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Are you struggling today? You are not alone…

You are not the only one

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.”

Are you struggling today? Here are three things I want to tell you...

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.

I don’t have to strive to be someone I’m not. I don’t have to work hard to change my personality. I am enough… exactly as I am.

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!

What are you struggling with today? Would you be willing to get brave and share it with us in the comments here so we can come alongside you and encourage you?

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63 Comments

  • Nichole says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this today. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect. After reading your post earlier about Mother’s Day. This is a great follow-up for those of us struggling with infertility and thinking we are just not good enough or why don’t we have a perfect little family.

    We are good enough. I am good enough. I will stop comparing my life to others. Because, my life is exactly where I’m supposed to me. I’m living the life God chose for me.

    Thank you again for sharing this powerful and beautiful message that we all needed to hear and remind ourselves of daily.

  • A says:

    I am struggling with feeling like a bad mom. My daughter is having some OCD tendencies. I have tried everything I know to help her, but its not working. We are trying to get her evaluated and find help, but its hard. I feel like there’s something else I could do to help.

  • Sarah says:

    I was just thinking about this today, Sounds like I may have to read this book.

    • Sarah says:

      Whoops. I struggle with jealousy. A LOT. I know it, and I guard against it, but it’s always the thing that creeps back in, and it always starts with comparison.

  • Heather says:

    This was a timely post. I am turning 40 next month. I have been struggling with some “mid-life crisis” issues in my heart. When I measure myself against others I have NOT accomplished much with my life. I gave up my career 13 years ago when our 3rd was born. While my husband does a great job of providing for us we don’t have the same standard to living many others (2 income families) our age have. I do not have much to “show” for my life. When I get caught in the comparison trap my heart begins to sing songs of sorrow and despair. I start to think I have wasted my life. This is a lie that is so easy to believe. So many times I have wished I could be more like you: successful, organized, popular, financially well off and living your dream life. But the truth is that I am living the life GOD has called me to. I am a good mom, have a strong marriage and have the opportunity to share Jesus with others. When I keep my focus on ETERNITY my earthly “lack” seems to fade. I really do LOVE my life when I focus on living out the calling that God has given ME. Each of our lives are different and comparing myself to others is not the ruler I am supposed to use! Instead of focusing on all the things I “have NOT” done/accomplished/acquired in my 40 years I must focus on the things that my life has been FULL of! Thank you again for this post!!

    • Jenni says:

      I am 41 and struggle with some of the same issues. I have a college degree and chose to stay at home with my children and homeschool after they were born. Our financial situation is also tight, and I tend to feel like a failure every time I hear of someone who is doing what I do AND earning a lot of money or pursuing a business or career of their own.

      • heather says:

        I so understand……… It is so easy to see what we DON’T have instead of what we DO! Sometimes I wonder what is *wrong* with me that I JUST am at home rather than also able to do other things….. When I focus on this my joy just gets zapped. I really enjoy listeing to “Homemakers by Choice” podcasts….. It helps me so much to fill my heart with the GOOD of the WHY my focus is on the home! 🙂

  • Busy Mama says:

    My inadequacies… Oh, so many today! After more than ten months of unemployment and no income… After over six months of an absent spouse as he is dealing with the responsibilities of ailing parents far from home… After an incredibly difficult home school year due to major external pressures on our family… I feel I am barely hanging on today. Patience is spent and tempers have flared. And I am not displaying the Godly character I desire in my life and in that of our children. And I absolutely hate that part of me which is truly inadequate.

    I am not enough. But my Father is. He sees my inadequacies and failures, and He promises that in my weakness He is made strong. He is more than adequate.

    And who I am when I fully trust Him is enough. He sees how incredibly needy I am and He still delights in me and sings over me. And when I grasp that reality and submit to Him is when I am enough.

    He covers the heartache of a lost baby, the uncertainty of unemployment, the disappointment of forgotten dreams, the pain of circumstances outside my control, the failure of my anger. And because He does, I am enough, despite my inadequacies and failures.

    • Anna says:

      I will pray for you today.

    • “And who I am when I fully trust Him is enough. He sees how incredibly needy I am and He still delights in me and sings over me. And when I grasp that reality and submit to Him is when I am enough.”

      YES!

      And I’m so sorry life has been so difficult for you. I just stopped and prayed for you.

  • Kariane says:

    Today I’m feeling very alone in needing to both care for ailing parents and young children simultaneously. I know that there must be other people struggling to do the both of these consuming tasks at the same time, but at the moment it feels like a lonely path to walk.

