Wednesday, March 22, 2017

On Not Being a Quitter.

Gosh, yesterday I wanted nothing more than to be a giant quitter. I know I'm not the only mom to find herself here, but it still doesn't feel great.

I like to think I'm just very busy, maybe slightly over-committed, but this really isn't true in regards to time. It is extremely true in regards to mental energy. For some reason, our culture views the need for down-time, quiet moments, and private reflection as a weakness, for those who don't quite have it together enough. I know this is becoming less of an assumption as it used to be, but while it may not be looked down upon as much, it's still feels like people presume if you are capable of more, you are more worthy of high regard, or just better in general. I'm sure most of my friends and family would not say this flat-out, but I feel a pressure, or maybe an expectation, to fill almost every minute of my day with productivity and usefulness. Needs at church, needs in friendships, needs in my marriage, needs of my children, and the constant pull to do my absolute best in every single endeavor - lately it feels like more than my mind, body, and soul can tolerate.

Yesterday, nothing in particular triggered this quitting response, but at the end of every finished task, there was another task, sitting impatiently, waiting to be picked up and executed. Floors, laundry, schoolwork, dinner, fight-club interventions, etc. There just isn't enough of me to do it all, which is fine when you can hire out the cooking, the laundry, the learning, or the childcare, but those are things we haven't upgraded to quite yet. And for some reason, I'm too stubborn to give up my other endeavors to better balance the demands of my household - I'm still not sure what that means for my future, but I was definitely too stubborn about all of it yesterday.

I get in this funk where I look at all the things on my plate, and since they cannot all be done at maximum effort, I'd rather not do a single one. I long to quit everything. I dream about escaping to a magical, tropical island with little to no responsibility. I am not sure exactly what I'd do with all the time, or with any of my life at that point, but this all-or-nothing fire rages and consumes almost every rational thought in my head until I'm furious about the 10 crumbs that got knocked off a kitchen counter after I had swept and mopped. I sure hope I'm not alone.

Last night, while I was still taking deep breaths, breathing in my happy-oils, and trying to vent a little here on my blog, I started taking steps toward not believing all the lies that keep me in that all-or-nothing mode. Voices tell me that since I started something, I need to finish it. Assumptions linger about what that lady or this person thinks about my capabilities. My inner person taunts that if I can't be the best, I am wasting my time. Doubts creep all about, making me wonder what on earth I am actually doing with my life. All of these things going on in my head need to be shut out so I can enjoy what's going on right now, but I can't seem to quiet them as quickly as I'd like.

I have made improvements. I don't doubt myself as much as I used to. I am mostly okay with not being the absolute best. And I'm pretty darn sure my kids are on a great path, learning all kinds of important things and growing in their ability to think about the world. They have more opportunity than I did as a child, so my guilt over wanting to give them more needs to take a back seat. In order to talk myself down from this level of crazy, I work hard at telling myself the truth, because from there my path is far less confusing, overflowing with grace, and leads to the ultimate destination. But telling myself the truth has to be more than just a positive word, or an uplifting song. The only truths worth clinging to are the ones found in God's word. And if I'm not going there when I feel like quitting, I'm not filling up my mind with any sort of goodness strong enough to dispel the lies attempting to make a home in my brain.

So today, while I don't have any particular choices I am looking for wisdom about, I find that I need a general wisdom to help me know how to interact with my children, my friends, and my spouse in ways that show honor, respect, and sincerity. I need wisdom about what is right, on how to think more rightly, so I can act more rightly. And James 1:5 is a guarantee I cling to...

"If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him."

It's humbling to ask for wisdom when you don't actually want to change, but I know I can't stay in these trenches forever, wanting to quit every other day or acting like a jerk because I'm unhappy with myself. I'm not sure why it's so hard to ask God for good things. I know "good things" doesn't always  mean easy, fun, fulfilling, but the end results are always worth it. If I can just remember that God's ideas of absolute best is the only idea that matters, the only thing I need to embrace, my quitting days will be fewer and far between. I don't have to be the best, the most, the awesomest, or the greatest, just willing to embrace the here, the now, the ugly, the not-so-fun, and whatever else happens to show up. It will truly have to be God-enabled, but I'm pretty sure it'll be worthwhile.

I hope you can relate to this struggle. And I hope my struggle enables you to take courage in yours. It's not just you, it's not just your situation, and it's not just our culture. Our world is falling apart, and the only solid rock we have is God - His promises, His path of redemption, His love.

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