Envy–April A to Z Challenge

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I have a quote written in my calendar that says, “The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes footage with everyone else’s highlight reel.

I’m sure that someone very important or smart or popular said these words, and I’m probably doing them a great disservice by not quoting them. But to me, that’s not what’s important here. To me, what’s important is that these words help me not to be envious of others.

Humans experience envy for a lot of reasons: job success, appearance, financial reasons, etc. My main source of envy is not any of these.

I have mom envy.

People tell me I’m a good mom. And I think I do my best. My child is happy, has warm clothes and good shoes, has more toys than he can play with (mostly due to some wonderful friends), and is loved intensely. He has rules and routines and expectations. He picks up after himself (usually). He’s generally agreeable. He’s insanely smart and I think he’s really funny.

But sometimes I feel like the mom with the out of control kid. I can’t let go of his hand in a store or parking lot, no matter how much he wants me to. He will not stay with me. I feel like everyone looks at him and and me and judges me…I must be some horrible mom since my almost four year old will run off laughing when I specifically tell him to stay near me. I feel like a horrible mom.

I envy that mom who has had three kids and has the body of a 22 year old, when I had one four years ago and still look pregnant.

I envy that mom whose kids walk with her in a store, across a parking lot, or anywhere out in public without her having to hold their hands, drag them, or worse, carry them.

I envy them so much. They make it look easy.

But then I remember, I’m only seeing their highlight reel. I have no idea what private struggles they have. I have no idea what issues their children are facing.

I have no idea what goes on in their behind-the-scenes. And they have no idea what goes on in mine.

And I don’t care what they think of me. I’m doing the best I can, and my little boy is loved. That’s all that really matters.

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I’m participating in the April A to Z Blogging Challenge. Find out more here: http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/

Doubt–April A to Z Challenge

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In my quest to have more faith and to believe in myself and those around me, I’ve found it’s important to eliminate- or at least decrease- doubt. Every moment of belief that I find is equally matched by a moment of crippling doubt. I know I must trust God…but honestly, that is ridiculously hard to do.

As moms, we are designed to be the caretakers of our families, and especially our children. When something is going on with them, or even when we’re not with them, it’s so hard not to worry and to simply trust that God will take care of them. But it is just impossible to do it by ourselves. I cannot change my son’s heart-but God can. I cannot do it myself.

Honestly, this post is more of a reminder to me than anything else. My concern for my child is natural, but I cannot allow it to become doubt. Doubt is me telling myself that God is not enough. Doubt is something that I cannot accept in my life. It gives nothing; only takes.

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I’m taking the April A to Z Blogging Challenge.
Find out more at http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/

Choice, Change, & Control–April A to Z Challenge

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If there is one thing I’ve learned in the past few years, it’s that I have a choice in my own happiness. What I mean by that is that I can choose whether to let the way other people act affect me. I used to be such a control freak. I wanted to do everything myself, because then I knew it’d be done correctly. I worried incessantly about things that I had no control over.

I cannot choose how other people act. I cannot control what other people do or don’t do. I cannot change people’s minds and hearts, although I can try to influence them.

But I can change how I choose to react. I can choose how I let other people and my surroundings affect me. I can choose to control myself, my reactions to situations, and focus my concern on my son.

Making this simple change in my thinking has made me so much happier. I am free from worrying about things that just aren’t under my control. I do the best I can. I try to treat people kindly and fairly. I’m not perfect. But I try my best, and I try to be honest and center myself around the things that matter and are true.

I am not the one in control. Ultimately, nothing is in my control, but I cannot worry. “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” –Jeremiah 29:11

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I’m participating in the April A to Z Blogging Challenge!!

Learn more at http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com.

Believe–April A to Z Challenge

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To believe is one of the most difficult things in life. It’s hard to believe in ourselves; it’s hard to believe in one another. It’s hard to believe in the inherent goodness of humanity, especially when so much of what we hear and see every day says just the opposite. We are discouraged from so many different directions that sometimes it is hard to keep that belief open in our hearts. The belief that says, “Everything is going to be okay.” The belief that says, “You’ll get this. Keep trying.” The belief that says, “What you are doing is valuable. Don’t give up.”

I fight a daily battle with believing. Honestly, it’s more like an hourly or minute-ly (is that a word?) battle. It’s constant. It rarely lets up. But when I see the results of my fight- my son making better choices or being kinder, my students trying something new and succeeding, positive results in my own life- it makes the battle that much easier to fight.

I’ve just gotta keep believin’. I think Journey said something to that effect….

I’m participating in the April A to Z Blogging Challenge!!

Learn more at http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com.

Absolution–April A to Z Challenge

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With yesterday being Easter, I thought a lot about the unimaginable gift that Christ gave us, sacrificing Himself so that we might live with Him eternally.  I thought about the amazing nature of true forgiveness, and how it can take even the most stained sinner and make their life worthwhile.  I thought about how much He loves me, more than I can begin to fathom, and how that love forgives my mistakes.

