What I need is for everyone to stop being fine.
I’m just too tired to fake it anymore cause I’m guilty as anyone of giving the “I’m fine,” or “I’m doing well,” knee jerk response, but this season is different.
I became a first-time mom 18 months ago and it has thrown me for a loop. About 6 months ago a friend texted me and said she thought I was lost. I took offense, naturally. But as I thought about it more, I realized: I was. Not in the “woe is me, I’m lost” kinda sense. But the “Wizard of Oz, you’re not in Kansas anymore, where the heck am I?” sense. My life had been picked up, rearranged, and dropped back on me and I was too in the fog of postpartum sleep deprivation to really notice other than the fact that I kept bumping into things here and there. Like the corner of my bed. Or my husband. Or sadness.
I was also in another conversation in which someone said, as almost a throwaway comment, “you know you really can’t grow until you admit where you are”… everyone on the call paused and did a metaphorical double take. Truth had just whizzed past our heads and we were trying to chase it down.
Wait. What did they say?
Wait. Do I know where I am?
And for that reason, I really need everyone to stop being fine. Cause, though I can’t speak for you, I know I’m not.
I’m not fine because there is a mountain of laundry that I kick out of the way to get to my bed and every inch of my house makes me feel like I should be doing better. I’m not fine because I’m too tired to know which battle is actually worth fighting with my husband so instead, I don’t choose and I get angry and resentful. I’m not fine because I am trying incredibly hard to be 100% at my job, as a mother, as a wife and, as a human being. And am still trying to prove that a human is capable of doing 400% like all the sports coaches I’ve ever had say I can. I’m not fine because texts from friends make me cry more often than I like to admit. And as much as I want to, I haven’t responded back to them (for those of you on that list, I’m sorry.) I’m not fine because when I do get to talk with friends, I don’t even know what to say because it starts to feel way too deep. I’m not fine because trying to work and manage a toddler is making me feel literally crazy. I’m not fine because I am in lockdown during the Covid with a road of uncertainty ahead of me and I don’t know when it will end. The list goes on.
But what’s the takeaway?
By owning these things and realizing I’m not fine, I can actually DO something about it (that is after I crawl out of the fetal position I’m in). But most importantly not only can I do something, but I can come to a sober understanding that we were not meant to be fine on our own.
Along with anger, passive-aggressiveness, and control issues, I have trust issues. It’s hard to trust because inevitably, someone will let me down. And, I’ll be disappointed. They’ve done it before, they will do it again.
Yet, when it comes to faith, trusting God seems to be the thing that will make Him MOST happy. If I admit I’m not fine even though I’ve been giving 400%, what do I do now? I trust. Or I TRY to trust. I lather on the promises of God like SPF and tell the truth to myself that he is for me, behind me, before me, around me, in me and over me. I can trust him because he is already fully aware that I am not fine. And the beauty of it is that he didn’t shove it in my face as logical proof I needed to get my act together. He let me, gently, realize it myself, and waited patiently for me to say, “Hi, I’m not fine. Can you help me?” And you know what? He did and he does. Every day.
Often I see that graciousness of God lived out in the generosity of women around me. In fact, sometimes the most generous person in my day is the one who makes it ok to not be fine by inviting me to be authentic.
We need trusted others to be around us, for us and willing to listen to us as we admit this out loud. We need other women who have been there before and are in it now to hand us a cup of coffee or glass of wine (or in the Covid age a wine emoji), give us a big (sometimes digital) hug, and hold hope for us.
I recently experienced this in my WDW community group. After we met and I had just let it all go on the call (ugly crying on zoom adds 10 years, I swear), I was flooded with messages of encouragement, songs, and prayers from these women. They were there for me, holding onto hope like my life depended on it.
And it reminded me that I was not alone. I wasn’t crazy, I was just tired. And that gentle God who sees me as EXACTLY enough, especially in my “not fine” state, was cheering me on.