on self-doubt, balance, & choosing your normal

Somewhere along the way, I think we’re sold a line…

“it gets easier when…”

While I know there are times when easy just happens, we often just run around in circles, chasing easy right out the door.  We spin and spin and spin, all the while not realizing easy enough could have been staring us in the face.

I have a confession today.  I think I’m confessing because I have realized these last couple of months that you all know me better than most of the people I’m around.  Sure, my parents and Matt know me–my kids know me.  Some of my family and very close friends know me.  But I’m realizing that you guys are in that group.

The very close friends group.  I talk about pretty much everything here.  My happiness & successes, my failures and insecurities.  Our struggles.  For better or for worse, this place is me all exposed and vulnerable to a world of judgment.  It scares the bejeezes out of me sometimes.

So, here it is, my confession of the day.

I am a recovering people-pleaser & I struggle with self-doubt.  A lot.

Which is funny….because I am equally confident and tend to march to the beat of my own family’s drum.

I know, you were hoping I’d confess to some secret juicy bit, or some glamorous alter-ego, or maybe that I’m a superhero (I like to think I am superwoman when I work at the shop, do the dishes AND the laundry in one day).

But two things: #1.  We convince ourselves that our little issues aren’t real issues because they aren’t astronomical all the time…even when they plague our lives with their side effects.  #2.  I’m convinced if we all admitted these things more, the burden they place in our lives and on our hearts would lesson.

Okay, 3 things.  I’m not talking about a little bit of “oh, do I look good in these jeans” kind of self-doubt.  I mean the kind of self-doubt Satan uses to constantly toss me to and fro, back and forth…to doubt the big decisions.

For instance, when we decided to homeschool Grayson this year, we experienced a flux of reactions.  In my traditional-schooled, teacher/coach’s heart, I knew this journey was a product of conviction and calling…not a decision we would have come to all on our own.

I knew it was the right decision for us.

The reactions from friends, family, acquaintances, and you guys all ranged from kind and understanding to outright joyful and encouraging to a little negative and discouraging.  A lot of people use humor to mask negativity, only it winds up hurting all the same for a self-doubter like me.  Let me digress…

I was doing just fine with all of those reactions until we decided to open the shop.  And I won’t go into lots and lots of details, but opening the shop was a strange thing for me…my dream wasn’t simply to open a shop, but to open a shop that helped fulfill all the other dreams and encourage my other passions like design, writing, styling.  They’re all wrapped up into one for me…the dream was just about a store.

The dream is the brand of perfectly imperfect design…the blog, the shop, the designs in progress, the ebooks, the look book we’re shooting, and the list goes on and on.  The dream is also the meaning behind all the tasks and projects.

Opening a shop not only brought those new responsibilities into the foreground, but also brought with it more opportunities & ideas.  Balance is hard when you’re driven.

And so all the homeschooling nay-sayers seemed to come out of the woodworks all at once…and that stupid self-doubt of mine began to eat away at my confidence.

The trouble is that God never took away the conviction…so here I was, all self-doubting my abilities and worrying and about time and balance, all the while remaining convicted of our decision. (P.S. this is where I’ll insist that you know I believe homeschooling is no more the right way for everyone than cutting out dairy.  trust me…this was just right for our family.)

So, as all self-doubters do, I began to wallow in my doubt, worry about the future, question the past, all the while not enjoying the present.  I WORE Matt’s ears completely out–we talked and talked and talked.

I knew I was doubting a God-led decision, which meant I had to check my own motives.  Was I doubting because I really thought something was wrong with our decision or because I thought others might be right about us?

Want to know what happens when you decide to really take a look at your own motives?

Holy staggering conviction, batman.

God used all that self doubt and worry (not placed by Him as that’s not His way), to show me just how much I need His Grace.  After loads of conversations with Matt, my parents, and a couple of dear, dear friends (Edie, your encouragement cannot be summed up here, but for you, I am eternally grateful), I realized that the problem was me.  My fears, my worries, my selfishness.

You know, we’re all going to make choices in this life.  Our choices will lead to our successes and our struggles.  Choosing to open a shop in the midst of beginning homeschooling was a little crazy, but again, was a God-led, practical decision.  I wasted time worrying about my time and Grayson’s well being based on the thoughts of what other people thought–not what we thought when we were led in the first place.

The lesson?  My passions & my driven nature are my strengths, but in them I’ll fall into struggles.  Homeschooling is not easy–but neither is sending our kids to school.  Running the shop isn’t easy and neither is writing a new book or running the blog or being a devoted wife & mom…and let’s not forget about trying to exercise and be healthy amidst all of this.  And even though none of it is easy, I’m choosing what my normal will look like.

