Why honesty {to ourselves} is the best policy…

I think sometimes, the hardest person to be honest with is myself.  Anyone with me?

I would consider myself a pretty honest person.   I guess you could say I’ve been blessed with a pretty strong conscience that sends flares off to the rest of me if something’s not right.  I desire peace with the people around me at almost any cost, which isn’t always a good thing for my own well being.  But it does continue to manufacture a good sense of honesty in relationships, since I truly do care about the people in my life and want to keep our relationships strong.

But just like people say that “You are your hardest critic,” I think the same principle can apply in the realm of honesty.  Sometimes I just can’t admit certain things to myself, particularly in this current season of life.  I’ve always had a lot of energy and have been a go getter.  I like to stay busy and have great purposes to embark on each day, even if that just means loving on my kids and taking them where ever they need to go.   I love creating and checking off my to-do lists.  There’s a great feeling about falling in bed feeling accomplished at the end of each day.  I’ve never had a struggle with putting my family first while finding a little time to get crafty and still getting a bit of enjoyment out of working a part time job too.

Until now… because the part time jobs have increased and the responsibilities in my life have pretty much doubled since I lost my partner in this whole parenting thing a few years ago.   And I’m still telling myself that I have more time in my day to accomplish things than I realistically do.  It’s pretty obvious in the growing stack of books I have told myself I will have time to read that end up just sitting there collecting dust.  In the craft kits and the scrapbooking pages I say I will get to and never do.  It makes me frustrated and gets me into trouble – with myself – every time.

The other day I started looking into this October challenge where you write each day of the month.  It looked so fun and enjoyable for me, and like something that would be the hard kick in the pants I needed to get writing more often again.  Until I remembered that I actually did this challenge a few years ago, and it was haaaaaard.  And now there would be so much more keeping me from fulfilling the commitment than there was last time.  So, I considered it, checked out the sign up page, almost bought the cute hoodie for the participants – until I thankfully had a streak of honesty jolt through me.   There is no way you can do this, I told myself.   Click that webpage closed now, before you end up disappointed with yourself for something else that’s totally unrealistic right now.  

So I did.  And I think I actually felt better than if I would have signed up and then failed at it.  Why do we tell ourselves that we can do way more than we can?  Is it the culture we live in that strives on busyness as a marker of success? Is it our pride that wants to feel good about ourselves?  Or have others look at us in admiration?  Or maybe it’s just the struggle we all have between what we want to be our reality, and what truly is our reality.

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Sometimes reality doesn’t look all that pretty.  Believe me… I know.  It may look like long lonely nights and busy, even longer, days.  It may look like sticking with a not so interesting work project until it’s completed when you’d rather go read on the couch.  It may look like choosing to be content with the clothes you already have that might look a little outdated, rather than go check out that sale at the mall on newer and cuter clothes.   It may look more empty than full.

It may not seem all that fun.

It may not look all that exciting.

There may be a billion other more interesting things that seem to be calling to us.  But reality often means faithfulness to the current tasks and the current season, as “not fun” as that may feel some days.   And that can, in fact, be much more rewarding in the long run.

When I can be honest with myself and admit that certain things are a “No”, for now anyway, my days go so much smoother.  Maybe I won’t get everything done on my to-do list.  Maybe it will be two years before I actually scrapbook another page.  But honesty with myself allows me to know beyond a doubt who I am called to be in this moment of this day.

And that, my friend, brings fulfillment and joy.

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When loneliness becomes a gift…

I’m back.  But it feels like I should write that as, I’m baaaaaaack.  Because it seems like forever since I’ve written a blog post.  I’ve missed it, not because anyone out there really needs to read what I have to say, but because I feel like I need to write.  It’s this push in my heart, but there are seasons and breaks and busyness and things that get in the way.

For us, it was summer.  Summer is great, in that I’m not playing taxi driver half as often.  We get to stay home and play games and watch way too many movies and read more books than we have time for during the school year.  But it’s 24/7 child filled – and it’s isolating.  As a single mom, I often find myself with children only during those long summer days, unless I’m intentional about making sure I see another adult at some point.  And a lot of days, I don’t.  It’s just me and these precious children God has entrusted to me, whom I love dearly – but who some days speak in nonsense words and spew out quotes from children’s movies… All. Day. Long.  When I realize that none of my little people really care to hear what I have to say about real life or any actual thoughts that make sense, it’s quite humbling.  And quite lonely.

