When I wake up most mornings, the birds are chirping, the sun is shining, and I could pretty much sing ‘Supercalifragalisticexpialidotious' after opening my eyes.
So because I'm the morning person in our family, I've been the primary parent to get up first with our son Moses, making sure he's had breakfast in front of him. And for the majority of those mornings (up until earlier this year)…..as I've pour him yet another bowl of cereal from a box….I've simultaneously poured a bucket of inadequacy over my head—burning a bigger hole in my heart called shame.
“Christa, your mom would never have just fixed cereal! She got up an hour early to make sure you had breakfast FROM SCRATCH. You SHOULD be more like her, making your family coffeecake, homemade biscuits, eggs, fresh fruit, juicing, or making smoothies like you had as a child!
Christa, you SHOULD be more like a picture off of Pinterest!
Christa, you SHOULD be making sure your family is getting better nutrition!
Christa, you SHOULD be more like Danielle, the ‘Against All Grain' mom on Instagram!
Christa, you SHOULD BE MORE THAN YOU ARE! Because YOU ARE NOT ENOUGH!”
(Want to crawl into a hole, quit….OR….move into denial to cope….OR….try to make up for the inadequacy by overachieving in other areas).
Now you have to understand, none of these thoughts have ever been conscious. In fact, almost every one of them grew from my subconscious mind. So how do I know that they're there?
Because I've FELT them down in my bones. I've FELT like I'm not enough as a mother. As a friend. As a speaker. As a musician. As a daughter. As a wife. As a Christian.
And when you feel like you're not enough, you're going to act like it……
Once again….that's just not okay.
I'm a bit perplexed from my last few blog posts. Every since I have been targeting the monster of inadequacy and shame in the last few weeks, I've had more readers than usual…but I've also had less ‘shares' on Facebook and Twitter. It's almost as if readers are coming back because it's striking a nerve, but they're too ashamed to let anyone know that their nerves were struck.
Which is fine. It takes a lifetime to build up belief systems of shame, and probably more than a few blog posts to tear them down.
But I like that you're all reading….even if you're not sharing, agreeing, or commenting. It proves that you're curious for more of this truth.
So, here's more truth to chip away at the inadequate walls around the heart.
A while back as I poured Moses his usual bowl of cereal, trying to justify my inadequate feelings with, “Well, at least it's organic cereal with organic almond milk,” I heard the Spirit speak to my heart.
“Christa,” He said kindly. “You're the best mom in the whole universe for Moses, which is why I picked you. I love to watch you mother your son, and I'm so so proud of you. YOU. ARE. MORE. THAN. ENOUGH.”
Now you have to understand, He said this to me during a particularly hard week. On paper, I'd been sick and in bed, lost my cool more than usual, and had been away from Moses enough to feel like a ‘bad mom.' I'd resorted to feeding him a diet of cereal, frozen goods, breads and cheeses, and definitely felt like I hadn't measured up.
And yet, God still thought I was more than enough.
The thing about my Father is….He calls thing that aren't as if they are (Romans 4:17). He tells me what HIS TRUTH is over my life, instead of what might be TRUE about my current situation.
As the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart about how amazing I am, tears begin to brim as a lump rose up in my throat.
Could I really be more more than enough, even now, as I'm pouring Moses cereal in a robe….instead of pulling homemade, gluten free, hot muffins out of the oven with an apron on? Could I really be more than enough, right now, even though I've been short with him this week? Could I really be more than enough in my marriage when I've been nitpicking my husband Luke lately? Could I really be more than enough as a woman in ministry when I feel like I do so little?
Could I really be more than enough when I know I'm capable of being so much more?
Years ago, my mom told me to stop SHOULDING on myself, which is a characteristic of the women in our family line. I laughed at the play on words, immediately understanding the concept in my head to apply it in many areas of my life to see amazing results. I stopped SHOULDING on myself with body image, and my body changed, I thinned down naturally, and my eating disorder went away. I stopped SHOULDING on myself with all my achievements, wrote a book about how to get free, and speaking invites started coming in from all over the world. But though I've stopped SHOULDING on myself in many areas, I still haven't yet cleansed my entire inner world of the nasty word.