    I wrote a bit about it here: http://everydayintentionalliving.com/thought-day-whedon/

  • Claire says:

    I’m struggling with having enough patience and keeping my cool when my toddler daughter throws a tantrum, it always seems to me that other mums deal with tantrums so easy, yet I get flustered and over whelmed, and end up crying myself. If she throws a tantrum at home, it’s not so bad, although I worry that the neighbours can hear, and judge my mothering skills, but, when she throws a tantrum in the supermarket I feel myself get hot and embarrassed like everyone is thinking that I can’t control my child! I am a first time mum, and although it’s an absolute joy, I’ve never had a job where I feel like I fail at so much of it!

    • Amy says:

      I just have to say that when I see other mom’s dealing with an upset child in a store, I don’t look down upon them but I actually am remembering how hard it was when my child did it. So others may not be judging but are actually quite understanding. And you are definitely not the only one (Like Crystal said) so take a deep breath and calming deal with it the best you can. You can do it Mama!

      • Claire says:

        Thanks Amy for your encouraging words, it’s true what you said, when I see other parents deal with tantrums, I always feel empathy and never judge, I should remember this when it’s my daughter kicking off.

    • Anne says:

      Claire, you are not alone! We all feel that way when our children have public tantrums and I cry at home often during my daughter’s tantrums, too (I’m pregnant so the hormones don’t help!). Please try not to invest energy is what strangers at the store think about you; your relationship with your child is what matters most. I think most moms feel like we’re failing but that’s because we’re placing unbelievably high standards on ourselves.

      • Claire says:

        Thanks Anne, this means a lot to hear other mums feel like I do, I will try and remember these comments next time my little girl has a melt down.

    • Kariane says:

      This can be so hard. Please rest assured that it happens to all of us. I wrote about my experience here: http://everydayintentionalliving.com/market-meltdown-when-your-child-falls-apart-in-the-store/

  • Jennifer says:

    I am a SAHM of teens and my dh doesn’t want me to work, so I sit around the house and do housework, read and watch TV. I struggle with the fact that this is probably the rest of my life and I’m only in my mid-40s. I love my family, but I am so unfulfilled.

    • heather says:

      I LOVE to learn! Could you take some online courses or even learn a new hobby with youtube?? I learned how to crochet last year using youtube. 🙂 My husband has learned a lot of skills watching youtube.

      • Jennifer says:

        You know, I have been praying God would show me something that I could do, be it a hobby or activity. I haven’t heard the answer yet, but may have to find something and go from there. It’s a lonely existence and I’m not the only one.

        • Sarah says:

          I’m sure God with answer your prayers and show you a way to contribute to something fulfilling while still meeting your family obligations.

          There’s lots of ways to contribute society that don’t fit the “going to work” mold if you keep your eyes open, especially with God’s help.

          Sometimes there’s someone else around you that is too scared to ask for help. When I was a teen, the most memorable stuff my parents did wasn’t about a paycheck, but just listening and welcoming all our friends (some who didn’t have great home lives and still love my folks for that acceptance and love).

    • Amy R says:

      Finally!!!! Someone who gets it! I am exactly where you are. My kids are all in school, and I spend the majority of my days in an empty house. The TV runs just for “conversation.” I know that it is supposed to be a privilege to be able to stay home, and it was when my kids were little, but I struggle now to feel like I have any purpose at all. I consider myself to be relatively intelligent and somewhat talented, yet somehow because I spend my days doing only menial tasks, I feel almost useless. I battle boredom and loneliness all the time. Things like online classes can fill time, but they cannot replace human contact. The majority of my friends work, and they always tell me how lucky I am to stay home. I simply pray that the Lord will fill the void.

      • Anne says:

        I can appreciate that it seems like a privilege but is so hard, too. I’ll pray for both of you that God leads you to something meaningful that your husbands find value in, too.

    • Amy M says:

      I’ve been a stay at home mom for 16 years, to fight boredom I like to volunteer. It really brings joy and significance.

  • Ellie says:

    I’m struggling with the fact I heard through the grapevine that I’m going to be losing my job. I feel weird interacting with my boss and whoever may know my fate. I think I have a lead on another job, but it’s not definite.

    I’m also healing from a broken foot. It’s not my year so far.

  • I’m struggling with feeling like a failure in my business, not being present enough with my family and feeling like we need to find a new church because our current one has changed so much that we no longer feel joy in worship.

    The books Breaking Busy and Own Your Life have been so helpful to me lately, so I’m going to keep moving forward, break some of my busy, and invest in a stronger prayer life to find out where I’m supposed to be going.

    Thanks for another encouraging post Crystal!

