Dear Moms, Be a Friend to Yourself Today
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There are so many things I'm not good at. And apparently I have an inner monologue determined to record each and every one of them. There's a voice in my head that tells me I am not enough. Some days it's quiet and some days it's super shouty. It's the strangest thing to discover the back of your brain muttering mean things to yourself.
The whisper is so soft, so ordinary, so normal by now that I rarely stop to investigate. I just let the words run through my veins until they seem like a normal part of my DNA. This house will never be clean. You'll never get caught up on the laundry. Your words won't match up to hers. You've never lived up to your New Year's resolutions. You're never going to get caught up. You're going to start another week already behind the curve. You're just not good at this.
Maybe you can relate? And if that weren't bad enough, we trick ourselves into believing we're the only ones who fail at All. The. Things. And then we beat ourselves up. And tell ourselves mean things at the end of long days. Days spent meeting deadlines and helping rake the neighbor's yard. Days spent studying and commuting and writing and catching up with long-distance friends and grandparents around the corner. Days spent keeping tiny humans alive and thriving.
When we've cooked and cleaned and commuted and brought home the bacon and washed and cleaned some more and checked the homework and sung the songs and read the books, we sit down on the sofa and shake our heads and tell ourselves what bad, bad moms or friends or daughters or roommates or wives we are.
That's insane. And exhausting.
And in case you thought you were the only one, here's a small taste of the crazy that runs in a wild and vicious loop through my mind at the end of any given day:
- You should have added pureed spinach to dinner tonight.
- You should have remembered to buy spinach.
- You should have been meal planning for the last four years so that spinach could have made it onto the shopping list.
- You shouldn't have let the kids watch TV while eating last night. Or this morning.
- You should read more.
- You should watch TV less.
- You should enjoy your family more.
- You should lose your patience less.
- You should volunteer at church.
- You should wash the sheets more regularly.
- You should exercise more.
- You should go to bed earlier.
- You should be like her.
Until my head is about to split right open. Until I forget that I showed up. I parented. I made dinner. I worked hard. I had meaningful conversations, and I belly-laughed till I snorted today. But I forget all that when I hear that voice list all my "should-haves" and "not-good-enoughs."
I heard that voice in the car today. I was sitting in a parking lot in our minivan. Alone. Maybe that's why I listened without just letting it wash over me. Maybe that's why I tuned in to the nefarious whispering I'd been letting slide until then.
I listened and I almost couldn't believe what I heard. I was surprised, actually. Kind of amazed that I was capable of such petty meanness to myself. Because the thing about that voice is that it is a nitpicker. It delights in destroying the DNA of a day, a dream, a moment bit-by-petulant-bit.
I told that voice off today.
Yes, I talked back to myself in an empty car. To those lies I was saying to myself, I spoke out loud the words that have been spoken over me by The Word. By the voice who speaks the only words that matter: "For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do" (NIV).
I called out that voice with all its mean and miserable words. And in doing so I could almost hear it deflate. I addressed that no-voice with my whole attention, listing my inheritance in Christ (), my royal claim ( ) because of Jesus, my significance because I am His. Because He is enough, I am Chosen, Cherished, and Beloved.
We are daughters of the King. We are bought at a price. We are loved.
*Adapted excerpt from Never Unfriended: The Secret to Finding and Keeping Lasting Friendships.
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