21 Mar 2012

Nothing is ever as easy as it seems, especially not that

Sometimes we rage against where we are in life. Especially compared to her.

Her – over there – with the easily strung together words or the pretty blog or the stylish shoes or the way with making sense of motherhood.

We see the 4×6 snapshot and call it life. That tiny printout. We don’t look beyond its paper thin borders. We throw our hands up and shrug our shoulders and mutter, “Well, if I had what she had I could do it too.” I could be enjoying my own Polaroid moment.

I could write if I had the time.

I could craft if I had the supplies.

I could have a book deal if I had the connections.

I could bake if I had a baby sitter.

I could make music if I didn’t live in an apartment.

I could make a difference if my blog was bigger.

You know how it goes.

But here’s the footnote we too often, too easily, too breezily ignore: what she’s doing didn’t come easy to her either.

Promise.

She had to fight for it. She had to dig in teeth and tenaciously refuse to give up on what she wanted.

She had to carve out time, space, energy, determination, play dates, juggled appointments, budgets, and every other un-photogenic reality to make it this far down the path of the dream she’s been chasing.

There are no short cuts.

There is only through.

Through the hard seasons when you have no clue what you’re doing as a mother. When the baby is still an alien to you almost as scary as all the other mothers who seem to never need sleep, sympathy or chocolate.

Through the jobs that don’t have the word “dream” anywhere in the title, but pay the bills with honor.

Through the heart breaking daycare drop-offs.

Through the long commutes and desperate prayers and bad radio stations.

Through the online classes or the mentorship programs or the writing workshops or the tutoring or the practicing, practicing, practicing.

Through the lonely nights.

Through the working all day and writing late into the night.

Through the empty comment boxes.

Through the questioning it all.

No picture can do those thousands of words justice.

Through is hard and lonely. But keep going anyway.

Let’s not compare. Especially not our beginnings to someone else’s middle. No, let’s not compare.

Let’s cheer instead.

::

While you’re on the road from here to there – can I cheer you on?
Can I offer you my posts by email as a wee personal cheerleader? {Just enter address below}

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  1. 1

    Yes! Been thinking lately about how bravery is different for us all. Some have to muster up all they can just to say hello to a stranger. Others move easily through the things we struggle with, so we think everything must be easy for them. Not so. Our challenges are all different, but they come and we don’t achieve anything great without overcoming. Thank you.

  2. 2

    i feel like you’ve been listening in on some of my phone conversations lately. . . .
    good words. strong. encouraging. just beautiful.
    and right on with what God tells us, yes? we are unique. made in His image. all with a different path to travel. yet it’s so easy to lose sight of that.
    thanks for starting my day with such sweet encouragement.
    steph

  3. 3

    My neck is sore from nodding along! Loved this post, Lisa-Jo!

  4. 4

    YAY!!! WAHOOOOO!!!
    RIGHT ON!!!
    WORD.

    :)

  5. 5

    Amen and amen.

  6. 6

    Amen! I just love following your posts. I don’t comment much, so I will unsilence myself for a moment of great cheer: Thank you!! Following you is a breath of fresh air! This is a beautiful post. Peace & good & courage always, Angela

  7. 7

    Thank you, I needed that this morning!

  8. 8

    Thank you for this post! I really needed to hear that. This came at a great time.

  9. 9

    YES! I hear a little JA in there, lol.

    It is so true that we only get a small glimpse of what someone chooses to put out for display. Most never talk about how much work it all is, but instead how the work is the passion. And it is true that if you have a passion, if you are working, nurturing and creating . . . it is a driving force. A self fulfillment. But it is hard to hold onto that sometimes.

    That drive keeps me going, especially when things don’t look the way I thought they would. But God keeps whispering anyway, so I listen.

  10. 10

    Yes. YES! I seem to need this reminder too often, reminding myself that God has appointed all things in their time, He has planned for each dream and for the journey it takes to get there. The only way IS through.

