Sunday, July 13, 2008

Getting Real

So I stumbled onto this blog recently and one post caught my eye. The title of the post was "Get Real". Not being sure of what that entailed, I read on and saw these other women who had joined the conversation about being REAL. As I read these women being honest, open and REAL with each other it struck me how often women especially compare themselves to other women, women who we think have it all together. How often do you ladies look at another mom and think "Wow, she's really in shape and stylish!" or "Gosh, she works and still manages to be a soccer mom and to dress the part!" or "She is so together - she doesn' waste money - she plans good healthy dinners for her family - She is a true Proverbs 31 woman." I know that I do this... I can imagine others do too. The problem for me is that comparing myself only makes me feel worse, rather than better about myself, which is exactly what the Father of lies wants me to think and feel about myself - that I'm worthless, can't do anything right, a waste of space. When this is NOT what my Heavenly Father thinks about me. He says that I am the apple of His eye - that I was created intricately and uniquely in HIS image - that He loves me enough to give His Son for my life.

I have always been a person that never says what is on my mind but rather I say what I think that people want to hear - my parents call that being a "people pleaser". And unfortunately I have been this way all my life. Not really a good way to be, if you ask me. In this way being REAL for me is a foreign idea. To be REAL means I have to first be honest with myself about my feelings and thoughts --- and then be honest with others. I equate being REAL with being AUTHENTIC or GENUINE. And this is extremely difficult for me. Yet as I read these other women being REAL I felt my confidence building. Maybe this is something that I need to do to begin my growing and healing process.

So here goes nothing... my being REAL with you all....

1. I feel guilty being a working mom and not being able to spend more time with Abraham. I feel that I am missing out on so much of his growing up. He spends more time at day care each day than he does with Michael or I. I spend more time with my students then they do with their parents each day. Something in there is wrong.

2. As much guilt as I feel about not being home with Abraham, I love my job and can't imagine giving it up. I love making an impact on my students. I don't know if I could be home 100% of the time... yes I know this and #1 contradict each other. What can I do??

3. I apologize ALL the time.. for nothing. "Sorry." seems to be my life motto. I say it when I don't mean it, I say it when I didn't do anything wrong, I say it when someone hurts ME... and I HATE that I do this. And when Abraham started doing it, it REALLY bothered me. Thankfully that stage is over.

4. I screen phone calls. We don't have caller ID so when we get a phone call we wait to see if it is someone that we want to talk to and then answer or not. So if you call me and get the machine leave a message... if we are home and want to talk to you, I'll answer!

5. I drive a dirty car even though I promised Michael when we bought it that I would keep it clean. When in my day should I clean it? Between dropping Abraham off at day care and getting myself to work on time... or after I pick him up after being at school an hour more than I have to, or after I make dinner and 2 lunches for the next day... or before Abraham goes to bed?? Yea ok you get the picture.

6. I NEED ERINN time. I need time to myself and I rarely get it. Michael gets it.. but I don't. Unless I ask... There is something about being alone that recharges me. It didn't used to but the older I get the more quiet, time I need.

7. It is the hardest for me to be REAL with those closest to me - hubby, parents, sister. I have gotten better in the past couple years but I still struggle with this. I have a hard time being straight with them, with my feelings.

8. I am not over the home-going of my sweet Moses. It has been 2 1/2 years and I have not allowed myself to truly grieve the loss. I did not allow myself to FEEL much during the time he was in the hospital, simply blindly lived the facts. I do not regret any of our decisions regarding his care but I have sadness and "wishful-ness" in regards to certain things. And even though I said back then that I wasn't angry at God, I was and, I think, still am. I am angry that I didn't get more time with my son. I am angry and sad that I didn't get more time to hold him. It makes me so very sad and angry that my sister, my best friend, didn't have a chance to meet and hold my child. I wish that other family members had gotten to hold him. I wish that we had more video of the boys. I wish... I wish... I wish... And I am angry. I can finally admit this. Just being REAL...

9. I think that Moses' death is part of why I haven't been to church reguarly in the past 2 + years. We are on again, off again with church. Part of me really wants to go and really wants Abraham to be in Sunday School and learning about Jesus. The other part of me can't be bothered to get to church. Just being REAL here...

10. I struggle all the time with the many hats that I wear... Wife, Mom, Daughter, Sister, Friend, Teacher, Student, Cook, Banker, Maid.... etc... There aren't enough hours in the day for all of these jobs. I feel that I don't do many of them well... because I feel stretched so thin most days. This is a major source of frustration for me as well as a sourse of stress for me. There are many nights I fall into bed feeling like I dropped the ball in one or more of these responsibilities.

I think for now that is all the being REAL I can take. I don't have it all together, no matter what I might LOOK like on the outside or SOUND like. I talk a good game but inside sometimes I feel like it is all falling apart.

Interestingly enough, my pastor spoke today on REAL LIVING. He said that REAL LIVING is being set free from bondage and to life in Christ, which is freedom. (Galations 5:1) REAL LIVING is a living, breathing relationship with the Father. Ephesians 2:10 says that "I am HIS workmanship, created in Christ Jesus, for good works which God prepared beforehand that I should walk in them." Colossians 3:10 says that I have "put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created me." These verses, ones that I have heard over and over again, remind me that WHO I am is HIS. I am a new creation - the old has gone the new has come. Erinn Noelle Ragan is a child of the King and the apple of His eye. No matter what I do can ever make Him stop loving me. I might not always make Him proud of me, but He always loves me. He accepts me for who I am, because when He looks at me He sees His Son. All those things that I dislike about myself - the feelings of self pity - the thoughts that I am worthless... are not WHO I AM!

Now the hard part is living out what I know in my head is TRUTH.


Gilpatriclife said...

I can't comment on much of what you said about being REAL, but I can tell you as your friend that you are a Great Friend. Its been 14 years now, and you are still there. I do realize that in the past 2 1/2 yrs you have struggled, and I hope you know I am here just to listen even when I can't hug or be there physically to help you. I am here and will listen when you need. Thank you for being so REAL and showing your heart.
Love you and pray that you would find peace.

Mel @ A Box of Chocolates said...

Erinn, that was an absolutely beautiful post. I struggle with being real also in that I like to appear that I have it all together when on the inside I am screaming due to exhaustion of trying to do it all. Sharing all of this from the heart took courage which is definitely the first step in keeping it real. You are a beautiful person and don't worry we will still keep you around if you start telling us how it is!! Love ya!!

Jman's momma said...

Hi! I just felt like talking to you - I won't pretend to know what you feel or how you hurt - just wanted you to know I read this post:

I can only imagine that sharing about the death of one of your sweet boys is painful. I do think that the more we talk about the "real stuff" the more we can heal. I also think that even though He owes us no explanation, God can handle our anger because He knows it is really just a mask for grief/a loss of something incredibly important to us.

And to end on a funny note - #4 cracked me up!! My parents do this :) I myself am so starved for interaction, I jump at the phone hoping someone wants to talk to me -pathetic I know!!

~ Anne