My Fab Fam

My Fab Fam
Photo by Thousand Hills Photography. Click on photo to visit their site.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Gratitude to Replace the Comparisons, the Guilt, the Doubt

The truth about my day:  I made scones and felt really proud and wanted to be like all my domesticated friends who home-school or volunteer three days a week at their child's school, make freezer meals so they never have to worry about feeding their families frozen processed pizza, constantly make crafts and scrapbook, have a home business or work outside the home, have their kids in 15 extra-curricular activities, have a leadership role in some type of ministry (or two...or three), and paint, decorate, or even make their own fabulous furniture and then tell us all about it on Facebook.  And, yes, that was an intentional run-on sentence!  Because that is what other people's lives look like to me on occasions.  On occasions like today when I am really struggling with the comparison game.  Other people can look like one huge, ongoing, never-ending, run-on sentence, with so much crammed into them that I wonder how they even find the time to breathe!  And I think, "What's wrong with me?  I don't even work, or home-school, or volunteer; I'm not in the Women's Club and my kids aren't in soccer, basketball, tee ball, dance or gymnastics.  We eat out sometimes and some days (like today) I just have popcorn for lunch."  So, I wanted to brag about how Holly-Homemaker-ish I felt and then follow that up with some false humility by claiming, "But really this is the only time-consuming thing I ever make.  Ever."  Pride.  It's an ugly thing.

Why did I want to brag about making scones?  Because making something that requires a pastry cutter makes me feel like a foodie (which seems to be respected in today's society, and which I am not), making anything that requires more than one bowl and one pot or pan makes me feel like Queen of the kitchen, and making scones is about the only productive thing I've done today.  I may have dried the same load of clothes three times because I left them in the dryer overnight to get all wrinkly, then I was talking on the phone this morning when the dryer shut off for the second time so I didn't get to hang them up immediately, and now they are fluffing again.  (, I do not hear the dryer anymore.  Hmmm, I see a fourth fluff in their future.  And a ridiculous electric bill in mine.  Wasted electricity.  Bad for the environment!  Wasted money.  Bad for me!  No guilt, no guilt, no guilt...)

I may have talked on the phone to a friend so long that I didn't feed my kids breakfast until 10.  I may have swept the kitchen floor with the intentions of mopping, but then I may have gotten sidetracked by my free Shutterfly photo book that came in the mail.  I may even still need a shower.  This is all hypothetical, of course.

But, by golly, I made scones!  And I wanted the world to know it!

Because I was feeling insecure about myself.  I was comparing myself to others, even thought we've already established that what we see in others is probably a far cry from their day-in, day-out reality.  Those silly comparison games crept in again.  Looking around instead of looking up.

And, when I look at my morning rationally, I realize how silly I am being.  I had not talked to said friend in MONTHS; so we were long over-due for some chat time.  That was NOT wasted time.  I also helped my man by proofing/editing something he had written, did some dishes, took out the trash, had some moments with my girlies...  You get the picture.  I did do some things today.  But that is the danger in comparisons.  We get so caught up in seeing if we are measuring up to others that we are unable to see our own accomplishments, or we get so bogged down in guilt that we are unable to recognize our legitimate weaknesses.

I have started occasionally reading Ann Voskamp's blog, A Holy Experience.  I like her.  I really do.  But she is also somewhat depressing to me.  I get a little overwhelmed when I read her blog.  And see all her serene pictures of fresh flowers arrangements scattered around her house.  While my garden produces weeds and black widow spiders and unwanted rose moss sprouts from the grout in my brick patio.  But I try.  I try to have a garden.  That must count for something.  And the wild rose moss is really beautiful.  Beauty right in the middle of the weeds.

Then there are the pictures of her kids swinging in hammocks.  And days playing on the beach.  And their life seems so romantic and beautiful and "holy."  And I have to remind myself of the great fun that was had last night biking, sliding, and swinging, tickling, and chasing, and spinning round and round until we stumble through the yard like we stumble through life.  As we staggered, drunk on life, we laughed in pure joy.  (May it be so as we stumble through life.  Oh, sweet Jesus, may my girls just be drunk with You, full to the brim, with joy pouring over!)

And then there are her children's lunches, packed with sandwiches that are wrapped in Scripture.  And I cling to that ONE time that I made cute little baggies of Goldfish and dried fruit, clipped to look like butterflies.  And I have to remind myself, this isn't life all the time; she admits there have been days she's yelled and hollered over 'tossed socks and abandoned bowls and slammed doors and flipped up toilet seats.'  We all live in a fallen world, and sometimes we fall.  All of us.  We are not always working with intentionality.  (Yes, spell check, in my world that's a word.)  Not always living on purpose.  Not always asking ourselves, "Is this eternally significant?"

And I read all about her riding around in the tractor with her husband while they hold hands and talk about their life.  I get a little sick in my gut thinking, "Why don't my man and I hold hands more often?  Do we not love each other as much as we should?"

Then I recall conversations I've had with my man, those sweet raw moments when we stay up late, chatting on the couch, sharing what's hidden inside our heads and hearts.  I think about those Sunday mornings when he puts his arm around me in church and I feel loved and happy and grateful.  I think about all those nights when my day-time composure begins to unravel during our evening routine, loosening bit by bit as we move dizzily through homework, supper, clean-up, baths, brushing teeth, books, Bible stories...until finally tumbling into bed, a heap of shredded pieces, and my man holds us all together in his arms, dissolving my stress with his embrace and praying for rest to make us whole again.

My man is for me.  My girls are for me.  This house is for me.  This neighborhood is for me.  This town is for me.  This light schedule of preschool, naps, and church is for me.  To renew me.  To shape me.  To make me.  My man's job is for him.  We are for him.  We are for each other.  Our church is for us and we are for it.  Our God is for us.  And we are for Him.  Made for Him and by Him.  To be His glorious inheritance while He is our portion.

At this time, this is where we are supposed to be.  And I remember what I need to get through the battles of this day.  Satan strives to trip me, and though I may stagger, by His Grace I will not fall.  Not today, because I choose, I MUST choose...

An Attitude of Gratitude.

Thank you, Lord, for directing my paths.  For bringing me to this place.  Here.  Today.  A slower-paced life full of deep breaths.  Opportunities for spinning ourselves into fits of laughter.  A man who catches me when I've let myself spin out of control.  Two girls who give me undeserved love and teach me more about unconditional love than anyone or anything else on this planet ever could.  You, my God, are good.

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