Can I confess something for a minute?
Sometimes, I feel like I am too much for people. I feel like I don’t fit into any box or category perfectly, and I struggle with that at times.
I’ve talked about how hard it is to answer the question, “What do you do?” and in a culture where we are quick to label EVERYONE, I find myself wanting to rebel, and REPEL, every label put on me because it just isn’t representative of my whole story.
Yes, I’m a SAHM; yes, I’m a Christian; yes, I’m a wife; yes, I love getting my hair blown out, but those labels do not even come close to summing me up. And within each of them, there is SUCH a spectrum that I find myself wanting to qualify which type of Christian I am (a Jesus follower) or what type of wife I am (one that considers my man an equal partner and does my best not to nag him but rather celebrate him).
I’m tired of the labels. And these things have been weighing heavy on my heart lately, and I just don’t want to live behind the thought that you might think of me one way, even though I actually am another way.
So take it or leave it, here are some things you might want to know:
- I’m a SAHM that sucks at domesticity. I also believe that this is the hardest job I’ve ever had, I contribute virtually zero dollars to our household bottom line, but have come to terms with the size of my paycheck (or lack thereof) not being tied to my worth
- I love Jesus but I cuss a little
- I love my children (with every ounce of being I have), but they drive me bat shit crazy at times
- My marriage is one of the most important things to me, but sometimes I give it the least amount of my effort.
- I was born to be a leader but often find myself sinking to the back of the room, not wanting to be noticed.
- I take medication for anxiety (that I never had or experienced PRE-kids) and still occasionally feel like it’s because I’m not trusting God enough with it
- I believe in a Jesus that has a seat at the table for every walk, race, gender or preferred life partner, but not everyone I’m surrounded by, or involved with, shares that same belief
- I believe in radical generosity but also want accountability from the organizations and people that ask us to give to them
The Challenge of Embracing All of Me
It is a constant struggle to embrace ALL of me and trust that I am exactly who I am supposed to be. In fact, when I look at all those things, I cry. And I’m not even totally sure why I cry (maybe it’s that time of the month…who knows). For some reason though, I hold myself to an unspoken Christian standard of “perfection”. And maybe it’s because people aren’t talking about their imperfections loud enough, ESPECIALLY within the church. Or maybe it’s simply because I haven’t engaged with people deep enough yet for them to feel comfortable sharing their crap, because I’ve shared mine.
Vulnerability breeds vulnerability, but I have to be secure enough to go there first with my people.
I was not designed, nor were you, to be all things to all people. But goodness gracious that is HARD to accept. It is HARD to accept that I’m a mom chasing after my kids’ hearts, which means we allow (and don’t allow) certain behaviors or activities in our house, and that limits us in friendship. It is HARD to accept that people don’t like me because I’m a different “brand” of Christian than they think is appropriate.
You May Take Our Lives, But You’ll Never Take Our Freedom
The reality is though that I AM a different brand. I’m a different brand of SAHM, a different type of wife, a different type of Christian, and that’s HOW IT IS SUPPOSED TO BE. Please don’t ever follow me on social media and compare yourself in a negative way, or let my (sometimes) cute outfits or posed smiles fool you.
No, I need grace just as bad as you and I no more have it figured out than the next girl. It would literally break my heart to know that my life via this platform was causing harm to someone else. Mainly because I know how crappy that feels. And also because if you ask any one of my real-life friends, they will tell you that I am just as NORMAL (read: messed up) as the next mom.
I want you to feel freedom. This is what you were meant to experience in this life. I want you to feel chains fall off that you don’t have to be all things to all people, including your OWN people (yep moms, you are not the end all be all for your kids either!). Your purpose is unique to your gifting and will result in a unique contribution that only you can make. Maybe you’re offended by rap music, but it pumps me up. NO BIG DEAL. There is no box or label that will encompass all of you, and that is okay.
I’m done apologizing for who I am. I’m also done housing the insecurity that I should adjust my internal fire, passions, or natural gifting to accommodate someone else’s expectations of me. This is how we were meant to live. Freedom. Why?
Because the reality is that the more you bend and change for someone else, the less of you you will see.
This will never bring you joy, and will never lead to those feelings of acceptance and purpose that we all crave. Rather, our job is to lean in to who we are and be bold in that. You love to cook? Come move to my house! Just kidding, sort of. But own that – don’t be ashamed! You love to workout? Come teach me – just kidding again, but seriously please give me that gene. You are a Republican who is pro-life and supports inclusion? Love it! Buck those stereotypes! This is who we were meant to be if that means that you get to be all of you.
We will never fulfill our purpose, or experience the freedom and joy that we have privilege to access at any given moment, UNLESS we come to terms with accepting and loving our full selves.Ashley Carbonatto
Trusting that there is no part of us that was made on accident. It’s not an accident that I love Jesus and rap/hip-hop music. It’s not an accident that I’m a SAHM who identifies more with women’s rights than domestic endeavors. These are all characteristics and traits about us that were on purpose.
So this is my ethos. This is the full me. Take it or leave it.
You won’t be for everyone. I’m not for everyone. And I think I’m finally okay with that. But know and trust that you are not alone – your people are out there. The quickest and fastest way to find them is simply to be yourself. Let the guards down, embrace the parts of you that society may hold in tension and contrast. These things make you you, and we need you. Just like I finally learned that we need me too.