Oct 11, 2011

A Challenge To Become!

Become? Become what?

I very rarely dive into the deep pool of my personal thoughts on this blog.  I know my readers come here for light hearted, quick crafts and honestly, that's where I'm most comfortable too.  I hope, though, that you will bare with me, there's been so much on mind.  Things that, after bouncing thoughts around in my head and then chatting with a few really great women, I've realized that I may not be alone in my thinking or in my struggles.  Perhaps some of you can relate. 

I recently tried to express my thoughts in another public venue but I fumbled it.  I actually ended up offending or confusing a few people. I came across as either confessing my own sins or being self righteous and condemning of others.  Neither was my intent.  I guess I should know better than to stand in front of a microphone and a crowd when I'm highly emotional and try to explain my soul.  Duh!  right?!  So, instead I'll write my thoughts and send them into blogland for the masses to read - is something wrong with this picture?  Hmmm?!  At least I can take my time in writing and edit as needed.  A journal entry of sorts instead of diarrhea of the mouth, yup, that sounds much better to me.

I've been really struggling lately.  Things for me are changing.  My identity seems to have disappeared.  Where did I go?  In so many ways I feel lost.  My environment is the same, I do the same routine.  I go the same places. The territory is familiar but I feel confused and lost.  Have you ever felt that way?  You look in the mirror and you just don't see yourself anymore?  You feel out of place and like you just don't fit?

The odd thing is, I'm not sure why I feel this way.  Is it because my kids are getting older and my role in their life is changing? Is it's because I've let myself get into a rut and I don't feel like I'm progressing?  Is it because, while people are friendly here, I don't feel I have friends?  Is it because my day is usually spent focused on my family and their needs and I'm not nurturing myself?  Or, is it something that I just haven't figured out yet?  I simply do not know.

For the past several weeks I've been trying to figure it all out.  Do you know how hard that is?  How emotionally draining it is? My mind is constantly thinking about the things that are wrong with me. How did I get to this point?  What can I do to change it?  How can I find "me" again?  It's like trying to put together a puzzle only to find out that you have extra pieces and no picture to look at for a reference. Which pieces need to stay, which pieces go?  It's very confusing.

I still haven't figured it all out.  However, after much prayer, soul searching, and listening to several conference talks from leaders of the church I belong to, I felt like I was getting closer to having some answers.  Then, this past weekend I attended a Time Out For Women.  The theme of the conference?  "Choose to Become".  Seriously, it could not have come at a better time.  Things are much clearer now.  Here are a few things that have helped me put my thoughts into perspective and have given me some peace in this personal quest. I share them because I think there are others feeling the same way as me, perhaps it will help.

I know that God's love is pure and simple.  I was reminded of a quote I read from author Regina Brett, "God loves me because of who God is, not because of anything I did or didn't do."  So often I feel like I'm not doing enough and then I beat myself up. I tend to compare myself - yes, it's a personal weakness that I'm very aware of - to others who appear to do things better or who have stronger testimonies or perfect families or more talent and then I get sad and negative about my own self and abilities.  Truth be told though, God's love is pure and perfect.  He doesn't compare, I shouldn't either.

He knows who I am.  I may not fully understand my potential but my Heavenly Father does.  Because of this, because his love is pure and good, I want to do better.  I want to serve, uplift, and participate in things that help and bless others.  His love is a motivating source that I feel helps me work towards living up to my divine potential.  It really is all about progressing and about becoming.

His love is a challenge to become.

A challenge to become something more.

A challenge to help me find myself again.

In a presentation at the Time Out For Women conference, one of the speakers, Merrilee Boyack,  spelled out the word Become in this way... these are things that, when applied to our life, will help us find our selves and become all that we can be.

B = Bold, be a leader.  Be willing to stand and work for that which is good.
E = Eternally Minded, don't dwell too much on the temporary things of today
C = Be creative.  There is something in each of us that needs to create (Amen to that!)
O = Be Outward focused.  Don't dwell too much on yourself instead serve others
M = Be Meek. Be humble.
E = Be Enlightened. Seek after spiritual knowledge.

