I treat my mind and heart worse than I treat my enemies. I say things to myself that I would never, ever consider saying to anyone else, because they are so very unkind.
And here are my two current lies I’m telling myself:
One, I am lazy. I have wrestled with this one for most of my adult life. Even though I worked every summer during high school and college. Even though I raised (and am still raising) two children, now on my own. Even though I have taken care of a home for the past twenty-one years. Even though I have written a half dozen books and several e-books. Even though I worked on staff at my church for four years over women’s ministry and small groups and communications and first impressions and such. Even though I’ve built a speaking career and have spoken over one hundred and seventy-five times. Even though all that, I consider myself to not be hard-working…to be lazy. And it’s because of this one reason: because of voices (some internal, some external) that make me feel like since I do not drive to an office and clock in at 9am and clock out at 5pm and then drive home, because at this current sweet season, I am designing my life around how God has wired me and doing what I feel he wants me to do and has gifted me to do, that I am actually not really working at all.
But here’s the truth that I have to remind myself…
I may not clock in and clock out in some random office, but I – especially lately – never clock out mentally. I even dreamt recently that I was trying to help a woman in a hard marriage. It is always on my radar. I am always thinking about the women in my Facebook groups or my blog readers. I am aware at all times that there’s so much more work to do, that I have barely scratched the surface of helping hurting women feel not so alone and crazy, or elevating the beauty of Christian marriage, or shaking the Church by the collective shoulders over domestic abuse or what-have-you.
And I may not clock in and clock out in some random office, but I have cranked out more content in the past six months than I did in the past five years combined.
And I may not clock in and clock out in some random office, but I am doing meaningful work, important work, and every day, I hear from at least one woman that what I do is helping her.
So, I am not lazy.
And two, I am not resilient. I am fragile, weak, unable to handle what life throws at me. I was pretty upset with myself recently for two things. How long it took me to bounce back from the ending of my friendship with the good man and that after the crazy online dating incident, how I pulled my profile down that night and pretty much recoiled, telling a friend the next morning, “I’m out of the game, man.” I’ve been kicking myself for not just doing what I heard Carrie Underwood say she used to do after a break-up…how she’d take a day to be sad and then she’d move on to go be awesome. Ha! O-kay. Yeah. I really pretty much don’t do my life that way.
But here’s the truth that I have to remind myself…
I have been through hell over the past twenty years in several areas of my life, and not only did I make it through, I am way stronger than I have ever been — even in a sad season, even in a desert season, no matter how I’m feeling — I am stronger than I give myself credit for being.
And not only that, I think there’s a reason it might take me a bit longer than the average guy to bounce back. Because God wired me up to use my pain to help others. So if I’m going to commit my life to that — and I have — then I want and need to make sure I have fully processed and learned and decathected the whole thing from top to bottom so I can wring it dry and pass along both the lessons and the comfort I’ve received. If I were sad after a hard thing for just one day, most of this blog and Unraveling wouldn’t have been written.
The time I take to walk through something hard or sad is not a sign of weakness; it’s a sign of depth and sensitivity. And it’s how God created me. And I am grateful. I am grateful to be introspective and melancholy and have something to offer other women in pain. If it means I have to sit in the pain a little bit longer than the average guy so I can eventually help someone else, I’ll willingly do it every single time.
So, I am resilient, even if it doesn’t look like it to the outside world.
Everyone knows the power of words and we try hard, for the most part, to speak kindly to others. But we need to do the same for ourselves.
What lies have you been telling yourself lately that you need to refute with Truth?
If this post encouraged you, you would benefit from “Unraveling: Hanging onto Faith through the End of a Christian Marriage”, found here or “Living through Divorce as a Christian Woman”, found here.
AMEN!! and AMEN!! I think this is a common struggle – especially when we are called to help others.
I cannot tell you how much your words resonate with me, Elisabeth. We may not share the same past but it seems we share (for the most part) the same struggles. I really appreciate your blog. I, too, am melancholic and very introspective. Both of these two lies I’ve told myself and continue to do so, sometimes consciously other times unconsciously. There are days it seems like I’ll never get out of the pit, but I find my rest in His Faithfulness.
You are definitely stronger, hard-working than you think, Elisabeth. You are a fighter. In spite of everything you’ve been through, you still hold on to life, look for a way out of the darkness and inspire women to do so as well. Thank you for still being here and allowing God to use you.
I’m a Mary that has struggled to be more of a Martha for my entire adult life. If I had valued myself more when I was much younger, if I’d added the university degrees rather than trust my husband’s promises that the time for my education would come ‘soon’, then I think I’d struggle less with taking time to write, think, research, and help others. My helping could have had an ‘official’ title, and received a paycheck at least part of the time.
I value both Martha and Mary, and the skills I’ve gained to bring efficiency and balance to my life.
Both of the lies about laziness and weakness are not necessarily what I’ve believed about myself innately, but I’ve surely also felt what you described. Even as a small child, I knew the books I was reading had great value, but I was bombarded with comments to get my head out of the book and ‘do’ something. I think it was more that there was a lack of recognition and respect for what my strengths and gifts were, and my need to feel valued and respected caused me to doubt.
There are kindred spirits who would rather sit and discuss, contemplate, meditate, absorb, process, and discuss again with you. There are others who would rather feel, understand, and share the nuances of life, and find it more satisfying and fulfilling than a long list of ‘to do’s’ checked off.
That all said, I’ve surely learned to also enjoy a clean, orderly living environment and cooking skills. It was worth it, but in the Hundred Acre Woods of Life, I’ll never be a Rabbit.
Yes! Melancholic, sensitive and deep people unite! I would much rather feel everything, than to feel nothing. You go girl! Jesus made you exactly how He wanted for this purpose, time and season. We were not made to be anyone else except ourselves, flawed and all. 🙂