You know those light bulb moments in life? The ones that set you free from stuff you’ve believed for years and shouldn’t have? Or the ones that you should have realized a long time ago and didn’t? Those times you find yourself saying “Aha!” (or maybe “Duh!”). But afterwards, your heart is just. so. encouraged. Here are 5 little light bulb moments I’ve had recently, and the encouraging takeaways from them:
1. YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE GOOD AT EVERYTHING
A good friend recently gave me the book For the Love by Jen Hatmaker. She writes (and I’m paraphrasing) that one of the effects of social media is to show you the best side of everyone, all at the same time. Even though no single person possesses all of those skills, it feels like everyone is good at everything because all of that diverse talent is being paraded in front of you simultaneously through a news feed. And consequently, it feels like you should be as good at everything as it seems everyone else is.
Social media is dishing up a regular helping of unrealistic expectations, with a huge dish of disappointment for dessert.
This was an eye-opener for me. Of course! I can’t be good at everything. Even if it were possible, there wouldn’t be enough time in a day to physically execute all the things I was good at. It’s OK if I am awesome at arranging accessories on a mantle and totally stink at homeschool crafts and organic food shopping. It’s OK if I work to make my strengths even stronger and leave my weaknesses to someone who’s better at them. There is a lot of freedom in accepting this.
2. YOUR KIDS DON’T NEED THE BEST OF EVERYTHING
Did you know that Abraham Lincoln routinely walked 20 miles to borrow a book? Poor and with little access to formal schooling, he was determined to educate himself. You might not be able to hand your kid the world on a silver platter, but it turns out, he can still grow up just fine. He might even be a little better off because of it.
A big way this comes up in my circles is “lessons.” Karate, horseback riding, gymnastics, art, dance, piano...you get the idea. It feels like other kids are doing it all, and we barely have the money (or the energy) to choose just one. It panics me sometimes, you know? I needed a reminder that it’s going to be OK. Abraham Lincoln didn’t have a soccer team or a black belt and he became the President. And more importantly, a good man.
3. YOU HAVE A HOPE AND A FUTURE.
Did you read the article that Steph wrote a couple weeks back? That rocked my world. I had no idea I was regularly buying into that lie. My son just turned 9, so I’m at the half-way point with him. It’s amazing how quickly we turned the corner from little-kid problems to big-kid issues. I had begun to despair: “If he’s doing this at 9, what horrors will we witness when he’s 13?” Thank you, Steph, for telling me how ridiculous that logic is! I am now thankful for these things coming to light at an early age, so that we can teach, correct, love, and counsel now, and experience the fruit of it later.
4. PEACE IS FREE. AND IT’S IN YOUR PURSE SOMEWHERE.
Lots of “mom advice” starts and ends with “me-time.” I’d like to suggest that A) No one has time for that! and B) It’s usually expensive. The implication is always that we need a spa, a pedicure, a dinner with friends, or some other outing that starts with us needing a babysitter and ends with us buying something in pursuit of peace. Can I just release you from feeling like you have to check off “be balanced” on your to-do list?
You know what really feels good? Organizing. If you want to feel peaceful, organize something. One thing. Anything. A drawer, a closet, your pantry, your junk drawer, your purse, your KEY CHAIN...whatever one thing drives you nuts. Give some things away. Simplify. I’ve been doing this recently, and in seasons of life when you feel like the crazy could overtake you, trust me, organizing something is a free, quick, and decadent treat.
5. YOU LOOK GOOD IN CLOTHES.
The last time I went shopping (for work pants, shudder), I all of a sudden took note of my mental diatribe as I browsed the store. “No, you can’t wear that, no, those will make your rear end look huge, no, those will show off your cankles, no, only skinny girls can pull that off.” What?! Do I really talk to myself like that?
I literally did not look at the clothes for their style or color, or assess them based on if I actually liked them or not. I only looked at them through the lens of how they would look on me. And that made exactly zero items in the store acceptable for purchase. That’s not cool at all. First of all, it takes all the fun out of fashion. Secondly, there is no way anyone looks that bad in clothes. Have I ever seen a woman on the street (with the exception of terrible immodesty) and thought to myself, “Her rear end looks huge in those work pants?” No! News flash, I do not routinely assess other women’s butts.
I recently went to a conference that had very fashion-forward attendees, and I got some great counsel before arriving: If you ask any attendee what outfits they remember at the end of it, undoubtedly most will only remember their own.
Why does all fashion advice start with “Dressing for Your Body Type?” As if we’re going to offend the entire human race if we don’t get the flared-leg-to-birthing-hip ratio just right. Instead, try this exercise next time you’re at the store: Choose an outfit based on if you like it. Enjoy the fun of picking out pants, a top, a necklace, some shoes. Play with pulling a look together that you love. Make a ban on pencil skirts if you must, but worry first about how the clothes look, and second about how the clothes will look on your particular body. I’m telling you, it’s freeing! And the truth is, if it’s a great outfit, it will look great on you.
How about you? Any light bulb moments lately? It’s fun when the Lord allows these little lights to shine through and give us more freedom and more grace, isn’t it? He is so good.
*Facebook card by Detroit Card Co.