Then she added one more letter...

U = Be Unique. Be you and embrace the fact that you are not like anyone else.

I so fully related to her words.  I swear, even though there were 1500+ women in attendance, I think she was speaking solely to me.  At the end of her talk she posed the question, "How do you know what to become?"  Something I'd been asking myself for a long time.  Her answer?  "You ask and move forward, then ask and move forward again."

In her response, I understood more completely why I was struggling, I've been standing still. I was looking behind me to find the answers instead of realizing that defining who I am will be an ever changing process.  I won't be the same today as I was yesterday and that is ok.  I've asked my Heavenly Father what He wants me to become and now I am moving forward.

I will continue to ask him and I will continue to move forward.
I'm sure I will still struggle from time to time but I know that God loves me for who He is and not for anything I have or haven't done. Because of this I will be a little kinder with myself along the way.  And, the desire to reciprocate His love is strong and one of the ways I can do that is to become something more than I am. 

For the first time in weeks, the internal struggling and questioning has waned and I feel God's love and great sense of peace and that is a very GOOD thing!  I named my blog "Then She Made..."  how interesting that the most important thing I will ever make is myself.

Then she made... herself!

If you can relate this to, and are still struggling, this talk might help.  It gave me great insight and peace:  Forget Me Not by Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Also, if you have the opportunity to attend a Time Out For Women, I highly recommend it.  You can see tour dates here, 2011 Tour 


MaryRuth said...

Loved your post so much! And I have felt the same way a million times... still do. I feel like I'm stretched so thin right now that there is no time to figure out how I can do better and become better.... I just keep treading water hoping I don't drown.

I love your words. I missed women's conference this year... and I keeping meaning to go listen and read it... but alas here I am confessing that I haven't. Hopefully that will give me some guidance.

Thanks for publicly sharing... I know its hard but it help me today!



Amy said...

Thanks so much for sharing! I think everyone has this struggle from time to time, and the struggle is an important part of your overall journey. I *love* "ask & move forward, then ask & move forward again"! I struggle with feeling like everyone but me has a Calling (with a capital C), and that quote is a good reminder to take it one step at a time.

Megan @ The Crafty Conundrum said...

Thanks for sharing. That was really helpful. I feel the same way often -especially lately. I feel like I have had to "become" a certain thing to help my children (I have a baby who has been in the hospital a LOT this past year) and I sort of feel like I have lost part of my identity to that someone that my child needed at the time. I love the part about ask and move forward. I loved President Uchtdorf's talk too! can't wait to read it again when the conference Ensign comes out.

jackie said...

so awesome Amy! i feel the same way! like what the heck am i doing with my life other than running around in a million directions each day like a chicken with it's head cut off! this was good to hear! love and miss you!

Eileen said...

Great post. Think we all have those times...or live with that feeling for long periods, too. I remember a family relationship teacher compare us to a bathtub that can't overflow until it's filled...sort of a weird way of saying take care of yourself so you can take care of/love others. love the forget me not talk, too!

Rebecca said...

I love the way you write! What a gift to be able to put things of the heart and soul down into writing in such a way that we all can relate. I feel you have written the same things I am going through, yet as a single middle aged woman. Good to know we sisters are not alone in the gospel. Hugs from your friend in Provo, Ut.

Teaching First

Cari said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
katharine said...

thanks so much for your words. i love it when others write what i can't quite express.

Deanna said...

Absolutely, completely get it! You so eloquently put my feelings exactly. I think for me it is because my daughter is getting older and my role in her life is changing. That is a very hard thing for me to deal with/let go of. Thanks so much for sharing.

Bluefunk said...

I really liked this post. I think it's very empowering to be able to dig down deep and take a good look at yourself. This is your blog and it's your space for your voice. I don't understand why some people forget this. We don't all have to agree on each others opinions but we owe it to ourselves and everyone else to respect them.

