This post is for me. It might be for you too. I will be glad if it is because I won’t feel so lonely.
Over the last few weeks (actually months) I’ve been fighting some feelings. Feelings which creep up on me unawares. Sometimes they are the first thing I think about. At other times they grab hold of my heart as I put another load of washing on and sigh at the never ending job of ‘being tidy’. Occasionally the feelings scream in my face like a drill sergeant, regularly (and most often) they are a quiet whispering, Voldemort style, my own form of Parseltongue which grips my gut and squeezes until anxiety builds and I feel myself succumbing to their message.
What are you doing with your life? What are you contributing? Why are you here?
You are not enough.
Recently, I sat around a table with a group of women who I have known since I was 19 (I’m loathe to admit that was 16 years ago). There is nothing better than sharing food and stories with people who make your soul soar. We are quite a random group of women really. Thrown together by the accommodation officer of York University, we have grown up together. We all have different roles we play. The joker, the carer, the sensible one, the cool one, the straight-talker and the little poppet (no title can confine her). Our ‘jobs’ vary from homemaker to humanitarian warrior. Being with this group is familiar. Like coming home. But it is also hard to come home when we feel uncertain of ourselves. When we don’t know what ‘role’ we fulfil. When we just don’t know how to communicate a heart full of confusion.
Something in our conversations though kept coming up. How we are perceived by others, how we are seen, has an impact on us. How we see ourselves has an impact on us.
Who am I? What am I doing with my life? Am I enough?
As is often the way with my group of friends, I ended up snuggled in bed with the little poppet. We are pretty good bed fellows. We chat for just about long enough before she lets me go to sleep. We are a well-oiled machine, we get just enough duvet each, I find her little snuffly sounds endearing and we both are reluctant to get up early. As we chatted, it felt such a relief to tell someone, I’m a bit unsure of myself at the moment. I’m finding life a bit hard. She understood. She got it. Maybe as thirtysomethings this is what we all go through at some point?
So, I want to tell myself and anyone else who needs to hear this something. To draw on what I already know. The Bible and Brené Brown.
You are enough.
You are smart enough, thin enough, good enough, woman enough, worth enough no matter what you do.
You don’t need to be any more or less than you are. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. You. Just you.
Not when you’re rich enough, employed enough, fertile enough, quiet enough, loud enough, interesting enough, smart enough, popular enough, impressive enough.
We are not defined by how much we get done. How much money we make. How many blog posts we write. How beautiful a home we keep. How many followers we have. How many likes we get. How many children we bring into the world. How much sex we have. How other people view us. How the world tells us to behave or feel. How we attractive we are. How busy our diary is.
Your worth is not quantifiable other than by this:
‘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.’ Romans 8:37-39
Listen up, Sheila, you don’t need to earn God’s approval or anyone else’s for that matter. You are wearing yourself out trying to prove your worth. Stop. Breathe. Be kind to yourself. Speak gently to yourself. Then just be you. No one else will do. You fit the job description perfectly. You are the perfectly imperfect, fearfully and wonderfully made you. Right now you’re struggling. That’s ok. You will get through this. Don’t feel you need to pretend you’re sorted. Cry. Release what is pent up and let it wash away. Hold on to what you know. You are loved beyond measure as you are. You do not need to do any more or any less. Be you. Be loved. You are enough.