Why Having Weaknesses Is Just Fine

I don’t know about you, but I get so discouraged sometimes. Writing this blog (and something else I’ve got in the works) has shown me something important: I’m only discouraged when I’m lingering in my doubts.

When most of my thoughts are centered around the I can’ts instead of the God cans.

It’s so easy to dwell on the impossibilities of life. You know, I’ll never be a great housekeeper. My best hope is adequate, and even that is unrealistic since lately, it’s just not a priority. I aim for basic sanitary conditions. Enough clean dishes to eat off of. Enough laundry cleaned to avoid public nakedness. I have a threshold I can live with of crumbs on my floor; when levels get too high, I sweep.

Sometimes, I beat myself up about this. I compare myself unfavorably to other moms who make housekeeping a priority. I call myself inadequate.

But the truth is, I’m me. And this is part of myself. I am the stereotypical internally focused, creative, “scatterbrained” artist and writer. And honestly, calling a person like me scatterbrained is only a half truth. I am not scatterbrained — I am intensely focused on things that no one else can see. And spending time dwelling on my weaknesses instead of my strengths only drains me of my confidence. But I digress.

My point for today is, it’s time to stop focusing on our weaknesses, people. We all have them, so what’s the big deal? Satan would like to convince us that they make us useless, but the truth is, they make us us. God knows about them, and He’s cool with them. I mean, He made us! He doesn’t want sin in our life, but since when is “not caring about housekeeping because I’m busy following my passion” a sin? It’s so not.

Be fully yourself.  It's okay.

So go, accept yourself just the way you are. God does, and who are you to argue with the King of Kings? When Satan tries to remind you of all your failures, tell him Yes, I know. But God loves me, and that’s enough.

And listen: Do the same for your kids and for yourself as a parent, if you are one. It’s so easy to worry about their development, especially when we get the feeling that even strangers in the grocery store are evaluating them, and by extension, us. But screw the naysayers. God created those kids with a purpose and a plan, and it includes their shortcomings, too. So let’s take the long view of what their positions will be in heaven, not here on earth. Every kid, every person, has enormous value. And it’s not because of what we can do; it’s because of who we are.

We are God’s beloved.

 

Are you in need of more radical grace?  There will be lots here, so you can always subscribe to receive all my new posts by email.  It would be super awesome if you did.

How to Cope When Stress and Worry Overwhelm You

What do we do when we’re overwhelmed by worry or grief? When we’re so stressed out that we want to disappear into our fridge, a book, or the internet? When we need to use every one of our old coping mechanisms to get us through, even if they’re of the wrong kind, and we know it?

How can we handle the stress, not only of the worry itself, but of trying to respond in a new way?

Listen to me carefully: God knows you are dust. (Psalm 103:14)

It’s one of my favourite things to say. I say it to myself, I say it to my friends. God knows you are dust.

He knows your weaknesses, frailties, failures, and He is not surprised by them. He is not disappointed by them. He does not think less of you. And He never will.

Nothing in all creation can separate you from God’s love.  (Romans 8:38)

So the first thing I want you to know is that it’s okay to be a desperate person, reaching out for help in the only way you’re accustomed to. You’re so normal.

The second thing I want you to know is that God is available, always, to help you. If you reach out to Him, He will not leave you hanging. But He knows your problem runs deep, and the fix won’t be instant.

Be as patient with yourself as He is with you.

He will lead you through the storm to healing, if you will let Him. Cling to Him, for however long it takes, and choose to see beyond your circumstances to the end. To heaven. To your real home. To His real purpose for your suffering: refining you into something even more beautiful. Making your heart into one that looks like Jesus’ heart.

He saves every one of your tears.

He doesn’t brush off your hurt or say you’re being silly.

He cries along with you.

I think He’d protect us from all suffering, like a mother tries to protect her child, but He knows, like a good mother, that some lessons must be learned the hard way. But He comes alongside us and walks every step of the way. He cries every tear along with us.

He is the opposite of indifferent.

I believe He feels it even more deeply that we do. After all, we are but reflections of God’s character. If we feel emotions as a reflection, how much more does God feel them? How does He survive the weight of the entire world’s suffering, when we can’t even survive our own?

He knows. He gets it. He’s been there.

And He cares. Deeply. For you.

