I mentioned in my last post that I’ve been in a weird place lately. I didn’t elaborate much because I wasn’t even sure what to say.
I’m probably still not totally sure, but I am committing myself to speaking out more. To telling my story. To sharing my perspective. To contributing to the epic narrative by saying my lines.
There’s no bravery in shrinking back and staying quiet and hiding out on the sidelines with a million things on your mind and no balls to say them.
So here I am.
It’s embarrassing for me to even start like that. I’ve written multiple posts about how I have so much to say and how I feel my words are trapped inside me and I’m going to let them out.
Blah. Blah. Blah.
It’s always the same thing after that….maybe one or two heartfelt posts and then radio silence. Still putting words to my thoughts every single day, but shrinking back from posting any of them.
After finishing Elizabeth Gilbert’s book Big Magic, I had a revelation…
I enjoy writing enough that I feel it’s worth doing even if no one ever cares and even if people think it’s crap or that I’m a narcissist. Writing is one of the few things that brings me to tears. I cannot get my hands on enough writing about writing and I’m moved deep inside when I think or dream about writing and much of the time when I sit down to write. So I’m just going to do it. For real this time.
Why am I even telling you this???
I have consciously decided not to care what you think. This is nearly impossible for me, but I’m making the decision.
In fact, much of the odd place I’ve been in lately is a little prison of my own making. The prison of worrying about what I should be doing or how I should be living or how I am living looks to the world at large.
The best part is…no one even cares!
I’ve heard the quote a million times, but I’m finally starting to believe it.
“You wouldn’t worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do.”
Thank you Eleanor.
I’m convinced I also wouldn’t worry so much about what others think of me if I realized what God really does.
That He fully knows me and deeply loves me.
THAT is what life is made of.
I’m so grateful for my church. Grateful that I somehow managed to get myself and the 3 kids there at 9am despite the fact we all got out of bed at 8:27am.
That right there was a straight miracle.
And there was even room for Drew in the nursery, which is not always the case.
The Lord must have known I needed a little uninterrupted time to hear from Him. That I needed to be reminded of the truth.
Life is to be found in Christ. Not anywhere else.
The most interesting thing about this idea is, I thought I knew it.
I thought my heart knew it, not just my mind.
But it turns out I had forgotten.
Maybe not even so much that I’d forgotten, but I thought I was going to Him for life.
I thought because I knew life was only to be truly found in Him I was doing it. I didn’t think I was going to lesser things to satisfy me.
But I was deeply unsatisfied.
Granted I’m in an intense phase of life raising 3 kids, homeschooling one of them, and holding down the fort while my husband is gone for months at a time.
That is draining and it won’t always feel satisfying.
I should probably accept that truth and allow myself to acknowledge the hard thing I’m doing.
I was living a life lacking joy. I was battling anxiety and dread all day long.
Little things were setting me into a panic. I felt overwhelmed from the moment I opened my eyes in the morning until the moment I closed them at night.
I was daydreaming about what I thought might make me happier. I was thinking about how my life would be different (happier?) if I wasn’t a stay at home mom to what feels like a gaggle of children.
What if Andy and I didn’t have kids? What if I worked full time? What if I was the writer I dream of being? What if I was doing a better job parenting and it was therefore easier? (myth)
Lots of what ifs. Lots of trying hard to just be happy. To be content. To be satisfied.
I even would go so far as to tell God, “Ok, I’m here. I’m not going to food or wine or tv or whatever to fill myself up, so what do you have for me?”
::waits two minutes::
“Nothing? Ok then. I guess you just feel like being quiet. I guess I’m just not positioning myself properly to get what you have for me. Fine.”
I figured I’d just wait it out. I’d just keep moving forward, probably edging God out a little until He was ready to get to me. I was feeling pretty hopeless too. Feeling like I must have the answer to the problem and that it just wasn’t working.
But this morning at church I realized what I was doing.
Follow me for a minute…
I’m pretty sentimental and very nostalgic. Fall tends to bring this out in me more than most other times of year. Certain meals, smells, sights, activities, family time, decor, have made impressions on my memory and I feel like I’m always trying to make sure this fall is as sweet as those in my past.
Adding more decorations to the living room, pumping fall scents throughout the house (cannot wait for my cinnamon, clove and nutmeg oils to arrive!) and making cozy dinners like roasted chicken and spicy chili with corn bread are all attempts at creating a reality that makes me feel warm, fuzzy, and happy.
I’ve daydreamed about how fun it would be to homeschool my children one day. I pictured us smiling at the kitchen table, working on handwriting, phonics and math with smiles on our faces. I imagined me being the best teacher ever and them being so thankful that I was taking the time to be their teacher.
I used to fantasize about being a mother. Staying home with my children and loving every minute of it. Meal time, bath time, play time. All of it was idyllic. They were obedient and grateful. I was patient and compassionate.
I think it goes without saying that my reality is different than those rose-colored imaginations. That has left me a bit disillusioned and frustrated.
I just have to try harder. I have to do more and be better. Then it will all work out.
LIES. ALL LIES.
I have fallen into looking for life in:
- my home and it’s cleanliness and cuteness
- my homeschooling experience
- my children’s behavior and attitudes
- and as a dear woman at church put it, the experiences of my 5 senses
True life, abundant life, is only to be found in Christ.
In what He has done for me. In how fully He knows me and how deeply He loves me.
I’ve been looking for life in all the things I’ve mentioned and then I’ve slathered a layer of Jesus on the top and I’ve wondered why I’m not feeling connected to Him. Wondered why I don’t feel rest and peace and freedom.
It’s not about Jesus frosting.
I cannot just layer Him on top of all the things I’m really going to to make me feel happy. They are rotten wells with salty water that just makes me thirstier.
He is living water.
Today I drank deeply from Him and have felt more peace and joy that I have in a long time.
Thank you Father for your grace and mercy.
Thank you that you are truly all I need.