I want to be perfect so that people will like me.
That is the thought that came to my mind when one of my favorite Instagrammers posted the following photo:
I thought of how “transparent” I try to be on here, and on social media. I thought I had pretty much aired out any dirty laundry and kicked out any skeletons. Then here she comes, and she tells me to stop editing.
“I have no outtakes, ” I redirect my conversation to the Big Man upstairs. “There is nothing left to see.”
He rolls His eyes, “Really, Brittany? Really?”
So I rack my brain, and I come up with with a few scenarios, but I cannot see how they are even worth a mention.
“Dig deeper,” He continues. “What is your why?”
And slowly but surely, I understood.
“I just want them to like me,” I tell Him in a voice barely above a whisper.
He nods and He smiles, and He hugs me. “It’s ok, Brittany. It’s okay. It’s completely ok.”
I am experiencing what I will assume is migraines for the first time ever in my life. For the past two nights, I came home and my head hurt so badly that all I wanted to do was lay in my bed and call it a night after the kids’ homework.
I have been questioning myself, “Why in the world have I been so stressed lately?”
Yes, work has been a little more hectic than usual, but my students are pretty much the same. Some days they want to learn. Others days they do not. We are operating under new standards with a new curriculum and new “management” who has a little less classroom experience and a little more theoretical book sense which creates a bit of an issue. But I am stressed out about more than my classroom, my school, or any set of curriculum/standards.
Home is more of the same. The kids are growing. They want me to read to them and play with them. They have homework, princess dresses, and superhero costumes. I never feel like the moments I spend with them last long enough before I have to move on to the next task. Mom-guilt is definitely a thing. But I am stressed out about more than my mom-life. I have embraced the power of undone.
So I continue to try to find the underlying cause of these migraines. I try figure out what to do about me being stressed out, when He stops me, “Nailed it!”
Me: *Confused face*
Him: “You got it!”
I oblige His usual antics with the natural question, “What exactly have I got?”
“You have figured out what to do to stop being so stressed out!!!! You must STOP trying to figure it out. That, my dear, is my job.”
I think back to my parent teacher conference. As I waltz in the door of the building 5 minutes after my meeting time had ended. I wait on a bench with an embarrassed demeanor in hopes of a reschedule with the teacher of the child who finds that staying on green is quite challenging…the same teacher I yelled at last year the day life handed me lemons. (Talk about Karma.) She, of course, squeezes me in as another mom insists that I go ahead of her. I sit in the chair, and she touches my hand and tells me, “It’s ok. You’re doing fine.” It was like she was reading my mind, and it took all I had not to burst into tears on the spot.
You see, I have these gaping holes that plague me. I have areas of my life, when the world was not so kind to me, and I did not heal properly. The more I try to edit them out, the more they refuse to be silenced so I try to fix it. I try to fix myself, because if I could just fix myself then maybe I could have avoided some of my past relationship(s). Maybe I would not have been angry at my sister when she died. Maybe the last thing she would remember about me was that I loved her. If I can just figure out how to get more organized, maybe I can get out of the house on time in the morning. Maybe my husband can stop pulling the kid’s uniforms out of the larger than life pile of clean laundry waiting to be folded. If I can block my time, then maybe I will not run out of energy and need to crash every few days after cramming so much in. Maybe I will not need to recover so much from overdoing it.
If I can just be pretty enough, and smart enough, and charming enough, and perfect enough, then maybe people will not note the fact that I am completely flawed. If I can get enough likes on a picture, followers on a blog…If I can create enough Pinterest perfect photos and spaces…then maybe people can overlook my deep-rooted insecurity.
Maybe they will see past it. Maybe they will not notice that I am still wrestling with the same demons.
Sometimes I win. Sometimes I do not. And when I do not, I edit the demons out. Every. Single. Time.
The truth, the real truth, the ugly truth…I am in love with my demons.
“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” Romans 7:15
My demons leave me stressed out. Every time I politely (or even impolitely) escort them out, they just wait outside in hopes that I will ask them to come back in. I live my life and carry on, and when my guard is down, they knock on the door. Sometimes they look different. Other times, they did not even bother to disguise themselves. Either way, I let them in. I think that maybe they are not as bad as I remember. I think I can handle it.
I am wrong every time.
So I am stressed at things that should stress me like work, and raising kids, and running a ministry, and walking the path that God designed. I am stressed because I am not healing properly from situations handed to me that were outside of my control. But mostly I am stressed from holding all of it together well after I should have let it all go.
And I hear God telling me with that same voice of calm and patience as my son’s Kindergarten teacher, “It’s ok. You’re doing fine.”
Even though I am not fine. I am not perfect, and people will not like me once they see my demons and my scars. What if all I have to offer is myself?
God holds out his hand, and I give Him all of it. I give him my demons, my scars, and my open wounds. I give him my insecurity, my kids, my household, my marriage, my job, my husband’s job, my hair, my finances, my family, my blog, my Facebook, my Instagram, my friendships, my ex-friendships. I give Him all of my chaos…all of it…again.
At that moment it all comes together. I finally understand what to do to stop being stressed out, which I will now share with you.
- Let go of what you CANNOT control.
- Let go of what you CAN control.
- Let God do His job.
What do you do to stop being stressed out?
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