Today’s post is from my friend, Jill Savage!
Jill Savage is an author and speaker who is passionate about encouraging families. She is the author of seven books including Real Moms…Real Jesus, Living With Less So Your Family Has More, the bestselling No More Perfect Moms, and her latest book on mom friendships Better Together.
Featured on Focus on the Family, Crosswalk.com, and as the host of the Heartbeat radio program, Jill is the founder and director of Hearts at Home, an organization that encourages moms. Jill and her husband, Mark, have five children, two who are married, two granddaughters and one grandson. They make their home in Normal, Illinois.
Now here’s Jill:
One afternoon my friend Sharron and I sat in my kitchen musing about mothering personalities. As a new mom, Sharron was trying to figure out the ins and outs of mom friendships. She was doing her best to not compare herself to other moms, but finding it hard at times!
Psalm 139: 13-14 reminds us that we are each unique creations. “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” So here’s a question for us to consider: If we are unique creations, why do we keep trying to be like someone we’re not and why do we insist that others be more like we are?
More than any other generation of moms before us, we have both the advantage and the disadvantage of being incredibly connected through social media. Because we are so interconnected, it’s easy to see who we aren’t instead of appreciating who we are. It’s also easy to see who others aren’t instead of valuing who they are. I Corinthians 12:4-6 reminds us, “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.” (NIV)
It’s verses 15-20, though, that help us to really see both the unity and diversity in the body. “Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.”
Can you see how easily we do this? We need eyes, ears, fingers, and toes–all kinds of gifts and talents–in our mom squad. Too often we whisper to ourselves, “I wish I was more ____________ (organized, spontaneous, creative, etc) like her.”
Pay attention to what kind of word you would put in the blank. It’s one thing to long to be more like someone from a character perspective. “I long to be more patient like she is,” or “I would love to have faith like you do,” are statements that can inspire us to become more Christlike. Any of the fruits of the Spirit found in Galatians 5:22-23 such as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control, are valuable for us to strive for as we draw closer to God. It’s okay to see them in others and be inspired to mature in that way. However, it’s hard to be inspired by Christ while we are mired in self pity. Do you want to be more creative, more musical, more artistic, more outgoing, or more spontaneous? These are temperament and personality traits that you and I were given when God knit us together in our mother’s womb. We have to embrace and celebrate who we are, resisting the urge to want to be someone we aren’t created to be.
We can also use our wishing to impose how we think someone should be. “I wish she was more ______________________,” is a thin-veiled attempt to disguise judgement. Too easily as we relate to other moms, judgement creeps in and stains our thinking. When we can’t accept the differences of others or we feel insecure when we’re around someone who has a strength we don’t have, our heart can easily slip into judgement.
What if we could really understand and appreciate who we are? What if we could better understand other moms and be more accepting of how they are different from us? How might that make a difference in our friendships?
For many things in life there is no right or wrong. There’s just “different.” We are each a unique “style” of mom. We need to know our style, and understand both the strengths and the growth opportunities of that style. This allows us to truly be better together!
Want to know your mothering personality style? Take the free online inventory over at www.BetterTogetherBook.org.
Comment on today’s post for a chance to win a paid registration to this year’s Hearts at Home conference! And don’t forget to check out Jill’s new book on mom friendships Better Together.