Comparison is a game we all play in which everyone is a loser. No one will verbalize the claim that they have it all together, but we sure try to shout that with our lives! That Facebook post about how you took your kids on some exciting adventure just so you will appear as if you are “mom-of-the-year,” when the truth is that’s the first time you’ve taken them anywhere in who knows how long. That Instagram pic (which you had to take 37 times to get just right) showing how amazing you look at the gym. Or there’s the ever iconic picture of the airplane wing just so everyone knows you’re well-traveled. (#vacay, of course!) “All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players.” (William Shakespeare) True story. We’re all just a bunch of actors trying to impress other actors who are trying to impress us. Is it just me, or does that seem insane?
We were not made to excel at everything, so why do we try so hard to do just that? While we waste our lives spinning the proverbial plates that we were never supposed to pick up to begin with, we are neglecting to nurture and grow in the areas where we have been most gifted and to which we feel most called. We are so exhausted from striving to fill the roles that weren’t given to us that we have nothing left to give to the roles that were. There is so much emphasis put on knowing yourself and knowing who you are, which is all well and good. But I think it is equally important to know and name who you’re not so you can sweep those identities under the rug and give yourself the freedom to not be the best at everything.
To get this ball rolling, here are some examples of who I clearly know I am not:
A Pinterest Mom – unless it is a recipe, if I attempt to recreate anything on Pinterest, I’m left with a failure on the level of epic. I am not artsy crafty AT ALL. The 2 (maybe 3?) times something has actually turned out closely resembling what I set out to make, I fully realize that it is a fluke and I should not, in any way, expect a repeat success. Keep me far away from crepe paper and hot glue guns and glitter. Just please.
A Martha Stewart Mom– my house will never NEVER be featured in Better Homes and Gardens (some days I feel it boarders closer to HGTV’s hoarders – but that’s mostly because of the toys that suddenly become the fav toy the day before I’m set to get rid of it. Really??) Would I love a BH&G’s home? Absolutely! Do I have the money or design expertise to make it into one? Not even close. Though honestly more than a beautiful home, I desire to have a welcoming home where friends can come in to feel loved and cherished. Good friends and deep conversations are more beautiful than even Taj Mahal in my book!
A Homeschooling Mom – I truly admire women who can somehow simultaneously educate their children and keep their sanity. God has certainly gifted some women to be homeschool moms, and then others of us He created as introverts who send their kids to school for the love of peace and quiet, and a chance to catch our breath and regain perspective – and for the love of our children, and our mental health. (I am, of course, not implying that introverts cannot homeschool. I just know that, for myself, I need complete alone time to recharge, and homeschooling would make that darn near impossible.)
A Perfect Hair and Make-up Mom: My hair is about as cantankerous as a 3-year-old at the Pope’s funeral. My best friend: the hair straightener. I can do that. (Of course, if I’m going out – as in out in public, no place fancy – at night, I will have to run the straightener through my hair again since by about 2:00 in the afternoon it looks more like “did she even try?”.) I know curls are in again. I love curls! I think they’re beautiful. My hair, however, just simply does not want to put forth the effort to hold on to a curl, let alone a whole head full of curls. The last time I curled my hair, it took me 3 HOURS! And almost a whole can of hairspray. I really wish I were joking. And as for make up, I just do what I can to make sure I’m not repulsed by my own reflection in the mirror. If I need to get my “fancy face” on, I call my dear friend, who can be a Perfect Hair-and-Make-up Mom, and also happens to be a fabulous make-up artist!
I can tell you it is truly freeing to own who you’re not and be ok with it. In doing so, you don’t allow anyone to make you feel less than on account of those things. It also offers the opportunity for us to move past our pride and say, “I know I’m not killing it in this area, could you help/teach me?”
In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul lists gifts of the Holy Spirit, and clearly says that no one person has every gift, but that each believer is given certain gifts to benefit the whole body. And that each gift is equally important! That’s good to hang on to! No matter what your strengths, they are important and you are needed!
What are your gifts? What is your story? No one else has your story, nor can they be the teller of it so tell what you know because I guarantee you someone needs to hear it! Allow yourself to dream bigger than other people’s talents! And finally, who are you not? What, today, can you push aside and say, “I’m no longer going to invest my time and emotions into that.”? Own who you’re not so you can more whole-heartedly live out who you are! Know your strengths and run free, dear friends!