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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