This whole quarantine thing has my self-reflection mojo on hyperdrive. I've spent the majority of the last six weeks somewhere between "Is it possible to watch two entire seasons of Tiny House Nation in one day?" and "Can I login to two separate Zoom sessions using one account while I cook dinner?" And despite which end of the productivity spectrum I'm currently camped out on I've been tossing around these questions in the back of my mind...
-Seriously, what is my purpose?
-Am I really contributing ANYTHING to the world?
-How am I defining success?
-Who's voice am I allowing to speak into my life right now?
-What is the freaking point to this life?"
So, bad news--I do not have definitive answers to all of these questions.
Good news--I have identified a few things that I no longer believe.
1. I need to be a size 2 to be happy, valued and desired.
I don't want to be a blimp or unhealthy but it is absolutely unnecessary to equate my worth with the size of my waist. You may have realized this a long time ago. This would make you smarter than I am.
2. I'm a bad mom.
There are definitely aspects of my motherhood that could use some improvement, but each one of my three children are fed, healthy, loved and supported. Confession: I am 100% a yeller...but sometimes I yell nice things, so there's that.
3. Fashion is worth the expense.
I have an outfit for any occasion I could possibly conceive. Black tie? Got it. African safari? You betcha. Viking outing? 100% prepared. There is simply no need for this nonsense. I could be contributing all those finances to people and organizations that support social justice. I'm disgusted.
4. Vacations are the most enjoyable part of life.
I take approximately 3-4 vacations per year (some weekend getaways, some week-long family trips) which provide an average of about 20-ish days spent traveling. When this is divided by the total number of days in a year it equals less than 10% of my time per year. I've very much lived my life striving 90% of the time and enjoying a meager 10%. Fun, adventure, new experiences, self-care, optimism, rest...these are all things that need to be incorporated on the regular, not just during vacations. I have to be intentional or it won't happen. I'm putting these things in my calendar.
5. If I'm not busy then I'm not important.
Lie! I honestly think I have decreased my effectiveness and importance by becoming so busy that I haven't been fully present in my environment. I have given less than my best because I have been exhausted. I'm terrible at prioritizing but I refuse to go back to chaotic schedules and an over-caffeinated existence. I'm saying "no" when activities and opportunities don't line up with our family and my personal mission.
6. I'm fine with me and mine.
This may be the most important mindset change of all. I love my family but I LOVE COMMUNITY! I truly love my fellow humans! (You too? You may need this shirt in my new #wordwear collection.) I miss people. I miss diversity. I miss unexpected conversations. I miss introductions. I miss lunch dates. I miss church gatherings. I miss birthday parties (yes, even the weird ones where you don't know the child's parents and you sit in awkwardness). I even miss random hugs...hmmm, it's possible I went too far.
7. My ultimate contribution is to live my life for God.
I will never be able to do enough things to repay the goodness God has shown me in this life and in the future life to come. When I live my life FOR Him I am constantly disappointed, frustrated, exhausted, overwhelmed, and ashamed. But when I live my life WITH Him I am refreshed, centered, connected, redeemed, unwavering, and determined. This podcast is killer and does a great job explaining this concept more in-depth.
I'm still compiling a list of other things I no longer believe and fully expect that there will be a "Part 2" to this post at some point. I love that we are fluid creatures, capable of change, capable of new behaviors, capable of of the acquisition of knowledge. I find myself challenged during this season because so much seems different, unknown and altered. You may have heard the quote, "If it doesn't challenge you it doesn't change you." It's true. The question is, will we let these challenges change us for better or for worse?