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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

You Are Not My God

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And I’m no Supermom. 
Not sitting here dressed up in a shiny tight pants suit with wings on it, hair curled and blowing behind my sparkling youthful, faithful complexion. No one is featuring me in the "Motherhood Times" today. But this morning I am refreshingly aware that although I fall short as a mom (I’m 5’4” so I’m not THAT short, but still…) Well really, although I am small, I’m still padding along on my little fat feet, doing my best and admitting that I could do better. And today, thankfully, I’m leaning into the real woman, the mom, the wife, the artist who God made me to be. She is OK. But yesterday I hated her.

I'm sharing this ugly truth because I’m gonna bet that you also feel critical of yourself or your “momhood” at times. Or perhaps you think you don’t feel critical of yourself, but you spend a lot of time criticizing other women or moms you know (that is called deflection.) You may talk about their faults, how you feel sorry for them, how you can clearly see what they need to change...Or maybe you’re completely at peace with yourself and others all the time, in which case you can stop reading now (you liar.)

So back to my point-- over the holiday I felt pretty bad about who I am. Critical. It was like I had lost my ability to see that my image isn’t created for the other mom, relative or random person who is judging me. At times, I will give almost anyone the pass to my “OK-ness”. The right to tell me if I’m good enough.  Even when I know perfectly well that the path around this kind of self-mutilating thinking and behavior, for me, is simple: I have nothing to prove.  You are not my God. (BTW my God gets really jealous and angry when I worship you instead of Him.)

BUT too often my faith is weak, and I return to giving you, the relative, other mom, or friend or reader…I give you the keys to my worthiness. (I must insert here that my God tells me that I'm living in a very messed up world where I am judged and rated according to severely backassed values. Well, he didn't use exactly those words...) I mean, if you don't "like" me after reading this, should I even keep on writing?? 

Here is how my imagination works…There is this other mom, this relative (or two), this lady at church, this (old) pastor, old friend, old coworker. All of the people who have told me or showed me, sometimes indirectly, how much I stink. (Do you know anyone like that?) Well, the whole group of them hang out in my back pocket, have linked chains, and are great friends. Traveling with me everywhere, they seep toxic crappy chatter into my soul, making me feel deeply inadequate. They all carry scoreboards with questions like this about my motherhood: 1) Is she too uptight and controlling and opinionated? 2) Is she fake or instead too raw and unfiltered? 3) Does she feed her children too much health food? 4) Is she lazy? Or perhaps too active? 5) Does she try to do too much?  6) Does she fail to do enough cleaning or is she too tidy? 7) Too outspoken?   8) Does she spend too much time looking in the mirror? 9) Is she arrogant? 10) Does she spend (or have) too much money? 11) Is she a helicopter parent? 12) Does she try to be perfect?  13) Are her expectations too high?
The answer to every single question is of course YES! Sometimes. Sometimes I am all of these awful things. I try too hard, or not hard enough, or not the right way, and so I fail.

So now that I have smeared my round freckled nose around in it... I wonder if some of the moms out there like me (and that old pastor too who is the loudest yeller of all in my head)…If we could start trying harder to LIFT each other (and ourselves) up. Up up up. Let's float around in our strengths. Let’s honestly admit to our own weaknesses so we don’t keep pointing fingers at each other and then lets have an old-fashioned bonfire and burn the checklists, the gossip, and the high-and-mighty thoughts that are all weighing us down. Maybe when we release their heavy weight, we will get a little lighter, a little closer to heaven here on this very rocky, cold earth.

I dare you to start randomly finding strengths in that mom who bugs the heck out of you. (I’m doing it right now.) Say them out loud. Could we forget the glaring inadequacies we see in ourselves, that we then pin on other moms, other people? May we squint at the light that is present and unique and REAL in every person we come into contact with, and revel at how the flaws fall away, becoming only fleeting imagery when our gazes fix on the light. God created you and her and her and her and me. We are gifts to one another. 

Moms, we have a pretty hard job. Really. I think it will get a little easier if we link arms and carry one another along. 

Now off I go to burn that list…