I had a plan. There was a time in my life that I was certain I knew what I wanted to do and what I was created to be.
When I was a little girl I dreamed of being a teacher. I came home every day & played school and taught my dolls, stuffed animals, and occasionally my little sister everything I had learned that day. My mom bought me a desk at a garage sale and a chalkboard and I set up a “classroom” in the basement. All I wanted to be when I grew up was a teacher.
As I grew older, I began dreaming of having a husband and children. I wanted to be crazy in love with a handsome guy & have 4 kids–2 girls and 2 boys (let us pause and marvel at how God was obviously listening to me!). I couldn’t wait to be a mother. Maybe I watched too many episodes of Donna Reed on Nick-at-Nite but I often fell asleep dreaming of wearing an apron, stirring big pots of food with wooden spoons, and the hungry tummies and smiling faces that would gather around my kitchen table. I couldn’t wait to have my very own family and just be his wife and their mom.
All those daydreams didn’t fully prepare me for how unglamorous Donna Reed’s life might be at times…. particularly the motherhood part. I feel compelled to inform those of you who may not already know that when it comes to motherhood, the risk is high, and (if I may be brutally honest) sometimes there’s very little reward. I’m constantly wondering if I’m doing enough—do I laugh enough, play enough, do we pray enough, read our Bibles enough, sing enough, dance enough, relax enough, kiss and hug each other enough? Do we make enough happy memories? Treasure enough moments?
And here’s the question that makes my fingers go numb with fear to type the words:
Am I good enough?
That may not seem scary to you, but it terrifies me. It sends my brain into irrational overdrive and I think thoughts like, “If I’m not good enough, I run the risk of failing these people that I treasure so miserably that they will certainly live the rest of their lives with an endless list of things to discuss about me that will surely keep a therapist employed for decades.” (Sometimes I think in run-on sentences. Bless my heart…and my brain.)
All of a sudden one Saturday evening, my brain goes silent because this amazing God-thing happens. When i’m really just thinking about being in church and not even trying to sort all of this mess out, a guest speaker drops this little gem from his sermon straight into my heart:
Almost as soon as those word leave his lips, they begin to ‘sink in’ to my sometimes-irrational brain. While this thing that i do everyday may not be a career, it most certainly IS a contribution. It’s not about whether I’m succeeding or failing; whether I’m enough or where I may be falling short. It’s not about my purpose in terms of my whole life. It’s only about doing what I was born to do today.
That simple, amazing truth focused the doubts and fears that have plagued my mind for the past 13 years in mere seconds. In the past couple of weeks, instead of asking myself all those scary questions I find myself asking not-so-scary ones like,
What am I meant to do in these 24 hours that will contribute the most to the lives of the 5 people who depend on me?
What can I contribute today to the lives of the friends, neighbors, and strangers around me?
What can I do for my Abba-Daddy today that would make Him smile and think ‘I’m so glad I made her!’?
I’ve decided to deliberately focus on being exactly who God created me to be in this moment, on this day. By choosing to stop obsessing over the irrational, I’ve been able to clear space for things like peace, contentment, gratitude, & joy to creep into my brain and wiggle their way into my heart and I find myself exhaling deep sighs from my soul that say, “In Him, I. Am. MORE. Than. Enough.”
Proverbs 16:9 says:
“We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps.”
How blessed I am that He listened as I told Him my plans, and then determined that all my steps would lead straight to our front door.