  11. 11

    You’re right. So many of us do the comparing game. I’ve learned recently how destructive it can be. I’ve also learned that although you may not THINK so, there are often people wishing they had the very thing you have and wish you didn’t. If that makes sense….
    I was talking to a single girl in her late 20s about the fun but the stress of being “tied down” as I put it that day (must have been quite the week). Her response was so convicting as she confided in me that she longed for what I had. That she only wished she could be a mom and homeschool her kids. That I was so blessed to have my life. There were tears in her eyes. I felt awful… how selfish of me to whine about my place in life when, yes, I AM blessed and guess what? There are people who can only dream to be where I’M at. The chaos and craziness… some long for it. Not exactly what you’re saying up there, but related and came to my mind. Something to ponder, eh? Love, Cass @ The Unplugged Family

  12. 12
    Karen Bemmes says:

    This is a great post because I think we all fall into the comparison trap. I remember a time in my life when I delighted in finding the dents in someone else’s armor because I couldn’t stand their projection of a perfect life, sad, but true. What I now know is that anyone who projects a perfect life is just a wonderful actress. We all struggle with something. As an older mom watching my nieces step into motherhood and seeing them try to be great moms but not lose themselves in the process, I remember the struggle to stay afloat. I consider it a blessing to lift these women up and let them know that everything they do is important and that it is ok to just be who they are, where they are. You are special and unique and we are blessed that you are sharing your gift with the world.

  13. 13

    I love this post!

    Sounds like you’ve been hearing from some critics lately? If people only knew that they too could follow their dreams, we’d all be cheering each other on. I have found that when someone is critical, they lost their dream… . I ask them what they are passionate about, what moves them, what they want to do with their life. What would you do if you just found out you had a terminal illness and had only a year to live? What would you do with that year?

    Success is only sweet with the messy bits in between. That’s what life is. It’s messy and no one gets to escape that. Sometimes it’s downright scary, too! You’re absolutely right when you say, the only way is ‘through’. We have so many options in a developed nation, so many tools at hand, that we should be ashamed of ourselves if we don’t try to follow our dreams… at least try. Successful people do what it takes to be successful.

    When it all begins to get me down, or I feel frightened or it all seems like an overwhelming mountain to climb, I give myself 24 hours of me time – to pamper myself, to feel sorry for myself, to lie around and sleep. Then, the next day, I get up and give myself a good kick in the seat of my pants and tell myself that this is a rough patch and that this means that I must fight harder for my dream. We all get a little tired sometimes…we are only human.

    Don’t give up.

  14. 14

    Well AMEN to that! We all have our own journey and the hardest part is being OKAY with where we are at this moment! Right now! Right now is all that we have. Honor it. Treasure it. Love it!

  15. 15

    Such wisdom here, Lisa-Jo. Thank you for sharing just what so many of us needed to hear today.

  16. 16

    Are you doing the Beth Moore “James” Bible Study? Because I swear she just told me this in my study last week! :)

    Why do we, as women, compare to what others have? So often we don’t realize that the woman sitting next to us may be fighting her biggest battle, and all we see is a pretty smile and a shiny facade. It’s so easy to forget to not compare, so thank you for the reminder!

  17. 17

    I feel like I’m the focus oof encouragef a divine conspiracy of encouragement. There are shouts of confirmation that I just can’t ignore and are filled with reminders to not compare and just be me. Thanks for being a co-conspirator, whether you know it or not.

  18. 18

    “There is only through.” I don’t think I’ve ever thought of it like this before, and I needed to hear it. Thank you!

    In Christ,
    Laura

  19. 19

    Thank you for this post. Not comparing our beginnings to other’s middles is so important in staying optimistic.

  20. 20

    I love your words! So humble, honest and true. So reassuring to me and encouraging in a way that is real. Thank you. I don’t always comment, but I am here reading every single post.

  21. 21

    LOVED this! Needed to hear this so badly! Thank you. I really enjoy your blog!!