  • Meagan says:

    I am struggling with disappointment and bitterness. My husband and I both work for a public university that is struggling due to severe budgets cuts from the state. We are both having to take unpaid furlough days as a way for the institution to preserve cash and keep the doors open. We are both highly educated, hard working professionals who are hurting due to no fault of our own. I am really struggling to see God’s plan in this chaos. We have friends, colleagues, and neighbors who have lost their jobs so we are still lucky to be employed in this environment, but all of our coworkers are equally as stressed and worried. My husband is actively looking for another position but unfortunately nothing has worked out yet. He was a finalist for a really great position that would have been a great fit for him and our family but they chose another candidate. I’ve never seen my husband so disappointed and unhappy in all our 17 years together. It’s incredibly difficult to comfort my hurting husband when my heart is so heavy too. I’ve always told my kids that sometimes life just isn’t fair but you have to have faith in the Lord and keep moving, but my own advice is not resonating with me right now. So yes, I am struggling and could use some prayers and encouragement.

    • AMY says:

      Father, you hear the cry of Meagan’s heart. Encourage her spirit and fill her with your joy, your love and your purpose. May the peace that passes all understanding be upon Meagan.
      In Jesus Precious Name I ask these things.
      AR

  • Bethany says:

    I’m a stay at home mom who gets easily frustrated with her children, husband and self. Nothing is ever good enough and I hate it. Its hard to get out of bed, clean and make dinner let alone spend quality time with my children. Hoping this season will pass but also praying God will grow me in these areas.

  • Monica says:

    Yes, yes, yes! I write about this very topic a lot in my newsletter and blog! Women have so much pressure in today’s society to be a certain way.. an unattainable version of perfection that we strive for. It’s okay to just be. Just like you, I am a control freak and I also think it’s plays into my anxiety. My husband always asks “what’s the worst that will happen?” and I know logically forgetting a pair of jeans for vacation is not the end of the world but yet it will feel like it is to me. Thank you for sharing and making it okay to admit that perfection is not something anyone can attain!

  • Naomi says:

    I just wanted to say a big THANK YOU! Your very insightful and thought provoking posts for this year have been very helpful. I can imagine it is not easy to put yourself out there and bear all you own insecurities so I jut want to say thanks again!

  • leisa Parker says:

    The last 5 yrs I have had to deal with cronic pain. The last 8 months I have found a new dr. That is helping me deal with and relief from sone of the pain. That said it goes without saying sometimes more often than not I am beyond behind on house work. And feel like I will never get caught up. I don’t feel like a good mother or wife. And don’t have many friends and even less that I can tell the truth to.
    Latly I’ve been praying for a friend I can talk to. And to get to a place that I have less pain and can care for my own family. |

    • Sarah says:

      So glad you finally found a doctor that is starting to help you. I know how exhausting chronic pain can be. It’s hard to find friends that can handle the ups and downs of chronic pain and how unpredictable it can be sometimes.

      But you’ll find someone! I’ve personally learned to be grateful for friends and family that I can just call, Facebook, text, email, or whatever, and it doesn’t matter if we haven’t talked for a couple of days or a couple of decades!

      Remember too that caring for your family is more than just physical tasks. Your love means a lot to your family, I’m sure. I’m always impressed by how my kids just want to be near me, even if that means my daughter playing dolls on the couch while I watch TV next to her (yes, I know sometimes pain can take away even the energy to get interested in kids shows or talk about kid stuff)

  • Jill says:

    That was an awesome, awesome reminder Crystal. Thank you!!

  • Anne says:

    I’m 31 weeks pregnant and my MIL is dying of cancer. Her prognosis is about 4-6 weeks and they love about 8 hours away. We went to visit them for Mothers Day weekend. Our 3.5 year old has some special needs and goes to Special Ed preschool. I struggle with feeling like a failure that she isn’t potty trained yet and likely won’t be until she is four. I have anemia and some other health issues in this pregnancy that zap my energy. My advice to other women in my position would be to give myself grace but I have such a hard time doing that! Partly it’s because I don’t want to be a complainer and I know it could be worse.

    • It sounds like you have a LOT on your plate! Can I just encourage to not stress over the potty-training? I had two kids who really struggled with potty-training and I finally just had to let go of trying to make it happen before they were ready. They finally got it… even though it was a year or two later than I would have liked.

      Also, anemia in pregnancy is SO hard. I had to be hospitalized and then induced early with my second pregnancy because I was so anemic and my platelet counts were so low. So my heart hurts for you that you are dealing with that on top of everything else. {Hugs!}

      I just prayed for special encouragement for you today.

  • I should really write these phrases down and carry them with me.

    I can especially relate to never feeling good enough.

    Even when I am performing well, often better than my peers, I still have this underlying, nagging voice telling me that I am simply not doing ENOUGH.

    This post is so important.

    Thank you for sharing!

