Handwoven shawl, recently from my loom
This afternoon as I was writing, I came across a blog piece that I found rather revealing. I wrote it almost eight years ago, and it was, like many other blogs I wrote, a precursor to my book, Present. The angst was still palpable.
… I was asked to host the next carnival, and after thinking on it, I decided not to. I wanted to say “yes”. I want to be liked. But hosting entails spending time putting together a multitude of submissions into something coherent, and hopefully, fun to read. A multitude of submissions means I’d have to read a lot of blog entries. And posting links to them all means I’d have to read through a lot of blogs to feel good about linking to them, because I hesitate to link to more blogs that link to more blogs that link to more blogs…..it all ultimately robs precious time.
I am greatly concerned with idle time. Online, there is so much to read, so much to learn, so much to gain encouragement by and enjoy. And yet……
the dishes still need washing
the laundry still needs folding
the babies still need rocking
the children still need read-alouds
the meals still need prepping
the hubby still needs attention
the garden still needs tending
…I don’t want my children to grow up remembering that I spent a lot of time in front of a computer. It is one of the reasons I don’t take comments. I’d feel compelled to respond to them, to look for them, to visit new blogs, to mediate debates and misunderstandings. I’d do all these things, because, well…..I want to be liked….
I think we need to be honest about WHY we want what we want. Obviously, my heart was on my sleeve–I wanted to be respected in the blogosphere, so saying “no” to a blog-growing opportunity was especially difficult, especially when I knew I could fib to myself and deny the real reasons I wanted to participate.
Can you relate at all? For example, we all say that we spend time on social media to connect, but we also know we do it because we want to avoid connecting. We pin and like the photos of fog and coffee mugs and rainy days, but we tend to ignore the sweet things under our noses. We read books about tidying and slow and hygge, but we still have too much stuff, too many things on the calendar, and not enough time or space for cozy. We spend so much time and angst on HOW (to be happy…to live the dream…) that we don’t really pause to consider WHY we want those things. If we did, we might think or do things differently.
And then the battles would REALLY begin.
If we’re honest, it is not so much a fight to be liked as it is to be yourself.
It’s not so much a fight to have a good relationship as it is to not seek our own way.
It’s not so much a fight to be fearless as it is to acknowledge our fear.
It’s not so much a fight to multi-task as it is to be present in the moment.
It’s not so much a fight to work for our dreams as it is to be content right now.
It’s not so much a fight to be successful as it is to remain faithful.
It’s not so much a fight to find happiness as it is to pursue holiness.
And it’s not so much a fight to be noticed as it is to be ordinary.
The hardest battles in our lives are waged when the stakes are not of this world, but are of an eternal significance. And therein lies the real struggles, the real advancements and failures: taming the tongue, reading the Bible, exercising patience, fervency in prayer, and a godly sorrow and contrition for pride. For starters. It’s no wonder I would struggle with making decisions based on the hope of being liked rather than battle for the reality of being present. Soul surgery isn’t for the faint of heart!
So, I’m thinking….I am a stay-at-home mom just like many of you. I change diapers. I wipe faces, read aloud, deal with squabbles, make cookies. I still want to be valued and to check everything off my lists. I still battle doubts, disappointments, and discouragements and sometimes I grow weary and order out for pizza. But you know what? Honest and ordinary work isn’t supposed to be easy, and the transcendent satisfaction longed for won’t ever come from a hundred thousand likes, checking everything off of a list, or even from a homemaking job well done. That kind of lofty soul satisfaction can only come from Christ’s work on the cross which is not only well done, but ALL done. In light of this, some of the HOWS (such as “how can I be more liked?”) actually fizzle and blessedly fade away while others (such as “how might I find contentment with where God has me?”) gain passion and priority. In other words, the battleground changes, and the consequences of everyday living no longer dictates if you have peace, but will be opportunities to grow in peace.
In the end, if your heart belongs to Jesus, every battle that matters is already won. So stay steadfast in the skirmishes and humbly watch for and await your coming King with joy, for your crown will be extraORDINARY.