My normal day begins with writing & spending time with my son learning something new.  It goes on with a project or design or writing more or developing a marketing campaign for the shop, or working on the new website.  It ends with cuddles on the couch from all the people that matter most to me.  It definitely squeezes in several cups of coffee.  It includes notebooks, sketchbooks, design books, & phonics books.  It includes sore muscles & one less hour to work.

Because of those choices, it doesn’t always include enough laundry washed or dishes done or time without a little person attached at my hip.  My counters will stay cluttered more than I’d like.  It includes laying out a shoot for the look book with Grayson’s robots zooming past my face.   I’ll rarely buy groceries alone, and almost never go shopping or get my nails done.  My worries will be about how much he’s learning and thriving–I’ll worry I’m too busy and driven.  I’ll fight (daily) for patience & gentleness like mad.

But all of that–pursuits & worries–makes up this thing I call my life.  I think for the first time I understand what God meant when he said “Peace like a river…”  He didn’t mean that I wouldn’t worry or have struggle or doubt.  He certainly didn’t mean for doubt to cause me to question everything I say and do all the time in name of less scrutiny.  I’m realizing what it means for Peace to twist and glide over the bumps and boulders of my life–and to Rest in it.

Will I homeschool our children forever?  Who knows.  Will I get that book written this year or the online shopped launched?  Couldn’t tell you.

I am, though, going to enjoy each day.  I’ll choose what my normal is & take the struggles that come with it.

And for now, I’m kicking that wasteful self-doubt to the curb.

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49 Responses to on self-doubt, balance, & choosing your normal

  1. LayLa Benson February 4, 2013 at 8:14 am #

    Well said Shaunna! Thank you for helping me see myself. Have a blessed day.

    • perfectlyimperfect February 4, 2013 at 11:23 am #

      Thanks LayLa! you do the same!

    • Jenny Fitzgerald February 4, 2013 at 10:33 pm #

      Beautifully put!!! I’m doing a study on James and he talks a great deal about perseverance. He tells us that in our trials we mature and become complete in Him- our Lord!!! So, may you be blessed as you persevere and make the world more beautiful, approachable, and authentic :)

  2. Amanda February 4, 2013 at 8:32 am #

    Wow. These words are amazing and show your beautiful heart. Thank you for articulating what so many of us feel. I have goosebumps, and tears are flowing from reading your post…and I want to hug you and say WELL DONE.

    • perfectlyimperfect February 4, 2013 at 11:23 am #

      Oh, thank YOU, Amanda! What wonderful & kind things to say!

  3. Jesse B February 4, 2013 at 8:40 am #

    Absolutely beautiful, Shaunna, and so what I needed to hear for myself, too! Thank you for always writing with such openness and allowing yourself to be so vulnerable. Your blog is always like a big breath of fresh air. Inspire away! ;) Jesse @ Scout & Nimble

  4. Gail February 4, 2013 at 10:19 am #

    Such an encouraging post! Thanks for being vulnerable! I’m a recovering people-pleaser myself….especially when it comes to family. You post really uplifted me.

    Thanks for sharing!


    P.S. I was homeschooled my entire schooling years…homeschooling rocks!!

  5. chris from midwest cottage and finds February 4, 2013 at 10:47 am #

    wow! very powerful….thank you for sharing such intimate details….really makes one think about all of our new “normals” whatever they may be and how we trudge through each day….thanks for the insite….

  6. Angela February 4, 2013 at 11:06 am #

    Shaunna, I get the blog and that the people who follow are very important people and maybe because you put your life out there you open it up for all to comment and you have to take the good with the bad. Some people may bring some very strong views and words that will make you doubt your decision. It’s unfortunate though that these comments take you to the self doubt road because you and Matt are the only people that matter in the decisions that you choose for your family. Shame on these people for judging your life. Keep Calm and Carry On

    • perfectlyimperfect February 4, 2013 at 11:26 am #

      Thank you for coming to my defense, Angela! Honestly, though, our blog friends and readers have been the MOST supportive out of everyone in our lives. Our readers rock and have encouraged us in sooo many ways–just like you are right now! Have a blessed day!

  7. Melissa @ Bless this Mess February 4, 2013 at 12:12 pm #

    Awww. You are great. I want to homeschool my daughter who should/could have started Kindergarten this year but I waited and now I just want to do it here. I’m so scared to tell anyone though because people are CRAZY about the subject. Pure crazy I tell you… I like you. Keep up the good work and keep on keepin’ it real!

