Everyone's asked, so I thought it was finally time to explain a bit. I'll start by answering some questions I have been asked since I started using the phrase "worst little wife" :
No- I am not putting myself down.
No- I am not repeating something I hear from my husband on a regular basis (that one made me laugh).
No- I do not need to see someone to talk about my self esteem.
Now that we got that out of the way...
Here's the story.
I've been married for about a year and a half now (I know. I'm a baby.) About 3 months into marriage I fell into a deep depression. I couldn't be alone and didn't want to be around people. I was insecure about everything. I woke up with panic attacks almost every night- screaming, crying, questioning if God could be good. I didn't know who I was anymore. In a matter of months, the independent and confident woman my husband married was nowhere to be found and I didn't know how to talk about it with other people- so we didn't. The things I learned through this shaped the last year of my life.
I found myself in this category of women that I just could not find my place in. Who is Iesha as a wife? What does that mean? All of a sudden I had a whole set of expectations I couldn't meet and I was drowning. I had no idea how often I would feel entitled to receive love and simultaneously feel unworthy of love. I wrestled night after night with a guilt for being sad. It didn't take me a long time to pray about it, but it did take me a long time to be honest with myself.
I don't want to downplay depression. It's real. It's terrible. I do think that season had a lot to do with transitions, lack of sleep, nutrition, mental health, repressed memories and so many other things. But the most important result of the 'six months of darkness' was the revelation of a little secret I had nurtured and cultivated my entire life.
It probably started as a tiny seed of a lie. I probably knew it was a lie. And then I watered it and sang to it, and loved it... and it grew. And it grew and it grew and it grew. I had lived most of my adult life under the shade of this monster.
Lets call him my approval idol.
I didn't even know it was there. I had never considered myself someone who tried to please anyone. I was obedient to God, I made good decisions, and most everyone approved of my decisions so I was never confronted with people being disappointed in me. I wouldn't say people were even disappointed with me getting married... but I was anticipating my failure and too proud to admit I didn't know what I was doing.
Maybe it doesn't sound like much of a problem but to give you a little insight into how big this god I created was... the thought of failure crushed me. Broken-on-the-floor-face-down-ugly-cry- kind of crushed. I didn't know what I defined as failure necessarily, but I did know that it was too big for me.
I knew first about the idol one night when I wrote in my journal:
"God, I can serve you well or not, and I know you will always be there. But if I do not serve people the way they want me to, they actually might leave me"
I actually wrote that.
I'm not even sure what was going on that day or who exactly (if anyone) I was talking about. But this tells me something now... I thought it was a choice. I thought this idol was something I could choose over God and still be okay. And maybe that 'worked' for a while, but the bathroom floor was getting tired of me screaming at it, so something had to change.
I'd like to leave the details for another time. It really is a great story.
The important thing now if for you to understand that 'worst little wife' was born the day I surrendered my idol, laid it down, and walked away.
My whole flesh- every. single. cell. - wants to be the best. To strive, to win, to tell people about all of the mistakes I don't make. But the knowledge of my approval idol makes me remember that it's okay to be the worst. The best thing I can do for myself is to confess those shortcomings to the people in my life.
The outcome has been absolutely astounding... sometimes admitting you're the worst is the best thing you can do.
I'll always go first to make space for your story.