Occasionally when I read through one of the myriad of blog resources for mommies who want to educate their children, I have a battle inside my head. It starts out with an innocent thought. “What a great idea! That is one creative mother who took the time to make this lesson for her child.”And sometimes I can leave it at that, pin the idea to the appropriate Pinterest board, and go on with my day happy and inspired.
Then there are the other days. The days where I allow my thoughts to obsess over these crafty, intelligent women’s ideas and wonder, “Why am I the only mother on the planet who doesn’t think up these insanely creative activities for my child? My son is being deprived of a quality education because of my flaws.”
When my now two-year-old son was quite a bit younger, I kept trying to create extravagant crafts or purchase as many resources as I could get my hands on so he could properly learn his shapes, colors, and other essential subjects.
One day I got a reality check. It wasn’t when he could care less about my activities. It wasn’t when I realized that practically no one with a child my age linked up to the weekly link-up parties because it was just too advanced for the average kid that age. It was when I sat him down several months later, having long since given up in frustration, because I was obviously not teaching him right, to color with a box of broken crayons.
There was nothing special about those crayons. They were obviously tattered with all kinds of wounds from age and use, but my son found them to be wonderful learning tools. I started to ask him where the blue crayon was, and he would pick up a crayon in a vibrant shade of blue. We kept this game up for ten minutes, and he identified nearly every color I asked him to.
I felt a mixture of excitement and shame. Excitement because he had been listening to what I’d been teaching him, and he did it in his own time. And shame for my selfish, proud motives in faltering in my attempts to create so many lessons that weren’t what he needed. I saw what these other women were doing, and instead of allowing them to inspire me, I allowed their labors of love for their children to become a source of jealousy in my heart. I wanted to be like them. I wanted my child to learn like their children. But I was not them, and my son was not their child.
This is one of the ways I’ve felt painfully average as a mother – exceptionally ordinary in a world of talented women. So dull that instead of blending in, I must be sticking out as sub-par. I share this intensely personal confession because I don’t believe that I’m the only soul to ever have struggled with these feelings. You may not have felt it in the same area that I have, but there are so many other ways we can make ourselves feel like we’re not measuring up.
The problem is, we’re trying to measure up to the incorrect standard. God has equipped each of us with a special skill set and personality. Trying to pose as something other than who we really are is only going to cause sinful thoughts and mediocre performance in our lives. It’s just not worth it! I promise.
How, then, do we get our focus on the right track and get over being miserable?
1. Start by being honest with God and repenting of the ways you’ve allowed sin to creep in.
2. Then plaster this verse everywhere you’ll be looking throughout the day, memorize it, and meditate on its revolutionary power.
Philippians 4:8, “…whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
3. Apply the above verse to your situation. Focus on the facts, not the lies that your over-analyzing has convinced you are true. If you’re looking only at things that are honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, and excellent, then you can’t bring self-promoting, unfair, tainted, hateful, shady, or evil thoughts or actions into the picture.
What I’ve had to do in the instance I shared with you is just stop looking at the blogs that bring on these feelings for a while. I need to get my focus back, and although these women have done nothing wrong with sharing their ideas, I want to be able to look at them with a pure heart that truly appreciates what they’ve done. I must remove myself from the source of my temptation and concentrate on God’s plan for my life.
4. Pray! Pray for strength to keep the right perspective. Pray for the women that make you feel inferior. Pray for the people you are hurting with your jealousy or insecurity. Pray for yourself, that you’ll seek out and accept what God has called you to do in this particular area.
5. Move on. It won’t happen instantly. Come on, we’re girls. It’s natural for us to want to hold onto it for much longer than we should, but we must fight through it and determine to be different on the other side. Be prepared because the feelings will come back. Satan knows your weaknesses, and he’s going to try to trip you up again. It seems to me that I have to fight through the same battles all the time. It’s not that I didn’t learn the first time; it’s just that I get comfortable with things and drop my guard. Don’t be discouraged when you’re tempted again. Jesus gave us a promise.
“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man.God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” ~1 Corinthians 10:13
My prayers are with you as you fight through whatever makes you feel exceptionally average in a painful way. Fight past it. You’ve got the Power.