a failed attempt at the impossible.
A few days after my daughter was born my mother came by to see the newest edition to our family. I came down the stairs fully dressed, bright-eyed and bushy tailed and her first words to me were,“What are you trying to prove!?”
Surprised at the fact that I wasn’t in bed or at least on the couch my mother gave me some sound advice, “Honey, get some rest. You just pushed the equivalent of a small watermelon out of your body… and your not that big yourself. Give yourself time to heal.”
You would think that after 17 hours of labor, no pain medication and breastfeeding a newborn around the clock — REST would be a no-brainer. Yet there I was feeling guilty because I wasn’t getting up to go to the gym, or work, or school. An entire human being was dependent on me but I was blinded by the guilt of not being productive enough. This was probably the longest time I had spent in the house since I myself was a newborn and I was beginning to feel useless. postpartum you say? ...mmm not so much. Fluctuating hormones, and sleep deprivation wasn’t the problem either. This was a feeling I new my entire life.
……………………….The SuperWoman Complex……………………..
See I was always busy.Gymnastics. Band. Dance. Summer Camps. Art Class. Vacation Bible School. I knew not the beauty of tranquility. I wasn’t the kid who could be plopped in front of the TV for hours on end. My energy kept me searching for activites to fill the day. This small characteristic started off as a harmless desire to to be active. Which by middle school turned into a necessity to be constantly engaged, occupied, and involved and soon morphed into an addiction to being busy. Looking back, my mother was quite often saying, “relax yo’self, take a break, be still.” It’s to no surprise that by the time I was in college I was double majoring in English and Dance while taking 21 credits every semester. By this time my endless energy and desire to be busy in useful work became lethal. I began to blur the lines between accomplishments and self-worth and used my accomplishments to validate my worth. I was no longer participating in EVERYTHING because I was bored. I was participating in everything to prove I could do everything. To show, whoever was watching, that I can take 21 credits, work two part-time jobs, double major, sing on the choir, be the secretary of a student organization, maintain a long-distance relationship and still be a functional human being. But I was not functional. I was tired, and worse, I was relying on a false sense of self-worth. I had begun to treat my life like a résumé, the more I could list under “experience” the more validated I felt. At that time I was not able to see that God did not create us to be overwhelmed, overacheiving busybodies. I was clinging to the world for comfort and validation forgetting that all the things of this world will pass away and when that happens our “résumé” won’t count for anything.
So after having this beautiful baby girl I realized that I cannot become SuperWoman. But more importantly I was never meant to.
& of course there’s a slew of pyschological and literary discourse on this topic that breaks down the impact of social life, family, TV, history etc. on this phenomenon of the SuperWoman Complex. But sense I don’t have the time to familiarize myself with the entire index of psychological women’s studies I’ll remember this:
Matthew 6:33–34 ESV
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
Seeking the Lord first has helped me to commit my work to the Lord. When I truely seek Him first through prayer, reading, meditation etc. I then can reach a point of calm joy, knowing that my value isn’t based in superfluous works but in His will for my life.
I am slowly learning that God does not expect me to be SuperWoman. He is Super enough all by Himself.