when you wonder why you exist

i still wonder.

i wake up desiring to do something meaningful, something brilliant and good, and i go to bed wondering if i’ll ever live up to my own expectations, and i think: why is it that i can never get it right? and then i say my prayers, whispering belief in the only one who can be good. the one whose sole desire for me, every day, is to know how loved i am.

i am addicted to doing. to performing. to proving my worth, and my husband is content just breathing. he reminds me of my son this way, in love with the notion of living and doing it fully: by stretching out on a lawn chair and reading while i run around trying to prove to the world i matter.

“what is wrong?” he asks when he sees me crying into my cereal bowl and i don’t know how to tell him: i’m tired. i may not starve myself anymore, but my anorexic tendencies still show themselves through my need to control. my need to be something more than i am.

i want desperately to lay on that lawn chair and read. to hold my babies and breathe in their smell before they grow up. instead, i do the laundry, work on some articles and weep.

i’m praying for the strength to stop doing, and to start being. won’t you join me?

*i urge you to pick up a copy of emily freeman’s new book, ‘grace for the good girl’, which i’ll be giving away on my personal blog, september 16.*


18 thoughts on “when you wonder why you exist

  1. To be a human do-ing is easier for us moms and wives than a human be-ing… but at the same we know that it’s in the be-ing that we chose the better way.
    And Jesus replies, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

  2. Good stuff, Emily. Like Jacob, so many of us are wrestling to be…what God says we already are…His beloved. We’ll get there too because He doesn’t give up no matter how long we hold on for a blessing. Love your honesty. Love you. Blessings.

  3. Thanks for sharing this, sweet Emily. I can identify with you 100%. I still battle with control issues and I am incessantly doing more and more to try to prove myself. I’ve never felt good enough or comfortable with myself and wonder if I ever will. I very much fight those core issues at the root of my ED and even though they don’t manifest in that same way now, they are still quietly brewing beneath the surface. I’m so glad we have His grace to carry us through difficult places! You are such an inspiration and talented in a way that make me envious! You will never know how much of a blessing you are to me.

  4. oh sister, you are so not alon in this. the control, the need to matter, to prove that you matter, the weeping. I wish I could be content enough to just breathe. Thank you for sharing something so personal and so poignant for where I am right now.

    Karmen M
    washington state

  5. oh, em. i ache for you. somehow i have learned to accept me. and relax. and i see that for 40 years i carried burdens that god never ever intended for me to carry. praying for you, my friend.

  6. Oh can I relate! Doing everything I can to matter, to feel worth, to be loved, always falling short of perfection in my own eyes! “Where ever you are, dear mother, be!” wise words whispered that my mind won’t slow down enough to actually implement into my life.

  7. A few years ago, about 3, I started letting the laundry go. I stopped trying to control every minute – because the dirty little secret is that you can control every stinkin’ minute when they’re little. But when the littlest is 8 or 9 or 10 and you have teens – well, you are forced to let go of the control and hang on tight to faith. I wish I had realized that I needed to sit in the chair and read a book earlier. That’s why I love rainy days. Rainy days means no place to be, no soccer games, or practice. It means sitting on the porch, reading, knitting or just being. It’s like any new thing – it is so hard at first – and with practice, it becomes easier and more graceful. You are ahead of the game. You know what you need to do:) BTW – we control because we want happiness for those around us – except we can’t always do that, that is not our job.

  8. If Thou Indeed Derive Thy Light From Heaven

    by William Wordsworth

    If thou indeed derive thy light from Heaven,
    Then, to the measure of that heaven-born light,
    Shine, Poet! in thy place, and be content: —
    The stars pre-eminent in magnitude,
    And they that from the zenith dart their beams,
    (Visible though they be to half the earth,
    Though half a sphere be conscious of their brightness)
    Are yet of no diviner origin,
    No purer essence, than the one that burns,
    Like an untended watch-fire on the ridge
    Of some dark mountain; or than those which seem
    Humbly to hang, like twinkling winter lamps,
    Among the branches of the leafless trees.
    All are the undying offspring of one Sire:
    Then, to the measure of the light vouchsafed,
    Shine, Poet! in thy place, and be content.

    Oh, to be like a star, eh? Shining with the light we’ve been given, in our places, and content. This is my prayer for myself, and you, too.

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