I have my share of insecurities, but there is one that surpasses them all: insecurity about my parenting.
I want so badly to be a good mama to my daughter. I want to do all that is right for her…be all that is right for her. I want to be the perfect mama, which is ridiculous because I know that’s humanly impossible.
Other mamas seem to do it, though, so I feel I should, too. I see the Pinterest mamas who make motherhood look so pretty and the veteran mamas who make motherhood look so easy and the intuitive mamas who make motherhood look like an instinct, and I wonder if I could ever fall into any of those categories.
My fear, though, is that other moms see me as the unnatural mama who makes motherhood look like an impassable obstacle course.
I worry that the impression I give is that I either don’t care or that I’m just plain ol’ not good at it. I get overly defensive when people make suggestions or question a decision I’ve made, and when I see how other mamas handle certain situations I second guess everything about how I handle the same situation.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t always think I am a bad mama…but I’m always afraid that’s what other people think.
That, to me, is almost just as bad.
I found this verse a few years ago, and have sent it to countless mama friends since then:
He tends his flock like a shepherd. He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to His heart; He gently leads those that have young. (Isaiah 40:11)
Because here’s the thing: in nature, animals are instinctive. They know what to do when they have babies. They’re given the ability to care for them and don’t need to consult books and other moms and pediatricians for every little thing. The most natural mamas in the world are in the animal kingdom. Even sheep. They aren’t exactly known as the most intelligent of animals, but they still know how to mother. They just know what to do.
And yet…they need leadership. They need a shepherd to guide them. They usually have a physical shepherd, yes…but according to Isaiah, God Himself acts as the Shepherd. This speaks deeply to me.
Because as I lead my daughter through childhood and the teenage years , God is gently leading me through motherhood.
But here’s the hard thing for me: God wants to use other people to do that. He appoints shepherds to stand in the field with sheep…and maybe – just maybe – he appoints experienced mamas and intuitive mamas (and even Pinterest mamas!) to stand in the field with me.
Maybe it’s not just that God wants to speak wisdom directly to me. Maybe He wants to use other mamas to help deliver the message.
Maybe my self-conscious insecurity is actually thinly-veiled pride, and maybe those other mamas aren’t actually thinking anything about me at all.
Maybe they’re all feeling insecure, too, and maybe God wants me to stand in the fields with them.
Maybe my self-absorption is keeping me so focused on myself and my needs as a mama that I don’t even see what else might be going on.
Maybe? It seems like something God would intend. It seems just like God to want to shift my prideful focus on myself into humble attention to others. It seems like something God would want to do with us mamas.
So maybe I need to snap out of it. Maybe I need to receive advice and correction with more open spirit, because if I feel like I’m falling short, that might be the God-given wisdom I’m seeking. Maybe it’s my defensive spirit that makes advice seem like criticism. Maybe I need to look for ways to encourage the other mamas in the field with me. Maybe – probably – it’s all about more than just me. It’s about more than just my daughter. It’s about more than just motherhood. It’s about my entire relationship with the Shepherd.
I’m only insecure if I think my security is up to me. But God knows the sheep can’t handle it all themselves, and He certainly knows I can’t, either. With the gentle protective leadership of the Shepherd, though, I can relax into where I am and do what I’m here to do.
Because we’re in this together,