Life has been hectic (as I've said before here, here, here and here). Obviously with two little ones at home, a household to take care of and 30 hours of work a week, things get crazy.
I've been underwater recently - as I'm sure you've seen in my blog. And I've found myself to be irritable, longing for something different and just generally unhappy.
I'm sure many of you are wondering how that could possibly happen. How could a girl with two healthy kids, a PART-TIME job and a generally great life be unhappy? The 2005 me would have DIED to have been in these shoes right now. But alas... Here I am. And I find myself wanting something different. Something freer. Because this stage of life can feel like monotony. The kind of monotony that has you waking up at 40 and wondering what happened to your 30's.
It feels like I come home from work to someone whining and pulling on my legs and then I make dinner, clean up, feel guilty about using TV as a babysitter, put the kids to bed and rejoice that I have a few hours to spend the way I want to spend them. Then I waste the time I have to myself, stay up too late and get up at the absolute last minute the next morning dog tired and wonder when I'll ever get the motivation to wake up early and exercise. Sometimes I do, but its rare.
Do I sound like I'm complaining?
Well it sure isn't great.
Is this honest?
Does this make me a bad person.
I have friends that are endless fountains of patience and so attentive with their children. I read blogs written by women with large families that home school and have spotless houses because they follow a detailed household playbook. I read other blogs written by women that save thousands of dollars on groceries because they feed their families using coupons. I'm finding that I do a lot of things, wear a lot of hats, but that I am mediocre at them all. Scraping by for appearances sake, but not happy with where I'm at.
I admitted this to an older friend in my Bible study earlier this week and she had a lot of wisdom to share. She encouraged me that thinking of myself first sometimes was not all that bad.
Okay, I've heard this one. But what does that really mean?
Well for the night owl in me, it means that I need some "me time" at the beginning of my day and it's going to involve getting up early - before the kids get up. I needed the "one up" on them, not to be simply reacting to them as soon as my feet hit the ground. I needed to be planned, put together, in control.
This also involves my time with the Lord. I've always gotten to reading the Bible "when I had time" (which didn't happen very often at all). I'd shove it til the kids took naps or right before bed because that was the only time I had to myself. But inevitably laundry, hanging out with Kevin or just general "downtime" would take precedence and I'd find myself in a state of the "ought to's" that quickly turned to guilt.
Not the sort of Christian life I wanted to live or model for my kids. Where's the joy in that?
Then my friend made a statement that really hit me. She said she didn't NEED God to move her right before she went to bed because it wouldn't impact her as much come morning time. She NEEDED Him first thing in the morning so that she'd be impacted when she interacted with her husband, her kids and people at her job.
I'd never thought about it this way. I had always heard morning devotions were better, but I didn't really realize why. It may seem like a "duh" thing to the rest of you, but for me, it was revolutionary. A completely new way of thinking.
Since we've met I've had a new energy that's not forced, canned or guilt-based. Amazingly, I've actually gotten up at 5:45 and run, had devotions and planned my day prior to the kids getting up - all with the desire to do so. It's incredible to see what change has been affected in only 4 days time. I've been more patient with my kids, intentional in the time I spend with them, on projects around the house and with friends. And generally, I've been a lot happier and a lot less stressed out. I think I finally feel like I'm headed in a direction I want to go and I'm excited to see what God's going to do with that.
I also started reading Andy Stanley's Principle of the Path: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be. The idea is that you ARE headed in a direction. The question is: is it where you want to go? It has me looking at my life from an aerial view as opposed to seeing it as a collection of individual, unrelated decisions. I've yet to figure out exactly where God wants to take me, but I think I might be one step closer to finding out!
Disclaimer: Yeah I know there were no pictures of my kids in this post or funny anecdotes. To be honest, I haven't taken any pictures. Poor parenting, I know. =) I'll fix that this weekend. Just wanted to share what's been on my heart of late.