[Originally written December 16, 2015]
I got a new sweatshirt the other day. I saw it advertised through Money Saving Mom and Cents of Style. It looked like a comfy sweatshirt, and I had a coupon code for 50% off. That’s pretty good incentive for any clothing purchase. The biggest reason I got it, though, was that, in cute lettering across the front, it says, “Choose Joy.”
This has been my mantra and a deep desire of mine for some time now. In fact, I have been so interested in learning more about choosing and living in joy that I created this blog largely based around the concept. So when I saw the sweatshirt, I had to get it.
It came in the mail a few days ago. I immediately took it out of the package and tried it on. Perfect. I was so excited to wear it. I made plans to wear it either Thursday, on my day off, or Friday, when I usually wear more casual outfits.
(Why am I talking about a sweatshirt? You’ll see. There’s a point to this discourse on my duds.)
In addition to being a busy time of the year at work, it’s also deer season. That means I’ve been hosting my husband’s father and brother for a week and half, as well as my own dad during the day and early evenings. The combination of entertaining extra house guests (male ones, no less … need I say more?), working extra hours at work, and trying to get my blog off the ground, not to mention taking care of a toddler, has taken a toll on my attitude. Much to my chagrin, my company and my coworkers have seen a less than joyful side of me. To put it mildly.
So when I got ready to wear my sweatshirt, I hesitated. I thought, “I can’t wear it while my in-laws are here. They’ll think, ‘Why is she wearing that? She certainly doesn’t take her own advice!'” When I considered wearing it to work on Friday, I thought the same thing about my coworkers. Though the sweatshirt’s message means a lot to me and my own journey over the last couple years, I suddenly felt that I couldn’t wear it without looking like a big phony.
But maybe other people will simply see my sweatshirt and think about its message. Take it to heart. Ponder its application in their own lives. What if wearing my sweatshirt could become the impetus for someone else starting their journey to joy? Hiding my sweatshirt in the safety of my home when I’m alone could mean withholding encouragement from someone who needs it.
My “Choose Joy” sweatshirt is a kind of metaphor for my insecurities and fears when it comes to sharing my blog in general. I wanted to start a blog on joy and fulfillment in motherhood because it’s been such an important vision in my life. But now every time I mess up, lose my temper, voice my frustration to Aidan, I feel as though I have disqualified myself from becoming a voice for joyful motherhood. Like if I’m not 100% joyful 100% of the time, I have no business telling other women how to be.
I recognize that this is just one of Satan’s many traps to discourage me from starting. He wants to do anything he can to keep me from writing this blog because he knows how much mothers need encouragement. How valuable community is. The monumental things mothers can do when they’re empowered to enjoy and appreciate their roles. And he is desperate to stop that.
It’s ridiculous to think that I have to be perfect in order to offer something. If we all waited until we were perfect at something, none of us would ever contribute anything.
If we all waited until we were perfect at something, none of us would ever contribute anything.
My imperfections don’t disqualify me from helping others. Losing my temper doesn’t disqualify me from writing a blog about joy. And being grumpy certainly does not disqualify me from wearing a sweatshirt!
I’m not perfect. You’re not perfect. But we can still encourage each other to strive for excellence. To achieve our goals. To be the kind of women God has called us to be.
Thank God our imperfections never disqualify us from His plans.
[Update: I did wear the sweatshirt, and I continue to wear it. Especially on the days I wake up a little grumpy.]