So take a new grip with your tired hands and stand firm on your shaky legs. Mark out a straight path for your feet. Then those who follow you, though they are weak and lame, will not stumble and fall but will become strong.  (Hebrews 12:12)

Cry out for help, and then cling desperately to a promise from God. If you don’t know yet what God promises for you during your trials, go searching like a gasping man searches for a life raft. Satan wants you to do the automatic thing — reach for a snack, surf the web, play a video game. Those are the numbing things that leave us stuck and full of hopelessness, vague listlessness. We feel less, but we remain dissatisfied because instead of conquering the problem, we hide from it and pretend it’s not so bad.

God wants you, instead, to cling to Him. But how do you cling to someone with no discernible body, no audible voice?

You read His promises until the truth feels more real than the lie.

Until that truth sinks down so deep into your soul that it’s more a part of you than those old, automatic comforts ever were. You read them over and over again, and you choose to act on them. You lean your whole weight against them, hoping against hope that they won’t fail you.

And you pray to see your life from a heavenly perspective. From God’s view. From eternity.

You do everything you need to do to drown out the voices of failure, hopelessness, and not-good-enough. The voices of culture that tell us what timeline we must follow for our development, what we must achieve in order to be successful, and what eternally worthless things we should spend our money on. Our society shouts loudly at us. Read God’s word enough to make it grow dim.

I don’t want to leave you hanging there. There’s still so much more to say on this topic! Since the fix isn’t instant — it’s more like a slow, difficult, yet totally worth it process that will take the rest of your life — we need to talk about these things every day. In my case, I need to read about them and write about them every day. I need to mull them over. I forget the truth so easily. If you’d like to join me in being reminded, and you’re curious about the next steps, I invite you to sign up to receive updates in your email inbox so you won’t miss a single post. If you’ve read this, and you’re thinking, I want to believe these wonderful things, but I need more convincing, then please come back. There will be more. 

If you’re finding hope here, please do share with your friends. It’s amazing how many people are depressed alone, not wanting to admit their perceived failures to their friends. Sharing this message of hope from any source, whether this blog or somewhere else, could be just what someone you love needs to hear.  

The Most Important Person on the Planet is… You

I have been stuck in a trap of thinking of things I am not.

I am not like Jen Hatmaker, hilarious and irreverent, yet profound.

I am not a mommy blogger (even though I’m a mommy), who pins recipes and gives tips on organization or healthy meals.  ha!

I am not a great housekeeper.

I am not a fearless Christ follower, like I said I would be.

On and on it goes.  I’m not like my friend, who writes profound things about being a cancer mama.  I’m not a huge-platformed anybody.

But here is where I stop those ridiculous comparisons.

I am learning, remembering, that there are things that I am.

There are things I can do, things that I love.

I have strengths and weaknesses that are unique to myself.

There is no one else exactly like me, even though there are kindred spirits out there.

There is no one else who can tell my story, even though there are people who could relate to it.

I shouldn’t give up when someone else writes something amazing that I didn’t.  I should just write, create, paint, knit — whatever — because it’s part of who I am.

I am myself.

The one and only.

Who are you?

You are unique, and there is no one like you.

No one else has your story.

If you don’t share it with the world, no one else will.  And the world will be a poorer place for it.

We need each other.  No one is nonessential.  Replaceable.  Unimportant.

The world’s message to us is that there is always someone better, more important, more worthy.

Well, guess what?  That message is wrong.

In God’s economy, everyone is essential.  On purpose.  A crucial part of his plan.  An integral part of a larger body.

You have a voice, and you have a part to play.  Your part may be “small” in this life, but in the scope of eternity, there are no bit parts.

God sees every action, every bit of good done in secret, every tiny act of kindness.  He sees you.

And He says you have value that is so immeasurable that gold and silver weren’t enough to pay for you.  No, you are worth the very life-blood of God Himself.

Read that again.

You are worthy, beautiful, broken, redeemed.

And He has given you a voice, and a purpose, and something you are good at.

It doesn’t matter what your thing is.  Just do what you are made to do.

The world needs you to do it faithfully.

Stupid Bad Days

I haven’t written for a while because I read a blog post about blog posts.  It said, of course, that if you want your blog to be well-read, you have to have a picture in your post every time.

Well, I don’t have pictures here, and I stopped writing.  But you know what?  I don’t care any more.  If no one ever reads this, that’s fine.  This blog is for ME.  

So I can think.

 

This is another one of those days.  A day when I feel horrid, and overwhelmed, and angry with the mess and the responsibility of being a mom who stays home.  (My husband is so supportive and helpful, so all this guilt is coming from inside of me, not from him.)

