Friday, February 22, 2013

Student of You Badge

You know those moments when you've been thinking about something – processing, analyzing, chewing on it – but you don't know how to describe it, how to say it. It's not clear in your mind. You can't seem to say it just right.

So, you start babbling about it (for the hundredth time) and it's not coming out right (for the hundredth time). And then the kind and patient person listening to you share about it (for the hundredth time) sums up your thoughts so clearly, so flawlessly, you just can't help but gasp from the sudden burst of clarity, "Yes. That is it. That is exactly it."

I had one of those moments this week. Ahhhhh. I love those moments. They're like a breath of fresh air, aren't they? You feel so understood, so clear.

Here's how it happened for me.

I started going to a counselor a few months ago. I was craving a space to just be, a space where I could focus on me. I noticed earlier this Fall that I was feeling sad a lot. Everything in my life was going well, but I still just felt sad. That's always a sign to me that I need an intervention. That and the fact that my mom took me out to lunch and began our conversation with, "Honey, you know your dad and I love you. But, we think you might need some help."

I thought about going on medication, which has helped me in the past. But this time the sad feelings weren't as strong, so I decided I might try some other things first (diet, mood journal, exercise, counseling). I still eat pretty terribly. I just try to throw in an occasional green smoothie and keep my daily grape intake higher than my cheetoh count. The mood journal is helpful. Exercise, bleh. Trying. But give me an hour every couple of weeks where I just get to sit and talk. Um, hello! Counseling is a perfect fit for me! Anyway. All that to say, so far so good. One day at a time, folks.

Back to my moment.

I was verbally barfing on my counselor this week about how I never feel good enough. I'm never a good enough wife, a good enough mom, a good enough friend, a good enough anything. I'm overwhelmed. I look at books and magazines and Facebook and Pinterest and I watch my superstar mom friends and I am overwhelmed. Why can't I get my sh*t together? Sounds ridic, I know. But it's my thing. We all have our things, right?

After several minutes of, well, everything you just read, here's what she said. Are you ready? This is the moment, my moment.

"Lauren, it sounds to me like you spend so much time studying other people's lives. You've neglected to study yourself. You've become a student of other people instead of becoming a student of you."

A student of you.

I have to write it just one more time. A student of you.

She's so right. It's so true. I am a good student. At least once I got to college I was. When I decide to study something, I'm all in. I work hard at it. And I've been working really hard at studying other people and their lives. How can I/we help it? I log in to Facebook and I study my friends' lives. I study how others decorate and craft and eat and exercise on Pinterest. I study the daily lives and thoughts of bloggers. I study the lives of celebrities on TMZ or in magazines at the checkout aisle. I study my friends. I study moms at the library, the grocery store, the doctor's office.

I study, study, study. And then I compare, compare, compare. And then I never, ever, ever measure up.

I've spent so much time studying other people that I've started trying to make my life look like theirs, not mine. It seems like other people have it so much more together or they're so much cooler or their life is so much better. I try to do it their way. But I'm finding it just never works.

Yes, there is a mulititude of insight and wisdom and strength we can glean from others. That's what makes community so valuable, right? Not doing life alone, learning from the experience of others. But then there's a point where we have to recognize that their life is their life. It's not my life. My life is my life. My life is uniquely my life. My life is my gift. I am called to be a student of my life.

Some words of wisdom from Barbie. Who knew?
What is best for me? What is my purpose? What have I been especially made for?

What is best for my husband? What does being partners in marriage look like for us?

What is best for my family? How have I been uniquely designed to be a mom to Jack, Evelyn, Ella and Henry? A daughter to my parents? A sister?

What is best for my friends? How can I be a blessing to them? A gift? An encouragement?

What is best for my relationship with God? What is He calling me to? What gifts do I have to better this world?

That's what I want to spend my time thinking about, where I want to exert my energy.

I want to be an expert on my life.

A student of you. (There, the third and final time I'll say least in this post.)