I feel like it is time I come clean.
I have been hiding this too long and personally it is getting too heaving to carry around anymore.
My name is Sheli Massie and I am addicted to all things Jen Hatmaker.
There I said it. I will consume everything Jen Hatmaker throws at me like a ravenous hyena in the savannahs of Africa. I devour it. I am not lying. I stayed up all night to finish her last book. I should not be staying up all night unless a child is puking or I am on a Netflix binge of House of Cards with my husband. I ate only seven foods for month a couple of years ago because I thought it would somehow make me more like Jen and forgot about what the purpose of the exercise was in the first place. If there was a Hatmaker sticker for my car you know I would have it on there. I know I have an issue. My children know I have an issue. They took me last Mother’s Day over and hour away for a normal Sunday morning service in a car full of screaming children so I could see her speak. I may have ugly cried my way through the service and wondered where she got her gorgeous skirt and sassy belt. I had a Jen perma smile on the whole way home. My children clearly knew the way to my heart.
My eight year old is one who likes to “keep it real” If you want to know the blatant truth she is your girl. What she lacks in social filters she makes up for with empathy abounding.
But she is also the one who reminds me of who I am.
Last night she asked for school lunch and I eagerly said yes. Of course you can have fish sticks, canned peaches and chocolate milk. If it means that I only have to make five lunches in the morning I will ignore the “running to the bathroom” it gives you.
She quickly added though.
But can you still write me a love note, so I can put it in my pocket? I like to read them in the afternoon to remind me what you said.
You see sweet one. We all need to be reminded of who we are. Of what really matters. I forget daily that I am not who social media deems as important. I am not close to who the writing world thinks is imperative. And I am not even close to who the world thinks is essential.
But I am important to six other people living under this roof. Even when they are rolling their eyes at me or slamming doors, I am still someone.
When I measure the worth of who I am next to the fame of someone else I will always come up a thousand miles short.
I would never compare my fifteen year old daughter on the basketball court with an NBA player. I wouldn’t tell her after the game, where she left it all out on the court, that she was ok but not even close to being good enough.
I would never dream of telling my son that he played a horrible game and should have scored that goal.
Somebody kick me in the teeth if I compare the education feats of one child to another. The comparison of one sibling to the next is such a confining place to live and if we are confined we never have space to grow into who we are called to be.
Yet this is what I do to myself every day.
I confine myself with comparison.
I measure the worth of the words I write and hold them next to award winning authors. I compare myself to the crunchy mom whose child has never consumed a preservative and shame myself for my lack of child raising skills.
I believe that I am not enough so why even try. Why try when I will never be Jen Hatmaker.
God never called me to be Jen Hatmaker. He never called me to be Kristen Howerton. He never called me to Glennon Doyle Melton. He never called me to be Sarah Bessey. He never called me to be Beth Moore (although that would be fun to be so cute).
I hold these women to the highest respect and may have a writer crush on them. ( It’s a thing.) Although we can read and consume their beautiful work we cannot let it paralyze us into a creative coma.
Creative consuming coma’s do not create.
It happens all the time. A new book will come out. And then there is the blog reading. And the tweeting. Oh the tweeting. It will consume me. I will set myself up and think that if this is the measurement of success, then I will be over in the corner crying in my yoga pants.
It’s as if we are telling God. What you are breathing in me to create is not enough.
And here I am paralyzed like I imagine others are too. Jesus did not call you to be Jen. He called you to be brave enough to be you.
We need you in the world. We need your words. We need your stories. We need your triumphs and your pain. We need it all.
Because I promise you this. When you begin to speak your truth there is another sweet one who realizes that she is not alone. She is not the only one. Her voice through you can be heard.
And this is so much better than any tweet could accomplish.
*Know I have a nothing but the highest respect for these authors and speakers. They are the brave ones who go before and are a voice for so many.