m following God’s voice and not the quest for awesome. Good job listening to God and your husband. : )

  • This is so wise. It is so important to be true to ourselves and the people who God has put in our lives whether we are caring for children, caring for our aging parents, or helping out a sick or hurting friend.

    At the end of the day, we don’t have to give an accounting for the way that others spend their time, their gifts and talents, and their resources. We only have to give an accounting for the way we use these things.

    Thank you for giving us permission to be flawed, to be real, and to be human. I know I needed this message today!

  • Ashlee G says:

    This spoke volumes to me today. My eyes are filled with tears reading this as it is my exact struggle for the last few months. I don’t feel like I am doing awesome in everything but am trying to be awesome with so many different things that not only am I run down, burnt out and exhausted but I have let a few things that are priorities escape my attention. I am going to have to read this book soon and yes reading is a margin time in my life – one that has been missing since June. Thank you for your encouraging post today, nothing is ever going to be perfect for anyone let alone everyone. I love parts of your blog and don’t care for others but that is what makes it great and allows you to reach so many people. Thanks again -Ashlee

  • Anne says:

    I want to give you a hug! I can imagine how painful it is as a recovering pleaser to get emails like that. You are doing an “awesome” job being wise!

    How can your readers encourage you more?

  • Jamie says:

    You are such an inspiration. I’ve been reading your blog for about 4 years now, and I’ve always found it to be so helpful. It’s wonderful to see you grow and change. As a recovering perfectionist, I really needed to read this post today. Keep being you!

  • Tricia says:

    Love this post!!! Thank you so much for the many encouraging thoughts you have shared over the years 🙂

  • Joy A. says:

    I have been a long time reader of yours, I followed your blog when it was Beautiful Womanhood, I loved your blog then and still do. It is one of my favorite blogs!

  • Antonella says:

    Dear Crystal, I’ve been reading your blog since Biblical Womanhood and I can’t really say that I like the challenges! That’s because I don’t like the “competitive” side of them (even if the competition would be with myself 🙂 But I love to see the results for people who are inspired by them, as you and many others are! This to say that this is your blog and please do what you prefer with it. I’ ve been soo inspired by all you’ve done for us readers in all these years, that I onestly cannot understand why someone would be so picky and ungrateful. If you don’t really like a post, skip it and read another one. There’so much useful content on MSM!
    Take care and rest Crystal, you don’t owe us anything!

  • Sheris says:

    Your blog is the ONLY blog I read on a regular basis! This is one of my favorite posts!

  • Paula S. says:

    My New Year resolution was to NOT do ANY challenges this year. I would stress about getting them done instead of enjoying the journey. I’m still happy with that decision.

  • Laura says:

    I struggle with this so much!!! If I get one critical comment, e-mail, or message, I immediately try to act to please the person who gave the critical comment even if it really makes no sense and I have no time. I’m way too much of a people pleaser, and it’s ended up causing me to put way too much on my plate and feel like I’ve never done it well enough.

  • Jennfer says:

    Crystal, I have found that people are always changing. As a writer you are changing. As a reader I am changing. It happens. No one stays the same all the time for their whole life. That being said – people don’t always change the same way or at the same pace. You are right. You can’t be all things to everyone. Good for you in realizing that you need to be YOU, not who others want you to be.

  • Deanna says:

    Loved this post and just to keep the world in balance, I am a reader who now reads all of your posts since the changes you have made! I started reading many years ago for the thrifty tips and sales. But I have come to look forward to your personal posts as they challenge me, encourage me, or make me take a fresh look at my life. I think your changes over the past (year? Two? Time flies!) have been fantastic! And BTW, I am 50, with one child left at home (14), and work outside my home. Such a different demographic from you…and yet I tell my friends about you, and how much we can learn from young women like you. Thank you!

  • Jules says:

    I really needed to hear this today! As a recovering people-pleaser I so struggle with this. Thank you for your transparency & honesty. Your posts, especially ones like this, are such a blessing!

  • Joana says:

    THANK YOU so much for sharing! I’ve been going through my own health issues the past two months and still testing for more answers (my patience is being tested too!). So all of your posts about your health and giving yourself GRACE these past two weeks have been speaking to my heart! Like you I feel this journey is a turning point in my life, opening my eyes to being truly present in the moment and not being worried about the things on my to do list and being awesome for everyone. Again, THANK YOU!