I feel pulled in all different directions: keeping a cozy home (which sounds heavenly to me), keeping my kids growing into lovely adults, and keeping my own interests afloat.  I have lots of interests, and I love pursuing them.  One of them is even generating a teeny bit of income, and it’s the one I really want to put all my time and energy into.  But then I look at the dirty dishes, and I realize that it will have to wait.

And then I get angry at the dishes.  Then angry at myself for not just doing them.  Then guilty for wanting to work instead of work on my home.  

I also forget to eat a lot, which is silly because my mood is directly related to my food intake.  If my blood sugar gets too low, I start to melt down. 

And, my husband informs me when I wail to him that It’s all so hard today, it’s that time of the month.  That couple of days in the middle when I want to sleep and cry and can’t understand why life is so hard.

So maybe I should just leave the mess, just for tonight.  And maybe I should do the thing I love, and maybe I should give myself a break.  Just for tonight.  Just until my body isn’t fighting me and making me think that everything is too. damn. hard. today.  

Maybe.

And then there’s my friend.  My life is not hard; hers is.  Not mine.  I read her beautiful blog, and I want to cry for her.  I have cried for her so many times since her son was diagnosed with leukemia.  It’s not fair, and she can’t control it, and he is suffering in the hopes of becoming well again some day.  He is the same age as my small sons, and he is suffering.

And then I feel like a jerk for complaining about a stupid messy house.  Because it’s just a mess, and it’s just a house.  

But then I remember this, and I stop — for a millisecond — I stop being so hard on myself.  I’m allowed to have bad days, too, even if they’re stupid.  

But my goodness, I need some perspective sometimes.

 

Are Christian Retreats Good, or Wasteful?

I had a moment this morning.  A lovely moment when I started thinking deeply and hearing from God while I was unloading and reloading the dishwasher.

Then I sat down to write about it so I could think it through some more, and I got distracted by Facebook.

Almost an hour later, I’m almost caught up on my newsfeed, and I’ve lost my earlier train of thought.  I wonder how often I long for deeper connection with God, for understanding, and I lose all chances of that happening because I get distracted by social media.  But I will leave that thought for another day.

I have a chance to go on a retreat this weekend, and it sounds absolutely heavenly.  A weekend away, having my meals served to me, having special time set aside to hear from God — which I so desperately need — and even having quiet time being pampered.  I think I could use that, too.  This mama is overtired and under-relaxed from having a family full of sickness for the last two weeks.

I’m an introvert.  If I don’t get some quiet time to recharge, I tend to melt down eventually.

But I feel reluctant to go.  Is it okay for me to spend that money on myself instead of on orphans in China?  I feel like we North American Christians are too self indulgent, like we (I) have too many excuses for buying nice things for ourselves instead of feeding people who are starving to death.

And yet, I feel like maybe God is calling me to come away with Him.

I so desperately need to hear from Him, to reconnect.

Can’t I do that at home?  I wonder.  I don’t know.  So far, all my good intentions haven’t resulted in anything special happening.  I want to walk, day by day, with Him.  And I think that in many ways, I do.  But in many ways, I don’t.

What a shocker.  I am imperfect.

I have had most of my most profound revelations on retreats.  Either that, or during long periods of quiet time and thinking time.  (I don’t get that very often lately at home; not in this busy, wonderful house full of small people.)

So, Father, I need to meet with You.  Not in a quick, surface way, but in a deeper, recharging way.  I feel this deep longing in the middle of my chest to hear from You clearly, to have myself revealed again, to be laid bare and made clean from the inside out.  To receive some indefinable “thing” from You so that I can return home renewed and flowing life.

Maybe I need to trust my finances and my two-year-old to my Father and just go.   I’ll think on it some more.

If the answer seems obvious to everyone except me, feel free to weigh in.

Moving a Mountain, One Piece at a Time

My gift to Jesus on his “birthday” last Christmas was to change the next thing.

I had no idea what it would be, but I figured there must be something else I needed to work on, some area of my life He might like to refine.  So I said okay and gave Him permission for the next thing without knowing what He might ask of me.

Well, let me tell you something:  He is speaking to me lately.  He is making His message loud and clear.

Writing here about my tendency towards being overwhelmed has really gotten me thinking more deeply again.  This, combined with a huge internet conspiracy where everything I read seems to relate to one topic, has convinced me.  The next thing in my life is named Discipline.

It also goes by the names of Diligence and Perseverance.

