I went to the beach this year and honest-to-goodness could barely make it from the hotel room to our spot near the ocean without wanting to die.
After years of denial, it was finally time to admit: I’d let myself go.
No shame. I think it’s pretty easy to do when your primary job is to carpool and clean toilets for zero dollars a year.
Super understandable when you eat what’s left over on your children’s plates and claim housework as exercise. (I personally haven’t cared to lift a weight since I discovered you have to do it more than once a month to get results.)
I used to think I was blessed with good genes, but they stopped helping me around the age of 25, when I started gaining about five pounds a year.
So I told myself while huffing and puffing on vacation I was damned-determined to shed my extra weight.
I signed up for boot camp, a twice a week combo of weight-training and HIT. (By the way, HIT makes me want to hit someone.)
That first week I didn’t loathe it. I wouldn’t say I loved or even liked it, but I definitely didn’t hate it.
Second week was okay, but I was not loathing it less.
Third week, I came down with a horrible case of poison ivy, an upper respiratory infection, and a cough that nearly broke my rib cage. (Did you know overextending your body can lead to illness? Yep. It’s a thing.)
By week four, something snapped. I like to call it my Sick and Tired.
I was Sick and Tired of doing something I didn’t like just because everyone else was doing it.
I was Sick and Tired of scrolling through Instagram gym posts, envious over how much some of you loved working out while I hated it. What’s wrong with me?
I was Sick and Tired of seeing pictures of green smoothies and plates of clean veggies and wondering why I continued to crave Big Macs and fries.
I was Sick and Tired of peeing on myself every time I did a jumping jack or ran halfway down the street. Just being honest here, but the Tight Bladder Ship sailed after baby Four sat on it for nine months before I pushed her out like a watermelon—as I had done with the other three.
Are you sick and tired of being Sick and Tired?
I think many of us—especially moms—get stuck in a rut. We are constantly caring for those around us, and we almost feel shame whenever we care for ourselves (and also judgment for other moms who seem to do so without guilt).
The deeper we dig in the rut, the more trouble we have getting out by ourselves.
Eventually we come to believe we need others’ help in getting out. (Mind you, sometimes we really do, so please don’t misunderstand me.)
We need medication, a counselor, or our partner to change.
We want a trainer (like I thought), or someone to tell us exactly how or what to eat.
We expect a preacher to lead us to the promise land, or we long for the perfect job or boss.
We pin a thousand housecleaning charts or new parenting how-tos in the hopes they will fix what isn’t working for us.
We devour self-help books, and when they each tell us a different way to turn, we feel more lost than ever.
Everywhere we look there is a conflicting opinion on how to behave as a mother or wife, how to live as a Christian, how to treat our bodies, how to eat, how to clean, how to choose a career path, etc. etc. etc.
I’ve tried it all, believe me. Did this and did that. Worked at this and worked at that. Strove for this and failed at that.
Over and over again. Enough to wear out any normal human being.
A few days ago I was sitting on my deck, contemplating the last 37 years of my life, especially my thirties, which have been a roller coaster.
I’m blessed with a backyard full of trees, and all manner and color of birds and butterflies make their home within the confines of my sacred space.
I watch these creatures and hold a reverent awe of God’s creative genius, how He birthed such amazing beauty on this Earth simply for our enjoyment.
When we look at creation, we praise God for its uniqueness.
But I wonder why we don’t thank God for our own individuality.
I wonder why we believe all humans should look, act and think a certain way.
I wonder why we strive so hard to imitate certain people, losing our souls in the process.
I wonder why we can’t just be our own best us.
Confession: I HATE to work out in a gym. But I love to walk my puppies through town while listening to old music or good sermons.
I crave vegetables, but I’ll eat a cow in a heartbeat and enjoy every minute of it.
I’m not a great PTO mom, but I am the queen of snuggles. Filling up my babies’ love tanks is of utmost importance to me.
I sometimes fail to be a good and kind wife, but I wake up every morning willing to try again.
I don’t always keep a clean house, but my kids feel at home in their sanctuary.
I like to work, but peace within my chaotic family trumps a paycheck any day of the week. (And I totally realize I am BLESSED to have that option right now.)
I love to dress up on a date night, but more often than not a pair of holey jeans and a t-shirt are my go-to (ponytail required).
I pee while running. It’s a part of me I can’t change. (Had the surgery/accomplished nothing.)
I am who I am.
You are who you are.
Over the last few months, I’ve come to accept that who we are and what we have are given by God for a purpose and a plan, for just such a time as this.
While you’re working so hard to gain the elusive goal of being somebody, to gain the whole world, make sure you don’t forfeit your own soul in the process.
Remember that you serve a distinct reason for living, even if, like me in all my housewife glory, it’s what the world deems “ordinary.”
Greater is He in You than he who is in the world. And He in you calls you EXTRAORDINARY.
If anything about your current life makes you uneasy, don’t look to the right or the left. Don’t think you have to mirror another person’s life.
Look for your own YOU.
Because the only way to be content is to be authentic. My authentic is not your authentic, but we do share one truth:
We cannot enjoy a content inside with an inauthentic outside.
One more thing about those birds: God says in His Word that as much as He cares about them, He cares about YOU way more. (Matthew 6:26-34, The Message)
Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds.
So what have you decided to give up in order to live a more authentic life?
I’d love to hear your thoughts.
And if you see me running any time soon, I assure you it’s because I’m being chased. 😉