Cora said...

I can't imagine anyone bashing you for this post. It took a lot, I'm sure, for you to open up so personally and reveal yourself. You are not alone. I often feel the same way....and a lot of it is due to my one and only child being grown now (26). I seem to have a problem of wanting to keep her under my wing and mother her to death and that gets in the way of our relationship. I've lost myself in that process...so I completely get where you are coming from. I love the info you have shared and it makes sense....Let go and let God!!!
Blessings to you and thanks for sharing!!

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry you're going through these things, but I have no doubt we ALL go through them. I know I could relate to many of the things you said. I believe that what you are feeling is natural and part of this journey of life.
Women, especially, are so hard on themselves.
One thing I'm really working on is trying to catch the inner voice in my head, you know, the one that can be thinking all kinds of thoughts without us paying attention, and before you know it, we've talked ourselves into thinking we are not good enough? That voice is very powerful. You have to pay attention, and when you catch yourself thinking negative things about yourself, stop, and turn it around. It's simply a bad habit learned long, long ago. The good news is: habits can be changed.
Hang in there...you're worth it!!!

Creative Mrs.Smith said...

Thank you so much for re-posting!! I truly got goose bumps from this post!!!!


Merrilee Boyack said...

Ah my friend. I am right where you are right now. As I mentioned, my life took some major left turns in the last three years and have left me spinning and not sure of the direction I'm supposed to be going. But as I was going through it all, there were many days when all I could do was take one step forward. And then I learned that was it! Just take one step, bit by bit, and the Lord will guide us. I think these feelings are a sign of major growth to come--the lull before that great storm of growth and self-discovery. Brace yourself! You are going to become something EXTRAORDINARY!! How do I know? Because you're asking all the right questions . . . enjoy the journey ;)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this!! Very much needed at this time in my life!

clara said...

Amy, You really are wonderful!

Anonymous said...

thanks for the post you're not alone and I've been through this phase a few times ... Still not sure what I wanna become but somehow find the strength to carry on

thank you for reminding us all that God's love is pure. I am also the type to get upset with myself when I don't do "enough". Thanks for sharing your thoughts! You're super talented and I'm sure you'll find your calling soon. Peace be with you!

Mona said...

I have a friend that will really benefit from reading something like this right now, so glad I stumbled upon your site! Just reading a little bit of of your blog and I love it already. Thank you for sharing your story. We often feel as if everyone else has it all figured out, but it's not so.

Anonymous said...

So in tears right now! thank you! I have felt every sentence as if it was tumbling out of my heart! Missed TOFW this time around, soo glad you got the opportunity to go!
We are spiritual beings having an earthly experience, NOT earthly beings having a spiritual experience. Love you!

anna said...

I'm going through sort of the same thing. This is just what I needed. I <3 your blog :)

Kristen said...

I just came across your blog while looking for gift ideas for my kids day care teachers. Thank you so much for this post. Since having kids, I find myself struggling quite a bit, trying to figure out who I am besides mommy. I feel like I've lost a part of me (although another huge part has been gained) and don't know how to be anything else. "What do I want to be when I grow up" is always dancing around in my head...even at 36 years old. It's nice to know other women have the same struggles, even when they appear to have everything together. I cannot thank you enough.

Christine said...

I stumbled across this blog completely by accident...if you believe in accidents...
I too, appreciate how you write and how you communicate what's on your heart. God knew how you would respond to the conference and knew how to get you there.
I believe He brought me to this site tonight for a little discovery and a reminder of who I am to Him. Thank you for what you do, but mostly for Who You Are.

Jill Ann Tharp said...

Ahhhhh someone who understands!!! I happened upon your blog and it made me feel so much better - truly I feel like we are at the same place in our lives - I feel I have lost ME but I am working through it as you are. The conferences talks you mentioned were awesome - thank you for your courage in sharing - I do not feel so alone - thank you!!!