Pep talks are usually my husband’s thing. He is great at encouraging and building up our boys before and during games. I am usually more concerned that they have the right socks and if they remembered their belt, oh and did someone grab that helmet?
But right now I am talking about a different type of pep talk, and it is directed at myself.
Last week a friend of mine sent me a message saying she had quit her job and was officially starting her journey as a stay at home mom. She knew I was a stay at home mom and so she said any tips or advice I have for her would be appreciated. To be honest, I was humbled that she would ask, but at the same time I was caught off guard. I told her to let me think on it, and I would get back to her. I still haven’t gotten back to her. What did I need to think about? I have been doing this everyday for the last 7 years and a total of three boys later. But in that moment, I felt like I had nothing to offer her.
I felt unqualified.
Just me or does anyone else do this? The more I thought about it, the more I realized I do this a lot in my life. I don’t give myself any credit. I downplay my knowledge, my experience, and my ability. I make excuses that I just don’t know enough yet. I haven’t mastered it yet. I am not perfect at it so I can’t give any advice. Why would someone ask me?
Like I said, this happens in a lot of areas of my life:
“I can’t give marriage advice, I haven’t been married long enough yet.” I have been married 11 years, how long is long enough?
“I can’t give parenting advice, I haven’t been a parent long enough.” I have been a parent for 7 years, with three kids, how many more do I need to be an expert?
“I can’t give biblical advice, I haven’t been a Christian long enough.” I gave my heart to the Lord when I was in high school, God knows that was ages ago.
“I can’t give relationship advice, I haven’t mended my broken relationships enough.” I may have a few broken relationships, but how many strong ones do I have?
I make this excuse of not having enough experience or time or knowledge, but in reality I think I lack the confidence. I can tend to be a perfectionist and feel like I have to “master” something before I can teach others or give advice. So if I am feeling like I still have more to learn or that I have failed in that area, then I can’t possibly be an example to others.
I will NEVER master these things.
I will never have a perfect marriage, I will never be a perfect parent, I will never be a perfect Christian or know enough about what the bible says, I will never have perfect relationships.
So does that mean I shouldn’t share about them? And does giving advice mean you only share the successes and not the failures?
I have come to realize that life is about relationships. All types of relationships. Life is about shared experiences. Experiences that are good and bad. Experiences that push us and make us grow. It is not about becoming perfect at something. Not about having all the right answers and all the special tricks.
I know this in my head, but some days I just need that reminder, because we all know that old habits die hard. So when that doubt and feeling of being unqualified comes into my mind I need to take a step back and remember that God has gifted me with so many experiences in my life that I can use, good or bad, to share with others and we can all grow and learn from each other.
(Then I get caught in this battle of should I even be writing this post? I mean doesn’t that seem silly to be writing to encourage others to be confident in their abilities when I don’t feel confident in mine… ahhh I digress… )
See, those habits are really tough to break. But I am trying! So if you are reading this, then I was brave and pushed the publish button!
But before I do that I also wanted to share one last thing. The author of Hebrews states,
“22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:22-25
I especially like the “spur one another on toward love and good deeds” part. It doesn’t say if you are perfect, or if you have mastered something then you may spur others on. It just says to do it. Come together and spur each other on. Meet together and do life together, even if it is messy. Not perfect, but real.
Anyway, I just needed to give myself a pep talk today and figured why not share it, maybe you needed the reminder as well. The reminder that we are good enough, just where we are, with exactly what we know right now, and with the unique experiences we have to come alongside others, to spur each other on and to do life together.