I’ve thought about this post a lot. I’ve wondered how to write it in a way that’s encouraging and maybe relatable, without being annoyingly self-deprecating. I’ve written about this before, but yesterday was a particularly humbling day in the area of memory, or lack thereof. It made me think, surely I am not the only mom and wife who forgets stuff. There have to be women out there who can relate to this and who need a little push towards more self-confidence, a greater acceptance of who they are and an appreciation for what makes them unique. And maybe I need to hear it to. So, here we go.
I’ve said this before. But it seems to be getting worse as I get older, and I am not old. I’m 35.
I’m healthy and I literally forget things I’m told or see within seconds. It’s ridiculous. And I know there are bigger life issues. Bigger things to be concerned with, but I feel like it’s important to be real. To talk about where we struggle. Because at the root of this particular issue, and maybe you can relate, is shame.
And that my friends is not ok.
“Shame is life-dominating and stubborn. Once entrenched in your heart and mind, it is a squatter that refuses to leave.” Edward T. Welch
I’m learning a bit about shame. I even have a book about it that I haven’t started reading yet. I wanted to write this from my own perspective first. In my own way, I struggle with the reality behind this word. If you peel back yet another layer, you’ll find the word SHOULD. For me anyway. I don’t know how many times this nasty little word floats through my mind on a daily basis.
I should have done that better
I should have done more
I should have done less
I should have been more kind
I should have cleaned more thoroughly
I should have finished the laundry
I should have been a better friend
I should be a better mom
I should remember more details/appointments/schedules
I should communicate better
I should dress better
I should eat better
I should exercise more
I should be more patient
Get the picture? It’s never-ending. This word should enters into our vocabulary based on what we think our role should be. We forget we were made by God and for God. We weren’t made for all the things we should do. We were made by him, for Him. Period.
All the things I think I should do, when not done according to MY standards, then bring shame at a job not well done. I assume that when I don’t perform well, I should feel guilt and shame. Why exactly? I mean, where is the logic in this? There isn’t any. Because if this is my logic or what I live by, where does that standard end? I mean, wouldn’t the ultimate standard be perfection? And we all know that’s a standard that is simply impossible to reach.
“Perfectionism is a self-destructive and addictive belief system that fuels this primary thought: If I look perfect, and do everything perfectly, I can avoid or minimize the painful feelings of shame, judgment, and blame.” Brene Brown
I don’t think shame has to be associated with just the “big things.” Like, we can feel shame for simply not doing the laundry on laundry day, because for some reason we have convinced ourselves that this is when laundry must get done, so when it’s not done in a timely manner, we feel we have failed. We feel shame. It’s just laundry for crying out loud, but if our minds and hearts tell use we “should” and we don’t, we feel failure, which in turn brings about shame. Yes, we can feel shame for much more dyer and important circumstances, I mean we’re human, and we mess up and we mess up big. But shame comes in all shapes and sizes, and it’s nasty in any form.
“Shame is a soul eating emotion.”
― C.G. Jung
So. My forgetfulness. How in the world does that relate to shame? In my mind, it’s a fault. It’s often public. It’s embarrassing. I’m the mom in the group text who has no idea what’s going on. I’m the mom who forgets the forms and the practices and the cleats and the water bottles. I’m the one who forgets to bring breakfast on my assigned day to small group, even though I had 4 alerts and notifications. I’m the one who forgets about games until 20 minutes before. I forget the most basic of things, and I also forget the big stuff. It’s not intentional. I write stuff down. I have more calendars than any one grown human should need. Siri reminds me daily of all of my responsibilities. In fact, my kids often ask me what I did before Siri. I didn’t have 3 kids, that’s what.
This is a little different than something done intentionally that brings about shame. Shame, when rightly placed, can lead us to repentance and can help us turn from something wrong or unhealthy. I believe God’s forgiveness has the power to wipe away our shame, because He doesn’t want us to live underneath the power of shame, but the power of his Holy Spirit. But, when shame comes from something we don’t do on purpose or simply can’t help, it stings in a different way. It can feel impossible to overcome.
My tendency to forget is not something that only affects me. It affects my husband and my kids and my friends and my responsibilities. And it’s infuriating. And the shame part comes from my perception of what makes a good wife and mom. You see, in my mind(as distorted as this is and as much as I know this is NOT truth), I have allowed the enemy to place little seeds of doubt in my abilities as a wife and mother. Because of all I think a good wife and mother should be. See? There’s that word again. She should be organized and with it. She should be the glue that holds the family and the household together, not the one who lets things fall apart. She should be the one leading the charge with snack day and the one who knows where all the matching socks are. A good mom should know all things, remember all things, perform her duties without complaint or struggle, and basically, be a superhuman perfect being who never ever makes mistakes. Isn’t this what we’re fed? But here’s the thing.
That’s WRONG. That’s a lie.
To believe that my measuring stick for success lies in my ability to remember things is a lie. To believe my worth is found in my works is a lie. I’m human. And so are you. And friend, we. are. valuable. We are loved. With all of our flaws and all of our annoying quirks. With all of our sin and shortcomings. We. are. still. loved.
This is truth…
Proverbs 31:30 “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.”
“Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous–how well I know it.” Psalm 139:14
“Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways!” Romans 11:33
Romans 8:37-39 “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Zephaniah 3:17 “The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.”
Job 34:19 ...”who shows no partiality to princes, nor regards the rich more than the poor, for they are all the work of his hands”
I mean. Is that not the best news ever? That God loves me, and you. That He created us for purpose. Not to have the perfect memory or wardrobe or calendar or paycheck. He made us for a reason, for every single moment we are living in. Because it brings glory to Him, the creator. It’s not an accident that I’m Rob’s wife and mom to Jake, Josh and Lila. God didn’t mess up. I am just the way He designed me to be. Forgetful? Yes. But I’m full of flaws and faults and things that drive me a little batty. Because I’m not perfect, nor should I be. All my imperfections remind me just how human I am. And just how much I need a Savior. And you know what? I can rejoice in my weaknesses……
2 Corinthians 12:9 Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.”
Let’s rejoice in our weaknesses. Motherhood is one of the hardest areas of my life to navigate these perceived “should’s.” Gosh, I never knew pressure until I became a mom. And it’s brought on by comparison and competition. Let’s stop this madness and the whole mom guilt thing and simply be who God made us to be. Uniquely woven together. And right where we are for such a time as this. I can rest in who I am. I can be reminded that I am not striving for perfection and that there is nothing wrong with me. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I can do my very best with what I’ve been given and not allow the enemy to poke at me with shame or you should’s. I can laugh at mess ups, because let’s be real, sometimes it really does just get comical. I can believe God’s truth about me. And I can rest knowing His ways are perfect and far above my understanding. I can appreciate my strengths, and my weaknesses. Because they all make up who I am. And I am His.