I am sitting here in quiet again, staring out the bay window at the fat, fluffy flakes falling steadily, covering limb and lawn on this last day of winter.
The list is long, and motivation is short. Watching the finches and friends happily peck and
munch amid the flakes is better than any Oscar awarded movie, and far more captivating than tackling any of the activities on my long list. This is the fifth day off from school this year due to weather, I think. I don’t really know. I try not to count, because when I do, all I feel is the oppressive burden of sadness of my summer days slipping away, suffocating under the demands of current and coming school year. With so many snow days, vacation days, and holidays, I am tricked into believing I have already retired, or at least slipped on my preferred life of writing and home-based ministry and fulfillment. Then tomorrow comes, and I must help the children (and myself) find the rhythm of learning again, and push on (in a crazed, ever-disrupted pace) through the lessons, and projects, and events, and assessments to the end. Sometimes the feeling of suffocation is unbearable, as though I will never get to live my true life—fulfill my true purpose—because I am stuck in the demands of now, and distracted so much by work that I miss what is really important.
And I cringe. Why haven’t I conquered this resisting, and maybe ungrateful, heart?
Is it that I am like the Israelites, whiny and discontent in the midst of God’s victorious and liberating care? I have so much, like them. Through my and Scott’s work, our children have been raised and more than minimally provided for. There have been innumerable material blessings and opportunities. I had the invaluable blessing of staying at home for 10 years while my children were young and not in school. We have health and dental insurance. We’ve been able to share our home, our food, our cars, our money. Our children are receiving a debt-free starting block for life in higher education. Our lives run over like honey, dripping with evidence of God’s care and provision. In it all, there have been many moments of fun and respite.
But do you want to know the truth? Here it is, true confession (pardon me while my dark
underside splatters in your space for a bit):
I think that I am never satisfied. Ouch. Honest reflection is painful. My gut reaction is to justify. I have good reasons to feel as I do. I know what I would be able to accomplish if my circumstances were changed.
I am ashamed when I list the blessings and remember how many people on this planet don’t have even an iota of what I have in opportunity and material blessings.
I know that I grew up in a home where my mom never worked, and Dad was blessed with talent in a well-paying job and financial acumen that managed our finances responsibly. I grew up in a time where many wives stayed home. I see a handful of women in our church family that still have this privilege (though the vast majority do not).
All of this colors my perception of what I believe my role should be.
The truth of the matter is, my perception doesn’t really matter here. I know I am blessing my husband and family by continuing to work in the job that I do for a bit more. It was clear to me that God’s hand was moving in my life when I was hired. I need to remember
that. God has placed me here, for now, and has not seen fit to move me. I need to trust that.
My husband is smart, and responsible, and working very hard, despite constant discouragement. I know my working is being the helpmeet he needs.
I know my working is blessing my children, and blessing others with whom we share.
My only recourse, then, while I strain to look at perhaps a shift in life, is to run to God’s arms and ask Him to change my heart and keep it from striving. I ask Him for forgiveness, for a heart that is more accepting of circumstance and His timing.
The blessing is, I know that it is already granted, with deep understanding of my needs, my faults, and my future. Nobody knows me as well as He does. Nobody else sees my past,
present and future all at once. Nobody else has the capacity to move me in my life to the exactly right place and circumstance.
Some heart battles are constant. Just when you think you can leave the battlefield, an unexpected wave rekindles the fight. What makes our battle different is that we can always take shelter in the arms of the Father, who fights the battle with us. And always wins.
For today, while the smoldering fires of discontent and impatience for change flare up and burn, I will run for safety and renewal (and a definite attitude adjustment!) to the Great Physician that will heals our singed spirits. I run to Him for encouragement, and equipping of mind and heart. And I am satisfied.