  8. Deb February 4, 2013 at 1:15 pm #

    Oh, how so inspiring! Thank you for writing your beautiful blog and for being who God made you to be.

  9. Brianne February 4, 2013 at 1:30 pm #

    You go girl! Everyone is FULL of their own insecurities and schedules. From this recovering people-pleaser to another, BRAVO! God has shown me that HE is my audience. That is IT. That is ALL. And so WHAT if I make a bad decision along the way? He brings ALL things together for His glory! You are an inspiration and I am thankful to know you. (well, sort of…HA!) As women, we compare, control and please. It leads to all sorts of bad “stuff” internally. Glad to see you put it out there. Your family will reap the benefits of living in your new normal. And so will we! Love you girl!

  10. JenO February 4, 2013 at 1:44 pm #

    I can hear God’s power behind your words here. I truly believe that Satan is behind every self-doubt. I hope that you find encouragement from knowing that God celebrates his creation of you just the way you are–racing mind, cluttered counters, and all.

  11. Samantha February 4, 2013 at 2:37 pm #

    Good for you, Shauna! I’m a homeschooler and pastor’s wife and I’ve heard all of those doubts and criticisms. You DO have to find what your normal is and let it be yours. Don’t try to fit into someone else’s normal. It won’t be a good fit and you won’t have peace. Your normal may be bumpy and lumpy and strange looking to other people, but if it is what God has for you, then say hallelujah and go with it. :-)

    I’ll add one practical thing for you–so many of the nay-sayers picture school as something that requires tons of structure and 8 hours a day or you must not be doing it right. I am here to tell you that you can accomplish a wonderful K or 1st grade curriculum in an hour a day and anything else is gravy. We learn our phonics and our math facts. We read good books. But most of all, we experience life and learn things as they naturally occur. I’ve been at this for 11 years, so I’ve done it long enough to know that it really does work.

    Yes, you’ll teach your kids to read and write and do math, but they will also have many many lessons in how to live out their faith daily, how to create beautiful things, how to run a business, how to manage a home, how to communicate with real people in real situations, how to manage their time rather than being managed by someone else’s schedule all day long accompanied by bells. :-)

    You are doing a wonderful thing and as long as it has God’s blessing and your husband’s blessing, plunge on ahead!

    • Jeni@RestoringPiece February 5, 2013 at 7:34 am #

      Hi Samantha,
      Thank you for posting about the false assumption of an 8-hour day of homeschooling. I have felt such a strong conviction already to homeschool our future children that scares me to death! :)
      We are temporarily raising our 3rd grade niece and I can already tell you that I’m crazy sick of her having 7-hour days in the classroom and then another 1-2 hours of homework most days!! Goodness! I just feel that so much more could be accomplished in a smaller setting.
      Thank you for sharing your encouraging experiences, Samantha!

  12. Myra @ MyBlessedLife.net February 4, 2013 at 2:42 pm #

    I love this post and your heart more than words. It’s pretty much where I am too…just in different ways. :)

  13. Libby Larson February 4, 2013 at 2:46 pm #

    Love it! I love how God can can use the same things that we both struggle with and use it to encourage us! Comparison is the theif of joy I tell you ;) wish I was closer to come to your shop :)

  14. Thehilshop February 4, 2013 at 3:45 pm #

    Amazing, inspiring, and honest. I am walking with a little bounce in my step after reading your post. Focusing on ourselves and the people and things that mean most to us is of utmost importance! I hate getting wrapped up in all that other “stuff!” Thanks for picking me up on a day that I really needed it!

  15. Gail Moretz February 4, 2013 at 3:58 pm #

    Awesome post and very true. All of your time with Grayson is time that he is learning and growing. Proud of you.

  16. Denise T February 4, 2013 at 4:16 pm #

    Amazing and beautiful post!!! . Smiling…. I am a recovering people-pleaser, too.

  17. leah beth February 4, 2013 at 4:54 pm #

    i hope you always follow your own heart. it is there God is whispering to you. don’t let any of those negative words you hear drown out His voice.

  18. Leigh-Anne C February 4, 2013 at 5:17 pm #

    Thank you for bearing your heart, what an encouragement your words and honesty are!!