  • Muriel says:

    Great post! I love the current direction of your blog.

  • lizzy r says:

    oh Crystal. It always hurts my heart when I read of any harsh emails you get! But I love how you are modeling Galatians 1:10 “… If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.” What a great example of listening to the Lord instead of trying to please others! Blessings to you~

  • carly says:

    I have no idea why anyone feels that writing in to complain about a blog they neither pay nor work for is appropriate. Good grief, just don’t read it if you don’t like it! I love MSM and though I may not agree with each and every post, I can always find something helpful and encouraging. Your blog has inspired me so many times, please don’t let the haters get you down!

  • Cindy says:

    I think one of the reasons I don’t want to start a blog is that I would take the critical comments too seriously. You’re putting yourself out there, and that is brave and worthy of many compliments. Keep up the good work!

    On a separate note, I was doing a search for your “Bronte Plot” novel at the library without finding anything, and then I came back to look more closely at your picture and noticed the “Advance Reader’s Copy” header at the top. Lucky you! 🙂

  • janieK says:

    Crystal, I have always loved how real you are! Thank you for sharing your life in such an authentic way. You are an encouragement and an inspiration. It is impossible to please everyone all the time, and you are right to have the attitude that you do! Praying that you’re recovering nicely from your surgery. 🙂

  • Melissa Rowland says:

    I am not usually a blog comment maker but I enjoy reading your life posts, the TRUTH, real life posts. Thank you for sharing the real life, the struggles, the fun, the everyday life stuff.

  • Lauren says:

    Can I just say that, while I’ve used your blog as a reference for tips and recipes for a long time, I’ve only recently become a daily reader precisely because of the same changes that reader criticized. I love your transparency and being real about needing to rest. With two babies right now, your blog is a breath of fresh air when I’m overwhelmed! So some readers might be disappointed, but others are deeply encouraged!

  • Natalie says:

    Great, great post. And I love that quote so much. THIS is what we need more of in the world in my opinion!! More being wise and remembering what really matters. Less worrying about everything else. I like this post 1,000 xs better than I would have liked a challenge type post. 🙂

  • Jaclyn says:

    I admire your ability to see a negative email and turn it into a positive message. It’s messages like this that keep me coming back to your blog.

  • Lindsey G says:

    It was refreshing to read your blog post as this week I’ve tried to be Super Mom while my husband is out of town. It’s okay not to be 100% awesome all the time. Sometimes you can’t just do it all.

  • I have always just liked you for being you. You are precious. Your transparency is always refreshing. I think you know how I feel about the subject… “be” more and “do” less. Praying for a full recovery from your surgery – blessings to you and yours!

  • Renee says:

    I know it’s probably hard sometimes to get those comments, but don’t take those to heart. You have a good support system at home, and also online. But, I know it takes only one comment or email to come through when you are about to hit bottom, and it can really hit you hard. I love your blog. I get on here every day. My 16 year old daughter teases me because for example right now, I am going through the house saying “Crystal, and our blogging friends are doing a 5 day tidying up challenge, and today’s challenge is……”, and she says “Mom, you are so old.” She thinks it’s so funny. So, your blog and seeing the others on here are encouraging because we see how you put yourself out there and the real struggles that you face, and then we see the comments that others share and what they may be going through. We may not know each other personally, but it’s a community. I appreciate what you do on here. Keep on pressing forward.

  • Eleanor says:

    I think your blog and books are encouraging and wonderfully written. Personally, I love the insights that I get into the life of another real, honest woman who loves the Lord, is similar in age/family situation, and faced with the same issues of balance/rest/wisdom/pursuing goals and dreams. I also think it is great how much you encourage women to examine their individual life situations. We cannot all be or do everything all the time and really, the Lord never intended us to live like that. We are part of the whole body and given different gifts, seasons, and life situations for a reason.

  • Louise says:

    Keep up the good work Crystal! I am a reader of 4+ years and don’t plan to stop anytime soon. I too have learned to listed to God’s plan for my life and stop trying to please those outside my husband & children. A few years ago I had to par down my outside responsibilities and disappoint people. There have been times between then and now that I have had to listen to His plan again when I have wanted to pick up new things. Sometimes the answer is “yes” and sometimes “no, now is not the time for that.” HE will never steer us wrong!

