Every day we wake up and fight our own inner battles. We keep them close. Occasionally they show through our actions, but we rarely let anyone see any hint of a weakness because we think no one else would understand.
I’ve held onto this idea for a year, out of fear of who would even let me know their inner struggle. Out of fear that I would share a struggle of my own and be scoffed at. Out of fear that maybe I am alone in my day to day battles.
I recently cast a wide net and waited … and wouldn’t you know, women responded with their hearts.
Women, we are not alone.
Maybe our walk is different but the feelings, day to day issues, burdens we carry — aren’t that much different at all. These brave anonymous women let me share a piece of their heart, to let you know-you are not alone.
If you could walk a mile in my shoes you would feel the constant concern of doing everything perfectly, high anxiety and sleepless nights of worrying. You would walk around thinking that you are not enough in your work, as a mother, daughter, friend and wife. You wake up daily at 2 a.m. worrying about what you might do wrong or who will point out your flaws. You would try to fix this by doing and joining everything which leads to over extending yourself to the point of exhaustion. Finally you break down and go to the doctor to get your anxiety medication raised and a sleeping aid at night. You pray to God that he helps you see clearly what his vision is for you. My meditation is running because in running you can clear your mind and not think about anything.
If you could walk a mile in my shoes you would be constantly analyzing every cramp and each wave of nausea because you’re unexpectedly pregnant and although overjoyed, you’re too fearful of miscarrying again to share the news. You feel very alone. You would walk around thinking about the possible due date and gender, but even more so you feel creeping anxiety and the fear of never finding balance in your growing family. You would try to fix this by focusing on peace and patience and finally accept that you do not need to have all the answers. The baby will arrive healthy and your family puzzle will have one more beautiful piece.
If you could walk a mile in my shoes, you would feel dazed, confused, stressed, and overwhelmed. My head is always full and rarely does it allow me moments of peace. You would walk around thinking of setting new goals but concerned about failure because you don’t like to fail. It makes you feel inferior when you should see it as a lesson learned and testimony. Despite these feelings, I know that I’m a work in progress and I continue to try to fix these feelings and behaviors through prayer and reflection. In reality 20 year old me HAD to happen to allow me to get to 42 year old me to know that life DOES get better, I get better and I will continue to get better. Why? Because 42 year old me has God, a great husband and a village of people who keep me put together even when the stress and chaos of the world tries to take over.
If you could walk a mile in my shoes you would feel the anxiety I have every second of my waking hours. You would walk around thinking that I’m crazy, there’s too much emotion for one person. I really don’t know how to fix this or move forward and feel stuck every day.
If you could walk a mile in my shoes today you would be feeling overwhelmed. It’s pouring rain, the dresser you just picked up for your daughter is getting soaked because you can’t get it up the stairs. She’s upset and you’re feeling like a failure because you’re letting it possibly get ruined. You’re arguing with your husband about just calling a mover while you’re thinking about the project you have to turn in tonight in your math class. Your youngest comes to you and says I have a really big project due tomorrow and I really need your help 20 minutes before you have to leave for said class and the dog just puked all over the couch he’s not supposed to be on. Now you’re feeling like you’re failing your kid because you’re putting your schooling above his as you are not going to miss turning your project in.
You feel a huge amount of guilt over trying to better yourself at what seems like the expense of your kids. You’re wondering just whose idea it was to get the dumb dog and if there’s a service you can call the come clean up the couch.
On your way to school you start to remember, for the millionth time, that every time you take control of your life you let doubt creep in. You forget what joy feels like and you spend more time worried or mad than you do when you remember that God has your back and He will provide for your needs. You promise your son you will get dad to help. You cover the dresser with a tarp and hope for the best. You turn in your project on time and you pray that tomorrow you will remember to let God drive. (Oh and the couch is still a mess but at least you can take the covers off the cushions and wash them.)
If you walked a mile in my shoes you would feel the hole in my heart that came from growing, loving, and then ultimately losing babies. You would feel your heart drop and start to burn from a trigger you weren’t expecting. You would hold back the tears in public and then lose it at home. You would long to hear your baby’s name and feel her kick one more time. You would try to fix this by keeping yourself busy so you don’t feel so sad all the time, holding it in until it all comes pouring out unexpectedly.
If you could walk a mile in my shoes you would wake up daily with concern, anxiety and some days depression. I walk around concerned about finances, and feeling pulled in every direction trying to make ends meet. This causes me to feel anxiety and not give 100% to my children which in turn makes me feel like a failure as a mom. I’m working to fix this by waking up to prayer, being intentional about spending quality time with my children and finding joy in all things despite my circumstances.
If you could walk a mile in my shoes you would wonder if you’re ever going to be accepted for who you are. You would try to make friends only to have hurt and rejection. You would pretend to be someone you’re not for awhile just to get a friend and then leave, exhausted from the work it took to pretend to be someone you’re not. You would be jealous of other’s friendships and begin to feel there is something wrong with you and doubt who you are. You wear a smile and act like you are fine, but you’re not. You would try to fix this by focusing on all your good parts, even if its taking a very long time for anyone to see or acknowledge your worth.
When you’re walking in a battle or feeling defeated, look around, that girl over there may be fighting a battle and needing a battle buddy.
Life is busy, full, exciting, frustrating and changes from day to day. Don’t waste a day letting your burdens drag you down- you are not your ashes.