Sometimes I feel caught between wanting to continue to grow and always make myself better, and feeling discouraged by the voices of “inspiration.”
Can you relate?
It can feel like such a fine line. The line between seeing where WE are and where THEY are and allowing it to either speak inspiration or discouragement over our life.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot, lately. I’ve been thinking about it because I want to continue to grow. But I also want to know when to extend myself grace. And I want to be able to tell the difference between the two.
So what I’m thinking we all need more of isn’t a hard and fast rule or a “how to” post. I think what we all need is just to grow in discernment.
Discernment. The ability to judge well.
To judge well. To know what every situation calls for. To know the proper response.
That’s what I want.
I want to be able to look at my life and judge what the appropriate response should be. Sometimes the response will be to push forward, to challenge myself and to grow. Other times the response will be to rest, to disregard, to stay in my lane.
As I’ve been thinking about this I’ve been reminded that we simply can not care about all the things. We just can’t. And yet…sometimes, I think we buy into the belief that just because we now live in an age where we can see everything everyone is doing all the time that we should somehow care about all those things. And we just can’t. We weren’t made to care about everything. We were made to care about the things deep within each one of us.
And to care about some things is to not care about others. And that is so important for us to remember.
We can like a lot of different things. We can admire a whole lot more. But the things we can pursue with excellence are going to make up a pretty short list.
I think it’s also important to remind ourselves that just because we are doing some things with excellence and letting other things slide doesn’t make us flakey or lazy or somehow less than others; it simply makes us human.
But it is far too easy to look around us at others who are doing things with passion and seeming perfection that we aren’t doing and judge our efforts as wanting. We get caught up in thinking that we should care about the same things that other people care about. We criticize the ways we cannot compare to others in that department.
In this comparison game, we give all the weight and value to the things others are doing and we are not, and fail to attribute any meaning or value to the things we are doing.
I think it comes down to discerning what we value, and what we do not.
The things that other people are doing well is a reflection that those things have value to them. They care about those things, so they work hard at them and give them a priority in their lives. When we see people doing things and are inclined to feel defeated because we are not also doing those same things, our first thought should be to question whether or not we hold that same value.
Let me give you a few examples.
I’ve been feeling defeated lately because I am not the mom who crafts. I’m not the mom who is always on time. I’m not the mom who volunteers. I’m not the mom who does a load of laundry a day. I’m not the mom who goes to bed with the kitchen clean each night. I’m not the mom who has their kids involved in activities. I’m not the mom with a side hustle earning her family extra income. I’m not a mom with any kind of job that earns any amount of money.
Everywhere I look, I see other moms doing the above things, and doing them so. freaking. well. They are just crushing it. And it can make me feel overwhelmed. Like I’m not doing enough and need to figure out how I can also do these things well.
It’s a valid question to ask. It’s always valid to ask yourself if you can be doing things better and if you can gleam wisdom from others who are head of you on the journey. But if what you are seeing others do doesn’t have any intrinsic value to you, then holding it up as a goal for yourself is a recipe for defeat, not inspiration.
Discernment means knowing what you value, so you can invest in the things that matter.
I may not be the mom who crafts, but I am the mom who homeschools and who invites her kids to participate in life alongside her. I may not be the mom who is on time, but I am the mom who is alone with all four of her kids for a majority of her day, and going anywhere is an immense amount of work. I am the mom who does her best, and often times, her best, is late. I’m not the mom who volunteers because I’m showing up every single day, ready to meed the needs of my family. And right now, that’s taking all that I’ve got. I’m not the mom who does a load of laundry a day because that simply sound depressing. My method might not make any “how to” lists, but I’m ok with that. I’m not the mom who goes to bed with the kitchen clean each night because I love to cook and eat well, which means I spend a lot of time and energy planning for and cooking meals. I could simplify my meals, but simple meals aren’t something I value. A messy kitchen means I lived out my values. I’m not the mom who has their kids involved in activities because we like to do adventures as a family. Right now, extra-curricular activities aren’t something we value. Having fun as a family is.
And I’m not the mom with a side hustle earning her family extra income. I’m not a mom with any kind of job that earns any amount of money. There was a season where those things had value for me and my family. But that season is over. For now. And it’s important for me to discern that. Because the best voices for me to listen to are the ones who are speaking wisdom and inspiration for my current path.
Inspiration is only inspiration as long as it applies to the life you are actually living. Discernment isn’t about becoming a whole different person. It’s about knowing how to listen to the voices who are helping you become the best version of yourself, and filtering out the rest.
My hope for all of us of every lifestyle and in every season is that we can see ourselves for who we really are and celebrate. And then, see others for who they really are and celebrate them too.
We aren’t made to do it all, care about it all, or be good at it all. But we can discern the the things we value from the things we don’t, and learn and grow and develop in those areas. And we can leave the rest, to everyone else.