I used to take life too seriously. Our culture happily insists on blasting out every idea, suggestion, or advice as though if you do not do this thing, you are DOOMED.
Like, if I don’t read to my child for 25.8 minutes every single day, they will not love to read when they grow up. Or if I don’t provide the precise amount of nutritional content to my kid then they are doomed to a lifetime of obesity.
Is there an iota of truth to these tales? Sure, but honestly, this age of over-information is KILLING us WAY more than offering true solutions! And, it’s not because we are neglecting to “get outside more” and rue the day.
It is because we are STRESSED out from feeling like constant failures at everything! There is always some voice/opinion/post/Pinterest image/video, etc. telling us that we are failing in something for someone ALL. THE. TIME.
So, I’m calling foul.
I’m done. Fried. Finito. Finished.
I’m not playing these games anymore. My brain, heart, and being cannot handle the world’s crap any longer. And, sweet Mama, I’m giving you permission to do the same!
Don’t Take Life Too Seriously, Even Though EVERYTHING Demands That You Do
As an avid student of basically everything, I have been in constant gleaning mode from every resource imaginable for years. I read dozens of parenting books, watched loads of documentaries, listened to probably a thousand sermons, and landed in a mental health prison of my own making.
I am an introverted person, and I am in my head a LOT. According to Myers Briggs, I am an INTP (but thanks to several strong Feeler-types in my life, I have been educated on the art of emotions, too…thank you my sweet sister and firstborn strong-willed daughter). So it is very natural for me to study, learn, research, and seek out inefficiencies in systems to make things work their best.
When I became a mom, this side of me went NUTS! For the first five years, though, it was actually quite manageable…until social media entered into my life. Suddenly my brain was slammed with every opinion, thought, perspective, idea, and angle possible within the course of, like, a minute, and it drove me into a deep, deep cycle of searching.
I learned about healthy eating principles and solutions, and then beat my head against a wall trying to navigate the dogmatic way the preachers of the health religion worship the god of health with their laws for healthy living.
I followed everything I could find, read, and understand for years…and then, my son got sick with an auto-immune condition (something the worshippers of the health gods always said would not happen if I obeyed their commandments)…and I was ROCKED.
Like, to my knees, face to the floor, how do I breathe again…rocked. I could barely leave my house for simple errands. It has taken YEARS to figure out how to do life again with this first of several significant deviations from my perfect life plan.
But, the occasion was prime to help me end my food idolatry and return my gaze and hope to the One who truly is in control, no matter what struggles happen in this life.
Yet, the lessons were not over.
Related: Turning Away from Food Idolatry
There were other gods also being worshipped alongside of the health gods. There was the prevention god, the DIY god, the natural living god, the vaccine god, the do what you want god, the perfect mom god, the females rule god, and oh so many more.
Every turn, every gaze in the social media world landed me face to face with a worship of hope and praise and awe at manmade systems of protection and dogma – works to be done to achieve the ideal, safe life…and I was woefully broken in the midst of it all.
You see, my brain can only do so much (and I assure you, yours is also limited), so the constant pressure to do. everything. “right.” according to six thousand different opinions/perspectives/value systems/ideas, was SUCKING ME DRY.
I am human…finite…and I am limited…AND THAT’S OKAY!
My wardrobe does not include a cape that I use to announce to the world my supreme woman abilities.
I own a robe, and a sweater, and a comfy blanket, and books.
There is no doubt in my mind that things are important. But I’ve learned that we have to understand that they’re not quite as important as we make them out to be.
You may remember that we have been in a long season of transition for the past almost four years since my husband separated from the Navy. This move into the civilian world has been VERY eye-opening to us veterans.
After years of frustration and amazement at how the business and working world operates, it’s finally struck me the reality of this fallen, crazy world in which we are temporary visitors:
Everything is basically just taped and glued together. And, the money god (oh, yeah, the money god…forgot about that one)…it’s all just monopoly money anyway!
Worshipping the money god and attempting to find security in it is like accruing all the Monopoly money in the game and feeling like “now life is set.” When the game gets put away, all that hefty cash goes with it.
Even the things and companies and products and systems that create an amazing and perfect presentation are still just really little humans running around piecing things together in their imperfection. Each one is hoping that it all comes together well enough to make you and me believe we can achieve the vision they’ve crafted.
I mean, look at the original space shuttle! It’s like a tinfoil container that we used to send people into space! That blows my mind! And, it worked!
So, this is not a smack on our human ingenuity, but rather a reminder to keep things in their proper container.
