I see you. I feel you. I am you.
You can do it all,’ they say.
Oh really? Interesting. Why, then, do I feel like I am drowning in a sea of obligations watching my daily joy and energy fade before my very eyes?!
Here’s a radical thought: Maybe you actually CAN’T do it all.
Today, our culture seems to really push the message that women can have it all! Nothing should hold us back from pursuing our dreams. We can have children, our dream jobs, perfect relationships, and even find time to enjoy any and all hobbies we desire.
I fell for it. And I fell for it hard. I have found myself in a puddle of tears time and time again because I feel like I’m always failing someone. If I want to focus on work, I’m failing my son. If I focus more on my son, I feel like I’m failing my husband and myself. If I focus on myself and my husband, then I’m failing my community. And then I’m failing work again.. the vicious cycles plays itself out over and over.
Answer: I cannot, and I should not be all things to all people. I cannot, and I should not ‘do it all.’
This is a mantra I need stamped across my forehead and emblazoned on my heart. Even now as I write these words, I find them hard to believe if at all.
What this really looks like and feels like; is that sometimes my best for my family is being mediocre at work. Or being my best at work means feeling like a mediocre wife some days, etc. And that’s okay.
There is an inner, critical voice telling me that I simply will never be enough. No matter how hard I try, I will fail someone. And frankly, there is some truth to that. I won’t be enough for everyone. And my worth and value cannot be found in my successes. Failure is a part of life. It is inevitable. If that is the standard by which I measure my worthiness, I am setting myself up for a lifelong struggle of disappointment and inadequacy.
What I am learning is to speak truth and grace to the critical self.
The truth is that you can’t do it all. You weren’t made to do it all. We need one another. If we never allow ourselves to be needy for others, we rob others of the opportunity to care for us. We rob ourselves of being loved.
In the face of truth, grace comes tenderly behind to catch us. Let yourself be caught by grace. Allow yourself to be held with a tender hand that measures you not by how successful you are, but rather how strength can be made known in weakness.
You actually can’t do it all.