Do you ever that day, the one where the world seems to be spinning twice as easily for everyone else but you? Everyone else is a better parent, a better spouse, a better daughter, sister, friend? Everyone else keeps a cleaner, more efficient house? Everyone else is living a Pinterest life and you're competing to be the next contestant on Clean Sweep or Supernanny?
I have those days, too.
Even in my newly decluttered house. Even though I'm in cancer remission. Even though some people seem to think I "have it all" now because I'm balancing working part-time and staying at home, homeschooling my kids, cooking mostly all-natural or organic (supposedly), my husband smiles a lot these days, my kids seem to be healthy for the moment, and we finally have a church to call home.
Lean close, and I'll whisper a little secret: that's my highlight reel, sister. Truth is, I have pneumonia and a broken tailbone right now. I'd rather be in bed than anywhere else. I struggle to load the dishwasher once a day and get clothes drying on the line. Aaron is still cooking dinner most evenings, so I can collapse when he finally gets home to take over. Our finances will still be an unspeakable disaster until I get my first paycheck in October (and even then, it will be several months before we get things in order). The kids watch a lot of movies in the summer, and the only reason I feel moderately good about my mothering is that we live in the country and I can shoo them outdoors unattended for hours on end. We have the luxury of eating organic meat and dairy only because God provided some amazingly cheap sources for us from farmers we know, and the veggies and fruits we enjoy are mostly courtesy of my mom and sister-in-law who keep an immaculate organic garden next door.
And homeschool? I have only a sketchy outline of what we're doing for curriculum this fall. AND I have the luxury of being a second-generation homeschooler, so I get to relax a little more than those of you who are having a go at it from scratch. My mom did the homework and taught me how many moons ago, so I'm not stressing the details because I know it works. I have the PhD to prove her method is pretty effective.
Sometimes I need to slam my computer shut, get away from Facebook, Pinterest, and blogland, and remind myself that comparison has never done anyone an ounce of good. Getting good ideas to enrich your home from the lives and experience of others? Great! Piling on guilt and shame because your home office will never measure up to the single lady who runs a home business? Not so good.
Psalm 73 put this into perspective for me. Even David fell prey to this fallacy. He got caught up in comparing his difficult life of faith to the easy life he saw the wicked leading all around him. He got tired of trying to use His human wisdom to figure out how God could allow such inequality. He almost destroyed the next generation by spouting off about it. And then He went back to the sanctuary, and it all became crystal clear in the presence of the Lord.
For me, going to the sanctuary means unplugging myself from all the devices that compete for my attention. Sometimes it's a few minutes of prayer swinging on the front porch in the sunshine, listening to the sounds of nature and the kids' laughter. Sometimes it's sitting in front of a fan on my crisp, clean sheets, reading a Psalm and breathing in-out, in-out. Meditating. It's almost like a physical act of eating, taking one word, one breath at a time, two gifts from God, breath and bread. Savor each. Release. Repeat.
Next time you're spinning out of control in a world of comparison, feeling less than and starting to resent the life God gave you to live, try it. Go to the sanctuary and see what God has to say. I hope He makes it clear to you - the value and beauty and greatness of the moments of your today.
All in vain have I kept my heart clean
and washed my hands in innocence.
For all the day long I have been stricken
and rebuked every morning.
If I had said, "I will speak thus,"
I would have betrayed the generation
of your children.
But when I thought how to understand this,
it seemed to me a wearisome task.
until I went into the sanctuary of God;
then I discerned their end.
How they are destroyed in a moment,
swept away utterly by terrors!
When my soul was embittered,
when I was pricked in heart,
I was brutish and ignorant;
I was like a beast before you.
Nevertheless, I am continually with you;
you hold my right hand.
You guide me with your cousel,
and afterward you will receive me to glory.
Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
My heart and flesh may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
For behold, those who are far from you shall perish;
you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you.
But for me it is good to be near God;
I have made the Lord God my refuge,
that I may tell of all your works.
(from Psalm 73)
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