Sunday, August 5, 2012

Trying hard to be me

I've started to write many times about how blogging and Pinterest, both near obsessions for me, are also somewhat bad for my emotional health.  I start to read and see all that is out there and get so inspired...but also so very tired, overwhelmed, and discouraged.  There is so much that I would like to do, but I just don't have the energy or the time or the talent.  Sometimes I fool myself into thinking "one day I may try that amazing project", and I have boards planning all my kids' future birthday parties (although my newest scheme is talking them into a family trip instead of throwing parties because parties drove me to insanity even before Pinterest made throwing a party a competitive sport).  I get motivated to write by all the interesting stuff I read in other blogs, and then I think, "But that's already been said before...and more eloquently than I can say it."  This post has already been written, in fact.  Thanks to Rachel Held Evans' Sunday Superlatives, I found three articles that say what I want to say:

Lisa-Jo Baker's "Comparisons will kick you in the teeth and hijack your dreams every time"

talks about how we set ourselves up for failure through comparison and the thought that something's not worth doing if I can't do it as well as [insert name of talented friend, superstar blogger, or Pinterest diva].  And yet, our life, our gifts are as unique and necessary as our individual fingerprints.

shows how Pinterest sets up this troubling and dangerous competitive spirit, much like Facebook, where we only post the good and others assume our life is completely flawless (how many times have I fallen for that trap...and maybe even set it for others...even though I know better?)

is the perfect finisher as she wonders (rhetorically) what's the use in doing anything because will it really make a difference?  But yes, it does matter because we were made to share our gifts (our individual gifts, not someone else's gifts).  We were created to live fully out of the love and passion that God put into us.  As she says,

"Ireneus wrote that the glory of God is man fully alive, and we all need you to be fully alive for your life. It will matter in the world, more than you can imagine or dream perhaps, a ripple effect going on and on, touching the other shore, but it will also matter because you matter.
So stop asking whether or not anyone wants it or needs it, and simply do it because you were made to do it, because it makes you fully alive to do it, because you are working out what God has already worked in, because it matters."
In other reading lately, I've been repeatedly confronted by an important question:
What can you do that no one else can do?
I'm still working on the answer to that one.  I do believe that God has called me to this place and this time for a reason, and I do know my gifts and strengths.  But am I living my life to my full potential?  How do I break the cycle of comparison that prevents me from living out my dreams?  How can I embrace the dreams that God has given me and also celebrate others' successes without jealousy?  
Perhaps the answers (and the growth) will come when I simply live my life and take it as it comes.  My wise husband preached this morning on "going through the motions", basing the sermon on 2 Kings 5:1-19 where Naaman, a great army leader, seeks healing of his leprosy from the prophet Elisha.  Naaman is confused and angered when Elisha does not deign to even come out of his house to talk to the important leader, but instead sends a messenger to tell Naaman to wash in the river seven times and he will be healed.  Naaman leaves in frustration and almost doesn't even attempt what seems to be a silly ritual.  But after being convinced by a companion, he follows orders and is healed. 
Things do not always work out the way we plan or envision them.  I can create a perfect world on Pinterest and Facebook, and yet I don't live there.  My reality is often messy, loud, uncertain, or silly, and always imperfect.  And yet it is beautifully and fully as God created it to be.  This is God's gift to me, and how I use it will be my gift to God.


  1. Found your blog through Sarah Bessey's synchroblog. This is so true for me- I love blogging and the community it provides, but the comparison game can be so darn defeating. Thanks for putting it out there!

  2. Amen, Jenny. We were unexpectedly without internet access this past week, and though it was occasionally frustrating, for the most part it was wonderful. No comparing, no politics, no worrying about my lack of words. I didn't even realize how liberating it was until we returned home and I checked facebook. I could immediately feel my stress level rise. I can't unplug regularly, and I don't want to because I need to communicate with people and be reminded of a wider community even when I don't speak to it, but I wonder if there are some more healthy boundaries I can institute to counteract the defeated feeling. I don't know. Something to think about.

    Also, I don't think there is anything I can do that no one else can do (except be a mother to my kids, as they're stuck with me!). But I do need to "do it because [I was] made to do it," even when it seems small and unnecessary. Thanks for your thoughts, Jenny.