936 Pennies: Discovering the Joy of Intentional Parenting
Join our adventure and discover inspiration and resources for refusing rush, creating habits of rest, living intentionally, and making the most of this beautiful life!
I roll the dough—small slightly-sticky balls between the palms of my hands—circle upon circle until a pristine orb results. I lay it gently in the bowl of crystals, roll again, coat complete, and place it in its designated spot on the sheet.
They are uniform, shiny, articulate, pristine, put-together—everything I at the moment am not.
You see, as I’m putting together a beautiful plate of Organic, Gluten-Free Sugar Cookies to share with friends at a Christmas party—that plate of cookies may be one of the few put-together things in my home at the moment. Let me show you what I mean:
My house isn’t the only thing suffering at the moment. This morning my one-year-old woke up under the weather and crabby. I drank a lot more coffee than a pregnant lady probably should. The boys may have eaten gummy treats for breakfast. The dog is driving me up a wall, and all she’s doing is looking at me. I told my son “wait”, and “In a minute” (which turned twenty minutes) far too many times today. Stress tugs at my shoulders, radiating from the other side of the room where my to-do list sits, untouched.
My soul aches at the sight of the love of my life—his own life drained from his blood-shot eyes—fighting to finish two classes that will vastly affect the success of the masters degree he’s been slaving away at for two years. Life is messy, and life hangs heavy. We feel as though we’re hanging onto a thread—because we are.
The truth is that my life is woven together by these threads of grace, and that without them, everything would unravel.
I almost didn’t pick the book up. My eyes glanced at the cover as I saw it sitting, prominently on a shelf, at Barnes and Noble. Friends had mentioned it, and I had seen it sprinkled throughout enough statuses on Facebook to realize that the message of the book was making an impact; challenging souls. And so I decided to give it a chance.
As I read Lysa Terkuerst’s The Best Yes, I was surprised to find myself sucked in quickly as my soul found challenge in each chapter. Then I came to a chapter entitled, “But What If I Say No And They Stop Liking Me?” I was tempted to skip over it, or to put the book down and come back to it later. I assumed the chapter wouldn’t be too relevant to me.
Because I am not a People Pleaser.
However, the morning was still young and void yet of waking children, and so I continued to read. By the third page, my soul was stopped, shocked, at a realization of a very big truth I had not seen about myself.
It ends up that I am a People Pleaser. As Lysa’s words sunk down deep into my soul, I began to realize that there might be a whole lot of others out there like me—blind to their People Pleasing propensities.
How? Because people pleasing has taken on a new face in recent years—a surprising, veiled face that many of us encounter every single day without even realizing it. It may be placing a veil of tension over your own life right now.
It all came to light for me as Lysa shared her personal story on the pages. As she began working outside the home in her new ministry position, she encountered criticism from other moms for her choice to not stay home with her children. Lysa began changing the way she spoke about herself as a mother, and her home life.
She began sprinkling throughout her conversations words and phrases in order to portray herself to her friends as the ideal image of motherhood—the picture she knew her friends would approve of.
And that’s when I saw it: my own propensity to People Please.
I have often thought about that silly saying, “If only I were as great as my dog thinks I am.” Only I repeat this phrase in my mind with a bit of a twist:
“If only I were as great as my readers think I am.”
In this age of technology; Where everyone paints their self portrait through Facebook statuses, Twitter Tweets, Instagram photos, and blog posts, it is exponentially easier now than in years past to depict ourselves in a prettier, more-put-togehter, more spiritual, more organized, more Pinterest-acceptable light to our peers.
It is so much easier to lie, and we don’t even realize we are doing it.
As author Lisa Jo Baker puts it,
Are you making others feel unsure about themselves because of the ideal image you are portraying through what you share online—unblemished by the realities of your everyday struggles?
With the ability to edit every word and photo before it is shared on the internet; we hold so much power to shape how we present ourselves into what we think people want to see.
And it is dangerous.
Because when we choose to edit our life before we share it with others, we surrender the power and blessing that authenticity holds.
After all, I don’t want to read about yet another mom who has discovered the 5 Perfect Ways to Get Her Child to Eat Vegetables. Or who discovered How to Stop Yelling at Her Kids in 7 Days or Less.
I would rather be encouraged by the struggle, the voyage, and heartache it took for her to find success; and the threads of grace woven throughout the failures she encountered along the way.
I want to know she yelled. I want to see that her heart grew ugly. I want to know that she felt like a failure. Because sometimes I do too.
My soul yearns to see other women in the trenches, not because I want them to struggle– but because I know they do, and we have much to learn from each others’ struggles.
I want to see a real and honest woman who has put up a battle, failed, read the books, failed again, and finally turned to Jesus for the answers and strength she needed.
Because I need that too. And so do you.
Let’s make this a season to practice— and make into habit—the authentic sharing of our lives—without filters and preoccupations with the ideal image.
As you pause and begin to edit that photo or status, and shape it into what you think your friends want to see, consider this: maybe they just need to be encouraged by the truth that you have imperfections too. And you need grace also. Just like they do. Just like we all do.
Let us be challenged by the words of G. K. Chesterton,
Let us be the ones to begin this reformation of the culture permeated throughout social media—let us be the ones to cut through the fat of things—the surface things—and begin painting a picture woven together by threads of grace—threads we must grasp onto as we navigate our beautifully flawed lives.
Raising kids stirs something deep in our souls — an innate knowing that our time is finite. Taking my kids outside in creation, I’m discovering how to stretch our time and pack it to the brim with meaning. God’s creativity provides the riches of resources for teaching the next generation who He is and how He loves us. Join our adventure and discover inspiration and resources for refusing rush, creating habits of rest, living intentionally, and making the most of this beautiful life!