Tomorrow is my 10 year anniversary to my husband. We have a beautiful relationship and a beautiful life that God has richly blessed. I would like to say that I have spent the day happily detailing all of the wonderful ways we have been blessed these last 10 years, but I haven’t. No, I have spent the last several days ruminating on all of the ways my life is not as I wish it were. Here is me, in all of my vulnerability. I am writing this post only because I believe there must be someone out there who can relate!!
When we married I envisioned; 8 adorable little children that I birthed, a moderate house (not too big or fancy but comfortable with a long kitchen table to fit our mass of kids), me homeschooling our children with my husband working a Monday through Friday type of job, our backyard would encompass our own fruit and vegetable garden and I would cook healthy meals everyday, etc, etc. We would look healthy and fit and exercise as a family on long walks after dinner and have devotions every day. We’d be like the Sound of Music, singing in perfect harmony as we skipped down the road hand-in-hand. Okay, you get the picture! Ready for the reality?
Here are just a few of the mistakes and ironies that I embraced today: I hit the snooze button too many times this morning and missed my morning prayer and Bible study time; as I drove 10+ miles over the speed limit on my way to a meeting at work that I was running late to, I was listening to an interview on the public radio station of a researcher team’s study in using monetary incentives to encourage drivers to remain at the speed limit; I succumbed to hunger and instead of making the sandwiches that I had planned to make for lunch, we ate fast food; after putting my son down to nap I drank a cup of coffee and immediately fell asleep; tonight I went to a new exercise class and could not find the class in the building and ended up coming home 15 minutes after I left (truth be told, the “class” was a swimming class! It wasn’t just a room I was looking for, it was a swimming pool!); I read through a new blog and was intrigued about a post regarding eating fruits and vegetables, I read it as I was eating chocolate cookies (not the homemade, whole wheat, made with honey from the local farm kind but the packaged kind from the store that has “sugar” listed as the first ingredient).
I sat here tonight thinking of all the ways I would like my life to be. I somehow felt that I was justified in my pity party because, after all it is not wealth I am desiring. It is not a nicer car or gobs of money that I am wishing I had. It is notable things – to have better cooking skills to whip up a good-tasting and healthy meal, to have a smoother routine at home with bedtimes, exercise time, family time, to have enough money to be comfortable but not spoiled (really, is that even possible?), to lose the extra pounds that my picture on the “about me” page does not show (because it is an old picture!), and on and on. I thought to myself, it’s not the “American Dream” that I am wishing I had, it’s just a few tweaks here and there in our lifestyle and day-to-day operations.
But then it hit me – it may not be the big house, big car, lavish vacations, expendable income that I am desiring but it is the same thing; coveting that which I do not have. It’s wishing that my life somehow would unfold as a fairy tale and I would be that creative, fun, active, healthy, smiley, disciplined, always godly, “perfect” mom that I envision in my head. There is only one word to say what this is: sin! Sin for being envious of what others have both in tangible things and in their very character traits.
I am confessing to God that I am jealous of what he has not given me and made me to be. I am confessing that instead of being who he made me to be, I daydream of who I wish I was.
The core issue I am reminded of tonight is that if my life is centered on me being content, comfortable, and happy then I will alway be looking over the fence thinking that the grass is certainly greener on the side. But, if my life is centered on God being glorified and his Name being known to all, then it takes the “me” out of the equation. God is not honored when I strive to be someone who he did not create me to be, but he is honored when, in all of my short-comings and imperfections as a wife and mom, I seek strength and wisdom from Him. In my weakness His strength is made perfect (2 Corinthians 12:8-10).
When my focus is on me, there is a lot of pressure to be look around at other women in their roles as wives and moms and compare myself to them and try to be what I “think” is the most admiring way to live. But when my focus is on God, all of that pressure is gone and there is freedom. I don’t have to wish my life was anything but what it is right now because the goal is to glorify him, and he is glorified when we are who he created us to be, where he created us to be, with whom he gave us to be with (husband, children, family), and to soak in his grace in all the times that we fail. Oh the F R E E D O M!