And I cried. A lot.  I cried with my hands held high and my voice singing loudly, because I knew that because of His sacrifice, I am forgiven.  I knew that through the grace of the cross, my sins were forgiven, even though I didn’t deserve it.

Bible Gateway lists no occurrences of the word “absolution” in the NLT version of the Bible.  Not one.  But there are multiple incidences of synonymous words, such as “forgiveness” and “mercy.”

How thankful I am that God is so good and merciful, so I can experience the forgiveness and absolution that draws me into closer relationship with Him.

He is Risen!!

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Okay, God…

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…I’m listening.

I’m listening so intently my heart could burst.  I know there is something you’re trying to tell me.  But I can’t hear it.  And I know it’s because I’m trying too hard.  I’m pushing too much.  I know I need to sit back and let you work through my soul and calm my spirit.  I know that you’ll gently write the words you need me to know on my heart when it’s time for me to hear them.  But my impatience won’t let me stop pushing, stop stressing, stop worrying about what it is that I can do to set things right again.

Because I know what I can do to set things right, but I just can’t seem to get my priorities in order to make it happen.  I can’t seem to stop worrying, stop busying myself with work and house work and stress, and stop listening to the evil voices inside me that tell me I’ll never be good enough.  And I do know the only way I can do that is through You.  I don’t know why I keep putting it off.  Maybe it scares me.  Maybe I’m afraid what I’ll find in the parts of my heart I try to ignore.  Maybe I don’t like change.

But I can’t do this anymore.  I can’t stress myself, push myself harder, and ignore the solution that is right in front of me.

No amount of activity can make up for the fulfillment that I can find in You, God.  I can’t ever make myself a “good enough” woman for You.  I’m already good enough.  I know that in my head.  I just can’t get it through my heart.  So once again, I’m committing to lean on You, rather on myself.  I’m hopeful this time I will let You create change in me.

I know You love me and You want me.  If You didn’t, You wouldn’t have given Your only son to die for me -a gift I can never repay and that I definitely don’t deserve.

So I’m listening, God.  I’m finally listening, and I’m ready.

Going Wireless

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I’ve had this thought nagging at me for some time.  It creeps in during the rare moments of calm and quiet in my day and roots around in my subconscious during the times I am occupied.  It is a thought that I am very, very uncomfortable with.  But, like many moms, I think it’s something that’s becoming more and more of an essential in my day to day life.

I need to disconnect from the electronic world.  As in, cut ties almost completely.

I hate how accessible I am.  I hate that I get those little red “badges” on my iPhone when I get a new e-mail, Facebook notification, voicemail, game request, etc.  I hate that my type A personality can’t just let them sit there: I have to check the message to make the little red icon go away.  I hate that I can’t leave e-mails, texts, or phone calls unanswered.  It sucks so much of my time, and I hate it.

Not only for me, but for my kiddo as well.

He knows how Mommy’s phone and iPad work.  He knows how to use them, how to find the games he likes to play, and how to find the videos he likes to watch.  And I think some of these things are great.  I think he has learned so much about machinery and construction from watching “Mighty Machines” on Netflix.  I think he’s learned problem solving and spatial relations by playing Angry Birds.  Really, I do.

But when we are plugged in electronically, we aren’t connecting as a family.  When I’m checking Facebook or Instagram and he’s watching a video (no matter how educational), we aren’t interacting with one another.  And I hate that more than anything.

I know this is not a earth shattering topic for a blog post.  I’m sure this has been written about a million times over, in words much more effective and eloquent than mine.  But it’s what’s on my heart right now, and it’s a deep addiction that I am determined to break.

So here’s my plan:  from the hours of 5-8 PM, my phone is going to be on silent and in my purse.  My iPad will be closed and put away.  My laptop will be in my work bag.  Obviously, this plan will have to change on weekends, school holidays, etc., but this is my goal:  Three more hours devoted to family rather than to social media, emails, and texts.  Three more hours of playing cars, reading books, coloring, exploring outside, and watching favorite shows together.

Once Aidan is in bed for the night, I can catch up with Facebook posts, tweets, emails, Pinterest, and texts.  I honestly doubt that anyone needs to contact me that urgently anyway, and work that does not get done at work can probably wait until the next day.

I am fully aware that this is going to be ridiculously stressful for me at first.  I think that’s why I’ve been letting this idea root around for so long without acting on it.  I wrote it down almost six weeks ago in my calendar, when I first felt it pressing on my heart.

Life is made up of the links that I create with other people in my life, the relationships that sustain me and give me joy and contentment.  Life is not made up of the connections I make behind a computer screen.  I’ve made some great online friends and learned so much from them. But my little man needs me more than any other person on this Earth, and he is more important to me than any e-mail you could ever send.

So starting tomorrow, I am unplugging from you all and plugging into my relationship with him.