  19. julie February 4, 2013 at 5:26 pm #

    Yup. The older you get the less you will worry about what other people have to say about the choices you make for YOUR life. I wish you much luck with everything you’ve got going in your life right now. Sounds to me like you’re doing just fiiiiiine. :)

  20. Kathy February 4, 2013 at 7:46 pm #

    This was a truly touching post. My husband and I have also started a new venture in our little town by opening a little shop that has been my hearts desire for almost 18 years. Its is hard to lay your heart desires out there and see if they are accepted or stepped on. We also had to follow when we heard God calling us to adopt. We had a lot of naysayers, and it hurt, but we felt it was better just to go to Ninevah than to be swallowed by the whale. :) Has it been easy? …by no means. But, we don’t regret following His call, and we figure by His grace, He will see us through.
    I also understand the laundry piles and the cluttered counters, and things not being organized. I have looked at our peers who have their children almost grown, and we have started over with young ones, and THEN opened our store, and I think we may be crazy. We should be getting our lives undercontrol, yet we are crazier than ever. I worry about it, but then I try to ask myself what truly matters. Thank you for sharing your journey with us. You inspire us!

  21. Laura February 4, 2013 at 7:56 pm #

    You go girl!! I think we need reminders sometimes as to where our focus should be. I will say we are in our 11th year of homeschooling and our “normal” is very different from many around us, but that is perfectly OK with me!!

  22. Heidi @ Decor & More February 4, 2013 at 8:29 pm #

    You rock, Shaunna ~ thank you for sharing your heart! You encourage me to embrace my own normal and place all my trust in Him.
    God Bless!
    xo Heidi

  23. Arli February 4, 2013 at 9:05 pm #

    You go girl! Love your honesty and how you share those inner demons we all struggle with. Reading about your vulnerabilities helps me get in touch with my own….and makes me realize it’s not so bad to think about and share them. So thank you for being so open.

  24. Janet Wehrer February 4, 2013 at 9:29 pm #

    You are so incredibly gifted. You warm my heart and soul as you bare your thoughts and share them with all of us in such an articulate and insightful way.

  25. Connie Nikiforoff Designs February 4, 2013 at 11:41 pm #

    This particular post meant more to me today than you’ll ever know. It seems God uses us all in ways only He can understand. Your blog post today was meant for me :-) Thank you!

  26. Nikki Dahl February 4, 2013 at 11:47 pm #

    Very well said, thank you! I have been there just like you with some of the same stuff and also different things but we can’t let the noise get into our hearts or our head, I’m kicking it to the curb too! :)

  27. Barb February 5, 2013 at 5:23 am #

    I’ve been hounded by “be-perfect” demons all my life. I’m pretty sure it’s impossible to be a woman – with all the things we do – and not be filled with self-doubt from time to time. It’s impossible to do everything well all the time and still, we add more to our plates — cheerfully, most times. That’s why I love the name of your blog, and I assume your philosophy. I’ll do life perfectly imperfect please. I don’t want to be so busy – and waiting for the day I’m not so busy – that I don’t take the time to look up and realize this IS my life I’m living. Thanks for sharing so much of you with so many of us.


  28. ZoeAnn Yussman February 5, 2013 at 9:28 am #

    Shaunna- I think you speak for so many of us! Perhaps that’s why we huddle together on your blog! As I read today I kept thinking of all the opportunities Grayson will have by being home schooled in and around the shop… look for those opportunities… whether it be counting money in the shop, learning social skills by speaking to customers, learning history by what era a piece of furniture came from, etc. SO MANY opportunities! He will thrive!! No one said that school means sitting at a table in front of a book… he is learning as you are about business, family, what’s important in life.
    You are an incredible role model for your son, and for those of us who don’t have the words to express our lives but latch on to yours.

  29. Allison February 5, 2013 at 10:33 am #

    What we do on a daily basis ends up being our life. It is an intricately woven tapestry. Your passion and love for God, your family, and your calling makes it vivid and breathtaking. Remember that God never sends a message in a package of offensive judgementalism. His voice may be correcting, but it is always loving. It may not be easy to hear, but it is always gentle. The other stuff is not of Him, and is like junk mail… delete!
    You are changing the world one day at a time, even if it is only the world around you. Your love and vision expands through each and every one of us that has caught the vision from you. Just as Edie reminds us, hospitality comes from the sharing of our hearts for one another, not the perfectly kept house. Keep up your good and faithful work. Much love,

  30. kelly thompson February 5, 2013 at 12:33 pm #

    I’ll kick it to the curb along with you! just this am- I looked around and saw ten things at least I need to do plus the things I am going to ask my husband to do around the house and thinking- will it ever get done- maybe I should just sell the house and get a tent in the middle of the forest and not have to deal with all of life’s twists and turns but then I though-”self” shut up- just clean and organize 1 thing at a time and it will all get done in the end!

