Esse Quam Videri ~ to be rather than to seem.
I have been having dreams lately where I am living in our old life in Oklahoma. And I am so stressed while dreaming and so relieved when I wake up.
Our life in Oklahoma was good in a lot of ways. It was just different. I was different.
For 12 years living in Oklahoma, I spent a lot of time "seeming" to be someone I was not. At the time I didn't realize that I was unhappy. I thought I was happy. But really, I was exhausted. I was exhausted from trying to fit in where I did not and trying to seem to be someone I was not.
In Oklahoma we had to dress the right way, attend the right things, teach our kids the right way, discipline the right way, keep our home the right way, entertain the right way, maintain our yard the right way. The right way was the way that someone else thought it should be. And I spent all my time trying to be that person.
And then we moved to Missouri.
Here, those things absolutely do not matter. I have never been more stress free. There is no one to impress, no one who cares, no one who dictates.
Here are a couple of examples:
To attend Easter service in Oklahoma, I would spend hours …. days, really, picking out our outfits. We had to be coordinated perfectly, because everybody else was. We never measured up, of course, because we didn't have the money for those really great outfits. We did the best we could so others would look at our family and think how cute we were. This was on Easter! How we were dressed should have been the last things on my mind! And if I was going to take the kids to a birthday party??? I wanted my kids to be the cutest ones there. I would stress about their outfits, sometimes buying new clothes.
This year, in Missouri, I didn't even buy us new clothes for Easter. I dug through the closets and pulled out clothes that didn't clash, and off we went to church to celebrate Jesus. We went to a birthday party a couple of weekends ago, and I didn't even pay attention to what they were wearing. Why did it matter? They were going to play at the park with friends … true friends.
In Oklahoma, Rick and I (mostly Rick) would spend our entire weekend working on our yard. We spent way more money than we had, and way more time than we should, trying to get our yard up to snuff in our snooty neighborhood. We tried and tried, but we could never compete. Our neighbors had the money to hire all of their work done. We didn't so we did it all ourselves. We did a good job under the circumstances. But it was stressful and disappointing.
We have a postage stamp yard at our house here in Missouri. It takes me less than 30 minutes to mow the whole yard. We don't have thousands of dollars of landscaping. But we have exactly what I enjoy. I am proud when I plant something new or when something blooms. And when I am done spending my time on my yard, I grab something to drink and swing on my porch swing admiring my work.
These are just a couple of examples of how I have changed … and most of it was in my attitude and perspective. Some of it did require some real change of our circumstances, however.
Rick and I walked to the grocery store twice this past weekend. Why? Because we could. Because we had time. We weren't overwhelmed with yard work or house work or activities. He mentioned on our walk that he feels like we were at our vacation home when he is in Missouri with us on the weekends. We have time for walks. We have time to watch an entire two seasons of a show on Netflix. We have time to cook out and make our evening meal the highlight of our day. We can go have fun watching our daughter play softball, celebrating her little victories instead of worrying if she is playing perfect enough to get a softball scholarship someday. We can take two hours to do a household project instead of spending an entire weekend doing it. And we can take a nap.
I have found who I really am, and I am happy with that. I no longer pretend to be someone I am not.
I am "being" the real me instead of "seeming" to be who others think I should be.
Esse Quam Videri. Who are you?