I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately. Thinking about life. Thinking about priorities. Thinking about my relationship with God and with everyone around me. Lots of thinking. Which is good’ish.
I’ve also been busy. Crazy busy. Trying to get everything done. By myself. A self-imposed punishment, if you will, for not being the mother, the wife, the friend, the child of God, that I know I am supposed to be. I’m taking on too many responsibilities, and thus, I’m lacking in everything I do. And to make up for the lack, I continue to take on more responsibility, trying to do penance in my heart. Trying to prove myself adequate.
But it’s all worthless. All futile. And I’ve been missing the big picture. I have been trying to prove that I can be disciplined and fit everything in. But I’ve made the mistake of making it all about me. It isn’t all about me.
I’ve had a warped view of God. Miniscule. Distorted. I still do. But it’s like a small light is beginning to shine. Like an idea that you almost have. I know it’s there, but I haven’t quite grasped it. I just have to focus on it, and wait. Slowly, it will come into view.
Over the past week, my job has been rather consuming. I’ve put in more hours than usual and they have been consuming hours. Hours where I can’t focus on anything else. And the kids have been bored. Can’t blame them. When Mama zones into work, life can be pretty boring. And so they’ve pestered. They asked for tv, xbox, gameboy, anything to distract. Anything to entertain. And then I become ugly mommy. Because I don’t like being pestered. And they just don’t understand how much I need to get done. Me. By myself.
God’s been bringing the concept of idols into my mind constantly lately. Hmmmm. The bible study I’m doing right now, all about idols. Yesterday’s sermon, about the consequences of letting idols slip into your life. Self-sufficiency is an idol for me. The need to do everything myself. My inability to depend on anyone else is in itself a dependency upon a false idol. And it destroys me.
I sometimes cry out to God asking him why I can’t hear him speaking to me. Then I stop to breath and I start to hear everything that he’s been saying that I’ve just been talking over. This has been one of those weeks.
This morning, I started cleaning the kitchen. It was in desperate need. Seriously desperate. Martha Stewart would have been very disappointed in the state of my house 2 hours ago. And as I started to work, I started assigning the kids tasks as well. And, for the most part, they accepted the tasks with vigor, going above and beyond what I had asked them to do. And the house was cleaned more quickly than I could have done on my own. And that was my epiphany.
Not that I can use my kids as forced labor, helping to accomplish more in one day. No. The fact that by involving them. By not doing everything myself and grumping at them for being in the way and pestering me about their boredom. By giving them something productive to do, they felt important. They wanted to prove to me that they could do what I had asked…and more. They wanted to be like me.
But I don’t want them to be like me. I’m not a very good example. But I want to be. I too want to prove myself. I want to prove to God that I can go above and beyond the small tasks that he gives me. That I can be worthy of bigger tasks.
But I’m beginning to realize that I can’t be ready for God’s tasks until I let go of some of mine. I have to give up. I have to give up control, self-sufficiency, independence, security. I have to give up my life. Because who I am cannot co-exist with who God wants me to be.
I cannot be the mother that God wants to me to be — training up my children in the way they should go — if I am consumed with doing everything myself.
I cannot be the wife that God wants me to be — humble, supportive, honoring — if I am overwhelmed and absorbed in my own world of self-imposed busyness.
I’m still struggling. Too much of myself is still fighting for control. It scares me to let go.
But I’m aware. I’m listening. And God is speaking.