We have things we can learn and figure out. We can put it all into practice to help life become a little better, easier, more efficient, or fun. But it’s okay to not do everything at every time for everyone in every moment.
That’s the job of God, not man.
We can only do what we can do at the moment. We must then realize, “Hey, I’m a human, I have limited resources, and I can only do so much today, and that is JUST FINE.”
Some days are do-nothing days, and others might be nutritionally void. There might be times when days are crazy and meeting the emotional needs of one’s children is just. not. possible. because breathing and surviving are far more important for the day.
There will be days when we strike the mom goldmine. We bake cookies with the kids, play a family board game, and read a few books before bed after bath time. But there will also be others (many, in fact), where we don’t remember quite when the last bath time was. On those days we hand the four-year-old a string cheese, crackers, and carrots for dinner, and the closest contact we have with our family is a quick side hug while running out the door.
We just can’t take this life too seriously.
This is life. It’s reality and it’s messy and imperfect and loud, and did I mention messy?
And it’s beautiful and amazing and ugly and horrible and confusing and simple and complicated, all rolled into one.
After years and years of trying to find the right of center, I’ve decided that this year I am dumping all the gods of the world.
I have one God, my Abba, and His expectations of me are so gentle that they make me want to fly.
So, I made a few resolutions for my life, since this is one of those silly things we little humans do. Enjoy.
#1 I will embrace the good enough life – not striving for perfect or painless or problem-free…just good enough.
#2 I will accept and embrace my emotional, mental, and physical limits – saying no to the constant barrage of expectations and yes to the things that truly feed my soul and life.
#3 I will unfollow or delete all stifling or otherwise inadequacy-inducing voices from my life, namely those from social media or other impersonal channels that don’t know me or propel me forward in my faith walk.
#4 I will zero in on home and family and connection, ignoring everything that tells me that I am worth more if I’m working and that I’m doing females a disservice if I am “just a mom” – I’m over it.
#5 I will love my husband and continue to enjoy the fruits of a respect-centered existence with him, even though he is not the perfect husband or a perfect person…who is?
#6 I will care for my body and my mind and my heart with gentility and respect and kindness, taking captive any self-deprecating thoughts or words that might try to maneuver their way to the surface, because I am worthy of respect as I am made in the image of God, and HE SAYS SO!
#7 I will extend forgiveness, love, and empathy to myself and others when problems, inadequacies, mistakes, and complete fallacies occur – I know what it means to be an imperfect person in need of love, forgiveness, patience, and understanding, no matter how grievous the struggle or issue.
#8 I will focus on self-control rather than others’ control – it’s not my job to fix anyone else’s anything. It’s only my job to continue to welcome the work of the Spirit within myself to grow, learn, and mature over time. Everyone else is responsible for themselves. Period.
#9 I will respond with kindness to difficult people, even when they are mean and ugly and judgmental and unkind – rudeness just makes me the same as them.
#10 I will seek to build understanding relationships with others, whether or not I agree with them on everything – the point of life is not to create carbon-copy human-like robots, who all do everything the same and think the same, but rather to learn how to be different, yet considerate, and think separately, but with a rightfully humble perspective of our own understanding of this life.
I’m thinking this is enough to get me moving on a good year. Anything else will be simply icing on the cake.
Dump the little gods of this world…it’s okay.
Did you recognize some little gods of your own in the post? Wherever you have condemnation, there’s a little god at work. When your value and worth or identity are at risk, there is a lie twisting the truth to pressure you to take life too seriously.
Thankfully, our Abba is not anything like the world. His gentle hand is always working within us to help us to grow in His love and compassion, while also etching out the things that truly harm us.
It’s okay to stomp out the extra voices that access the mind and heart and preach a gospel of perfection and works, or selfishness and pride. Embrace wholeness in Him and be centered on the things that He promises will bring great and eternal rewards (like compassion, gentility, generosity, and love in Him).
It’s okay to disagree and have your own perspectives as you walk hand-in-hand with the Word of God, even if it upsets someone else around you. And it’s okay to say “no” to outside expectations and to live your own life, even if someone judges and criticizes and condemns you for it.
We are all just works in progress anyway.
The world will always promote its own laws for “right,” but we don’t need to be concerned about these little gods and their ways.
Trust God, follow Him, and live how He teaches you, one little step at a time. And, even if you make a mistake, He’s established the path for reconciliation.
Make life simple. Keep this world in its proper container. And, keep looking up for the path of eternal joy and Truth.