I'm Lindsay Ferrier, a Nashville writer with a passion for family travel, exploring Tennessee, and raising kids without losing my mind in the process. This is where I share my discoveries, along with occasional deep thoughts, pop culture tangents and a sprinkling of snark. Want to get in touch? Use the CONTACT form at the top of the page.
September 13, 2011
For as long as I can remember, I have loved bookstores.
Reading was my passion as a child; I had my nose in a book any time I wasn’t forced to be doing something else. Even now, I can think of little more delicious than taking an hour or so to choose my next adventure from the thousands of books on a bookstore’s shelves.
Unfortunately, I haven’t had many opportunities to visit a bookstore since having kids, and when we do go, I end up spending most of my time with my little ones in the Children’s section. But last weekend, we hired a babysitter and headed over to a nearby Barnes & Noble. Once there, I made a beeline for the fiction section, prepared to lose myself in the stacks. As I browsed the titles, it wasn’t long before I came across Jen Lancaster’s wildly popular books. Seeing them made me smile. I had known Jen ever since she showed up at our first-ever CheeseburgHer Party, held in a tiny hotel room. It was always nice to see reminders of my fellow bloggers’ successes.
And then I saw another friend’s book on the shelves. And another. And another.
I moved on to the new arrivals. There, Ree Drummond’s latest was featured front and center. I turned and headed for the Christian section, where my friend Angie’s new book was prominently on display. Blogger Ann Voskamp’s New York Times bestseller (which I bought that day!) was directly beneath it.
That’s when I started feeling a little out of breath. By the time my husband found me a half-hour later, my heart was in my shoes. “I used to love coming here,” I told him as we waited in line. “But now, all I see are books by my friends and other bloggers. I’m happy for them- but if I’m honest, it’s making me feel a little inadequate.”
“You could write a book, too, you know,” my husband reminded me.
“I don’t have time to write a book right now,” I said, “and I’m not even sure anyone would want to read it. Besides, I always planned to save that for down the road, when the kids are older and don’t need me quite so much.”
But I have to admit– sometimes, that’s easier said than done.
Whether I’m in a bookstore, checking e-mails, browsing Twitter or updating my Facebook page, I am a constant witness to my friends’ and colleagues’ many stellar achievements. This one is consulting for Fortune 500 companies. That one is on a red carpet in LA. This one just got written up in a major magazine. That one was on the Today show yesterday. On a good day, I’m proud of my friends and excited for their accomplishments.
But sometimes, seeing so much success makes me feel like I’m running and running and I’ll never catch up. This has been one of those weeks.
That’s why the Session 2 video of Beth Moore’s Living Beyond Yourself study was JUST what I needed to hear.
The video made me think back to this verse, which was referenced in the study ‘homework’ a few days ago:
Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant. –Galatians 1:10
At this point in my life, it could not be a more appropriate verse for me to remember. If I am trying to please people, I will always be running. I will never catch up. There will always be someone who is better than me, smarter than me, more prolific than me.
But if I’m trying to please God, I look around myself at this very moment– and realize I’m right where I need to be.
For those of you not participating in the study, Living Beyond Yourself is an in-depth look at how the Holy Spirit works and how we can access the Spirit’s presence in our lives. One point Beth made in this week’s video session was that we simply can’t do it all. Instead, we want to do a few things with excellence. The Holy Spirit can help us discern what those things are.
As anyone who looks even casually at this blog can tell, I struggle tremendously with wanting to do EVERYTHING, and to do it all WELL. I loved when Beth referenced Rick Warren, who said in his book, The Purpose-Driven Life, “We become effective by becoming selective.”
No, I may not have a bestseller on the shelves at Barnes & Noble. I may never sit in a guest seat on the Today show. But I have a husband who knows I’m committed to our marriage and to him. I have children who literally couldn’t be happier or more confident in the knowledge that they are loved. Without a doubt, those things matter more to me. I make a LOT of mistakes. I have MAJOR issues. But I believe that my priorities, at least, are in order, and even though it’s hard sometimes to deal with the fact that I’m not achieving all that I want to in order to win “the approval of people,” I’m exactly where I need to be in God’s eyes.
And I know down in the very core of my soul– that’s ultimately what matters.
I’m telling you my story because I believe that nearly every mother has experienced a variation of it. Either we put aside our personal hopes and ambitions to focus on our families, or we succeed in our careers and yet worry that our families aren’t getting as much of us as they deserve. I struggle with both sides of this equation on a daily basis.
I am finally trusting that God will put me where I need to be. And I’m trying hard to gain the spiritual wisdom I need to discern exactly where that is.
What about you? Are you struggling with these issues, too?
*We’re now in the third week of this online study, but you can start it today if you’d like, and go at your own pace. I think we’re all getting A LOT out of it! Everything you need is available online here.
*If you’d like to join my Facebook group for the study, send me an e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I’ll add you to the group.
Image via Mark Hillary/Flickr