Today I introduce to you Lisa Littlewood! You will find many encouraging blog entries on life and mothering at her blog spot Little Writer Momma. There, you will also find a laundry list of magazines she has contributed to. She has also been featured in well known “Chicken Soup for the Soul”, which I think is pretty stinkin’ cool! Lisa herself is pretty cool as well, and is one of my closest and dearest Buffalo area friends. I first met Lisa at a women’s event and instantly knew I loved her and that we had much in common. She is the very first writer friend I had, and we both have young kids and musician husbands (who are also great buds). I think what connects Lisa and I the most though, is our ernest desire to better ourselves in order to be able to raise a healthy and strong family who serve the Lord. We both take the role of “mother” very seriously, and so, in many cases, as a result, our role as “writer” has been put on the back burner while we take care of the young ones.
Below are candid thoughts from Lisa on the struggles of keeping envy at bay while she watches and wonders how other women with children can “do it all”. Perhaps you aren’t a writer, but you watch and wonder how other women do what they are doing so well. Maybe you feel inadequate and envious. Let me assure you – you are not alone! Listen to what Lisa has to say, and her VERY wise advice on how to combat envy at the end of this post…
An Honest Take on Envy
The link showed up on my Facebook page one morning and I was surprised by how instant and guttural my response was. It was the link to a soon to be released book authored by an incredibly eloquent, fantastically sweet (I had met her in person!), instantly likeable woman whom I had heard speak at a conference several months back (she was not just a good speaker, but a ‘knock the ball out of the park’ kind of speaker to boot!).
She seemed, from the outside, to have it ‘all’: Great family, fantastic job for a large, impactful women’s ministry, and now a published book under her belt.
I would have been genuinely happy for her if she was say either 22 or 55…either without children, or with all of her children out of the house.
If she was in a completely different season of life…you know, the season that people tell you, when you’re in the trenches of motherhood, that will eventually come—where you will have time to clean your house, and go for that run, and see a current movie with your husband at the movie theatre on Friday night. Where you will have time to…gasp…attempt to write that book that has lingered in your heart! Or start that business. Or paint those pictures. Or write those songs.
But, as I read her profile and glanced at her perfectly chaotic family photo, my heart lurched a little bit more. She was not much older than me. She also had three children and they were young, almost as young as mine. She was a beautiful Christian woman and had somehow seemingly figured out how to do “it all”, while I sat at home struggling to get the dishes done and figure out how to add a Twitter widget to my small, poorly designed, unread blog.
I’m sure if you asked her she would tell you that she does not have it all together, and has struggles of her own. But seriously, how had she managed to do so much with the journey God had placed her on when I felt like I was doing so little, in the same amount of time, no matter how hard I try.
I was jealous. Very jealous.
Yuck. It feels so ugly just to say that. I didn’t want to be jealous! And I did want to read her book—it looked really, really good! But when I considered my own dreams and my seeming inability to move towards them in the midst of being home full time with my children, I felt defeated and discouraged.
Jealousy is the kind of thing you like to keep tucked away in a dark crevice of your soul. Maybe if you hide it there, like the mess in my front hall closet, no one will ever know. “Don’t open that door”, you say to your dinner guests. “The mess of my life will come toppling down on you”.
Don’t mention your book deal, or professional successes, or the fantastic ministry or website you managed to create while your toddler clung to your leg and shoveled cheerios into her mouth, the mess of my heart might come toppling all over you.
When I think about this little thing called jealousy in light of a bigger thing called relationship, I realize how detrimental it can be—especially within the church! God does not want that for us, and more specifically God does not want this for me. He calls me to something greater: Contentment in my season of life. Gratefulness for the blessings I do have. Trust that he knows the desires and dreams and wishes of my heart and has a plan for my life that will most likely look very different than that of her life, and her life, and her life.
My envious feelings about her success serve only to create walls and divisions between her and I—two sisters in the body of Christ! How un-unifying my selfish, distracted, jealous perspective was.
But God is bigger and I am praying for renewed perspective. I’m thanking Him for great speakers and fantastic books that are encouraging women in big ways. I am asking Him to use me where and when He can and in ways that He sees fit. I am trying to lay those jealous feelings at His feet as soon as they sprout from the depths of my heart. Heaven knows we don’t need those weeds taking root!
When I find myself in moments like that, I’m increasingly realizing how much I need a perspective shift. A God-sized perspective shift. I need to close my computer and open my Bible and soak in the promises that God has for me. I am learning to take my eyes off of myself, and off of other people, and place them back where they belong…on Him.
Create in me a clean heart (one that doesn’t have ugly envious junk hidden in the corners), is the prayer of my heart, and renew a right spirit within me.
Here is Lisa, with her husband Scott, and their three beautiful girls, Ava, Ella and Aubrey.