It happens once in awhile.
I’m going about my day, and sit down at the computer for a little break time. (Okay, that happens more than “once in awhile.” Stick with me.) I read a cute post on facebook, and it leads to one cute blog, and that leads to another … and then it happens.
The cute blog I’ve stumbled on is all about homeschooling. The writer has just sold the 10,000th copy of her newest e-book. Fetchingly decorated and effortless to navigate, her blog makes mine look like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich next to filet mignon. She has 82 sponsors and 42,793 followers and usually two children, who are under the age of eight.
And I start to get grouchy.
It happened just the other day. Now, nine times out of ten I can pop around the cute blog happily, pick up a few ideas, and move on. I might even add Mrs. LovelyBlog to my blogroll if I just have to make sure I can find her again.
Then there are the other days. Because sometimes, finding someone else’s Perfect Blog makes me want to do one of four things: a) cry b) hit something c)look desperately for *something* to criticize and not like about it or d) shut down this blog and vow never to bother writing again. For someone who has always wanted to write a book but lacked the skills for editing, you can find editing services for self publishing to take that pressure off.
I know. My maturity overwhelms me sometimes, too.
As I was saying, it happened to me … Wednesday evening. Cute blog. Sooooo much cuter than mine, which I’ve wanted to have redone forever. Sooooo many more posts than mine (And by the way, I have never figured out how some people manage to twitter … tweet? twit??? every few hours. Seriously?!? Ahem. Sorry.) And I felt frustrated. My pile of laundry was laughing at me from the laundry room and the crumbs on the desk were smirking, too. I could feel it. Two little girls who shall go unnamed still needed to have their teeth brushed. “I could have a great blog and 59 e-books and give speeches about homeschooling and mothering and being spiritual, too!” I wanted to shout–“if only I weren’t so busy homeschooling and mothering and trying to be spiritual in the midst of it all!”
Uh oh. This was getting ugly.
Quickly, I sent a desperate plea to a mentor I knew would understand my dilemma, laugh and commiserate with me a little. Sometimes you just need Jesus with some skin on, right? And then I called in the big guns.
Romans 12 was the chapter I hit first. Kindly, the Lord pointed out my mistake …
“For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.” Rom. 12:3
Yep. I see you now, my old friend Pride. Blech.
Here’s the thing: if God wanted me to have a book and a zillion followers and a perfectly navigable website with a million posts, I’d surely have that. But I don’t. For some reason, which He knows, and I can only guess at. So … why complain? Why be frustrated over what God does or doesn’t choose for me? The message He’s given me is still percolating, and I still have soooo many areas to be refined, and so much to learn. I figure it’ll take at least another eighty years to get about halfway done. Which is good, because I won’t live that long, and He’ll have to just make me instantly perfect when I go home to be with Him.
This verse made me happy. Because I learned many years ago that when I’m in a difficult situation or just flat unhappy about something, if I can find something to repent for, there’s a good chance the situation will change; as opposed to when I don’t know what to repent for, or the very rare yet fabulous occasions when it’s not even me that needs to repent, in which case it might take much longer to see transformation. Usually, I can find something. When God changes something in me because I’ve offered it up to Him, the situation changes because I’ve changed. This time was no different. Ahhhhh.
Then I went back to the previous verses, to see if there was more to glean …
“Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” Rom 12:1,2
Exactly. There’s a lot of good advice out there about writing, and blogging, and sharing what we’ve learned about mothering, and it can be very helpful. It can also be very harmful, if we get sucked into discontent and tempted to neglect our homes and families in an effort to be admired and followed– even in the Christian world! We can be pressed into a worldly mold without noticing. Lord help me. After all, if I’m not caring for my home, I don’t really have anything to say. The will of God for me right now includes caring for seven children who live at home, and
worrying about praying for the one who’s out on his own. I also need to pay not-a-little-bit-of attention to my dear husband, who is the reason I have all these precious blessings. And they all generally want to eat and wear clean clothes on a fairly regular basis. These necessities take time! Additionally, my ideals for our family life mean that I need to create beauty in my home, which means shelves have to be organized and furniture re-arranged and pretty things found and put in place. I want my family to have wonderful memories of home, so there have to be teatimes and parties and playdates. Education is of prime importance, so math programs must be compared and Latin must be memorized and handwriting must be practiced. Relationships with people outside our family have to be prioritized, too, so there are classes to plan and vacations to plot and holidays to prepare for.
I need to have my mind transformed so I can prove what God’s will is for my life. His good and acceptable and perfect will for my home is dependent upon my willingness to allow my mind to be renewed, so I won’t become conformed to this world’s image of what success looks like. My body has to be offered–from my brain to my lap to my typing fingers–as a sacrifice to God. He wants to live through me and help my children know Him through my life.
Someday there will be no more little ones needing their laundry done. Things will quiet down and the piles of laundry will grow shorter. Someday, maybe even before those things happen; someday when I finally get organized enough to write while they work, or perhaps during the quiet hours between 11pm and 7am, I’ll write a book. For today, though, I’ll have to say of my children,
“You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men …” 2 Cor. 3:2
And for today, that’s enough.