  • Alicia says:

    Oof. I posted about this not long ago on my blog (which I just started thanks to your step by step directions!) http://www.sweepingupjoy.com/momsolation-the-results/ I’m struggling with being present for my kids when there is SO MUCH to be done.

    Thank you for posting about this. It is so powerful to hear that I am not the only one.

  • Amber says:

    Thank you for posting this! I think it is very important to remember we all do have our struggles. But God can give us all the strength and joy to get through it all. It also vital that we connect to others for encouragement and help! These reminders are great and is one way God uses us to affect the lives of others.

    Thank you for sharing!

  • Harmony says:

    Thank you. I always try to be kind to others, remembering that everyone is going through their own struggles.

    I’m struggling with living in the now and impatience with getting to our “dream life” in about six years. I’m working so hard right now, trying to remember that the reward will be worth the effort, but also trying not to neglect anyone or anything in the meantime. I don’t want to waste away six years working and I dislike my job, but we have a plan for a really awesome future. We’re going to be able to semi-retire and spend tons of time together, as a family. I just need to keep chugging along and enjoying the moments of joy along the journey.

  • Sarah says:

    I can really identify with #1. The great thing about the internet is it’s easy to find others who are dealing with similar issues if you feel like no one in your family or community can relate. PatientsLikeMe.com, Babycenter.com and other online communities can be invaluable for those dealing with very specific issues and feel alone.

    I’ve had an increase in health challenges over the last few years, and I’m lucky to have a husband that steps up and shoulders a lot more than his “fair” share. I remember during one of my pregnancies looking around at other pregnant ladies that were able to handle a lot more than me or were dealing with lot tougher health challenges like severe morning sickness.

    I had to remind myself that I have my own challenges, even if they’re not obvious to others. My allergies are not just in the spring (and those pills in the ad don’t even make a dent in my symptoms, which are more likely to be headaches and itchy eyes than cute sneezes). I never have been hospitalized for asthma or have loud wheezing attacks, but it DOES make me tired a lot and make it hard to exercise (didn’t figure out until my 30s why exercise made me sick for days). And all that was before chronic pain and subclinical EVERYTHING kicked in.

    Bottom line is that God knows what challenges I have been given me and he only expects me to be the best ME. Those other people with different challenges have different roles to play in this world of ours. Crystal’s role has included inspiring so many of us (and educating, I still use the site for “money saving” too!).

  • Stressed Out Momma says:

    I am struggling with feelings of inadequacy, as I deal with a husband who has become addicted to prescription pain medicine. I have had to take the reins of the household over, because this problem has spun wildly out of control. I no longer have the support and care from my husband, as he is feeding his addiction. I am working hard in a professional field, raising 3 young children, and feeling SO alone. Some days feel like there is no hope that this stage of life will pass. Because of dealing with the struggle of trying to get my husband help, I often feel like “I’m just not doing enough for my kids”. I want to be that mom who does creative things with them, helps them memorize Scripture verses, teach them responsibility in chores and life lessons, but I’m just hanging on by a thread these days. This post was an encouragement for me, even in these very trying, dark days.

    • {Hugs!} I am SO sorry you are dealing with this. One of my friends went through a similar situation with her husband and it was SO hard… my heart hurts for you and all the other spouses dealing with these kinds of overwhelming and exhausting struggles. I just prayed for encouragement for you.

  • My husband and I feel God has been leading us to make a drastic change for our family, one we have been working towards for years. I will be quitting my job to homeschool my kids, and I have struggled with doubts and insecurities about what this decision will do to my family financially. Cutting our income in half is SCARY, but at the end of the day, I know God will provide. Hearing negativity from the world and even from close friends and family has been the hardest part. Taking that leap of faith to just trust and obey will work out in the long run. I know that! But some days, I let my worries run wild…Thanks for the refreshing read!

    • Melissa says:

      Krystal-
      I’m in the same boat. I quit my job last July to stay home with my kids and this coming year will be homeschooling all 3 of them for the first time. It’s overwhelming, it’s scary, but let me encourage you that quitting my job was the BEST decision I ever made. I am the money person in our family and I crunched the numbers dozens of times to see if it would work. According to the numbers, we could survive, but not really do anything fun. Since I quit, we honestly live like we did when I was working. We still go out to eat, go on dates, do ice cream with the kids, etc and we’re doing very well financially. I have no idea how God does it, but he does. Just trust him!!

      • Thank you so much, Melissa!!! I am quitting in June. It’s definitely the “what ifs” that scare me. What if the car breaks down? What if the AC goes out? we have enough for basic necessities. I’m trusting God and being obedient, but i do wish I knew how it will play out in the end. Thanks so much for the encouraging words!!

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