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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Less than

See that little thing?
That's the "less than" symbol. And I think women carry it around and label everything with it.  I do.  I'm not talking about prices or discounts, number of children or dollar amounts.  I'm talking about the feeling of "less than."  It's real and raw and very much alive.

  For some reason I had a thought yesterday about how often, (too often) I feel this way.  And if you were to ask me I wouldn't say that my self-esteem is something I struggle with.  Yet, throughout my life as a woman, wife, mother and friend I am coming up short.  No one is saying these things to my face, it's just a sense I have. And I don't like it.  I'm actually quite sick of it.  Surely there are books or sermons or writings about why women feel the need to always be better then they are.  I haven't read them nor do I care to, I just want to work it out in my own heart and mind.  This feeling of "if I'm just a little more            ", (you can fill in the blank for yourself) THAN I will be

These voices come to me at the most absurd times.  Not when I'm out in a crowd or when I'm doing something that I love. They come to me while I'm making breakfast, "I bet other Mothers make their children hot breakfasts every morning." Now I am suddenly less than.  They come to me while I'm dressing my children, "I should buy them something new, these shirts or sort of worn."  Now my children are dressed less than.  The voices whisper to me as I shower. "I should exercise more then I would lose this baby fat." Less than.  When I open my cupboards, "This is so disorganized."  Cleaning my home or caring for a friend, wasting my time or watering my flowers, decorating or disciplining, planning a party or preparing a meal.  It's a constant barrage it seems. 

And here's the kicker, it's not only me.  This "voice" is heard throughout my town, it whispers in my best friends ear, and it shouts to the lonely and depressed.  Who is it? Where does it come from?  Some may be quick to name it "Satan" and yet I think otherwise. 

Could it be that this voice is the voice of expectation?  The voice that is always calling at us and trying to win our affection?  Be MORE.  Be BETTER. Be THE BEST OF EVERYTHING.  Dare I say that what makes this voice so tricky is that at times it is the very thing that drives us, molds us and pushes us into a greater place personally?  And therein lies the trouble, it's a voice that can sound so different at any given time.  It can be maddening. Gripping. Binding. 

You'll find no solution here, no great words of wisdom or advice.  However, I do know 2 things:

1.)  I don't want to be bound to ANY voice but the Voice of my Shepherd, Jesus.  The One that calls out to MY TRUE SELF.  The One that sees all I am, all I can be and all.  Just all.  Him Who has captivated my life.  My Lover to Whom I pour out my most fragrant offering, often an empty perfume bottle with only one drip remaining. 

2.)  The "less than" voice is actually the one that thrusts me right into the place I need to be.  If I let it, those moments of being "less", feeling less, show me where I am in true need.  Not of becoming more or working harder, but of resting and ceasing from SELF

So, tonight if you are hearing that < voice in your mind.  Know you are not alone and you never were.  And let not your heart be troubled. 

"Teach me how to live, O Lord, lead me along the path of honesty....I am confident that I will see the Lord's goodness while I am here in the land of the living."  Psalm 27:11, 13


beginningofthewatches said...

Such pressing words of conviction upon my soul. Indeed I feel this often myself...
Thank you. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

So true, so true! i listen only to my < (lessthan), voice when it points me to the One who is >(more than).I liked your post so much I shared it with my Bible study friends!

Stephanie said...

W.O.W. You have it right.

Mark and Heather Buckwalter said...

love ya, heather ;)

Larry said...

Very encouraging to a lot of folks -- we all feel that "less than" -- some more than others. But less is more in the kingdom of God -- that is a lifelong lesson for all of us. Often it's a push from the Holy Spirit to walk after the Spirit and not the flesh (Rom 8:1-2, and Gal 8:20. As always, hanks for sharing Janelle.


Erin said...

Wow, this has been a sore spot in my spirit lately and I am so grateful for your encouraging words. Thanks!

Lena Lantz said...

Very good post! your blogs have encouraged me many times:) Mrs ESL

Jenny k. said...

loving all the "pretty" found here!

weid(wo)man said...

Thanks for this post Janelle. It really encouraged me and helped me realize that I too fall into feeling "less than" in so many areas. It was so refreshing and I love how you are always so raw and open. That is a true gift... not many women are willing to expose their true thoughts and it's so cool that you are obedient to God's voice in expressing yourself! :o)