Where to Start

Where to start…

I could write about the everyday. 

The dirty dishes. The laundry. The errands. The messes. The children. The messy children. It’s all been here lately. And it’s all been nonstop.

If I had to describe what goes on during most of my days lately, it would be this: I would say that I feel like I’m always working to put things back. Always working to straighten things out. To calm the uncalmable.  Trying to hold out long enough. For what…I don’t know. 

I don’t know about you, but I tend to shy away from calamity and hard work. Heck, if I’m being completely honesty, I outright entirely avoid it when possible.

And you’re probably thinking, “well, yea, who wouldn’t?? And rightly so.”

I always feel like I’m trying to act as a buffer, seeking to do just good enough each day and then I put the kids to bed at night, get a cookie and go to bed expecting to do the same tomorrow.

I struggle with the redundancy and mediocrity that weaves its way through this way of thinking. The frame of mind that says that trying to order the anomalous and structure the unmade is my chief end goal. That if I stick it all out long enough, then I will be doing right by somebody. And that’s all well and good – after all, someone has to wash the underwear and clean the toothpaste out of the sink, right?

But I sometimes get so frustrated with trying to put ‘it’ all back. And at trying to keep ‘it’ all in place. I get so frustrated because I feel like I’m simply swimming against the tide, against what things are destined to be. Do ‘calm’ and ‘clean’ and ‘organized’ go hand in hand with children, parenting and family? Probably not, no.

Something occurred to me the other day while making bread. Hands covered in flour, standing barefoot in my kitchen. Dough under my fingernails, hair sweeping down over my brow and into my face. In some way, the slight discomfort of the moment was…comforting. And the end goal of my efforts (carbs!!) was worth the momentary, (namely because, I like carbs!) albeit nominal, irritation. I realized something:

We weren’t meant for easy street and glamour. We were meant for ‘dirt’, for ‘grime’ and ‘labor.’

That doesn’t make any sense, though, does it? Don’t we all work hard all of our lives while keeping in the back of our minds the small hope that we will save enough money to retire and then the kids can move out and we can all sit down and finally relax? Don’t we expect to run the rat race while hoping and praying for only a modicum of resistance until we’re done? That at some point in our lives, there will be a clearing of the air, so to speak?

Don’t we always hope, and expect that things will progressively become easier and easier as time goes on? This is certainly true for me. It’s what I felt when my children were newborns. As the long, sleepless nights wore on, all that I could look forward to was when they would sleep through the night. And I felt the same way when they were potty training – “from now on, it’s going to be easier.” Only I came to find out that this wasn’t the case at all.

 Then there was the angst cause they were growing up, the realization that no matter how much sleep I get it will never be enough and there will always be wake up calls in the middle of the night to use the potty that are just as annoying as changing the pull-up’s.

I sometimes spend my time wishing it all away, doing just enough so that I can get to the easy part soon.  Come on, already! 

If we keep angling for easy, I think we are going to be sorely disappointed. And if we keep hoping for leisure, we are going to miss out on all of the beauty. 

If I believe that my sole purpose in a day is to clean the house, keep the kids alive and fed and fold the laundry and pick up the mail then I am missing the point to my life. The entire point. If I only work while keeping the silent expectation in the back of my mind that ‘one day, it will be easier and then I can do what *I* want to do’ then, boy, do I have another thing coming.

My life wasn’t made simply for checking off boxes. It wasn’t made for tucking and rolling and waiting for the fire to go out.

It was made to be lost. It was made to value the unshakeable and imperishable. It was made for more than my own agenda. 

I’d like to call this lackluster mentality ‘playing house’. “If we do ‘this’ for long enough,” we think, “it will get easier and we’ll get through it all as long as we keep our eyes on our work and our heads down.”

Playing house isn’t for me. I’m not very good at it. There are currently library books that are overdue in the covers of my bed and crackers all over the floor of my van and I don’t do mornings with needy children very well. I’M. NOT. GOOD. AT. IT.

I get ance and I can’t help but think that I’m missing something, that I’m overlooking the point to it all. 

Momma’s, there is so much more to child rearing, and wifehood and marriage and life than just playing house. The point is to love and serve Jesus, amongst the chores and the tantrums. The point is to let Him rule over your heart and shape it. Let Him do the tending to, the shaping and the ordering. That work is actually for HIM to do. We need to dive headfirst in, and let the winds take us where they will.  

And He won’t forget to categorize anything that matters in eternity’s eyes. We simply need to give Him the free rein to do that, and then keep committing to Him, time and time again.  

And when you yield, you grow. When you give in, your roots lay down deep, your vines are strong and your branches sweeping. 

 

Hebrews 12: 1-2

1)Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses,

let us also lay aside every weight,

and sin which clings so closely,

and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us

2) looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith,

 who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross,

despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

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9 thoughts on “Where to Start

  1. holly says:

    This is very true. It was up until recently that I realized how often i was “just getting by” doing the very least I had to, in order to keep things in my life going…but not enough for them to move. Thinking “well next month will be better” or “When I reach this goal” etc. Goals are great. But if you can’t appreciate life for what it is now, that the odds of you being able to appreciate it later are slim. Things will never be good enough, until we let well enough alone. This may be off topic in a way…I promise I’ll go full circle! But-it’s much like a womans’ attitude about her body. I know so many girls and women (including myself) who have sat and critiqued every flaw saying “when I lose that extra 5 lbs, I’ll be happy then” or “Once this zit clears up” etc and all the while I’m walking around pathetic and in sweats. Love starts from within and it starts by loving the flaws, and then working to improve what we can (and enjoying the process..not just waiting for the result). This is the same idea for life! You can’t just wait for the bad to go away because reality check: It doesn’t. It’s form might change, but we will always struggle. Everything we do should be to the Glory of God, each day that we are given regardless of what it entails is such a gift!

    Thank you so much for your blogging Ashley, truly a joy to read.

    Like

  2. Valerie says:

    What a truly awesome post, Ashley! I cannot tell you how much I related to what you said. I have been guilty of thinking about getting things done and FINALLY getting to relax, but life isn’t about relaxing. I enjoy relaxing vacations, but real day-to-day brings joy in so many ways. THANK you for writing this. What a blessing. xo

    Like

  3. farfetchedfriends says:

    My children are older so the “redundancy and mediocrity” I experience aren’t quite the same as yours.

    Mine? Flossing my teeth. Sometimes I think, “You know, heaven will be great because I’ll get to see Jesus and family and friends and all that but wow, I will NEVER have to floss again!”

    I linked to you from Valerie’s blog party and am glad I did. Excellent post!

    Like

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