There was a chance, a small, tiny, slim chance that I might be pregnant. And I hoped it was true.
There was part of me that had the best of intentions. I really did want a sibling for our daughter and for our family to grow. But that particular day, my desire was more selfish than that. And even though I knew my motives weren’t all good, I couldn’t deny that they were there.
I wanted to be pregnant so that I could prove I had a right to be so tired and empty.
I wanted to be pregnant so that I felt like it was “more okay” to be a stay-at-home mom. Two kids felt better than one in this proving game.
I wanted to be pregnant so that I had a card to pull that said, “Okay, this girl deserves to feel this tired because she’s handling all this ON TOP OF being pregnant.”
But then a few days passed and it was clear that I wasn’t pregnant after all.
I was disappointed to lack my much-desired proof.
I was disappointed to be one of those normal people who get tired from emotional stress and a long season of Hard.
I was disappointed that I was weaker and needier than I wanted to be.
I was disappointed to be human.
In those disappointed moments, I spoke to my soul and felt the Holy Spirit there too.
What if I offered myself the grace of being me in this season?
That I didn’t have to prove anything to anybody.
That it was okay to rest, just because I needed it.
That it was okay to be weak, if this is what being weak looked like.
That it was okay to be normal if it meant needing to rest.
That it was okay to be human.
I recently read Shauna Niequist’s new book, Present Over Perfect. As she shared honestly about her own tired, I couldn’t help but say, “me too.”
I want to make a case for why I’m so tired. I want to run you through the list, partially because I want you to feel it, to feel as tired and glazed and undone as I feel. But also because I don’t want you to think I’m weak. Not just any little thing could make me this tired. Not just a baby or something. Not just a book. I’m not one of those normal people who just gets tired sometimes. I’m so strong and full of energy. I’m so extra-capable and phenomenally tough…
There has to be another way. And I’m going to find it. I’m going to make the space to taste my life once again. I’m going to find a new way of living that allows for rest, as much rest as I need, not just enough to get through without tears, but enough to feel alive and whole, grounded and gracious. Things I haven’t been in years.
I want to be the friend who can meet you halfway. Or can meet you the whole way if you’re not doing well. I want to be the girl who can help you out if you need it. I want to be the person you can count on to be there when you need something.
But this year I found out that, despite my best intentions, I can’t always do that without it costing too much. This year, I was the friend who needed someone to meet me the whole way, because I wasn’t doing well. It was hard to ask for it. It was even harder to realize that I couldn’t make up the difference if a friend was also not doing well and couldn’t make up my difference.
In the midst of these unpleasant discoveries, I think the Lord is teaching me that I don’t need what others would consider to be a “legitimate” reason to be tired. I don’t have anything to prove. I don’t have to be understood by others to be honest about where I find myself today.
This is so hard for me.
I want to be understood.
I want to be strong.
I want to be counted on.
I want to be helpful.
I want to be tough.
But the truth is that I’m human.
And part of being human is needing rest and breaks and naps.
I’m not a machine. I’m not meant to run endlessly.
I’m not meant to be able to meet every need or do everything, even if it seemed possible in a different season.
I think the Lord is asking me to be brave enough to be fully honest.
He’s asking me to be honest about where I find myself today.
Sometimes I get so focused on where I thought I’d be or what I was like in a previous season that I end up putting more and more pressure on myself to prove I can do it. And when I can’t, I want some “legit reason” like pregnancy or some crisis to prove that it is okay to need a break or to not do it all.
But the truth is that weakness is part of being human. And as much as my own heart hates it, I am finding that the Lord celebrates it.
He celebrates it because those are the people he can use.
He celebrates it because those people leave space for him.
He celebrates it because those are the people who show up with their hands open for him to do his finest work.
Friends, this season has certainly felt like one of my weakest and hardest to date. But I know those things do not dictate my worth or success.
He tells my heart not to be worried, because he is strong enough for both of us.
I don’t have to be pregnant or in crisis or anything else to deserve a rest.
I don’t have to be understood by anyone else to know I need to slow down.
And I think being brave means fighting to believe the truth that this is enough.
This book is for anyone who is tired and empty, anyone who has “fake-rested” while others were really resting, anyone who hates disappointing people, anyone who has ignored their body and/or spirit, anyone who feels like they have to earn or prove they deserve to rest. This book was for me (and I’m pretty sure I’ve been/am all of those “anyones”) and echoes much of my own heart in this season. Shauna shares lessons that have been fought for, as she gives glimpses of her own soul on this journey of giving up perfection to be present.
I’ve loved all of her books, so it feels hard to pick a favorite. I tease my three brothers that they each have moments being my favorites, because the truth is I love them all equally, but so differently. Bittersweet spoke to me and brought me to Jesus in a season when I couldn’t hear truth from very many places. Cold Tangarines makes me want to live well and enjoy all the good gifts Jesus has given me. Bread and Wine matches my own heart for what it looks like to find Jesus in the food we eat and the people we have around our tables. But as much as I loved all of these, I think I might choose Present Over Perfect as my favorite, at least for the moment. Shauna feels more herself, more alive, more rested, more honest than ever before. I’m so grateful for the soul tending she was brave enough to do so that this book, this truth was possible. This book was a good meal for my soul; nourishing, real and shared. A for me.
Now for a little disclosure:
Booklook Bloggers has provided me with a complimentary copy in exchange for my honest review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255
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