Friday, April 20, 2012

Shut down the Club....

I was at the gym the other day.   I got 2 kids ready and jumped in the car, put them in the small daycare with minimal tears (theirs not mine), and ran on the treadmill for about 25 minutes.  This may sound small to you, but it is a victory in my little world...and I'm takin' it to the bank!

I was thinking while running (something to take the place of, dying while running), and I started to think about life as a housewife.  

My thoughts finally rested on the truth that puts so many women like me over the edge.....

"Life as a housewife, is competitive!"

Let's face it friends, if you aren't canning fruit and vegetables, teaching your kid how to recite the ABC's and count to 20 (and beyond), strictly enforcing bed times and nap times, putting make-up on, fitting into cute little clothing items, having dinner on the table at an appropriate time, running a few miles a day, creating delectable treats for breakfast/lunch/dinner, planning fun trips and events for your family, meeting up with girlfriends with hot baked goods in tow, raising children who are "paci", tantrum, and bottle free, crawling at 6 months, walking by 9 months, sleeping through the night, and sitting perfectly in public settings, and whatever else you can think of that you have ever been under pressure to achieve, YOU AREN'T IN THE CLUB!  You know that club...the one where you are NEVER in. That club with those people who do not exist, who do all of the aforementioned things without even breaking a sweat!  The most famous club in the world?!?!  

Just the other day, I felt the need to write about all of the wonderful things I had done that day.  It is fun to showoff a little, right? It is ok to show off just a little.  I felt satisfied after I wrote it, "Like everyone now knows what I do in a day!"  Let's try to be honest.  What causes this NEED to be perfect?  What makes us write on Facebook or some other social media device, how wonderful our lives are, how accomplished we are, what we are good at, what are kids are better than your kids at, what we are cooking for dinner, how much weight we lost, who loves us, who we love, etc.???  A more important question is: Where did it all come from? How did we tell people how wonderful we were and record the accomplishes of our children before social media?  

I feel bad for women these days.  With Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, movies and magazines, we don't have a chance to ever get it "right".  We are always one step behind that woman we think has it all!  One leap behind the girl who seems so happily "with it".  A mile behind the mom who seems to know all of the answers.  I'm whining, but, "It isn't fair!"  

As women, we should be encouraging each other.  We are in this TOGETHER ladies!  Stop picking on each other, and judging each other, and making each other feel bad because they aren't doing exactly what parenting technique you think you patented!!  And if you feel like the resident expert, share your thoughts, knowing they aren't Gospel, unless they are, of course, Gospel.  The only advice we should be giving each other matter-of-factly, are Gospel truths that build each other up.  As stated above, we have enough pressure without our sisters around us tearing us up.

The pressures all around us, force us to long for the kind of perfect we will never be.  Even advertising bombards us from morning to night..."use this, do that.  The housewife hears every day that if she doesn't use "brand x" soap, her clothes will be gray or people won't like to be around you unless you use the right toothpaste.  Young people display certain brand names on their jackets, shoes, hats, sun this food, follow that diet, drink this, buy what we tell you and you are a winner!  The pressure to fit in is relentless!

The Bible gives many examples of individuals who had the strength of character to resist the pressure to conform.

King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon made a large image that exalted his kingdom, then ordered everyone to bow down to it. Three young captive Hebrews vowed that they would not worship the image, even if all others did.

The king had warned that if anybody did not bow down to the image, they would be thrown into a blazing furnace.  But no such threat could alter the convictions of the three young Hebrews. They answered without hesitation:

"If we are thrown into the blazing furnace
the God we serve is able to save us from it,...
But even if he does not, we want you to know,
O king, that we will not serve your gods
or worship the image of gold you have set up."

--Daniel 3:16-18

These guys were willing to die before they conformed to what everyone else was doing.  They knew their God, the God of the universe, was capable of rescuing them.  The most amazing thing about this situation for me, is that even if God did not save their lives, they were still not going to do what everyone else was doing in worshiping the idol.

These guys had an actual tangible idol they were working to avoid worshiping, but what about all of the idols WE worship?  They are in our lives whether we want to acknowledge them or not.  God wants them out so He can rescue you!  He wants them out because serving Him is the only way out of the tangled web of wanting to be perfect and spending energy convincing everyone you are.  There is no such thing as "good enough".  

When the men of the Bible asked Jesus what the greatest commandment of the law is, Jesus replied without hesitation or reservation:
"Love the Lord Your God with all your heart and all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the first and greatest commandment.    
And the second is like it:  Love your neighbor as yourself.  All the law and the prophets hang on these two commandments."  
Matthew 22: 36-40 
I love the way Jesus answers here.  He calls us to worship Him, but paired with the greatest commandment, is a calling to LOVE each other!  He didn't say "love me and (Insert here)." God just wants you to worship Him, and love each other!  Stop being so hard on yourself and STOP being so hard on each other. 

Shut down the club, membership is too hard to obtain anyway....      


  1. The club is shut down as far as I'm concerned girl! :) The more I get to know God, the more I understand how little I know. Keep walking sister! Maybe we'll meet at She Speaks! ~ Blessings, Amy Alves

  2. This is so good! We were just discussing this at a study group this morning...talking about how we see someone else's strength and feel bad that we don't measure up to them. In reality, we all have our own strengths and a lot of time they are different. We should stop criticizing ourselves and be comfortable with the gifts God has given us individually, but at the same time, be open to learning from the strengths of others. Maybe that mom who thinks I'm supermom because I have time to exercise with three kids needs to learn from me how to prioritize that. Maybe that mom who has a massive garden and cans tons of fruits, veggies and makes all kinds of jellies can teach me a new homemaking skill. Maybe that person who's better at encouraging can teach me how to encourage others. And maybe I someone can learn from my attention to detail or whatever.

    The Mom-petition is just terrible and it needs to end forever.

  3. I think I often feel the need to justify being a stay-at-home mom, so if I can list off all the things I accomplished in a day, I feel better about how I think people feel about me. Maybe I'm just insecure, but I feel like people will think I'm lazy for staying at home with my kids if all we've done in a day is eat, sleep, play outside, watch a little TV and walk to the library. Because you know, it takes us an hour to walk to the library and back and at least that long to visit 2 grocery stores. Forget about it if we have to go to CVS, too. So I think there's a tendency to want to measure productivity, as if we can truly measure the impact of being a stay-at-home mom has on our kids!

    Thanks for the encouragement. I know I haven't been real enough about the struggles I've had as a mom and seminary wife. I think it's going to come to a shock to a few people at our church when I share, the day after graduation, that this has possibly been the worst four years of my life. (I'm still editing my remarks!)

    Let's start a non-club club! :)

    1. Hey Lisa! Thanks for your post. Adam attended seminary when we first got married. Then about a year into our marriage, we had Nora. He was still a student and I thought I would lose my mind! I looked around me for help, but everyone seemed so with it, that I was afraid to admit I was falling apart. I almost had a nervous breakdown and I am sure I had postpartum depression. I thought at the end of that, "This is enough!" I promised I would never be that woman who wanted everyone to believe I had it together. We need each other, us women! I know what you went and are going through!

  4. Great post! I have been guilty of this as well, this need to compare myself and my life to others. It reminds me of a quote I heard recently: "Our insecurity comes from comparing our behind the scenes with others highlight reels."

    I look forward to meeting you at She Speaks this year!

  5. I super second that motion ... Bar the doors!