“How do you get past that feeling of never being enough when you are trying to juggle being a mom, working a full-time job, going to school, etc. It just feels like I’ll never be enough” That was the question one of the women asked me today after hearing me talk at an event for the Stella Oaks Foundation (named in honor of President Dallin H. Oaks’ mother), to help raise money for scholarships for single mothers. As I was giving her my answer it reminded me of a blog I’d written several years ago which reads:
Back when I was a single mom, trying to juggle being the CEO of my company while raising two little kids on my own, was probably the time I peaked at being my own worst critic. My problem was that I would compare myself to all the other stay-at-home moms who had impeccably clean houses and beautifully set tables with an actual home cooked meal for their family dinner…oh, and I can’t forget their perfect fresh flower centerpieces and their home-baked bread….ARGHHH…I could never compete with that! So I would walk around beating myself up that I was a horrible mom who didn’t bake her own bread and who served microwave mac and cheese to her kids for dinner with no centerpiece to speak of…
Forget the fact that I was working more than full-time growing a healthcare technology company who had to take care of two kids and manage a household on my own…that didn’t get to count for anything in my mind because all I could see was that I was a horrible person for not baking my own bread…
We all do that to ourselves in one way or another. We focus on what we DON’T do well rather than focusing on everything we DO do well and we blow the things we don’t do well WAY out of proportion. Why do we do it?? Heck if I know! But we do. And we have to stop. Seriously…we have to STOP!
What finally squashed the voice of that inner critic judging me all the time about how horrible I was, was this:
One night after a particularly brutal day I had come home and fallen apart crying alone in my room so my kids wouldn’t see me upset. I don’t know exactly why but instead of the mean voice I typically heard in my head I heard a nice voice saying “You will still get to go to heaven even if you buy your bread”. And I started to laugh. Then I was laughing and crying at the same time because I realized that was true. God will still let me go to heaven even if my house is a mess once in a while, and even if I feed my kids microwave mac and cheese sometimes, and even if I can’t fit into my skinny jeans anymore, and even if I have wrinkles, and even if I don’t have a fresh flowered centerpiece, and even if I serve dinner on a paper plate, and even if my kids outfits don’t match and their hair is a mess, and even if I fail in a business venture, and even if I don’t have a particular job title or a dime of money in my bank account, and God would definitely let me into heaven even if I buy my bread from a store!
So if God wasn’t going to hold those things against me then why the heck should I spend my time fretting over them??? If God doesn’t judge us for those things then why should we judge ourselves for them?!? I finally realized that I needed to stop stressing over the things that weren’t going to keep me out of heaven and just focus my attention on doing the things that would get me in. Like trying to be a good person, trying to develop my talents and serve others, and trying to be loving and kind. At the end of the day all God wants is for us to try our best to keep progressing a little bit more each day. He expects improvement, not perfection. And He is just fine with store bought bread
Focus on the things that matter. Forget the things that don’t. And know that you ARE enough!
~Amy Rees Anderson (author of the book “What Awesome Looks Like: How To Excel in Business & Life” )