But what I’m slowly learning is that God uses the loneliness.  He uses the solitude and the isolation to draw me nearer to Himself.  When He’s all I have, He gets a lot of my attention.  When He’s the only One to talk to, He gets quite the conversation throughout the day.  And the loneliness can even be considered a gift, as much as it feels like so much less than one in the actual moment.

I recently read Lysa TerKeurst’s new book Uninvited.  In it, she says that loneliness can indeed be a gift, because it’s when Jesus lavishes His most intimate compassion on us.  Just look at the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well in John 4, and the woman caught in adultery in John 8.  You’ll see that it seems He spoke so much more intimately with them than in His other conversations with people.

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This is what I long for in those moments – and really, in those days.  To see even the loneliness, the isolation, and the silence, as gifts from the One who knows and loves me best.

The gift of learning humility, so that I can remember that this life is truly not about me.

The gift of learning compassion, so that I remember to reach out to others who may be going through dry lonely seasons.

The gift of silence, so that I can converse with my Father and not miss His voice speaking to me, because it’s drowned out by the noise of a busy, popular lifestyle full of social engagements.

And the gift of intimacy… so that I learn to more fully believe how much He loves me.

So maybe, just maybe, the loneliness is part of the journey put together in His sovereign plan for my life, and maybe yours too.

I’m back in a busier season again of taxi driving and regularly interacting with adults in the midst of all my kids’ schooling and extracurricular activities.  That can bring a new side of loneliness with it, but it’s all good.  And it’s all for His glory. So I choose today to accept the busyness, the isolation, the loneliness, or whatever else each day holds.

Because I know Who holds my day, and that He can make anything stunningly beautiful.

 

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If you’re needing a little happiness today…

Man, I do not know where the summer has gone!  But it surely has flown by, and now we are starting to look ahead to fall and an even busier schedule.  The good part about that is that I should have more time for writing, which I dearly miss right now.  I’m hopping on here this week though, in the middle of an Olympics watching marathon and a lot of work going on around here… … {…Read More}

Some good summer reads…

We are thick into summer, which really does seem to bring out some “lazy days” around here.  This is the time of year that I challenge my kids with summer reading programs, and I also immerse my own self in a ton of fiction of all different kinds.  Recently I had the chance to review two sweet inspirational fiction books that are new releases, just in time for some relaxing summer reading. I read All … {…Read More}

Book Review… Brave Girls: Beautiful You

I am constantly trying to find ways to encourage my daughter to grow in her faith and let her relationship with God help her navigate the ups and downs of these transitional tween years.  So when I saw that there was a new devotional book out for tweens that will help them grow in knowledge and confidence as the beautiful girls they  are in Christ, I snatched it up quickly. This devotional book, Brave Girls: … {…Read More}

Book review – The Prophetess

Whew… it’s been awhile, hasn’t it?  If you’ve been following this blog for any length of time, you probably know that the silent periods on here are usually when God is doing a great work in my heart.  This time is no different.  I’ll try to find the words to share more soon, but for today, I’m back sharing about a book I recently had the chance to review and just finished over spring break. Have you … {…Read More}

A call to gratitude (and a book review)

My least favorite time of year, when it comes to parenting my kids, is when the toy catalogs come out.  Right around when the holiday decorations start being seen around town, our mailbox starts overflowing with its own décor – catalogs galore.  And not just any catalogs, but catalogs that appeal to little people with big eyes.  Eyes that are prone to see all that they don’t have, that their friends do. We are blessed … {…Read More}

Book Review – Called to Pray

I told you the other day that I’ve been convicted lately about prayer, so it should be no surprise to you that today I’m reviewing another book on prayer that I had recently the opportunity to read.  This book is not about how to pray, but instead chock full of stories of answered prayer, showing the incredible power of prayer. Called to Pray, by Linda Evans Shepherd, is an inspiring book full of stories of … {…Read More}

Book Review – Prayers that Changed History

Every once in awhile, the Lord connects somewhere I’m being challenged with a similar concept on a level my kids can relate to.  Lately, I’ve been convicted a lot about prayer… the importance of it, the power of it, and my need to do more of it.  I’ve been challenged to make prayer such a priority in my family that it becomes a habit my children see as vitally important in their own lives.  So when … {…Read More}

Thirsty

You’ve probably seen those little cartoons floating around Face book with the older style graphics in them of people saying various things like “Everyone’s talking about the holidays, and I’m just sitting over here wondering how to get through Halloween without eating all of my kids’ candy.”  Well, maybe that’s not quite it – just my take on it – but you get the idea. 🙂 So here we are in January again, after yet … {…Read More}