You Can’t Do It All – And Why That’s a Good Thing
Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about a lie we’ve been fed.
As women, we’re told that we can do it all. Have it all. Be it all. We’re told that we can climb the corporate ladder, be the world’s best mom (who does ALL the crafts, games, sports, and educational activities on Pinterest…ALL of them), have sparkling clean homes (that also look like Joanna Gaines decorated them), make gourmet meals every night (ALL organic, healthy, and 100% homemade of course), travel, have an active social life, be crafty (Martha Stewart level crafty), have hobbies (other than laundry and brushing our teeth alone), read, volunteer, be perfectly in shape, always look our best (with perfect hair, clothes, and makeup), be constantly learning and acquiring new skills, have a marriage out of the movies, do the shopping, the gardening, and the errands, all while maintaining a bubbly, warm, inviting, and optimistic outlook on life. And I’m not exaggerating.
What’s worse is that I find that not only are we told that we CAN do all those things – but that we SHOULD. And that my friends, is malarkey. (Truthfully it’s a word a lot worse than malarkey, but this is a family blog and I’m a pastor’s wife. Malarkey will have to do.)
You want the truth?
You can’t do everything.
You can’t. You have to pick. You GET to pick.
We get to pick what matters to us….what works for us…
And here’s the really important thing – the thing I don’t want you to miss. (Seriously.)
Once we pick, we can’t start comparing. It’s the easiest thing in the world to do – the comparing that is. The not comparing requires a kind of mental resolve and determination….but we need to find it. Because it’s in that comparing that we lose our joy.
We look around and see what everyone else has picked, and we start to let the differences cause us doubt. We worry that we’ve chosen wrong….that we’re somehow missing out on something….that we’re not enough.
We look across the parking lot at the woman who is perfectly put together, and then down at our jeans and hoodie. It was an outfit we felt comfortable in….until that moment of comparison.
We feel comfortable and at ease in our lived-in home….until we visit the friend who’s never had a dirty mug sit in her sink and has vacuum lines on her carpet. We were okay with our comfy home until that moment of comparison.
We feel pretty good that we’re juggling work, motherhood, and chores AND still getting a hot meal on the table at night…that is until we see our friend’s Instagram post of her gourmet dinner. The spaghetti we were feeling good about is suddenly not enough.
Those comparisons have a way of knocking the wind out of our sails. Comparison sucks the joy and contentment out of life. It whispers, “you’re not good enough” so convincingly that we begin to doubt ourselves and the choices we’ve made.
And it has to stop.
We can’t do it all (at least not without losing our mind) – so we pick what matters to us. We prioritize what matters to us and what works for our family. And what works for me…what I care about…that might be different than what works for you…and that is more than okay. Know why? It means you’re out there being YOU. Doing what works for YOU.
We each have a unique role to play….different talents to use…different people to bless. When we allow comparison, fear, and doubt to sneak in, we’re not able to be the person we’re meant to be.
Don’t ever let those differences you see make you feel “less than” or not enough. And please, don’t try to take on more than you can handle. I spent too much of my life trying to prove my worth by trying to do EVERYTHING. I lived a life of hustling and striving. I had bought the lie that I had to be perfect to matter. You know what? Perfect’s not a thing and you won’t find your worth (let alone joy or contentment) in attempting to do, be, and have it all. If stress, chaos, and emotional/physical/spiritual suffering is your deal though, hustle and strive away.
Pick what matters to you…what works for you…what fits with your life, talents, and purpose. When you see that lady that’s doing things differently than you – applaud her. Do NOT let those differences deceive you, shame you, or whisper in your ear that you picked wrong. Know that you are enough, and that no amount of striving to please, perfect, and perform will ever bring you rest. Kick comparison to the curb and know that what you do matters. You’re loved. You’re worthy. You’re enough.