We used to have a beautiful coconut palm in our backyard. It was nearly as tall as our 2-story house, and for the first few years it never grew a single coconut. Then one year out of nowhere it started dropping coconuts like crazy, and we ended up with around 40 coconuts. The next year, it did the same thing… and then it died. Within a month of the last coconut hitting the ground the entire top of the tree just fell off, healthy green fronds and all. We like to joke that our tree gave too much at once, and in the end that’s what killed it. The tree gave everything it had all at once instead of spreading out its coconutty goodness, and it paid the ultimate price. It’s as if it tried too hard and just couldn’t take the pressure. It’s the giant topless trunk in the picture below. So sad. 😦
I’ve been feeling a little like that tree lately.
In October I took part in the 31 Days challenge, writing every single day for 31 days. I made it through the challenge, but over the course of the month I met other participants, and my opinion of myself slowly started to change. There were blogs on nearly every topic imaginable, and when I visited the other bloggers’ websites I was immediately disheartened by my own. Almost every one I visited looked so professional, so well thought out, so popular, so focused. Mine is none of the above. One woman’s site focuses on how to improve your blog and increase readership, and after reading every one of her 31 Day posts I started taking her advice and making minor changes on my own site. And while I think the minor changes were for the better, at some point I realized that overall I was feeling like a failure – because I’m not professional… well-thought out… popular… focused. Unfortunately the pressure of being an “acceptable” blogger started to eat at me, and I couldn’t think of a single thing to write… hence the lack of posts this month. Like my tree I gave so much to this site, and came up bone dry at the end with nothing left to do but let it die.
I don’t know if anyone else out there is like me, but when I start feeling like “less” in one area of my life, it begins to catch on in every other area like wildfire. It feels like I’ve caught a lack-of-motivation disease. Suddenly I’m “failing” at everything – the house… my weight… relationships… parenting… the list goes on and on. And at some point it becomes nearly impossible to pull myself back out of the “why bother?” mindset. Ironically, this is when I actually DO start failing at things. I forget appointments, let the girls watch TV for hours on end while I do nothing, ignore the messes piling up around the house.
I struggle with acceptance way more than I should – both accepting myself and needing the acceptance of others to make me feel better about myself. Most of the time I am happy and love my life. But too often I give someone else the power to make me feel like I’m coming up short. And it’s got to stop.
I’m not my coconut tree. I should be able to have seasons of fruitfulness; seasons where I give as much as I want to – and I shouldn’t feel like less because I can’t keep up with that momentum forever. I should be able to see my successes without the hope of others seeing it. I should be able to feel like I can give what I can when I can without worrying about letting someone down. I should be able to be okay with who I am – who God has made me to be. Without it killing me.
I am a hobby blogger, which means I write for fun – what I want to, when I want to – for my own pleasure. I am an unfocused woman, and I see no reason why my blog should be something I’m not. I’m going to space out my “coconuts” – what I have to give – in smaller doses, and I’m going to stop thinking that I need to meet other people’s standards of what I “should” be. And I don’t think I’ll be taking part in any challenges like that again.
In other words, get ready… the randomness that is Frozen Coke Fridays will be returning shortly. 🙂