Friday, August 22, 2014

A Different Point of View

I didn’t finish everything on my to-do list yesterday. As a matter of fact, I never do. I didn’t even make dinner. Take-out was the answer last night. And as I went to bed around 9pm (because I can barely keep my eyes open past my children’s bed time), I remembered that this blog post was sitting on my computer unfinished. Funny how the topic is “loving your failures”. I didn’t think it was possible to “love my failures”. But maybe I should learn how…

On any given day, I can be found battling thoughts of failure. Everywhere I turn, I hear the message that I am not doing things the right way. My house isn’t clean enough. My children aren’t excelling enough. My marriage doesn’t make me happy enough. As a stay-at-home mom, it’s easy to determine my success based upon the performance and opinions of my family.

My oldest is 12 and makes it clear she is much happier away from me than with me these days. Continually, I have to remind myself that I felt the same way at her age. But while trying to put myself in her shoes may ease the pain a bit, it doesn’t change the fact that I’ve moved to the bottom of her list.

The other day, my 8-year-old daughter took her hand and poked me in the side of my waist, demonstrating what I had just done to her. She was attempting to convince me that I had hurt her. When I responded with the fact that I wasn’t hurt one bit, her response was unkind. “That’s because you have a lot of blubber right there.” Wow!

After a cleaning at the dentist’s office, my 6-year-old daughter wanted to examine my teeth. “You have a crooked tooth on the bottom. It makes you look old… like you’re going to die.” Um, yah… wow! Who is raising these children anyway?

Most of the time, I am able to brush off the inconsiderate comments by my children. They are just kids after all. Sometimes, however, I think about the statement “out of the mouths of babes”. Children often speak the truth, albeit rather bluntly. And when I am already questioning if I could be a candidate on The Biggest Loser or What Not to Wear, it’s no wonder my daughter’s loud comment about my sporting a mustache can leave me fighting back tears.

For the past 18 years, my husband and I have struggled to communicate well. Yes, that would be the total amount of years we’ve been married. We just never seem to get it right. Most of the things I say to him get twisted in his head. He continually tells me I’ve said things opposite of what I thought I had communicated with him. Will we ever get to a point where communicating doesn’t require so much effort?!

I walk into my friend’s homes and I am well aware that my home doesn’t meet up. My yard is a mess. My floors are a mess. My counters and rooms are a mess. My life is a mess. My children have been in school for four whole days now and I looked around the house today and wonder what in the world I’ve been doing? We need a maid… and a cook… and a life coach.

When I sit back and look at this life through my flawed eyes, I can’t help but feel like a failure. Honestly, talk show hosts and psychologists would likely agree. It’s not just my view. It’s the worldview. No one else lives this way!

My apparent failures could easily send me into a pit of despair. Thankfully, these shortcomings drive me to seek out a different point of view. Without it, I wouldn’t survive. There’s no way I’m really the only one living this way, right?

When failure overwhelms me, I look for Truth. God’s Word is Truth. In Psalm 119:18, the Psalmist begs God to “Open my eyes to see the wonderful truths in your instructions.” The prayer appeals to me and I follow suit. Later in verse 43, he asks God “Do not snatch your word of truth from me, for your regulations are my only hope.” My only hope? I wonder if King David fought the same mental battles I deal with.

When it comes to my preteen pulling away from me, what is Truth? In 1 Samuel 1, Hannah begged God for a child. After God granted her request, she entrusted her son, Samuel to God.  “I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of Him. So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord.” And then she worshipped God. Her example is the response I should choose. These children are on loan for me to raise up to follow after God.

As my failures are highlighted by my children about my weight and my age, I can be offended or choose to embrace the same Truth I attempt to equip them with. Following the example of the Psalmist again, I can praise God for the way He created me. Psalm 139 reads “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” I have an abundant life. Blessings overflow and God has given me the gift of another day.

I can make better choices to feel better about my appearance and I should. My body is God’s temple (1 Corinthians 6) and physical training is of some value (1 Timothy 4). However, Romans 14 reminds me that “…the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God.” My focus should be on serving God (Matthew 6).

In light of God’s Truth, gratitude fills my heart and I’m not so focused on failure anymore. I suppose it’s not quite as difficult as I thought to love my failures. No wonder the Apostle Paul says in 2 Corinthians 12:9 “But he [God] said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” If my failures point me to God, I can love my failures, indeed.

Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.” - Colossians 2:7

“And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” – John 8:32

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(Today (well... yesterday) is (was) the Third Thursday of the month. Time for the Hearts at Home Home Blog Hop! This month's topic: Love Your Failures. Head over to Jill's blog to see what other women have to say on the topic.)