Thursday, May 21, 2015

On Days Like This One

This day. My goodness. So busy. So crazy. So many positives. So many frustrations.

We woke up to a beautiful day
bright and early, with a crabby teething baby.
The kids wanted to go outside
but our one family vehicle died in a friend's driveway Tuesday and today I needed to make phone calls.
We found a place that looks great to work on the car
but I needed to be the one to call so Josh could go to work. And my phone stopped working and needed a total reboot, which takes time - more time than I had with my two fussy children.

So I went for a walk to the playground with the kids
because I didn't have a car and couldn't take them anywhere else.
Got some great exercise pushing the double stroller with the kids in it and really enjoyed the sunshine
despite the scary hooded teenaged boy lurking around the whole time we were there.

Big Brother A ate a good lunch in a reasonable amount of time when we got home (big win!)
with a sugar drink called a "yogurt smoothie" that I pretended counted for dairy since we ran out of milk two days ago and don't have a car to go buy more.

I made the phone calls to get the car fixed
while Big Brother A yelled and tried to get my attention
and to get the car towed
while Baby S wiped out next to me and needed to be soothed while I talked
and to let my friend know the tow truck was headed her way
while Baby S cried like he had never eaten before and Big Brother A howled because he had bitten his tongue.

I got the baby to sleep and the big boy to rest and finally got a chance to take a shower and put the morning's thoughts in order
since I decided to prioritize this over any semblance of order in my living room, kitchen and dining room.

Here's what I realized.

There was ultimately one big problem with this day. It wasn't the kids, or the car, or the house. Those were tensions that needed to be managed, and issues that needed to be dealt with. But the real problem with my morning
was this ongoing list.

This list of good-versus-bad from my day originated in my mind as an attempt to balance the good with the bad. It was a try at calming my complaining attitude with moments of appreciation for other pieces of my day.

But this attitude shows an ugliness in my heart. It shows entitlement.

I'm trying to weigh out the bad with the good, because I think I deserve the good. I think the good is the norm. I think the manageable is how it should be, and the difficult and unmanageable days are anomolies that give me the license to feel and act differently than I do on other days.

But that's garbage. That's not real life. If everything is good and comfortable and manageable, I'm not walking toward the mess; I'm backing away from it, waving a bunch of excuses in front of me so I can defend my space instead of finding peace in Christ through the chaos.

How many times do I have to learn that I need these times of frustration to keep me on track? How many times will I re-discover that the problem is, once again, that I'm putting myself first? That I'm a coward who backs away from the tough stuff instead of stepping into it with a prayerful attitude and a strength that comes from Jesus? I can do such great, big, difficult things through God's strength, but I still chicken out and aim small so many times, moping about how I feel instead of seeing the big picture.

This life isn't supposed to be smooth, paved, and guard-railed. It's more like a wilderness hike, and I'm going to get muddy and bruised and maybe even lost sometimes, but I'd rather hike through the mess and make a big difference in this hurting world than stay in my safe corner and keep Jesus to myself.

Life isn't going to get easier. I've just got to toughen up and get ready to be all in... Every day. Every time I forget again. To toughen up in perseverance... and to back down in my me-centered attitude. Because more me-focus is exactly the opposite of what I need. There's a way to work hard and fight hard without it being about me.

Even when our only car dies, the phone stops working, and the baby is teething all on the same day.

Because God is good, all the time. Forever is real, and this life is just a small moment leading up to eternity. And I can push harder and try more and be tired longer when I remember that it's only for a moment.

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