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*Asterisk

3 Nov

My confession is that I think I owe you an amendment from yesterday’s post.

The end line read: ” How much more can I do when I stop believing in the lie of perfection apart from Christ?”

While there isn’t anything inherently wrong with that statement, it needs an asterisk. One of *these.

The problem with it is that you are so much more than what you can DO or accomplish.

Let me say that again, in case you still believe that a kitchen that lacks a dirty dish, perfectly behaved children or a Master’s degree defines who you are:

You are so much more than what you can DO or accomplish.

Part of my problem is trying too hard to DO and not hard enough to BE. I know that’s one of those cliche sorts of things that are said at women’s retreats and before we all go walk a labrynth and hold hands and talk about Thomas Merton. Look, I know. But it’s true.

Stop DOING.

(Reminder to myself and others like me: all your DOING, apart from Christ is dust. Quit worrying so much, Control Freak. Quit the illusion that you are a god. The Unwinnable Contest is painfully and destructively concieved in that place.)

There will be pulls in many directions, perhaps more than what you even realized. But here is the secret….I think. I’m not sure. But I think this is it.

We too often talk about the “being” as if that means “being alone” or sometimes “being alone with God”. And while I think these are important things, I also see a strong Scriptural argument for “being”…with each other, in community.

But instead, we are busy DOING in community. Rush here. Schedule there. Plan this. Have dinner with these people. Remember to talk about this with so-and-so. It’s a rare moment of beauty when we allow ourselves to just BE in the presence of another human, despite our flaws, instead of trying to prove something to that person and to ourselves. It’s rare because it’s risky. It makes us vulnerable. It’s scary. (I don’t like to admit fear, though I fear more often that I think I’m even aware of.)

I don’t know how to do this NOT DOING very well yet. As evidenced by my post yesterday, I am very good at keeping up with the “doing”. The “being” doesn’t come as naturally or as comfortably for me. (I wonder if that is true for other women? Or men as well?) And I can easily do “The Freeze” (you know – the one that happens when you get overwhelmed and do nothing, but you justify it by saying you’re meditating, when you’re really just looking up mindless celebrity gossip?). Yeah, that’s not what I mean by the NOT DOING.

This NOT DOING is intentional, whether alone or with each other, for the sake of renewal and growth and rest.

But I guess this is a good place to start to practice this “being” while not insisting on doing it perfectly first.

(See what I did there?)

This weekend, I will intentionally practice the presence of others, *being* with them, to the Glory of God. Even at the risk of doing it imperfectly. May grace abound all the more.

BRING IT.

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Nope, I’m not pregnant, but it would be hard to tell by my blog reading.

25 Oct

(No, I am not pregnant. Just to reiterate.)

I have this sort of weird addiction to mommy-blogs. After going on five years of a mostly-hiatus (though I was sure it was more like the Arrested Development kind of permanent hiatus, not the Parks and Recreation kind, just waiting to come back, because weren’t blogs on the way out anyway?), I now am a regular visitor on a dozen or more blogs.

It didn’t really start with all the mommy stuff, (though some of that is interesting for reasons you can read below,) but honest-to-goodness, those blogs have all sorts of good information about general life-organization and planning. And I seriously don’t know what’s happened to me. I used to be pretty disorganized and carefree about it (much to the annoyance, I’m sure, of roommates, friends and family), but somewhere along the line I got all systematic. I realized that systems and organization can save you some time and energy (though not always, but most of the time), and when I’m running around like crazy-pants from morning til night, it would be impossible to function as an adult without some sort of systems in place.

And so I read said blogs (not all “mommy-blogs”, it’s just that most of them are moms), and I envy them greatly. I know the grass is always greener and such, but fact is, I long to be at home with my (currently-non-existent) kiddos, making a home. Some of you probably think this sounds very unlike me. Sometimes I think it does sound very unlike me. But it’s not. I’m turning 29 in a few weeks. I remember my mom when she was 29: I was 7 years old. And while I’m infinitely thankful that I didn’t have kids at 22, I’m a little sad that my kids won’t really know me as a younger adult. And we haven’t even started on our first. What about the last of the kids (assuming we have a few)? Gracious, I’ll be that old mom that begs the “is that your grandma?” questions. Eek.

Fact is, we aren’t at that place yet. Ben is still working on school, and we’re waiting – which we realize is only kinda partially up to us, God can do what he wants –  til he’s done with his degree, and can better support a family.  I am in a job I really enjoy.  I get to be a mom to 50+ kids who need some extra mom in their life. We have a new house, and heaven knows the house still needs some love! And no kids means that we are able to have friends over like James today, who just spent the day hanging out with us while I cooked for tomorrow night’s Soup Swap (which I’m excited about!). Not that kids mean that can’t happen anymore, but it allows us to minister in ways we won’t always be able to. I realize that.

So in the mean time, I read blogs. I file them generally under “homemaking” in my bookmarks. Most of them are about that. And I can do that without kids. I can make my house a home for the people we love now, and for the husband who I dearly love being a helper to. I can cook up a storm, repaint stuff, remodel stuff, organize and plan. I don’t need kids for this. And maybe I will be thankful for having read the words of those who have gone before me.

I did think….Why are so many of these blogs (Simple Mom, Small Notebook, Inspired to Action, Passionate Homemaking, Fly Through Our Window, Life…Your Way….and so many more of my favorite blogs and meta-blogs) ONLY by moms? There are several DIY/home blogs by single/kid-less women, but it’s hard to find homemaking blogs (that aren’t just cooking or something specific) that aren’t partially mommy blogs.

And then I realized – It’s because we have jobs. At least, I think this is the culprit. Which isn’t to say moms don’t – they have much harder jobs. But, speaking only for myself, having a job (one that I go to, one I get a paycheck from), means that I often feel like I do my “homemaking” job…poorly. Or at least…less professionally. I don’t have time to bake bread from scratch when I get home at 7pm, need to cook dinner and then go to bed, squeezing in time to prep for weekend women’s ministry planning or thank you notes that I owe people from August, and oh-please-gross-ew-what-happened-to-the-bathroom-I-JUST-cleaned!? Lots of the best homemaking blogs (I have no better term for them…if you have one, let me know), are great because their writers confess their lack of perfection. But what if you feel like you can’t really speak with any authority because you literally don’t have the time to invest in your work? And what kind of readership can you get if you readership is all hard at work at their own jobs (assuming they aren’t reading blogs at work!), and feeling they aren’t exactly adequate at their “home job” either? Why feel worse about it?

I don’t know the answers. I know that it can easily become an idol, and I have to keep it in check. There will always be things that will try to pull at my heart that are disguised as good things (and some are), but they compete in my heart for the space only Jesus was meant for.

For now, I wake up each morning, grab my coffee, Bible, Jesus Calling app (thanks, Darby!), and comfy robe, do my best to complete my Hello Mornings challenge for the day, and do my best to say prayers of thankfulness that I have no crying babies yet to interrupt that gift of solitude and joy and time for growth. Nothing is wasted, especially not times like these.

And please stop asking when we’re planning to “start a family”.