 

Reading The Introvert Advantage taught me to accept my lower energy levels.  I’m not lazy!  I thought gleefully, I’m merely introverted.  

A burden of guilt lifted from my shoulders, and it put me in a healthy place to realize something today:

I am, in fact, somewhat lazy.

I’m laughing as I write this.  It sounds so ridiculous.  To learn self acceptance first, just so I can finally admit my laziness and ask God to help me change it, seems so… counter intuitive.  Crazy, even.  But there you go.  I finally stopped obsessing over the guild-laden issue enough that I could step back and see it more clearly when the time came.  Today, I can confess to you that I am a sluggard.  And I can confess it without guilt or shame.

I feel remorseful, and I want to change, but I don’t feel crushed under the weight of it.  Amazing!

 

So how can I, a person with low energy levels and a lack of self discipline, become less lazy?

Well, I happened to read Proverbs 6:6 a couple days ago:

Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise!

And the lovely thing was that it came in a non-condemning package:  What to do when you’re overwhelmed.  When the task is too big, and you tremble in fear at its size.

Look at the ant.

It moves mountains, one grain of sand at a time.

It just keeps going, plodding along, carrying that one small speck.

And eventually, something big has happened; an anthill has been made; a colony housed; tunnels created.  A mountain has been moved.

 

Consider the Ant.  overwhelmedlife.wordpress.com

Photo Credit: Damgaard, (TheObsessivePhotographer.com) via Compfight cc

 

I can do that.  I can move one small grain of sand.

Lord, please help me develop diligence.  Enable me to stop giving up, to stop making excuses, to begin to just do the work.  To break down the task into small bites instead of trembling in fear at the mountain.

What do you do when you’re overwhelmed by the tasks at hand?

Just Add Sunshine

Apparently, the posts about the Emotional Train Wreck and Mind Control were for me.

I sooooo needed to hear them again, to really mull them over.  Writing about them made me realize that I’ve been almost completely emotion-driven over the past months.  I’ve been letting my feelings dictate what I do.

“I don’t feel like tidying up tonight.”

“I don’t feel like cleaning the toys again.”

“I hate this stupid laundry.”

“I’m so tired of arguing with my children.”

Well, no wonder everything has been so hard.  I’ve been talking myself out of things before I even begin.

 

Writing about being powerless has also made me realize that the concept I used to love had become another burden.  I loved how when I admitted my powerlessness to change and finally gave up, God stepped in and helped me.  I guess I had assumed that I only needed to be powerless once, and then everything would be smooth sailing.

It turns out that I am powerless to even enjoy being powerless any more.  I didn’t even want to go back there.  I was feeling ashamed that I was so powerless, so unable to keep on walking in the truths I’ve learned over the years.  I couldn’t embrace the concept because I hated that I needed it.

Oh, the silliness of it all.

 

Realizing how I’ve been letting my emotions drive me, how I haven’t been monitoring my thoughts and kicking out the bad ones, how I’ve been striving to improve myself on my own without actually working to improve — well, it all added up to me surrendering to God.  Again.  I don’t know how I’ll keep doing it every day; I wish that one act of surrender would blanket my whole life, but it won’t.  I suppose I need to accept that, too.

A couple days ago, the sun came out.  The worst of the winter days are behind me, and I can see the hope of spring ahead.

 

 

Mind Control

Oh yes.  I said it.

We are going to learn to control our minds.  If you haven’t been following along, read yesterday’s post, The Emotional Train Wreck.  Or not.

Either way, here we go.

I love this concept.  It was so new to me when I first heard about it.  I had no idea that I could control my thoughts.  Didn’t thoughts just pop, unbidden, into my mind?  How could I control something that could pop?

The short answer?  Practice.

The long answer makes more sense.

When I learned that by controlling my thoughts and putting them in the engine of my train, I could control my emotions instead of having them control me, I started to see a light at the end of the tunnel.  (ha. ha.)  But I had never been disciplined in any area of my life, ever.  In fact, I think it’s one of the things I still struggle with the most.  (Right up there with self pity and greed.)  So how could I learn to control anything, let alone those random thoughts?

Well, I found the answers in my Bible.

 

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.  Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect His will really is.

Romans 12:2

That verse told me a couple things:  that I could be become a new person by changing the way I think; that part of that change comes from being different from “this world”; that when I think more like God thinks, I’ll see glimpses of the bigger picture and start to understand that He’s actually pretty awesome and not a big, mean killjoy who dooms all His followers to become missionaries in hot, dry places with weird food.

