Using What the Good Lord Gave You

I'm tired of thinking I'm winning if there's no one in front of me. I'm tired of being so preoccupied of whose next to me that I stumble and fall; that I stagger out of line and onto the field. I'm tired of thinking that my reward somehow looks different than yours. It doesn't. We all get the same prize. I'm tired of looking for improvements instead of stretching and using what I already have. I'm tired of feeling stuck in calling instead of moving in freedom. I'm tired of trying to understand myself, instead of working to hear God. 

Mostly, I'm tired of looking for purpose when it's already been given to me. 

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I'm the sentimental sort. I tend to obsess over the details - over stories and pictures and keepsakes from the past. I also have a need to process all the major milestones in my life through writing, and my birthday this year is no different. In fact, turning thirty has been something I've wanted to celebrate loudly.

I've successfully done that I think, in a few different ways.

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Sometimes, I bake at night. The kids are in bed, there's nothing left on my to-do list, and a lot of the time I'm really just trying to manage a serious sugar craving. This is the perfect storm - and how I almost always end up in the kitchen at 11 PM on any given night.

Unfortunately, I'm not Martha Stewart. My measuring cups are more often used as bath toys then for their original design; and my so-called baking cupboard is pretty bare. But, I like to pretend that baking and spontaneity go hand in hand - generally throwing all the rules out for a make it work moment.

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Hey You.

Yes, you. Did you know that I made you? That long before you were a twinkle in your mother's eye - you already existed within my heart? That you reside there - permanently. Even at your worst daughter; even when you feel alone, invisible, or hidden.

I see you.

You've been trying too hard, daughter. You've been trying to assign yourself worth by your performance; by others perception and approval of you. You've replaced the cross with your hustle, and your insecurities. But don't you remember child? I sent my Son for that.

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It had been a couple of months of me staying at home with my kids full time when it happened. It was summer time; perfect mornings, sun shining bright, and hours spent at the park. I had the freedom to stay in my pajamas all day or take the family to the library, lingering for as long as I wanted in the stacks of books. I drank a lot of coffee, and a visit to the drive-thru of Dunkin Donuts became a weekly before grocery shopping treat. 

It was everything I had wanted. Or was it? Somewhere in the middle of my dreams come true, I began to question myself. "Wasn't I supposed to be enjoying this?"

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How often do we wait for our feelings to catch up with our intentions? 

We talk about what we wish to improve or make progress in. We set goals, come up with mantras, and find accountability partners. And when we still feel frustrated or disappointed, it's far easier for us to give in then to push through. 

Embracing the season we are in is a daily challenge. It contends for us to make the most of the life that we are living - to savor each moment. It requires commitment and perseverance. 

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The realization didn't come until about 10 pm. I had literally wasted my entire day to grumbling and complaining.   

It had been another difficult day. Another napped skipped. Another tooth popping through. Another messy room. Another tear-stained face clamoring for attention. Another dinnertime battle. Another late night. 

These were the things I was focusing on - the things I was allowing to define my day. And yet, there was so much more. 

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I have a confession. 

I have a secret that only my innermost circle knows about. In fact, I've hidden it so well that maybe even they've forgotten I struggle with it. 

It's debilitating. Sometimes, I can't get anything done as I inwardly battle against it. It causes me to overly criticize myself, my circumstances, and the people around me - always resulting in disappointment and negativity. It literally displaces my joy and infects my heart with discontentment. 

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