2013 was an overwhelming year for me. Losing my grandfather, becoming a mother and other circumstances set me off on an emotional and spiritual roller coaster. I'd like to say that I handled it well but the reality is I didn't. The year 2013 was full of dealing with regrets and trying to be everything I thought I needed to be in terms of my relationships. I felt I needed to be the perfect wife, the best mother, the greatest friend. I couldn't let my parents down, I needed to be a positive role model for my younger siblings. I struggled with meeting all these expectations that I had set upon myself. Despite all of my best attempts I failed constantly, this caused me to withdraw emotionally and "give up" on people that I really did not want to give up on. Without getting into specifics, I allowed the circumstances and changes that had occurred to affect me to the point where I wasn't being the wife, the daughter/daughter-in-law, sister/sister-in-law and friend that I needed to be. I hurt people I loved, said things I shouldn't have and acted in ways that I knew weren't right. By the end of the year I realized, despite where I thought I was, I was actually in a very dark place.
And so 2014 started off with a week of prayer and fasting and it could not have come at a better time. It opened my eyes to see myself as God sees me. I realized that I have been living under the wrong expectations. Like most women, I want to be a loving wife, a good mother, a great friend and an anointed minister. I want to be a positive role model and a generous, in all ways, human being.
The thing is, I have always struggled with insecurity and many times I have realized that this is often the root of the issues I deal with. I had not realized it but the Proverbs 31 woman, the "how to be a loving wife", the "tips on being a good mother" blogs and friend's opinions had helped me to create expectations of who I thought I was supposed to be. And when the tips didn't work or I did not complete them I often felt like I was failing. This feeling was often overwhelmed by the lies of my enemy who whispered "why even try?" and many times I agreed with him. But in my time of fasting, when I cut out those other voices I was finally able to hear the still, small voice of my Creator. And in that time He taught me a few things.
The first, I will never be a Proverbs 31 woman. And contrary to popular belief I don't think God wants me to either. The Proverbs 31 chapter was not placed in the Bible to be a one fits all mold of a God fearing woman. The charistics are worth striving for but each woman is her own version. If we take a look around we will find a Proverbs 32 woman as well as a Proverbs 33, 34 and so on.They are chapters that are still being written.
This might offend some but I have found it incredibly liberating. I will never fit the perfect wife mold, I will fail many times as a mother. I will let my parents down, my younger siblings will watch me make mistakes. I may not minister as much as I should, I may not always be the best friend and chances are circumstances in my life will probably cause me to become self-centered and unaware of those around me. Is this accepting defeat or giving in? Is this justifying failed attempts or exempting me from ever trying again? No, not at all. My goal is to be like Jesus. That means constantly striving, trying, loving, reaching. But it is also realizing that I am human. I am imperfect, flawed and emotional.
I'm not meant to make everyone happy. God doesn't desire me to follow after a "10 Things That The Best (wife-mother-friend-minister-etc) Does" article on someone's blog. The secrets of success aren't found in a magazine or a book and they aren't found in the opinions of others. They are found in His word and in the quiet prayer time with Him where He sets out the path created just for me. I am unique, I am different and the woman I am meant to be is of His design alone. A successful marriage for me may not look like a successful marriage for someone else because my marriage is unique to my husband and I. A good mother to my children is realizing that my children are unique and need training and guidance unique to their personality and traits. The friend that is there for you in a certain way may not be me or maybe it is. I may not be able to really relate and minister to a lost soul but to another one I can make a difference.
There is no perfect woman, there is no set idea. There are only women after God's own heart and those women are each unique. They are not women of few mistakes or great honor but rather women who are sincere in repenting and correcting their mistakes and living with a genuine desire to be like their Creator. I've had enough of so called expectations, I'm following after Him.
~Regular family posting to resume. I promise.~