It’s two days until due date. I took a nap on the sofa this afternoon. It turns out going to the loo several times a night and walking to Aldi to get some shopping is enough to make my body stop. I manage to do chores but all I want to do right now is go into hibernation for a little. However, I no longer sleep for more than 2-3 hours at a time so I think hibernation wouldn’t suit me. I know that when the baby comes I am going to have even less sleep and I will be more drained, but right now I just need to vent.
I’m having a day where I am wrestling with my thoughts. It’s so difficult. I am afraid writing about it on here will make me appear selfish and I will be scolded or judged for sharing, but this is what the blogumentary is about. Real life. Real thoughts.
My main thought today has centred on my achievements and the identity that comes from that. I have taken comfort from being successful academically throughout my education. I am by no means the smartest, but I did well at school, college and university. It was such a jubilant feeling to progress up the ladder of success. We are encouraged to be achievers from an early age – think about those ‘well done’ and ‘great job’ stickers in primary school!
Today, I reflected on what I have achieved and where I thought I would be at the end of my degree. I imagined I would be working for some NGO in London or overseas. I would be earning a graduate wage and watch that salary go up year on year. I might consider doing further study – I get a buzz out of studying! In a nutshell, I would be a career-savvy woman and nothing would get in my way! OK, so maybe I did need a dose of humility…
Life turned out differently from that, in an amazing way.
I met Joel, my husband and best friend whilst studying at university and we got married at the end of my final year. I graduated and we moved to a nearby city where I was hoping to secure a graduate job whilst Joel could continue in his role. Three years later, we have moved to a smaller town in Devon and are expecting our first baby. It has been a wonderful adventure so far and I am enjoying each day as a family.
Mentally, I have often wrestled with my identity as an achiever. There is a darker, inward feeling of discontentment in me which takes its toll from time to time. It rears its ugly head. I am left feeling less than, inadequate, a failure… things that I know do not come from the Lord.
That graduate job never came. I compared myself to my friends who were all able to secure good jobs. It was as if all of my effort had been flushed down the toilet. When Plymouth University phoned me to see where their graduates were six months later, I had to say that this ‘first class honours’ girl was out of work. I became a statistic that I never wanted to be.
I wrote about the struggle of being unemployed for 9 months which was one of the hardest times of my life, but it was a season where I learnt so much.
- My Poem of Prayer and Praise
- Lessons from the Wilderness
- A Curriculum Vitae with a Twist
- 2014 considered. 2015 embraced.
The feelings that I felt then came creeping back recently as I embark on trying to navigate the muddy waters of self-employment when writing is hard and I feel out of my depth. As I embrace becoming a mum, I know my thoughts will shift again and I will want to be the best that I can be for this precious life. Yet, I am worried that I will compare myself to other mum’s and feelings of inadequacy will plague me. It’s a real battlefield of the mind.
Thank goodness I can put on some armour to fight this battle in my mind! I often look at the armour and think it looks nice, but do not put the effort into putting it on!
‘Therefore put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Ephesians 6:13-17 New International Version)
I pray that I will fight against these feelings of inadequacy and stand firm knowing the truth that comes from the Lord.
My identity is not in my achievements. It is not in my mothering. It is not in being a wife. It is not in a career. It is not in the house I live in. It is not in the quality of the meals I cook. It is not in my writing.
My identity is in Christ. It’s not about what I do, but it’s about what Jesus has done for me on the cross. I am free. I walk in the victory of knowing that Jesus has triumphed over sin and death. I can be bold and confident knowing that I am never alone – His Spirit is at work!
‘…I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I find myself. I know both how to make do with little, and I know how to make do with a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content—whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need. I am able to do all things through him who strengthens me.’ (Philippians 4:11-13 Christian Standard Bible)
Revisiting the above blog posts, I am gently reminded that in every season of life I want to draw closer to God and these times of struggle are where I learn the most. I may not be achieving in the way that I used to. But I want to strive to achieve my utmost for His highest in all things that I do. It’s not about me. Every moment of my life is filled and fueled by His grace; it is the Lord who sustains me. I can do nothing apart from Him (John 15:5).
Will be posting at some stage when Baby Clemence enters the world… 😉 – if not before!