To The Woman I Wish I Was…

 

There is this version of wife and mother and friend and young professional that I wish I was.

And then there is this version that I am.

How about you?

Sometimes the woman I wish I was stares through the mirror at the woman I am.  She doesn’t scorn me, and I don’t resent her. We make eye contact across strange planes of existence, but we never really meet.

We’re not in opposition to one other, we’re not enemies or competitors… we’re not even really aware of one another most of the time.

Most of the time, I really like the woman I wish I was. I aspire to be more like her. She motivates me.  Encourages me. Shows me what could be.

But the woman I wish I was doesn’t live in reality. And therein lies the problem.

Am I getting too ethereal here?

Put simply, there are things that I wish were true about me that just… aren’t.

Not yet, at least.

Sometimes I am discouraged that I’m so unlike that woman I wish I was, and sometimes I’m excited and inspired by the possibilities waiting for her!

(a lot of that probably depends on how well I slept last night – ha!)

Who do you wish you were? What is your relationship with that version of yourself that looks through the mirror at you?

Who is this woman I want to be?

*warning – this list is ridiculous.*

She is kind and generous at all times.

She loves the people in her life without limits – as Christ loves her.

She is constantly learning about any and every subject that interests her, benefits her family, or enriches her life.

She spends time in Scripture and prayer so the life she lives is fuelled by an eternal source of wisdom, love and hope – Jesus Christ.

Words of wisdom are on the tip of her tongue when having meaningful conversations with her husband, family and friends.

She works hard and with excellence at whatever she puts her mind to.

She serves her family fresh whole foods, and cooks will all organic ingredients.

She makes sure everything she purchases has been produced ethically, and that no one has been harmed in the process.

She uses products in her home that are safe for her family, cleaning and caring for her home with toxin-free soaps and cleaners.

She only applies makeup and lotions that claim no animal cruelty and are free from cancer-causing chemicals.

Her home is always clean and orderly, ready to welcome guests into a calm oasis at a moment’s notice.

She never frets about housework, it always manages to finish itself.

She sings angel-like lullabies to her babies as they drift off to sleep.

She has all the time in the world for child’s play.

After writing that, I literally laughed out loud.  That woman is perfect. That woman doesn’t exist.

Somedays, 2 or 3 of those things might be true.  On really good days, 3 or 4 of those things might be true. But let’s be honest, I’m NEVER going to sing angel-like lullabies in this life.

But the reality is, somewhere between what’s real and what’s wished for, I see that woman I wish I was and I know we’ll never really meet. Not in this life, anyway.

Until then – what do we do with that version of ourselves that we wish we were?

Begin with grace.

Writing this post comes on the heels of my most recent counselling appointment. (We’re huge fans of counselling, here’s why. Finding a good counsellor can be a life-changer.)

What was it about?  Turns out my most recent struggles have been rooted in perfectionism.

Oops.

That probably has something to do with where The Woman I Wish I Was comes from.

Unchecked perfectionism has negative impacts on daily life. It creates tension and frustration that wouldn’t exist otherwise.

Finding our worth in what we perfect and accomplish is even worse.

You might not be a perfectionist.  Or maybe you are.  But the person you wish you were does come from somewhere. Do you know where?

Your life and my life is not about how much we achieve, the value of our living room furniture, or how clean our floors are.  It’s not even about how well our kids behave in public or how much we can give of our time and money.

We aren’t perfect and we don’t have to be perfect.

In fact, we are inescapably imperfect.

It’s really a beautiful thing that the human heart longs for perfection… not necessarily shallow surface-level perfection, but life-giving, whole-making, soul-quenching perfection.

I think that’s a reflection of our Perfecter’s fingerprints on us.  We need Him.

And since we aren’t God, we aren’t the Perfecter.

And our Perfecter gives us grace.  Undeserved kindness.  Because He knows we need it.  (2 Corinthians 12:8-9, Ephesians 2: 8-9)

So What Do We Do?

  1. Surrender and turn.

    Am I to quit trying to be a good wife, friend and mother?  No.

    But I need to recognize who I am, and who I’m not.

    I am not God.

    I am a person. Created and loved by God, but not God.

    My value is not in what I perfect, but in who I belong to – God. And I need Him.

    You do too, right?

    Take a minute to tell God that.

  2. Renew my mind.

    I need to renew the way I think.

    We develop thinking patterns that become second nature and sometimes those patterns lead us down dark paths.

    Do I want to be angry when I’m cleaning up dishes after a full day of juggling work, meals, and a toddler when the milk jug slips off the edge of the counter and empties into a white puddle on the floor?

    Absolutely not.

    But my natural, knee-jerk reaction happens. My subconscious thinking triggers an emotional “ugh – Sarah you should’ve seen that coming!  How could you let that happen?!

    Reality: I can’t see every accident that’s coming.  I’m not a failure when something doesn’t go right.

    Renewing my mind is a process.

    And it’s a process for each of us.  Your thinking patterns might be different from mine, and the ways you need to renew your mind might be different than mine.

    This isn’t a diagnosis, but an encouragement.  You are valuable.  You are worth renewing.

    If that’s something you want too, go see a counsellor you trust to help you get to the root of your challenges.  Need one?  We shared a few here!

    And if you want it, this month I am reflecting on these verses given to me by my counsellor.  Download them for yourself, too!

 

So, does this mean I need to stop trying to be the best woman I can be? No.

But the fact is that today – I am not the woman I wish I was.

And that’s ok!

What about you? What’s your relationship with the version of yourself you wish you were?

Sarah

Sarah according to Justin – brings a kindness, compassion and empathy to every conversation she finds herself in. She has a remarkable gift for reaching out and leaving others better than when she met them. She’s also a devoted, patient, and loving wife and mother with a passion for seeing God’s love realized in this world.

What do you think?

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