I woke up late this morning.
I went to bed feeling ill, so Andrew (best husband award) got up with the kids and put them on the bus without me even hearing them.
So when 9 am arrived on the clock, and I cracked open my groggy eyes, my heart immediately raced with emotions….especially the 3 that I hate the most.
Guilt speaks: “Lazy! As if you slept and made your husband do all the work?! The children need your reassuring voice, your smile and your encouragement when they walk out the door! Your slacking has ruined their day!”
Fear speaks: ” What have you missed!? What if this morning was a vital connection or breakthrough moment with the kids? What if Andrew needed you? What if the work you had slotted for today needed to get done now, and some unforeseen terrible circumstance has reared it’s ugly head?”
Shame speaks: ” Other moms get themselves up even when they don’t feel well. They never take breaks. Who do you think you are to take a break? What makes you so special that you deserve some time to rest? Haven’t you had enough yet?”
Anyone been there?
It can be hard to bounce back from negative thought patterns. It can be hard to get up, get going, make a difference. It can be hard to remember that you are worth the effort- not just the people around you. It can be hard when you’ve wallowed to then set your face to toward the day, knowing that these (Fear, Shame and Guilt) do not own you, and don’t even deserve a peak in your front door.
But guess what? We were built for hard. We own our people and lives hard. We love hard. It’s what were made for, and we can ROCK it!
How do I know this?
Because it’s what Jesus said. In John 13:34 He said “A new (fresh- new in quality) commandment I give you: that you LOVE (direct your will and find joy in) one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”
Why would He ask us to do something we couldn’t do? I believe He’s asking us here to step up, and do the work of directing our wills to find JOY in our days, DESPITE the voices at our minds doors. DESPITE the crappy cold weather. DESPITE the mind numbing, body racking aches and pains. DESPITE the relational breakdowns that we might be mired in.
We have the CAPACITY. Because we were made in the IMAGE of GOD Himself. If He can love, so can we.
If He could love, even enough to die for people who would never recognize or honour that sacrifice, and who would even mock and hate him for it, then SO CAN WE.
And for me today, it starts with myself. (And I can do that because Jesus gave me permission- Love your neighbour as yourself- I have to learn to love me as He does so I can pour out to those around me.)
After today, I’m refreshing this blog, and giving it new life. It will look different. It will be shorter. It might be more frequent. From this point on, I want to explore the idea of what it looks like in a normal, average life to really LOVE one another (and ourselves)- and author Andy Stanley has provided the question I want to answer each day with you readers:
“What does LOVE require of me today?”
Today? It meant getting out of bed. It meant brushing my teeth. It meant drinking some water. It meant releasing tears that have been held in for too long. It meant slamming the door shut on a million thoughts that wanted to barge in, and remembering every moment of the day that it’s MY THOUGHT HOME and I can shut the door on any thought I want to, whenever I want to. I am the boss. I can say NO.
It meant responding to myself with these 3 thoughts:
To Guilt: “Jesus owns my kids. Not me. He’s got them in this day. And they don’t always need me to make smooth their worlds. God is with them. No matter what hardship they face. They can do this. They are world-changers. They help me too. One sleepy morning does not make me lazy. And even if I was lazy, I can change. Nothing is carved in stone. I’m a child of God, and have access to whatever I need, when I need it.”
To Fear: ” Long ago I learned how to listen to you, and not so long ago, I learned how much like my own voice you sound. But guess what??! I know what you sound like now! I know your voice. And I’m done with your “suggestions”, your “concerns with safety” and your “planning ahead.” You sound like wisdom, but you aren’t. Today (and every day) I will make my decisions based on LOVE- not on fear. I AM LOVED, so I have NOTHING to fear. Andrew and the kids and Jesus love me, and I can love them in return. Love gives. Love is patient. Love never fails. So you see, I’m wrapped in this awesome bubble ball of insulating warmth- I AM LOVED- no matter who I am, or what I do.”
To Shame: ” Life is short. Life is hard. Life can be full of storms. You always want me to compare how I am doing with everyone else. You think that seeing other moms thrive when I’m struggling should make me feel less. That it makes me want to give-up, give in and proclaim my lack of worth. But you are WRONG. When others are thriving, I am CHEERED! I AM THRILLED! I am EXHILARATED!!! I FIND JOY in watching the people around me scale their walls, stay steady in their storms and crush the goals set before them! Their successes remind me that ANYTHING is possible with God, and that I can HOPE (expect good) all the time with Him! No matter what circumstance I find myself in, there is always someone and something to celebrate, and that’s what I am doing today!”
I’m getting up, I’m getting track pants on, and I’m making cookies to celebrate the day! Why?? Because my kids got up, rode on the bus and went to school. Because my husband got up, went to work, made some money and gave me a kiss. Because my socks are warm. Because the sun peaked out. Because I had coffee. Because I turned on my computer and it actually worked first time. Because I like plants, and I get to repot them all and smell the earth they grow in. Because it’s windy outside and I’m comfy inside. Because I can still wear contact lenses. Because I hear the Voice of the Holy Spirit all the time, and He never shames, guilts or makes me fear. Because He is louder.
I will direct my will to find joy. That is what love requires of me today.
“Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us,” Romans 5:3-5.