“So they’re both napping?” asked my husband, incredulous, “Can you nap?” Quiet time has been pretty rare around my house since my eldest abandoned naps a year ago. Nevertheless, I cheerfully replied, “Nope, I’m going to bake some cookies,” because I knew that doing something I loved and making something for others was the best way for me to recharge.
Now the me of three and a half years ago would never have been able to confidently decide what to do with an hour or two of freedom. As a new mom, I was so worried about following the right advice and doing what moms should do, that I didn’t stop to consider what would help me to be the best version of myself. So, of course, I often wasted nap-time doing neither what I was told to do, “sleep when the baby sleeps,” or what I wanted to do, but generally stressing myself out no matter what I chose.
I have spent a lot of time trying to be the perfect wife and mother. I have pored over blogs and articles outlining the best way to run this or that aspect of a household. There are a thousand different “perfect methods” for every part of parenting, marriage, and spirituality. Trying to follow them all can be exhausting, disheartening, and downright impossible. After time and again failing to be “the perfect mom,” I finally realized that the right mom for my children was the one God had give them: me.
God did not create me to be someone else, whether it is the crafty mom on Pinterest or the fit movie star mom or St. Joan of Arc, if I spend my time worrying about why I am not her, I am wasting it. He has given me vocation, my family, and my personality. I have been created, as Queen Esther said, “for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14). When I work with my natural temperament and in my personal situation, instead of measuring myself up to another’s, I can begin to become the wife, the mother, and the woman my Creator meant me to be.
I recently took one of the Myers-Briggs personality tests that are all the rage and disappointingly found the result different from what I would have guessed. You see, I wanted to be the “fun” person, the spontaneous one that treats life like a musical. Sometimes I am! But I am also a list-maker, a rule follower, and a protective little mama. I enjoy creating order in my little home and taking care of everyone. Even though a simple description of a personality type could never embrace everything that I am, the sooner I accept the personality that I actually have, the sooner I can navigate its positive and negative aspects to become the best possible me.
This is not to say that “just being you” will solve your problems or stand in for morality; every personality type and every person has unique challenges, faults, and attachments to sin. Knowing what they are is part of knowing yourself and beginning the work of becoming the saint God made you to be. Ultimately, God does demand perfection. Conformity to holiness, however, does not look like a dull uniformity, but rather a dazzling rainbow of distinctive souls serving Him in their fullness.
God created you to be you, the perfect addition to His Heavenly family. The next time you feel like a poor imitation of someone else, the perfect whatever-they-are, hear the voice of your Father saying, “You are enough” and when you are not, “His grace is sufficient.”