Life is hard. There’s the truly unthinkable hard–like the loss of a child, being abused, a personal battle with a terrible illness, extreme and prolonged financial hardship, third-world country living, unhappy marriages with no end in sight, a spouse that’s cheating, a child that’s unsaved or living a life of recklessness, and the list goes on and on.
But, even life that does not deal you the most traumatic and unimaginable is, at times, overwhelming and relentless. The monotony of rat-on-a-wheel activity can feel like water inching up to capture the last little bit of breath we have. Or maybe like we’re already upside down.
We have children of varying ages, changing at different rates, with differing personalities and needs—that’s hard. Housework, yard work, flowers of spring, front door decorated to welcome guests, making home-cooked meals, growing an organic garden, exercising 30-minutes each day, running children to-and-fro, having the trash out on trash day before the truck comes, washing clothes—possibly ironing them—that’s hard. For those of us that work outside the home, keeping up with work demands while making time for our spiritual growth, husbands, and kids as a priority—that’s hard. Aging parents with all that brings—again, hard.
Some of you need to hear exactly that on a blog like this from a girl like me. I’m a 32-year old, married, mother of two children ages 8 and 3, who is working full time as a professional, teaching at church, trying to stay involved in a Bible study, take an occasional mission trip, share my faith, and grow friendships with other Christian women, and I’m tired.
I have days like today, where I weep at the fact that I have no idea what to do next with my short window of time, and my heart races at the idea that the clock is ticking while I try to decide. I have days like last week where I wonder if my children’s spiritual and emotional needs are met while I’m at work. I have days where I wonder why this wonderful man puts up with me when I don’t have enough time to just be in the room with him. I have days when I wonder why I don’t have a girlfriend nearby to laugh with. It’s like sometimes I can’t get a break. There are no spring vacations to play catch up, second chances to raise my children, or do-overs for any minute I’m alive. That’s a lot of pressure, and I buckle every now and then.
You need someone like me—someone who gets it—to admit that this ordinary life is not easy. So hear me say it to you because, Sister, it’s far from it! There are two things I want to remind you of, though, as I remind myself. They are simple, really, but bear repeating until you absorb them into your spirit:
(1) You were not made for this world. So, this world will not feel like home. And, while you’re here, you will never truly feel like you’ve understood and absorbed all you desire to know of God. I will forever love the sweet friend through whom the Holy Spirit revealed this truth in my life. But, I have to be reminded of it. A lot. When I want to rush God’s progressive revelation of truth, I have to remember He’s God and has me on His timetable that’s unique to my relationship with Him.
(2) There is no such thing as perfect, no matter how hard you try. Perfection is a lie of the enemy. He comes to steal, kill, and destroy with this lie, like all his others, taking away our ability to have life and have it to the fullest (John 10:10). When we are striving for self-attained perfection (I cannot help but think of Pinterest-perfect dinners, decorations, outfits, birthday parties, lessons for children, and homes!), we are taking our eyes off the Father and focusing on our circumstances. We are hoping for the next accomplishment, looking for the “slow month” to get here so you can finally rest from all the busyness, and working for who-knows-what. It leads to bitterness, discontentment, and overwhelming meaninglessness. God spoke to me profoundly using the book of Haggai a couple of years ago, and the Holy Spirit brings that to mind even now. Read the entire, super-short book, and consider it’s historical setting, but here is a little teaser:
“5Now this is what the LORD Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. 6 You have planted much, but harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.”
All in all, when we focus on the work that matters for eternal, kingdom purposes, then we find rest, joy, peace, and “life to the fullest.”
Remind me of that, would you?