  31. Jessica @ Dear Emmeline February 5, 2013 at 1:48 pm #

    Good for you Shaunna. Glad you’re letting go of what other’s think. It will certainly free up a lot more time (and sanity) for you to pursue your dreams for your family and business. Many of us choose to do lots of things and are busy, busy and with that may or may not come criticism from others…specifically if they think you must be shirking on the “most important” duties. It’s your life and it’s only between you, God, and your family if you’re spending your time wisely. It is very apparent by your writing that your heart is in the right place and I am sure despite concerns some may voice and your own insecurities that you are doing a bang up job! heart you girl! you’re an inspiration!

  32. Kellie February 5, 2013 at 6:30 pm #

    Ok, I have to tell you a trick Rich and I discovered works wonders: “Well, we like it.”
    When those people who love you dearly and want the best for you – you know the ones- start giving you a hard time, trying to edit and proofread your life with ‘why don’t you… I wish you had… maybe you should…’ the simple statement that we are pleased with what we have going has been a powerful sanity-saver. I mean it, a big measure of peace.

  33. Nancy @ Artsy Chicks Rule February 6, 2013 at 12:26 pm #

    Beautifully written Shaunna. I can relate to some of the things you said! So thank you for the reminder…to find my own normal too!

  34. Marsha Sefcik February 6, 2013 at 6:35 pm #

    Wonderful post. straight from the heart. We home school and when people challenge us on why we do it. I simply say it is what works for our family. A wise woman also said to me, Whatever is coming out of someone else’s mouth has nothing to do with you but, is all about them. Remember this the next time someone is ‘attacking’ you for the choices you are making for your family. Life is one day at a time. Best!

  35. Lynne February 9, 2013 at 9:13 am #

    I think a lot of self doubt has more to do about being judged. We worry about what others will think about our decisions. We are bothered by how we look to others. I guess it’s part of human nature. I am trying very hard to concentrate on the only judgement that truly matters, and it doesn’t come from any one on earth. It is a difficult thing to overcome, and I am convinced that judgement on earth is planted by evil. I am working hard not to judge people on their outward appearance or choices, but by what is in their heart. I used to be some what “scared” or put off by people with lots of tattoos- branding them as weirdos. Then my son started tattooing his body and I realized its just a form of self expression. Because I already loved my son I could see that just because he has tattoos it hasn’t changed the wonderful person he is! Right now he is serving and protecting our country in the Navy! So, every time you feel any doubt creeping in, take a breath and then just keep moving forward! You inspire so many by being so truthful!

  36. Darci haney February 11, 2013 at 10:46 am #

    You are such an encouragement!! Thank you for sharing your heart!!!

  37. jessica@fourgenerationsoneroof February 14, 2013 at 4:05 pm #

    Hey Shaunna! I haven’t been over in a while and I’m catching up on blog reading right now. Sounds like you are busy busy busy :). Go and stay with your heart, there will be naysayers everywhere always. Home schooling is a touchy subject for many and for many, they just like to put their noses in where it doesn’t belong. But you know what, nothing matters at the end of the day except for you and your family. My girl friend pulled her daughter out of school in first grade and homeschooled for 2 years. Then she went back to public. It was a difficult decision but it was best for her daughter and family at the time. She is back in public school now and thriving. Keep your chin up girl! :)

  38. Laura February 20, 2013 at 10:45 pm #

    I just spent the last two days wondering why at almost 42 I still haven’t figured out me – with confidence. I struggle between accepting myself the way God made me and trying to be better. Struggling between making others “like” me and being the real me – and wondering why what is in my heart and mind doesn’t always seem to be what comes across to others. And I am now wondering why here, in your comments, I am being more open and honest than I am on my own blog – that I like the almost anonymity if it. Thank you so much for your words and openness – they were exactly what I was seeking. I haven’t been here for a few weeks and I had a “tug” that said to go visit Shaunna and I am so thankful that I did. It is comforting to know that someone like you who is so successful in so many areas can feel the same type of things and I appreciate your encouraging words.

  39. Kathryn March 19, 2013 at 1:27 pm #

    Thank you for being transparent! I’m in the midst of trying to find my “normal” again after a life changing family experience… thank you!

  40. Crystal Kirk March 31, 2013 at 6:33 am #

    Wonderfully put indeed. Speaking out loud as you do is so healing. Your honesty is what will allow you to be happy with your decisions. I too struggle with self-doubt in my choices but at the end of the day, it is you and your family that live with it and if they seem happy and you are happy, that is all that matters.

    Happy Easter,

  41. Alison June 29, 2013 at 12:58 pm #

    I stumbled upon your blog the other day and found this post today. The timing is impeccable really. You and I could be long lost kindred spirits. Your words mirror my feelings about things going on in my life. Thanks for the wonderful message.

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