Wow I haven't blogged in like... ever... didn't quite have the muse.
But with it being a New Year and all, you put a lot of thought into New Year's resolutions and such, goals, failures, etc... you can't help but come up with SOMETHING to write.
I guess what hit me recently is how much our culture and media is teaching us that we are not good unless we produce more, do more, look better... etc. And I wonder how much of that I've been feeding into.
It hit me when I was watching "Eat, Pray, Love" with Julia Roberts and there was this scene where she is in Italy and her friend is telling her that she can't eat a pizza because she has a "muffin top", and Julia tells her that she's gonna eat the pizza because she's tired of all the calorie counting and self-loathing... yada yada...
And it was revolutionary for me that for the first time women aren't all about "hitting the gym", or "trying new diets" on TV but rather just ... enjoying food and enjoying life in this movie. It was like the FIRST time I had seen something like that!
Made me really think: Do I want to lose weight because it's what's best for me, or it would make me fit better into what everyone else thinks? Because the source of the motivation is the key! And will I spend this year eating a pizza and then punishing myself at the gym and hitting the shower with self-loathing, self-depreciation, because I can't fit into the same pair of pants I wore in High School... ? I don't know... I think I would rather go to the gym because I like to exercise, and I love the "me" time that being on a treadmill gives me, and its a good way to invest in myself a little bit....
See the difference?
So maybe I do decide to go on a diet and hit the gym. But I want it to be because I love myself, not because I hate myself. At the end of the day I have to sleep with myself and rise with myself and be accountable before God for no one but myself. It sounds self-centered but its a ringing reality.
And its not just with my self image that I'm thinking hard and deep about the sources of motivation... but also my friendships. I find myself bitter and sick of my friends and then I have to wonder why: Am I envious? Do I feel left out? Or is it the feeling that something should be wrong but isn't? Why would I want something to be wrong in the first place? It doesn't make me sound like a very good friend right now, but putting it all in the open, I have to evaluate every thought and motive.
Its hard for me to be a good friend because I'm much more comfortable with being a loner -which is why my friends are so few. I have found that a lot of friends either aren't good for me, or don't want to invest into a friendship with me as much as I would, so my true friends are few. And when it comes to friends, I've always found that guy friends are better friends than girls because I have very low tolerance for DRAMA. And whining. But I'm aware that sometimes DRAMA just comes and seeks you out, because life has challenges, and THAT'S when a friend needs you the most (right?)!
Kids... do I want to have the perfect kids so that everyone thinks I'm a perfect mom? Or do I want for them to be the best THEY can be with nothing but sincere good interests for them at heart? I've always said I DID NOT want to be the Mom who took every child's decision personally and believed that whatever the kids did was a reflection of whether she was a good Mom (or not)... but did I fall into that trap I was trying desperately to avoid?
Church... Do I go to church every Sunday because I have to or because I want to? Am I talking and acting differently at church than I do at home because I'm trying to look holier than I am? Do I serve at my church because I feel God has called me to or because I feel the expectation of doing so as all good Christians should? There is a beautiful division between my "church" life and my relationship with God. I've always felt that I can be completely honest with Him. He can handle my tears, my anger, my frustrations, and my questions. In the middle of my hissy-fits I know He still loves me and it won't diminish any more than my love for my kids would lessen when they throw a temper-tantrum. I read the Bible because it speaks life to me; it lightens my heart, gives me hope, and God has proven it true to me. But so much of my walk with God happens from Monday to Saturday when I'm NOT at church (rather at work, home, grocery store, etc...) that it begs me to ask these questions because my Sunday morning does not need to be any different than my Saturday night!
I could go on and on... Do you see what I'm saying, though?
Am I a good Mom when the house is all clean and the dishes are done and dinner is perfect right at 6pm? Am I still a good Mom when the house is a mess and I'm on the floor coloring pictures with my kids till 9pm and their dinner was oreos and milk while we were working on our artwork?
By whose standards am I proposing my New Year's Resolutions?
I guess my challenge to whoever reads this (even though you may not be a Mom, or a wife, or a little on the heavier side than when you were in High School) is to pray and search your heart for motives. Don't fall into the trap of the patterns of this world because they don't satisfy. Just when you lose 30 lbs they will tell you you need to be skinnier (believe me, I know!).
I guess I'm going to start my resolutions with asking God to help me love myself for all that He made me to be: Good, bad and ugly. I hate being in the kitchen, I just love to eat. I rather work with animals than with people. I'll probably never stop singing. I'm not an ideal housewife. I'm not religious. If I pray kneeling I fall asleep and go unconscious (in fact, in order for me to focus when I pray I have to pace around the room to keep my self from being distracted or falling asleep). Then from this point - the point of loving and accepting myself just as I am with no ifs, ands, or buts - I can work on setting goals and working towards the things that ultimately are better for ME. And I can be the best ME.