Don’t you feel like if you could pick apart some of the people you love and take little qualities from each of them you could be the perfect spouse, mother, friend, coworker, etc. In our heads we say things like, If I had her drive I’d do more. If I had her humor we’d have a marriage that was more fun. If I could take things in stride more my kids would be better off and we pick apart all the things we hate about our self and jigsaw back together someone who could do and be all the things we need to be. We could be the version of ourselves that would be acceptable and possibly more lovable to all who know us. We could feel slightly more OK when we closed our eyes at night if only we _____.
For most of my life I have felt like a subpar girl. I was always taller than girls should be. I’ve never been quiet… like ever. I can’t keep opinions to myself or sit still when I need to. My personality tests reveal similar things every time, that I’m intense but I get things done. I love people… but almost too much. I value accomplishments and am driven… but to a fault. When I asked my husband once if I was “warm” his pause spoke volumes (it’s now a running family joke). When I wasn’t in the church none of this mattered. I pretty much embraced who I was and lived boldly without much care about what others thought.
Then post Jesus and reintroduction to church I felt like there was a Christian girl mold and I just didn’t fit it. I didn’t just want to sit and take notes I wanted to be driving the discussion but that was a role mostly given to men. I stared to wonder if God had made me just a little wrong. Part of me felt like I needed to just tone down all of me or there would be catastrophic consequences on my relationships. Fast forward to being a mom and the feeling intensified. How could I be a good mom when I was so overly “passionate” about life? Not only that but our firstborn and even our second have soft hearts. Our third has my DNA. She’s bold and she will fight me head to head… at fifteen months old.
I have been thinking a lot about the words used about me as a kid as I speak to my own kids. How they sank deep and filled in the pieces where I had gaps of understanding myself. I was always talked about as the bold, crazy, slightly brash, mischievous kid. It wasn’t because it wasn’t true but I think we can challenge our kids to be better by not speaking words over them that don’t coincide with a redeemed heart. Like when Briggs hits Colbie (because she grabbed his favorite reindeer and threw it across the room) I tell him, you aren’t mean but what you did was mean. Making the distinction when we talk to the people that we love that their actions don’t convey the heart God gives them. I speak to my kids like God has already redeemed them, believing one day he will. These words speak to the heart they could have instead of shaming them to feel guilty. Pray to God for the guilt, man-made guilt doesn’t change hearts just behavior, conviction from a perfect God brings people to his perfect unhindered love.
Part of the reason I acted the way I did was because it was simply expected, the bar had been set. No one expected an A on my report card or for me to participate in the schools charity events. So I didn’t. I wonder though, if I speak the life into my kids I hope they have, the life I know God can give them will they believe it? If I tell them that God can change their selfish hearts into caring ones will it push them to do so? Colbie, our third, is a flat out mischievous willful little one but I’ve had to remind the big kids to call her curious not crazy. Curious speaks to a sense of adventure where as crazy speaks to actions of disobedience. The truth is she is a little bit crazy but there’s nothing wrong with that, I want my words to speak life into the girl God made her be not shame her into a corner about what she isn’t. There’s no mold. That’s the beautiful thing about God, his intense creativity that has come up with the most fascinating productions and to not live that out would be a disservice to the creator.