  • GC says:

    Crystal, I love your blog, it is the only one I read regularly. I actually could not believe you were doing all that decluttering after surgery. Take it easy! Also, I love your book recommendations. I would love to know what you thought of The Bronte Plot – was it worth your time? Love the way you keep your home and love the way you raise your kids. You have been inspiring me to sleep more which has really changed my attitude towards my kids.

  • Jennifer says:

    I love how your blog has evolved in wisdom even just over the short time I have been following your blog. I am a struggling beginning blogger and author and I can tell you, you are a wonderful inspiration. I read your blog when I need a little pick-me-up. I enjoy watching you succeed at challenges as much as the next reader, but your blog in general is a real treasure trove, challenges are not! Don’t stop blogging. You’re not failing this reader! I’ve been struggling with health issues too lately, so I hear you on making yourself rest. Just let go of the little things and do what your body tells you…rest.

  • I absolutely love this. I’ve been having health problems myself, and it’s so so so hard to step back when you’re afraid of disappointing people. I don’t want to disappoint my readers either, but there are some days that I simply must put myself first and rest and read and just be. You’re awesome Crystal, please take care of yourself!

  • Staci says:

    I think your blog has changed. BUT I think we all change. That makes it interesting. Good for you for staying in tune with what the Lord wants you to do. I know you probably don’t’ get too spiritual on here but HIS way is the only WAY–not to please the world. Take care of yourself.

  • Jillian says:

    For every not-so-helpful email there are probably 100 people still being positively touched by your work that just aren’t emailing you. I, for example, have worked through your make over your mornings course, and it’s seriously changed my life (in a good way). I am super grateful you put it together. And the money I’ve saved scouring the coupon database over time has more than covered the cost!

  • Anne says:

    I had been on the list to get this new book from Jen Hatmaker for a couple of months and I was so excited when my turn came! I was so deeply touched by the first chapter and the message that I don’t have to be awesome in every single area of my life. I realized this is something I’ve really been struggling with for quite awhile. Thank you for sharing your thoughts! Just the title of the post was encouraging! As to the reader who wasn’t happy with what you have been doing with your blog, I probably would have had the same reaction being a fellow pleaser. Good job for accepting you can’t be everything to everyone and putting the Lord and your family first!?

  • Katie says:

    I think you are both wise and awesome 😉 I love your blog and I get so much out of your heartfelt posts about where you are at in life and what you are learning. As a busy homeschool mom of 3, I’m right there with you!! You inspire me with your discipline and aspiration and more than that you encourage me also to be wise and slow down so that I don’t let the people down that matter most…my family! In my book, you’re a rock star ;)!! Keep doing what you are doing.

  • Rita says:

    Crystal, would you consider doing the saving money over 52 weeks challenge again? I am in a better position now to cook the foods for my freezer. Thanks.

  • Rachel says:

    Thanks so much for sharing this!

  • Karen says:

    These three words are no longer in my vocabulary: should, must, and perfect. I do what I can, when I can. That HAS to be how I live my life.

    Crystal, I have to pick and choose how much I read. I am so glad I chose you.

  • Grace J says:

    Crystal, thank you so much for sharing your vulnerability. I have to disagree with the “stop trying to be awesome” part. If you are listening to your body, and doing what is best for you, THAT is the awesome. You can’t be something you’re not, right? So you can’t NOT be awesome. I hope I’m making sense…it’s early here. You already do so much for your family, your business, and your readers. On the “being wise” part, it takes wisdom to know what you need to do. So I agree with your reader earlier…You are both wise and awesome. As far as I’m concerned, awesomeness comes from God anyway. You can’t give that gift back…and He gave it to you in spades. Keep on keepin’ on, sister. We got your back.

  • Alicea says:

    Thank you!
    This speaks volumes and it is exactly where I am currently at!
    I have starting asking myself the same questions- who will be affected by the choice and decision . And yesterday I chose to stay in bed instead up
    Getting up and grade papers. I think I was a better mom and wife for it! Maybe a challenge could be to rest – that is hard for a lot of us!

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