An Autism Diary

A day in the life of David Hartley

You Are Enough

The following post is actually from last Tuesday, but I waited until I could get some pictures done for it and some feedback on the writing and subject before posting because the subject matter is very personal and important to me.  As for the pictures, if you would like to see the full album featuring the boys at the movie arcade, you can find them by clicking here.  Thank-you : )

~~~

DSCF9441_editedTired to the bone from lack of sleep, stressed from the chaos of the day, and yet still attempting to keep a promise of doing something special tonight to four deep blue eyes and two eager little smiles.  That’s how tonight started anyway, but sitting here now I would hardly believe it if I hadn’t just experienced it merely hours before.

Our original plan was to try and make it to the zoo for their special evening hours being offered today, however time (and kids’ attention spans) were not on our side enough to make that happen.  Not wanting the night to be a failure, I tried to think of something else and remembered seeing that a local discount theater was running promotions on Tuesdays that made three movie tickets more than within reach for me so I gathered the boys up and told them we were going to see a movie instead.

DSCF9385_editedAt the lack of choices that would make David and Joshua happy, I decided to make the movie one that I had been wanting to see for a while, but kept missing my chances due to lack of babysitters.  Armed with confirmations from those around me that the show was family friendly in-spite of it being aimed at adults, I bought 3 tickets to “Mom’s Night Out” and made an evening out of it by staying at the theater even though our show was 2 hours away.  While we waited, I let the boys play and explore in the mini arcade and snack on concessions while taking in all the sites.  One of the things I tend to enjoy most about my boys is how easy it is to still “wow” them, so to speak.  They don’t get to go to the movies very often at all so they definitely see it as a special treat when they find themselves at the theater.  All the pretty lights, the popcorn and hot dogs, and even just the building structure itself, amuses them so much that one can’t help but smile when watching them take it all in. ^_^

DSCF9407_editedAnother thing that I love and appreciate about my boys though is how they are still young enough to think the world of me in-spite of my shortcomings, mishaps, and mistakes.  The pure, unadulterated love of a young child is such a priceless gift to be blessed with in this world.  Especially when one’s reality has been harsh and sometimes cruel to the point of breaking down one’s sense of self-esteem and worth.

I admit, that I tend to struggle badly in those areas and have for quite some time.  Those who know me best have seen it many times in one way or another.  Whether it be through my repeated apologies when my social anxieties kick in, or my tendencies to stick to the far corners (sometimes figuratively, sometimes quite literally) when faced with new groups of people they want me to meet.  Or even through my own self-critiquing that I can’t seem to stop doing.  Always seeing where I need to improve, and struggling to see how far I have come.

I don’t mean to be like this, or continue to take these same mental and emotional paths over and over, but that hasn’t stopped it all from happening on a regular basis.  And tonight, my heart finally had it’s “aha” moment as to the reason why.  Here I thought I was just going in to watch a funny, family friendly movie with my boys.  I would get to spend some quality time with them, they would get to have new moments to treasure and cherish and store into those precious little memory banks of theirs, and all three of us would get a temporary escape from the chaos and the busyness that has seemed to engulf our lives in the last few weeks.  We did indeed get those things, and we enjoyed them thoroughly.  However, as God often does lately, a little something extra was thrown in for me when I least expected it.  The same movie that was already gift enough due to the laughter it was drawing out of me and it’s ability to help me forget my troubles for the moment, suddenly became a profound heart toucher.  (warning: spoiler alert)

I sat in almost startled stillness as I took in the realization that the very words I utter to myself far too often and that haunt my thoughts throughout the night, were being said by one of the mom’s in the movie.  Just as mine do with me, her tears were flowing freely as she let out the heartache of never being enough no matter how hard she tried or how much she did.  The brokenness of her voice rang clear as she recounted the pain of not being able to do all she should and needed to for her loved ones and friends, and again as she recalled times of repeated failure where she had hoped would be victory even though she was doing the best she could.  Then it happened.  The friend she was confiding in, interrupted her to ask her who she was “not enough” for.  As she gathered her thoughts and started to respond with a list that included friends, family, and even God she was interrupted again with the answer.  An answer that rocked both her heart and mine.

The only ones we are truly “not enough” for are ourselves!  We are the ones holding the bar too high up to meet it.  We are the ones setting unrealistic expectations and goals of ourselves.  We are our harshest critics and loudest doubters.  Ourselves!  And we had sadly gotten ourselves so beaten down that we could no longer see the truth for what it was.  Somewhere along the road, we let our insecurities and shortcomings steal our self-esteem away from us and fill our hearts and minds with a falsehood of being incompetent.  We fell into the trap of illusion, trading the true reality for one full of painful lies without even realizing a trade was made.

Thinking about this has brought back to my mind and heart a verse I used to carry around with me when David and Joshua were younger.  The verse is found in the book of Zephaniah, chapter 3, verse 17:

“The LORD your God is with you, He is mighty to save.  He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”

No matter what we’ve gone through, no matter how far we may have fallen from our goals, no matter how weak we are and/or feel or how many people we think we have let down, God not only accepts us, He loves us and is waiting for us to come to Him and let Him rescue us; even if it is from ourselves that we are needing rescued.  All too often, we let the pressures and burdens of this world consume us and, as a result, we allow ourselves to feel guilty when we don’t measure up to the standards or examples that we see set by others.  The beautiful truth though is that we were not made to be like everyone else.  We were made to be ourselves!  Our personality, quirks, talents, desires, and even shortcomings all work together to make us who we are; uniquely beautiful people with different callings and purposes in life.

So we can’t bake as well as that mom over there, or that lady always has more fashion sense than us.  Maybe our children are not as orderly as others, or our family in general isn’t as “perfect” as the ones we see around us every day.  Or maybe it’s we can never stay as calm and collected as the woman we watch in admiration from a distance, never dreaming that she herself may feel inadequate too.  We don’t do this as well as that other person…  We can’t seem to make that work like they can… We are not composed enough, spiritual enough, competent enough, efficient enough…

The trap of comparison is a suffocating one indeed, but it isn’t one we have to allow ourselves to say in.  Look to God for where your worth lies, and to yourself to set your goals for your life.  Don’t worry about how you stack up against others.  It’s not as important as the world around us wants us to believe it is.  Just be yourself, do your best, and rest in the beautiful truth that you are who you are for a reason.  Know that you do have a life and voice that matters and that you really are indeed enough.

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2 Comments

  1. Teresa

    This is a great post Cindi! Thank you for sharing!!!!

    • Thank-you for reading and for your encouragement : )

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