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.

 

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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.