Wednesday, March 18, 2015

When I Don't Want to

Today, I don't want to get up.
I don't want to wake the kids up.
I don't want to pick out their clothes, brush their hair, pour their cereal, pack their lunches, hurry them off to school.
I don't want to have responsibilities today. 

What I want to do is go on strike! Could everyone just take care of themselves today?

It's a ridiculous notion- a momentary grownup temper tantrum. My grumpy mood probably stems from feeling spread a little too thin and a little too tired...and maybe even a little too taken for granted.  Understandably, I don't just pop out of bed every morning with a chipper outlook and abundant motivation to do a mom's work.  

But I have to show up- not just because my family needs me, but also because God calls us to serve others (Matthew 20:28, 1 Peter 4:10)! He also asks us, "to work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for The Lord rather than for people (Colossians 3:23)."

This is real, honest-to-goodness life, but somewhere, if I look for it, there is something perfectly awesome- even in this secret moment of rebellion. 

So how did I rescue my morning? I took extra long to drink my coffee before waking up the kids.  I turned up music and busted out terribly desperate dance moves at the breakfast table.  I forced myself to fight the "flight" instinct and push through. 

I also remembered this great letter that Paul writes in Romans 7 that is so frustrating it's comical. Most versions translate the Greek into something like, "Why do I always do what I don't want to do and don't do what I want to do, etc."  I read through The Message for another possibly, less confusing way to say it:

"It happens so regularly that it's predictable.  The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up.  I truly delight in God's commands, but it's pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight.  Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge...[Jesus Christ] acted to set things right in this life of contradicitions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different (Rom. 7:21-25 MSG)."

The good news is in the next chapter:

"...the moment we get tired in the waiting, God's Spirit is right alongside helping us along...He knows us far better than we know ourselves...That's why we can be sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good (MSG Romans 8:26-28)."

So today, like Paul, I'm embracing a Wednesday filled with my fragile humanity.  I'm confronting my not-so-pretty parts and telling them that they won't win.  I can do good things, even when I don't feel like it. When I'm tired, fed up, stressed out, annoyed, or too busy, I can still make good choices.  I can still do the right thing, because I have help and I am not alone.

And guess what?  Sharing this truth with my kids in the minivan on the way to school, was a funny teaching moment.  "See, kids?  Even Mommy doesn't always want to get up and go to school.  Even Mommy doesn't feel like doing things that she should do. But we do them anyway, because they are right.  Making good choices, despite your feelings, is still our responsibility and it is possible."

Heck yes!  Humbling yourself before your family is wonderfuly liberating and more powerful than any amount of preaching from pedestals. 

Let's get to work!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Twelve Years a Marriage

Dear Husband,

Our first year of meeting was like a sprint. We became friends fast. Fell in love fast. Got engaged and married fast. Had babies fast. 

But twelve years of marriage was 4,383 days long. Not fast. More like steady. 

Our shared life has required us to train for a marathon of loving one another through all kinds of weather, changes in terrain, and fluctuating emotions. 

We slowed down and acclimated to each new addition to the family. As job changes and relocations surfaced,we watched our steps and adjusted our rhythm. We have learned to pace ourselves in patience when disagreements arise, when pain comes, when emotions blur our vision. 

To win this race, we must continue to fix our eyes on the finish line, not getting hung up on temporary circumstances or personality differences. 

Because we're not scoring individual points for a race we entered together. Everyone else may pass us by on their singular paths to happiness, but we know that we have chosen a team philosophy. There is no "I." 

We have common goals and worthy motivations: With Jesus as our inspiration, we're carrying a light to the world and raising our family to love God and others. It all starts with us.

I'm so proud of us for completing another year! Still holding hands. Still cheering one another on. Still in the race.

Thanks for running with me.
With love,
Your Wife