  22. 22

    As usual, your words are a blessing! It is weird to me that we want to be loved for who we are and then we tirelessly run after trying to be like someone else. I was never a cheerleader, yet I LOVE that role as an adult. Thanks for that reminder- I think it should go on a pillow- “Let’s not compare. Let’s cheer instead.”

  23. 23

    Hooray for cheering! If we are not willing to yell “Yippee!” for others, who will be cheering for us? If we are envious or disdainful of the higher terrain to which they have worked and worked and worked at climbing, how can possibly we aspire to it ourselves?

    Thanks for this important reminder that a rising tide lifts all boats, so let us each be part of the wave!

  24. 24

    Very well said! Here’s a cheer! :)

  25. 25

    Amen. As someone starting out, I am constantly reminding myself that I am starting out. And that right here is where I need to be. I may never have a huge following but I’m chasing down a dream and even though it’s a lot of work, when I remember that I’m doing something that I love, I enjoy the journey and don’t stress over empty comment boxes or the blank map on Google analytics and it’s in that place that I find myself most content exactly where I am. You have definitely earned your spot too. I love coming to this space to relate and be encouraged.

  26. 26

    Gypsy mom, after unlurking a couple of weeks ago i haven’t commented but i’ve been reading every one of your posts and been feeling enriched and encouraged every single time. and today, it’s exactly what i needed! my mom always said: if at first you don’t succeed, try, try, again. and that’s what your post brought back to me today!

  27. 27

    Through is hard and lonely. But keep going anyway.
    Thank you for these inspiring words.
    Regards,
    Ruby

  28. 28

    i love when God does that. when He finds you right in the middle of your hiding. when He seeks you out right in the middle of your excuses. when He calls out to you in that still small voice to remind you that He needs you to be you. not your neighbor. not your friend. not the girl with the really cool blog that you wish you had. He needs us to be us. He needs me to be me. and everything i need to be me, He’s given me. what a great post. what a great reminder. what a great God~!!!

  29. 29

    simply awesome :)

  30. 30

    Amen! I love your phrase comparing someone’s middle to our beginnings. What a wonderful phrase!

  31. 31

    Wise words, Lisa-Jo. Looking back, I have to say that the most memorable times are those when my head was down and I was just plodding on. Through. Because that is the time I learned the most as well. Comparison is odious, they say. And you are so right – we never know what lies behind the perfect picture. We are all human!

  32. 32

    Yes, yes, YES! A thousand yeses!!!!

    Oh that we would rejoice with those who do rejoice and weep with those who weep!!! Guilty. We often see the beautiful home with every furnished detail to the homeowner’s desire and we don’t see what it took to get there. We have no idea. The seemingly perfect marriage through blogged words. But there’s always a story and those wonderful accomplishments no doubt every single one come with work.

    For every perfectly snapped photo of my life I have a zillion shots made not presentable and a zillion zillion more never snapped of the mess ups, chaos and failures. Ann is teaching me {you know the one} to take life slower and embrace every single insane moment of life. I keep faltering. I’m flailing all over the place. I keep wanting to write more and know, KNOW, I must DETERMINE to write more. And those posts–the ones that seem so eloquently written–they’re only possible because of Him and they only happen when they’re first walked out.

    So when I’m not writing I hope, I pray, I’ll embrace wholly this life I want to blog about. I hope I’ll always cheer them on–the ones who publish the books as I hope to one day do. I know this . . .

    I’m so grateful for each one of the precious women within my blogging community. In spite of empty comment boxes I am so extremely grateful for each one of you. All so very different offering us all something different as you are allowing yourselves to be uniquely you. One thread in common–daughters of the King.

    Thank you, again, for your words!!!

  33. 33

    Amen. I just stood up and clapped for you in my mind.

  34. 34

    Yes, yes, yes!

