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.