A few weeks ago my oldest daughter came to me with a confession. She was pretty adamant about her dislike of an extracurricular activity and wanted to quit. As in…that day.
She knows our rule. The kids are welcome to try an activity but they must stay committed to that activity until they can exit gracefully. A sport for a season. Art club for the entire length of the program. Scouting for the entire scout year, etc… In this case, the activity in question is a commitment that takes her through the end of the school year.
I told her she needed to stay.
It was a rough week. Ups and downs, ins and outs of this argument she was determined to win.
And I was determined to stand my ground.
But it really had me thinking about the situation at hand. Why she would be so adamant to quit. And I had to reflect on a lifelong problem of my own that’s taken years for me to confront.
If I were to stop and consider a theme for my life in the last decade (yes, you read that correctly) I think I’d have to say it would be that of finding my confidence.
A lot has been involved in this journey. And while we don’t have enough time to dive into the details I am going to say that I began finding that something I lost so many years ago through life that’s been spoken into me, very specifically over the last couple of years.
There have been a few hard conversations. (Aren’t there always?) It’s been me and God. Me and my husband. Me and a few close friends. And me and a woman who speaks to me through the pages of her books.
Holley Gerth is incredibly gifted. I don’t know her personally, but I hope our paths cross one day so I can just tell her in person what she’s done for my confidence in the last few years.
So needless to say, when I received Holley’s new book, “You’re Loved No Matter What” in the mail a few weeks back I was excited. But I have a teensy weensy bit of a confession to make. I foolishly let myself think that Holley spoke all the life into me that she could. That she just couldn’t do any better than she already had in her previous books and I’d be reading some of the same words with a bit of a fresh twist.
Don’t get me wrong, we all need a fresh twist.
Yes, I’ll admit it. When I find a gem of a book I tend to think it can never be outdone. That God would send words through someone else this next go-around.
If you don’t already know where this is going you’re obviously sleep deprived and need to go grab yourself a cup of coffee and come back later because whoa.
was. i. wrong.
After all of my own personal flashbacks set in, I had to stop and consider the situation I was going through with my daughter. We were literally reliving the same problems I had as a kid.
It suddenly dawned on me what the issue was when I stumbled onto the following quote in Holley’s book: “God doesn’t hand out medals for performance. He hands out crowns for perseverance.”
You guys – this was in the beginning of the book. Not tucked away in the corner of a chapter near the end.
I knew the conversation I needed to have with my daughter. I understood that her struggle mirrored the way I felt about my talents all those years.
So there we were, sitting on the edge of my bed and chatting about talents. I told her that we can’t hide our talents from the world out of fear of failure. I told her that talents would never improve unless we put forth the effort to hone them. But that, even then, we might never hit this imaginary mark we feel we need to hit in order to receive praise. I carefully went over the words in Holley’s book and plainly stated the following: “There is no expectation on you but to persevere.”
I had no idea how much of an impact that statement would be for her but her attitude was adjusted almost immediately. (Thank you, Lord!)
Her obvious solution was to quit. But in all honesty, all she really needed was permission to tell herself that she didn’t have to be the best. She never once thought that perhaps she could stay in the game and have fun and never need to finish first.
Lily is 11 years old. I am two weeks shy of turning 38.
Not only was I wrong about the idea that maybe Holley wouldn’t be able to speak any additional words into my life than she already had, but I had no idea that her words could impact a girl so young.
“You’re Loved No Matter What” is exactly what my growing girl needed to hear. She was dying on the inside because she believed she was failing. Holley was here to help me tell her that she had the love of God…and the love of her family…no matter what.
And you know what? She hasn’t mentioned quitting again…
In my opinion, there’s truly no such thing as “too much encouragement.” While the old cliche “dog eat dog world” is probably the last example I’d like to be using in this post, it’s truly the most fitting. We women tend to have a way about us. We strive to be perfect. To hold our own next to the other career women out there. To the mamas who homeschool the seemingly perfect children. To the wives who put a perfectly balanced hot meal on the table every night at the same time. To the friends who make you a dainty little gift basket with all of your favorite goodies for your birthday, after you’ve given them a nice card. To the other mamas who master the art of fondant and whip up the entire cast of Frozen in cake form for their daughter’s birthday party.
…and the list goes on.
Yes. We do this. And it’s time to stop doing this because we truly are loved no matter what.
Ladies, I can’t think of a better way to usher you into this wonderful source of encouragement. I’d love for you to check out my friend Holley Gerth’s new book. I promise that it will inspire and uplift you, every page of the way… You’re Loved No Matter What: Freeing Your Heart from the Need to Be Perfect.
Disclosure: I received this book to review. I was in no way compensated for this review and all opinions are 100% my own.
I’m joining the following writers for these link-ups today: