Last week, I read a post on my friend, Janel’s, blog. It was titled, Speaking of Comparisons. She had some really good things to say about comparing ourselves to other’s and how exhausting it can be. Her comments really spoke to me, and I have been thinking about them a lot. God used her post to initiate a dialog with me that has continued for nearly two weeks now. A little background….
I have spent most of my life unhappy with myself in some form or fashion. Of the 37 years I have been on this earth (did I just admit my age? *gasp*), my husband has been with me for 17 of those years. I am constantly re-inventing myself. Just ask him.
Let’s see. When we met, I weighed less than when we got married, but more than I weigh now (thank goodness I can say that!). My hair was brown and had its own zip code. I’d post a picture, but that was in the age before digital cameras and trying to scan one in is just too much trouble. Sorry! Anyway, think 80’s big hair with lots of product. You get the idea. I tried perms for a while (hated the smell), then I just went with a curling iron. That took way too long, so eventually I just left it straight. After I had my daughter, I decided to cut off about four inches and go with some red and blonde highlights which I had never done in my life! After a couple of years of that, I cut off about another three inches. I later added all over reddish-brown color and kept the highlights as well. The length has stayed the same, but a couple of weeks ago, I added back in some lo-lites of my natural color of hair because I’m wondering if I should go back to my natural hair color. Whew! I’m worn out just typing all of that! And that’s just my hair!
During that time, my clothing has gone from bow flats and decorated tees to baggy sweaters and stretch pants (this was during the time when I had gained a lot of weight and thought I could hide my body by wearing baggy clothes…don’t try this…it doesn’t work!) to business wear to trendy. Just last year, I FINALLY got my ears pierced! I know, I was probably the last woman on earth my age who still wore clip-on earrings! Lest you think I was afraid, I’m going to open myself up here and share that it was way more shallow than that. I didn’t want to wear the same pair of earrings for six straight weeks! I have a pair of earrings for every outfit…or at least I did before I had them pierced. Alright…enough about all of that.
I have been re-inventing myself in other ways, too. I’ve never been a very good housekeeper. I don’t like to cook. Let’s just say, the Proverbs 31 woman was not modeled after me! But I think I’m supposed to be her because why else would God put her in the Bible? Cue violins as my sad story begins.
Seriously, I spend most of my time feeling like a complete and total failure. I’m loaded with guilt over all the stuff I think I’m supposed to be doing but don’t feel like I have time to do, all the things I should have done but haven’t, and all the things I have done and shouldn’t. I’m not talking sins of the past here, just day-to-day living.
Last week, I started trying to do the Flylady system again to see if I can get my house under control. This is my second time giving this a try. Last time I failed miserably. See, there’s that word again.
One of the things I have also been trying to do is to work faster. I don’t mean just in cleaning and what-not. I’m talking about in everything that I do. I am meticulous and methodical by nature. I don’t get things done quickly. I’m also somewhat of a perfectionist and this probably contributes to the slow rate at which I accomplish tasks. I have long lamented this. I mentioned in another post I’m a crier. I don’t like this about myself either. I find it annoying. I always have to have tissues with me because the smallest things make me cry.
This past week, though, I heard the still, small voice, as I was attempting to rush through something no less. God spoke so clearly to my heart. He said, “My child, why are you trying to change yourself? I made you to be just the way you are. Your tears come from the gift of mercy I gave you, and your methodical, meticulous nature that you think slows you down makes you more aware.”
I think this can be applied to everything. We should never stop striving to be more like Christ, and we should definitely respond with repentance when God convicts us of sin in our lives, but we need to stop what is in essence telling God He made a mistake.
Do I still need to lose weight? Yes. Should I try to be a better housekeeper? Yes. Do I need to make more of an effort to cook meals at home for my family? Yes. Does it help any of us when I guilt-load myself because I haven’t done a very good job at these things? NO, because I am still making it all about me.
But, I will no longer lament the fact that I cry at the drop of a hat or that it takes me longer to do things than it does other people. God made me that way, and He had a reason for doing so. So, instead, I’m going to embrace these characteristics about myself and try to figure out how best to use them for Him. As for those things that could use some improvement, I’m going to make an effort to follow Colossians 3:23. “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.”
And….I’m going to be happy that I am me.