Also, it’s not me who does the transforming.  It’s God who does it, as I let Him.  He doesn’t force me to change; He helps me to change.

 

…God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.

2 Timothy 1:7

I learned from that verse that even though I lack self-discipline, that’s okay.  I don’t have to manufacture it on my own.  God has given me the spirit of self-discipline.  If I rely on His Spirit in my life, He will provide it.  As a friend of mine says, I do my 2% by showing up and being willing, and God does His 98%.

 

Spend your time and energy in training yourself for spiritual fitness.  Physical exercise has some value, but spiritual exercise is much more important, for it promises a reward in both this life and the next.

1 Timothy 4:10

I find that verse about spiritual training so encouraging.  We don’t start out ready for a marathon; we have to practice running, bit by bit, building up our stamina, our muscles, our lung capacity.  It’s the same with spiritual training.  I shouldn’t expect to excel at self-discipline overnight.  I need to keep practicing it, even though I’m so feeble at first.  I need to keep practicing putting my trust in God, turning to Him when I’m in need, remembering to reach out for help… The list goes on.

 

…When the Holy Spirit controls our lives, He will produce this kind of fruit in us:  love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Galatians 5:22-23

There it is again!  Isn’t it lovely?  Self-control is a fruit of the Spirit.  If we are living now by leaning on the Holy Spirit, He will give us the self-control we need.  And that includes controlling our minds.

In more practical terms, it looks like this:

A strange, negative thought jumps into my mind.  Instead of letting it slip by and join the chorus, I examine it.  What was that I just thought?  Where on earth did that come from?

Then I judge it.  I measure it.  Is it worth keeping and entertaining, or should I throw it out?  I use this standard to decide:

Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right.  Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable.  Think about things that are excellent or worthy of praise.

Philippians 4:8b

If the thought fails that test, I know I can discard it.  But how, exactly, do you discard a thought?

Well, Jesus told a really bizarre-sounding parable that warns against leaving a “house” empty.  It had to do with casting out demons, and how getting rid of one and then cleaning out the house but leaving it empty was a bad idea because then it would just come back with all its friends and everyone would be worse off than they were before it left.  What I take from that parable is that if I’m kicking out a bad thought, I need to replace it with something good.  I can’t just leave a void there because who knows what will fill it.  I need to choose what goes in there.

So, let’s say I’ve just thought something depressing like, “It’s too hard.”

If I’m vigilant, I’ll eventually (or quickly) realize that all that negativity bouncing around in my head is bringing me down.  I’ll say to myself, “I’m thinking It’s too hard.  No wonder I feel so hopeless.”

I may even say out loud, “It’s not too hard.  That’s a lie.”  Sometimes, saying it out loud is the best thing to do ever.  Darkness always flees from the light, and bringing a bit of hopelessness outside of myself really shines the light on it.  And then I can see it for what it really is: a lie.

Then, I’ll replace it with a good thought.  I find that replacing it with its opposite, true thought works best for me.  In this case, a good true thought would be

I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.

Philippians 4:13

And then I mull that one over in my mind for a while, repeating it, savouring it.  And actually asking God to help me live it.  To give me that much-needed strength.

And He always does.

Always.

He has never, ever let me down.  I may forget in the next minute or so what I just did, how I just triumphed.  But God doesn’t leave.  He is there, waiting for me to reach out to Him again.

Moment by moment.  Minute by minute.

I triumph one minute, and then fail in the next.  And I don’t always remember to reach out right away.  But when I do, He’s there.  Helping me train.  Encouraging me to grow stronger.  Giving me a strong talking to when I need a pep talk or I’m off course.  Giving me a gentle acceptance when I’m frail and weak and genuinely too tired to run.

The LORD is my shepherd;

I have everything I need.

He lets me rest in green meadows;

He leads me beside peaceful streams.

He renews my strength.

He guides me along right paths,

bringing honour to His name.

 

Even when I walk

through the dark valley of death,

I will not be afraid,

for you are close beside me.

Your rod and your staff

protect and comfort me.

 

You prepare a feast before me

in the presence of my enemies.

You welcome me as a guest,

anointing my head with oil.

My cup overflows with blessings.

Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me

all the days of my life,

and I will live in the house of the LORD forever.

 

Psalm 23

 

 

How to Avoid The Emotional Train Wreck

I need to talk about the Emotion Train now.

