Partially this is the truth anyway… What I want, I don’t always get. Life can be funny that way. Because we share space with those around us at home and out in the big wide world, other people’s choices can affect the outcomes we experience. In the same breath, we too, carry the heavy responsibility of having either a positive or a negative effect on others.
However, there is this incredible gift of choice that we get and so there is also a great responsibility we have to our own self. There is a part of me that has long held an ideality in my head- the ideal me, the ideal house, the ideal job, the ideal parent, the ideal Christian, the ideal friend, the ideal wife and helpmate to my husband…. It’s all there in my head and I can see it all playing out perfectly in my eager mind.
Getting it to play out in reality is a different story. What those things look like in real life pale in comparison to the litany of perfection swirling through my head, leaving ever-threatening trails of disappointment in their wake.
- A more fit healthier version of me in my head slowly takes a dive as the numbers rise on the scale that I dare step on.
- As I slip on wet towels in the bathroom or topple forward over scattered toys, the HGTV-ready house in my head slowly starts to fade away.
- Parking in the pit seems an easier place to rest my mind when the blaring fact I forgot to keep up with something or someone in ministry starts rearing its ugly head.
- Relying too heavily on my older children to help as we clean up the fifth disaster of the day left by the littlest one makes my heart sink as that perfect parent image of having it all together gets vacuumed up with the entirety of two boxes of baking powder.
- Guilt consumes my thoughts as I try to wake up with coffee in one hand and phone in the other as I dabble in insignificant things that help my brain wake up, all the while feeling like I’m letting God down because I’m choosing to meet with Him after; though my heart desires to be fully awake as I engage with Him through prayer and His Word. It’s a double-edged sword.
- Time slips by as does every past opportunity to send that card to a special person in our lives that we wrote three weeks ago and yet there it sits. And with it sits the disgust of forgetful regret.
- Dwelling on how much more my sweet husband meets my needs than I care to admit I’ve met for him urges embarrassing recollections to flood my mind and sweep away any thought that I could be the wife he so desires and deserves.
It is all there inside of my head… like a reality series I can tangibly experience with all senses engaged, and yet it does not and cannot magically occur outside of my fantasy unless the choices I decide to make help bring it to the forefront of my life. And then unrealistic expectations take on a realistic picture of what reality I am truly living.
And as it is with you, my Friend. We, yes we, are in this together! Because Girlfriend, I know I am not alone in this trouble of idealism. Yet, at the same time, we can live out choices that have, up till now, been just an illusion.
- Crying at the outrageous number staring back up at us, we can go for a walk every day with our family to get outside and breathe fresh air while at the same time spending quality time and making a literal move toward winning over our declining health.
- Feeling like a failure as a “Donna Reed”, we can teach our children due diligence in helping around the house and yet when we can do something ourselves, we do. That’s extra steps toward our being fit goal and a cleaner house- a win-win for us!
- Thinking we can be all things for all people all of the time, we can choose the important over the urgent knowing the rest will eventually get done but the necessary wasn’t missed.
- Sifting through the mess in tears, we can be thankful for the extra help of older children and maybe teach them valuable life lessons in money when we hand them a few extra dollars for going above and beyond with our littlest children, and then it doesn’t feel as if we are taking from them but rather giving them a golden opportunity.
- Assuming the law is what we hold to, we can fall into the Grace that the LORD so freely bestows on us… remembering that He sees us in secret, and He knows the deepest parts of our being. Then, after getting our mind started with a Scripture verse and jumping to enjoying the little things that help arouse us to a new day, we can soak in His Presence over more coffee and His Word while meeting with Him in prayer. And because of Grace, we can then not feel guilty. We can instead, give Him our all when we are awake enough to do so and know we are still starting our day with Him!
- Feeling sorry for ourselves and our husbands, we can look for little ways throughout the day to let him know we love him and appreciate all that he does. Our husbands each have a love language that helps them to know this is true. Once we figure out what it is, there is no shortage of moments we can fulfill these promises to him in- if we change our mindset from one that says “me” to one of “servanthood”.
Just like we can’t get all that we want, we can still have it all. All the moments… the ones that are seemingly perfect to the downright messiest version of life itself. We can choose to see each moment as a gift and relish in its goodness. In its craziness. In its perfect imperfection. We can be responsible in our choices to ourselves so that the fruit of our reward is sweet as we build our house and not tear it down by the heavy weight of inaction.
We may not get what we really want, and that may be the best gift of all. But we can get close to it by making choices towards it and loving the process and ourselves through it all.
"My grace is sufficient for you. For my power is made perfect in weakness." -2 Corinthians 12:9