As I reflect on the things in my life for which I am truly grateful, I think about the past few months spent focused on my novel, taking classes. I am truly grateful for teachers who teach me new things and help improve my writing.
What amazes me though, is while I’ve stepped away from the blog for the past few months, a spotlight has illuminated the struggles I have felt in writing in this space for the past few years. My struggle has been that because my kids are getting older, I can no longer tell their stories. Their privacy, and all that. At some point the stories become theirs to tell.
I’ve bought into this lie that I am not a storyteller without my babes. There are no more stories to tell within me. My stories were their stories. So I struggle to write.
I was spending some time in Ephesians the other morning when I realized the magnitude of my lie.
We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so cleaver they sound like the truth. Instead, we will speak the truth in love…
Ephesians 4: 14-15 (NLT)
Those lies we tell ourselves which are so cleverly told they sound just like a truth. I know this and know it well. For “I have no more stories to tell if I don’t tell you about my babes,” taps right into the lie I’ve been telling myself since I was 13 that I am not really enough ever; I’m not worthy of a story. I am not worthy of achievement. I am not worthy of being interesting.
And let me tell you, having a 15 year old in the house confirms that lie on a daily basis.
Speaking of 15, I took that young cherub to look at a few colleges over his fall break and I realized a few things about the lies we tell our kids. Because honestly, we live in a culture that sells us the lie that we need to achieve in order to be worthy. And our kids buy into this lie at a very early age, just like I did at 13.
And I wanted to stop it for him. I did. But our culture is so loud.
So, my 15 year old feels stress about his future because of the pressure he has been fed about acceptance into a “good” college. His worth is tied up right now in that achievement.
And as a mom, I want him to achieve his best. I want him to live up to his potential. But I don’t want him to do that because he has been fed a lie.
I want him to do live up to his potential because he loves learning and he wants to be around other smart and engaging people. I know how much energy I get when I am in an environment of smart and engaging people.
How do I tell him that is what I want, not a name brand college or a certain ACT score? How do I counter the lie?
I struggle because the line is hazy between selling achievement as success and selling achievement for the betterment of self.
I look to this piece of scripture in Ephesians and I trust that when I parent all three of my kids, if I speak words of love into talk about achievement than maybe it can tie into the development of their gifts instead of their worth.
I find myself with a 15 year old who doesn’t hear me, or doesn’t listen to me…is that the same thing?…while I am repeating messages to counter the lies of our society in a multitude of ways, every chance I get…
Your ACT score is one data point; it doesn’t define you.
You will find the best college for you; there are many “good” schools.
You can make a great life for yourself no matter where you go.
This is not a one and done choice; you can always, always change your mind.
And maybe most importantly, I repeat to him and to me…
You are worthy not because of your how much you achieve academically.
You are not worthy because of how much you achieve someday financially,
You are worthy because of how you love in life.
Be kind to others, all kinds of others.
But also be kind to yourself.
That is true achievement.
And if I am going to be an example of that, I can start by recognizing my stories are worth telling.