  35. 35

    *Cheer*

  36. 36

    Wow, that was powerful & so very, very true! I’m saving it to my favorites to read again & whenever I need encouragement. You are right on & it’s awesome how God uses you through your blog. Keep up the good work & keep blessing others. I’m a mom of 5 who are all grown now, I don’t have any grandchildren yet, but I can definitely relate to your Mother’s heart. I think it is wonderful to have access to the blogging world & ever so helpful in reaching others who are going through similar times in their lives. I wish that would have been available in my day. I believe that the reaching out that you & others do through their blogs is extremely beneficial & can, at times, be more valuable than reading a “How-to” book on motherhood, life, etc. God bless you & your family…& again keep up the good work!

  37. 37

    So true! Always someone else that’s better than you(all in the mind of the believer)

  38. 38

    yes.
    ((you))

  39. 39

    This is my first time visiting your blog and I am happy to have arrived here. I loved your post. Thank you for the reminder not to compare our beginning to someones middle. I often do that to myself. There are so many things I love to do. Read, write, photography, cook, photography of what I cook. It just hasn’t all come together just yet, and maybe it won’t ever look like that of someone elses snap shot. But I am grateful for theirs because what others are doing inspires me just as you have inspired me today.

  40. 40

    When my children were little I always thought that when they grew, I would have the time to be and do all I was not. It didn’t work that way. Life is a different set of challenges and excuses. I still compare myself and fall short.

  41. 41

    I love this post. So true. Everyone had a journey to get wherever they are. We can’t compare. We need to keep traveling our own road.

  42. 42

    What an awesome post today!
    It resonated with me in more ways than one. I shared the link on my facebook and my blog post will have the link also tonight.
    Keep on keepin’ on…I love your blog!

    xoxo
    skk

  43. 43
    Stephanie Martin says:

    You bless me.

  44. 44

    This is such an encouraging post. You have this uncanny habit of encouraging me to keep blogging at times when I wonder if it’s at all worth it (you have done it three times now). Thank you for sharing what God places on your heart- I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it.

  45. 45

    I haven’t had a blog comment since Saturday (I write one daily). And I’ll admit, it hurts. It’s so hard to keep going, but I’m so glad I read your blog post. It’s so true! This hit me in a lot of areas! Thank you!

  46. 46

    Oh God always has a way of digging deep into the heart! This has come up twice this week and been on my heart for a week or two. Thanks for the heart words today :)

    Blessings,
    Mel
    Please feel free to stop by: Trailing After God

  47. 47

    I’m a brand new reader, and this post was perfect for tonight. It may have made me tear up just a little. Through the empty comment boxes, through the long, walk-on-egg-shells-around-grumpy-toddler days, it is good to know I’m not alone.

  48. 48

    Awesome post! Such a thoughtful reminder of something so many of us do to ourselves.

  49. 49

    Bravo! Bravo! Bravo!!! Love, love love this.

  50. 50

    I guess you’re right, but I have to have to say to my friends, and sister in law who have cleaning ladies….”my house would be clean too, if I had a cleaning lady….”

    I have to say that for my own sanity….sorry.

    http://lgoogoogaga.wordpress.com/2012/03/18/no-pain-no-gain-and-other-things-that-assholes-say/

  51. 51

    I recently stumbled upon your blog, and have been following you ever since… you even inspired me to start blogging myself… something I’ve wanted to do for a while, but could never quite find the time. I just wanted to say this was a GREAT post! I think sometimes we become our own enemy when we start to compare our lives to other women… I believe that is one of the worst mistakes we make in life as women. The world continues to whisper this “lie” to us over and over that we need to be like this, or achieve that in order to be called successful…. the enemy loves to keep us there… BUT GOD.. (my two favorite words!) tells us differently… He tells us our worth lies in Him and Him alone. Get out there girls… Encourage one another, Lift one another Up, listen to the true life stories of the women you “think” have it all together and I bet you’ll see she’s not much different from you! Great Job with your wonderful words today! :) Cheers!

  52. 52

    It has always been this way…throughout time…and it will remain so, always. Thank you for reminding us. Whenever we find ourselves…just starting out, in the middle or suddenly at the end….it’s always this way! Which is why we need to look to THIS DAY and this day only!

  53. 53

    Wise words.