But this is most definitely the goal.
My heart decided to stage a coup years ago, overthrowing the cruel tyrant of shame. And as I'm dethroning shame from my life, I'm also kicking out the destructive word ‘SHOULD' from my vocabulary. And here's why:
SHOULD=I AM WRONG
SHOULD=I AM NOT ENOUGH
SHOULD=I AM LACKING
The word ‘should' always starts with LACK—but I'm never in LACK with the God of ABUNDANCE living inside of me, filling me with all that I need. (2 Cor 9:8)
The word ‘should' always begins with what's WRONG—but everything I will ever do WRONG has been made RIGHT in Christ. (2 Cor 5:21)
The word ‘should' always begins with what I am NOT—but all I'm NOT has been supercharged with a supernatural God, making me MORE THAN ENOUGH. (Phil 4:13)
What if we all decided to throw the damaging word ‘should' out of our lives, and instead, replace it with the powerfully healing word, ‘COULD?‘
COULD=I HAVE A CHOICE
COULD=I AM ABLE
The past few months, I've been really going after my ‘shoulds' and changing them to ‘coulds.' I'm determined to stop SHOULDING on myself. And let me tell you, the word COULD has turned my shameful world upside down. COULD takes off all the pressure. COULD makes me feel hopeful. COULD gives me endless possibility.
I woke up several weeks ago feeling sick, exhausted from being up with a newborn all night, and reached for the usual cereal box.
“I COULD make Moses eggs and bacon this morning. But do I really want to feeling this exhausted—and does he even care?” After checking with Moses, he wants cereal. GREAT. No shame!
“I COULD spend more time preparing food this morning, or I COULD curl up with Moses and cuddle before school?” After checking with Moses, he wants a cuddle. GREAT. No shame!
“I COULD spend time in the kitchen this morning, or I COULD just walk down to my favorite juice bar and take Moses on a breakfast date!” After checking with Moses, he wants a date. GREAT. No shame!
The more I started listening to the ‘shoulds' of my heart the more I realized….there were all sorts of things that I felt guilty about THAT DIDN'T EVEN MATTER. I was living under a pile of comparison, measuring myself up to other people, to Instagram accounts, to societal standards, to strangers.
Here's a few other SHOULDS that I've let go over the years:
“I SHOULD play the violin because I'm good at it.” Do I want to play the violin? Nope. Why do I feel like I should? Because I'm ashamed that I'm wasting my gift and training. Yeah, that's not a good enough reason–that's motivated by shame. I COULD…but I still don't want to. And the world will still keep spinning without me playing a concerto every day.
“I SHOULD spend time with God.” Do I want to spend time with God? Of course! So what if I changed the sentence to….”I COULD spend time with God.” Immediately, it takes the shameful obligation out of it, empowering me with a choice, and because my heart has already chosen ‘yes,' it's EASY to run into intimacy!
“I SHOULDN'T eat that piece of cake.” Do I want to eat that cake? YES. But what if I change the sentence to….”I COULD eat that piece of cake.” Suddenly, I have a choice—instead of feeling powerless. I COULD eat it, but that sugar is going to make me feel bad, and I love fitting into my jeans. (BTW, many times I answer this question as a YES. And because I CHOOSE it, there's no shame!).
Ever since I started replacing my SHOULDS with COULDS a miracle has happened.
I've been more productive than I've ever been in my life.
I've cooked more, laughed more, connected more, spent more time with Jesus, with my family, lost more weight, been healthier, been more successful, more fulfilled….
Because I can.
When you have a choice, it's much easier to make the right one.
So let me ask you a question…..
Are you shoulding on yourself? And if so, could you throw that word out forever?
Write your thoughts below. (: