Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Keeping It Real

      This week I am under the weather again.  What does that even mean, "under the weather"?  I am shooting up Afrin every 12 hours to be able to breathe through my nose.  It seems to be my drug o' choice that does the trick and allows me to pretend that I am not sick and carry on with all the things I think I need to do.  And, many of them, I do need to do.  I need to care for my children, feed them and clothe them and love on them when they jack their little faces on the sides of tables.  (Poor Bella.)  I need to make sure we have food to eat, clothes to wear and keep our house picked up.  I am the Mom.  These things fall to me.
      But, what about all the other things?  The things I want to do.  The things I think I should do.  There are so, so many of those, and sometimes, I feel like I start to crack a bit under the strain of my own expectations.  I have these expectations that I can and should do it all.  I want perfection.  Is that too much to ask?  I want (in no particular order) to have a clean and beautiful house, clean and cute children, a wonderful marriage, deep and satisfying friendships, the best birthday parties, great ministry, a sense of personal style, fitness, folded laundry, a cute blog that people like to read, a potty-trained daughter, an intimate walk with the Lord and then time to craft to my heart's content at the end of each day while I leisurely take in the latest episode of my favorite show.  And, sometimes I trick myself into thinking that this is attainable.  What is wrong with me?  Why am I so broken in my heart?
      I have always been an "achiever."  I am a first-born child.  I have always looked for the quickest, most efficient way from point A to point B, and I have had success in doing this in many areas of my life.  But, life is not about efficiency or how many things I can cross off of a list in one day.  That is not how God measures my time, and I want to be more about what he wants in my life.  It is all his anyway.
      So, the question that is echoing in my heart and mind this week is, "How can I make more of God and less of me?"  I am naturally bent the wrong way to want to make the most of myself, to think that I could possibly have any good without him.  As John the Baptist prayed in John 3, "He must increase, but I must decrease."  Somehow, decreasing sounds painful and hard.  Just as I have always sought after efficiency and success, I have always shunned pain and trials.  I have valued and do value my comfort far more than I should.  "He must increase, but I must decrease."
      Instead of pursuing perfection, I want to be pursuing more of Christ.  More fullness.  More joy.  More love.  And sometimes, more pain and suffering, because he promises to be near to those who suffer and count it all joy.  It goes against the grain of this girl to really want that, but that is what I feel God is putting on my heart.
      So, that is where I am this week.  I am planning for Lily's party and wondering about all of my priorities.  I guess I can be a little intense at times - at least, that is what one of my friends told me this morning.  Also, my mom tells me this, so it must be true.  Mothers never lie.

And, I firmly believe that every post needs a least one picture, so here are a couple of the girls.  I love the story that these pictures tell.

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Also, is Lily's apron not the cutest?  Thanks, Aunt Ellen, for making such a sweet gift that she loves!

3 comments:

Elizabeth said...

Carol, I'm a lot like you in this way. I'm a firstborn, and I have pretty strong opinions of how I want things done and also how I want my house, my kids, etc to appear to others (except the birthday party thing because I suck at those). I'm proud to say I'm an over-achiever:) I know that having four kids has mellowed me (in a good way) so I worry about these things less and less, but it's still something I fight all the time. What I've concluded and come to be at peace with is this: I am in a season where saying yes to my family and saying no to other things is something I have to be comfortable with, or at least try to be. In other words, all those good (great!) things I want to do are sometimes things I just can't do without sacrificing my own sanity or the peace in our home. A big one for me is quality time with friends. It happens, of course, because in many ways it's something I need, but sometimes it looks different than I want it to. Maybe friends come over after our little kids are in bed, or we do a weeknight dinner at our house instead of a weekend dinner out. I think there are things that us moms truly need that we have to get creative with and find a way to make happen (I'm an introvert so if I don't get down time I literally start to lose my mind. My sister is an extrovert so she has to be very intentional about getting out of her house at least once a day. I could stay home for days and never leave). Anyway, I totally understand what you're saying in this post. The fact that you recognize these things about yourself and care about changing them says a lot about your great character!

Amanda said...

Carol,
I had actually read this post right around the time I posted mine about the same topic...I think I was on my phone, and commenting is laborious via Iphones:)

But...I SO can relate to the flurry of thoughts on a daily basis about all the things I want to do, need to do, "should" do...it becomes quite overwhelming sometimes that I simply sometimes do...nothing. Which leads to a whole nuther ball of wax.

David and I are really talking thru what's important...how to KEEP it important, what to let go of, what to hang on to. As a family and as individuals. It is sometimes painful knowing good things have to go.

Sounds like from Elizabeth's comment and so many I've read over the last 2 days over at my blog...that the majority of us moms are in the same boat, but rarely talk about it! I long for authenticity, and appreciate your post, knowing we are not alone in this thing!
Amanda

Mom Spenst said...

Carol, it's interesting that you would include the verse from John because that is the verse that I have been praying for myself and the family. It so goes against the flesh but it is what God desires. Thanks for being so honest.