Want to feel badly about your mothering skills? Attend a homeschooling conference. I felt like I was a fairly decent mother until I met a few of those uber moms. They homeschooled multiple children all while sewing their family’s clothes, running a farm and a side internet business and not only baked their own bread, but ground the flour to make the bread. Seriously?! There was no way I could do half of that and I was only homeschooling one child.
On the other hand, want to feel like the best mom in the world? Pick up almost any newspaper regularly and you will find plenty of stories about mothers headed to jail because they abused their children in horrific ways. In comparison, we look like mother of the year on even our worst days as moms.
The problem is mothering isn’t about comparing yourself to others, nor is being a Christian woman. It’s about the godly potential He gave you and what you are doing with that potential. It’s about the opportunities God places in front of you and what you do with those opportunities.
Needless to say, I was very interested when given an opportunity to review the book Distinctly You: Trading Comparison and Competition for Freedom and Fulfillment by Cheryl Martin. Martin believes we let our tendencies to compare ourselves to others mute the person we were created by God to be. She divides the book into two parts. The first deals with twelve things she believes block you from being “uniquely you”. The remainder of the book deals of course with “distinctly you builders”.
The blockers chapters include things like letting others define you, making God too small, being spiritually apathetic and more. My favorite chapter was probably the one on fickle feelings. I love that she took the time to discuss the fact that our feelings and emotions are not the most reliable way to make important decisions about what is godly and/or what God wants us to do. She is one of the few people I have seen who is ready to call out feelings as suspect and encourage readers to go take those feelings and match them to scripture. She uses the example of Deborah and Barak to point out how Barak’s emotions kept him from destroying the enemy God had assured him he would defeat.
On the builders side, one of my favorites was her chapter on adjusting our attitude. As someone who has a tendency to want to “help” God like Sarah, I really appreciated Martin’s reminder that I need to let go of my “script” for how things should be and be flexible enough to really follow where God leads me.
Martin shares not only her personal journey in many areas, but also plenty of examples from scripture. She also provides questions at the end of each chapter that would be appropriate for personal reflection or to use in a small group Bible study.
I believe there is enough material in this book to ponder even for those of us who are fairly self-confident in living our faith and using the gifts God has given us to serve Him. If you find you really struggle in some of the areas she covers, I think she gives you enough practical advice to help you begin moving towards becoming the person God created you to be.
This book was given to me for free in exchange for my honest review. An affiliate link is included for your convenience.