It’s a big deal for me.  Learning this was… eye opening.  Liberating.

I was always controlled by my emotions.  If I was feeling sad, or blue, or angry, or frustrated, or listless, or restless, or just generally on edge, I would wonder, What’s wrong with me?

Surely, I thought, that I wouldn’t be feeling that way unless something was wrong.  But I always assumed that the wrongness had to do with my circumstances, or the people around me, or the heaviness of life.  And I would either try to fix the sense of listlessness by doing something new, like changing my hair colour or buying new clothes; or I would wallow in the emotion, listening to music that echoed my feelings, treating everyone badly, and justifying all my nastiness in the pursuit of making myself feel better.

I was led by my emotions.  I sought them out, like prizes.  If I was upset, I sought happiness.  And when happiness eluded me, I got angry and impatient.  And so I fed my anger, and the whole world reacted badly to me.  So I felt hurt and tried controlling them, so they’d behave in a way that would make me happy again.

Then, one day, I learned the truth about emotions.

The truth is this:  Emotions are not the truth.

Let that roll around in your mind for a minute.  Emotions are not the truth.

Too esoteric?  What does it mean?

Let’s imagine a train.  The train has three parts:  an engine, a passenger car, and a caboose.

The engine drives the train.  The passengers are along for the ride, and the caboose brings up the rear, just following along and enjoying the trip.

There are three workers on the train, and they each get to sit in one of those train cars.  They don’t share.  They are Emotions, Thoughts, and Actions.  Only one of them can drive the train.

If you let Emotions drive the train, then Actions follow in the second car, and your Actions are wholly emotion-driven.  Thoughts are hanging on in the caboose for dear life, wondering where on earth we’re going here and hoping Happiness can take over because Anger is a terrible driver.

Let me fill you in on a secret:  our trains were never meant to be Emotion driven.  When we let Emotions drive our Actions and Thoughts, we have no control.  We’re just along for the ride, and it’s bumpy.  Really bumpy.

But when we put our Thoughts into the engine, Actions and Emotions fall into place neatly behind.  And guess what?  We can control our Thoughts.  And our Thoughts, in turn, control our Actions.  Then, our Emotions sit contentedly in their place, merely remarking on the scenery of life.

Try it.  Next time you’re feeling down, ask yourself not “Why do I feel this way?” but “What am I thinking right now?”

If you’re repeating my personal litany of I’m not good enough, I’ll never be good enough, It’s all too much, I can’t handle it, I need help, Why is no one helping me?, I give up, then guess what?  I bet you’ll be feeling horrible.  I know I do when I think like that.

Tomorrow, more on the amazing idea that we can control our thoughts.

When Life is Too Hard

I’m becoming more aware of my thoughts again, now that I’m writing about them.

I’m not just coasting along anymore.  I’m noticing things.

Specifically, I’ve noticed that I say one certain phrase to myself, over and over and over again:

It’s too hard.

Somehow, I’ve incorporated that hopeless little thought into everything.  It’s a good reason not to try, I guess.  To explain why I’m so tired.  Why I should just give up, and why that’s okay.

It’s too hard.

But, darn it, when I look at it in writing, it looks stupid.  A tiny, little, lame excuse for not trying to live my life to the fullest.

It’s too hard.

Who cares?  Why do I care that it’s too hard?  Why don’t I just do it anyway?  Why don’t I do it because it’s hard?

Why don’t I tell myself, If it’s too hard, then it must be important.

Why don’t I start to say, If it’s too hard, then God will have to do it through me.  I get to see Him be strong in my weakness.  

Why don’t I acknowledge that life will always be hard?  If I can really let that sink in, and accept it, then I can move through it.  I can decide to live in the difficulty of life.

The messiness.  The annoying arguments of my children.  The recurrent conspiracy of the dirty dishes and the pile of laundry.  The husband who is less than perfect, just like me.  The time that gets away from me because I spend too much time feeling sorry for myself that I can’t just do what I want to all the time.  The constant battle of my mind of worthiness versus despair.

Life is hard, darn it.  And I don’t think I’m alone in this.  Everyone must have stuff that’s too hard for them, some of it big, some of it small and insidious.  But all difficult.

God didn’t give me my temperament and then leave me to drown in it.  It is what it is, and I believe there’s purpose in it.

So, do you hear me, stupid “too hard?”  I’m giving you your notice.  I’m spending one more day fighting against you.

And with God’s grace, I’ll remember to say no to you tomorrow, too.