i’m definitely one for extremes. i know this about myself. sometimes i am able to keep that in mind and the things related to it in perspective. other times, not so much. sometimes i will become overwhelmed with guilt i feel over how much i’m NOT getting done – be it with housework, homeschooling, time spent with my kids, etc. other times i will just become confused over what is going on in my own head. i try to make sense of the various (and often contradictory) extremes that are fighting for position in my head and then start to question my sanity. how can i feel this when just yesterday i whole heartedly believed in that? i habitually set unrealistic standards for myself, my family, my children, based on what i see elsewhere, and then feel distressed or disappointed when reality doesn’t agree with the idealized version of the situation i’ve been carrying around in my head.
at any rate, i’ve had a rough couple of weeks. i guess i just feel like that by the age of 33, i would have figured out who i am. it seems like i should have a firm grasp on what i believe in and hold to be important. yet i feel more lost than ever. i’ve been trying to sort out who i am as a person. as a wife. as a mother. as a child of God… and it just seems like i should have sorted SOMETHING out by now.
i became very discouraged recently. i’m not sure exactly what set me off initially. probably one of those series’ of events that, individually, seem harmless enough, but together created some sort of chemical reaction that caused me to implode. as some point i realized that a lot of what i felt strongly about was causing me to alienate myself from people that i love. i found myself offending people unintentionally and walking around with this high and mighty, judgmental attitude that was VERY distressing to me. in general, i think i’m a pretty friendly person. i can be kind of shy with strangers, but i LOVE my friends and family and somehow or other i was walking around with this attitude that everyone was wrong most of the time… including me. i was NOT feeling like a very nice person. so, extremist that i am, rather than just working on the bad stuff, i had to throw out everything.
then i read the news about little josie duggar, born at 25 weeks and weighing only 1 lb, 6 oz, followed shortly thereafter by news of another friend who, in the second trimester, had lost her baby. i lost one at 10 weeks and it was the most devastating thing i’ve every experienced… i don’t know if there’s any comparison there. it seems to me that the longer you have that baby, the worse it would hurt, but i don’t know. the selfish part of me is glad i don’t know. i hope that doesn’t sound insensitive. at any rate, news like this causes me to look at my 3 healthy children and wonder why i don’t appreciate them more. why i resent it when they require my attention? is this NOT what parenting is about? i suppose guilt is my middle name, so why not indulge in it? i started to feel like i didn’t deserve these children, like God made a mistake in making me their mother. wouldn’t they be better off with someone who cares more? who has more energy? more patience? more creativity? and in the midst of all that, i made the mistake of looking at a blog i used to read. it’s the blog of a friend of a friend, but i knew she was pregnant and wondered if she’d had her baby yet. but then i had to keep reading. there’s a reason (other than the fact that i don’t actually know her) that i quit reading her blog. the person is one of those over-achieving types – well, at least it seems that way. she puts a lot of pictures on her blog and from what i can see, she’s the anti-rachel. as in her house is spotless, there’s no clutter, everything is decorated by someone who knows something about decorating, she’s disgustingly crafty, homeschools her kids (who always wear matching, coordinated outfits that are clean), and is always posting about fun places they’ve gone and projects they’ve done, or cute little parties they’ve thrown, complete with all the food and decorations and ‘special’ stuff she’s made herself for her children. UGH! guilt personified.
so there i am, wallowing in guilt over all the stuff i don’t do, and the children i don’t appreciate, and the house i haven’t cleaned, and the parties i don’t throw, and the crafts i don’t do, and why is it so hard for me and so easy for everyone else, and yada yada yada. instant depressed rachel. yes, i know, it all sounds SO stupid. and today, i can see that. today i can write about it with the right perspective.
for the most part, episodes like this are bad for me. i know this. i hate when i get like this and the unpleasantness that comes with it and the fact that my family has to deal with that. but at the same time, it can kind of shake up my complacency and cause me to realize that the things i feel bad about are generally areas that i CAN stand to improve, just not necessarily to the extreme i was obsessing over. i DO need to be nicer about things. proverbs 16:18 says, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” ya think? looking back i can see that i set myself up for that one. my job is to make sure that my heart and my life is right before the Lord, and to encourage others, but never to judge them. also, i DO need to appreciate my children more and my attitude needs to be more loving, understanding and patient. galatians 5:22, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindess, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” i have had a major lack in all of these departments lately. i know that comparing myself to others is generally destructive, but i also know that there is much to learn from others, i just have to have the right attitude about it.
i know how blessed i am.