The world told me we wouldn’t make it.
The world told me we were too young.
Too different. Too naive.
The world said we would fail. That we would regret. That we would never do the things we wanted. Achieve the dreams we hoped for.
The world told me that motherhood was not enough. That it equated to a life without success or accomplishments. It proclaimed staying home with my kids was too old fashioned. Too lazy.
The world told me I was uneducated for believing in God. It told me that my faith made me ignorant and unworthy of respect.
It has told me that my kids have to be raised like they are carbon copies and not unique individuals. It has told me that there is only one kind of good mother.
And I just want to say that it was wrong. That it was so deeply wrong.
The world will tell you that you should marry someone who is just like you.
That they should be a fully realized person before they are worthy of marriage.
It will tell you that there is only one person in this whole world for you, and cripple you with the fear of being wrong.
It will say you should consider all your options.
That even if you were sure at one point, you can always change your mind.
The world will tell you that children are a burden. A hindrance. The antithesis of success.
It will give you a checklist and a calendar and say that there’s all the time in the world or all the fish in the sea. It will lie to you and say you have infinite opportunities awaiting you and within the same breath state you’ve already missed your chance.
It will say that travel is the only way to measure success—or busyness—or money. It will say that there is an age that will guarantee your readiness to begin the next phase of your life.
It will say that following blindly is the best way to live your life.
The world will lie to you, my friend. It has lied to me many times before.
It has taken things and people from me to prove its point. To hurt and to convince me that the strong whispers over my life aren’t true.
It told me not to get married. It told me not to have children. It told me not to stay home. It told me pursuing God would make me others look down on me. That a young family and a never-used-degree were the makings of a life wasted.
And for some reason, looking at these photos and knowing the scrutiny I had to ignore to have these precious people in them, I just feel the need to say: The world has always been so INSANELY wrong.
And yet, I’ve always been so RIDICULOUSLY sensitive to the overwhelming cacophony of its screams.
It’s easy to feel like we’re too far behind or ahead.
Like if we’re this age, we should be “here”.
If we’re at this season of life, this is automatically what’s next.
As if, if we all lived out our existence in the exact same way, we could ever fulfill our unique purposes or make up a diverse world worth living in.
If I had listened to the criteria that the world told me would make me happy or successful or liked, I wouldn’t be here with the people who make up the very floor, ceiling and walls of my home.
My little family that came so much sooner than the world approved of.
I say this just in case there is someone out there like me. Crippled by disappointing others. Scared of the predictions others cast on them.
There is no perfect time. No perfect person. No perfect plan. No linear way for us all to be “on track”.
I have reached no epiphany or end point. We definitely have not “made it”.
I have not succeeded in any large way other than that I feel the most like myself and the most fulfilled when I am with the very people I was told to not to invest in.
And because I have begun to learn the difference between listening to the steady whisper of truth as opposed to the shame filled taunting.
I just have to say this:
From a recovering people-pleaser and an over-sensitive, over-thinker: Please, PLEASE learn to ignore the noise.
Steer away from the condescending messages you see everywhere.
Quit the cycle of comparison. Stop reading the articles that have titles that build you up but tear someone else down. Distance the negative people fueling your doubts.
Whatever it is you have to block out, do it.
And instead, listen for that steady whisper.
And just do your next right thing.