I've been setting monthly goals to read at least one book, and this month, I was able to read two. This accomplish feels huge- let me tell you.
I'll touch on the first book I read in Friday's goals post, because the second book I read deserves an entire post all to itself.
For the Love by Jen Hatmaker was SUCH a good read.
As women, we unfortunately have this natural tendency to compare ourselves to others and feel like we are not measuring up in some way or another.
In her book, Jen banishes the idea that the perfect mom, wife, student, business exec (fill in the blank here) exists and encourages us crazy women to figure out what our passions are and do them WELL. And forget about the rest.
"We need to quit trying to be awesome and instead be wise" -pg. 7
She also talked about how each season of life brings new demands and how we sometimes need to shift the expectations we place on ourselves to match the season we are in. We can't do it all, have it all, and be it all all the time.
"Operate in the right now. What does this season require of you? Unsure? Ask God." -pg. 7
She also touched on an area that I feel like women especially (myself included) struggle with- and that is minimizing our strengths in the face of compliments.
It's funny because I've never thought that when I compliment someone and they just say, "thank you" that they are being arrogant. That would be ridiculous! Yet I often find myself deflecting words that other people say toward me to minimize what they are saying. Why do we do this?! Are we trying to be humble? Does the attention just feel uncomfortable?
Whatever the reason, Jen (we're friends now in my head, so I'll just call her Jen) lovingly slams this response and made me realize a thing or two about what I am projecting when I handle compliments or praise in this way:
"I don't like when people minimize their gifts. There is a difference between humility and insecurity, and self-effacement does no one any favors. We teach our watching children to doubt and excuse and diminish themselves. (whoa) Do we want our kids to reflect on their mothers and have absolutely no idea what we loved? What we were good at? What got our pulses racing and minds spinning? Don't we want them to see us doing what we do best? ....There are no throwaway qualities. In fact, those qualities might point you in just the right direction. Nothing is wasted: not a characteristic, preference, experience, tragedy, quirk, nothing. It is all you and it is all purposed and it can all be used for great and glorious good." pg. 31-32
I need to embrace and appreciate and just say, "thank you" when people compliment me. And more than that, I need to think about the things I am good at and do enjoy and focus on doing them well.
She had this one section where she talked about adding things to her plate that she loved and knew she could do well, and taking things off (or just plain saying "no") to things that didn't fall into these categories.
I laughed when she talked about throwing her kids birthday parties and how this did not fall into her wheelhouse of gifts so she didn't put her energy there- off her plate.
But she loved cooking and preparing healthy, tasty meals for her family and made a point to do this well- on her plate.
In this age of social media, comparison has reached an all-new high. And it is insane. When our parents were raising us, they had no idea what so-in-so's mother was doing for her birthday party unless they were besties and discussed all of the pre-party details.
Matt says all of the time that social media is the highlight real of a person's life, but since that's all we tend to see, we think that that's all there is and we measure ourselves up to this unattainable (and unrealistic) goal.
So during this season of motherhood that I am currently in, I want to really focus on what matters most. I want to ask God to show me what I am best at, and how he wants to use those qualities to help lead my family and be a good friend to others. And to just say thank you and be quiet when people say, "Good job."
A few more thoughts from this book before I end this post and you go buy your own copy to enjoy:
On raising school-age kids and letting them fail:
"Any child who expects every authority figure and system to be geared toward his happiness is in for a shock. ....We should not cushion every blow. This is life. Learning to deal with struggle and develop responsibility is crucial. A good parent prepares the child for the path, not the path for the child. ....They don't need every advantage skewed their way and every discomfort fluffed with pillows. ....Let's not engineer our entire lives around their entertainment and manufactured success. If our kids only expect blessings and exemptions, they will be terrible grown-ups. These are not the adults we want to launch, nor are they the Snowflakes we want our kids to marry. ....We can still demonstrate gentle and attached parenting without raising children who melt on a warm day." pg. 66-67
On giving our kids Jesus:
"The best parents can have children who self-destruct, and the worst parents can have kids who thrive. The best we can do is give them Jesus. Not rules, not behaviors, not entertainment, not shame. ...Jesus is the only thing that will endure. He trumps parenting techniques, church culture, tight boundaries, and best-laid plans. Jesus can lead our children long after they've left our homes." -pg. 93
You guys, this is not even remotely covering all of the take-aways I learned and ah-ha moments I experienced while reading this book.
Even if reading is not your thing and one of those areas you have taken off of your plate for now ;) buy this book anyway and read just a little bit at a time. I guarantee you will be thankful you did!
You can purchase your copy here.
To read my other book reviews, click here.
And there's still time to enter the Amazon gift card giveaway! Winner will be announced Friday morning. Enter here.