    Everyone who begins something is at sometime ‘just starting out’. No one just magically arrives. With that said though it would be nice to be able to figure out how to sneak more hours into the day between my early-risers and my can’t-get-to-sleepers. : )

  54. 54

    Hi Lisa-Jo,

    No empty comment box here eh! You nailed it right on the head as always. Comparing is like poison, my mom used to do that and it made me feel bad. I try not to. Carving out space and time, what a lovely way of putting it. I am in the process of trying to figure out what I want as a new job. I am quitting mine in September, come what may. Everybody whom I tell this goes whooooh and that in these times, you are so brave, I wish I could do that, wow etc. And I am sh….. 7 colors as we say in the Netherlands. But then again, I want to find something my heart enjoys doing apart from loving my soon to be husband.
    So this post made my day a little better. Instead of critizing ourselves for what we cannot do or what we do not have, we should be happy with what is given to us……one of those things we find in all religions of the world. Envy is such an ugly thing. Totally unnecessary. Makes us feel not up to it, not proud of ourselves and down. The only way is up!
    Have a good one my dear friend. Wish I could see and your lovely kids and hubbie one day. Well, who knows….
    Lots of love
    Selina

  55. 55

    Lisa, thank you for bringing our thoughts and hearts right out in the open where we can confront the doubts and lies and be inspired by truth. You’re a gift!

  56. 56

    Beautifully stated.

  57. 57

    Love this post! This is right where my heart has been. I pray I can come along beside those who need support and encourage, instead of critique or judge. We are all in this together and life is hard sometimes. How wonderful it would be to have fans and a true support system. It all starts somewhere!!

  58. 58

    We use the phrase, “beware of the compare” in our home. I think I took it from my pastor a few years ago. So funny that I just studied and wrote on jealousy today =) Thanks for sharing!

  59. 59

    I’m cheering…can you hear me?

  60. 60

    Wow…you’ve been reading my thoughts! Too many hit the mark.

  61. 61

    I was just about to write you a comment that said something like how you are so right that I shouldn’t compare my beginning to someone’s middle and then I saw 168 facebook shares on this post and I said, oh my gosh. Then, now what did she just say in that post!

  62. 62

    Thank you. You have no idea how much I needed this today. Thank you. Thank you.

  63. 63

    Yes, could we all cheer each other on the way Jesus cheers each one of us on in our unique life stories? Cheering you on, Lisa-Jo!

  64. 64

    Oh, I hear this today. Have felt a little sorry for myself the last few weeks, thinking that after I had my baby my blog stats dropped, and I’ve seen others who started small when I started have grown to blog fame.

    But then… does it even matter? Let’s each do what we’re called to do, and be thankful for the beauty God’s given each of us.

  65. 65

    When I’m having a hard day, I often sneak in a little reading time online and find myself looking for your latest post. This is exactly why!

    I d0n’t know how you do it, but you always make me smile and turn my frown upside down:)

    Mothering is so hard, but also so amazing.

  66. 66

    Thank you!

  67. 67

    I so love this… thank you:)

  68. 68

    Through! Yes, through. Beautiful :)

  69. 69

    These words have spoken straight to my spirit today. Falling in to the comparison trap is so easy. We are all in different places in life and on our own journey. Rather than compare myself to someone who seems perfect I need to be content in where God has placed me at this moment. Thank you for convicting reminder.

  70. 70

    Thank you for the lovely reminder.

  71. 71

    this comes as such an encouragement, at a poignant time. thank you. sometimes, that silence is so loud… thank you for encouraging the cheering!

  72. 72

    I loved your last few sentences. Let’s not compare our beginnings to other people’s middles. So perfectly put! So easy to look at other women expecting to be on the same leg of the race. But really I am in my own journey and need to celebrate hers as well. Because I bet she needs cheering just as much as I do!

  73. 73

    thanks. i seem to do that to myself a lot.

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  3. [...] Nothing is ever as easy as it seems, especially not that, from Lisa-Jo at The Gypsy Mama • because I need to remember, sometimes, not to compare… [...]

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