I’ve had a long week. (And it’s only Tuesday!!)
We are at that part of summer that I’ve looked forward to all summer – events are basically done, sports seasons are over. All we have left to do is relax and enjoy each other. Take everything in. Recoup before the rush of autumn comes upon us.
It’s also the time that is by far the most challenging to me.
I thrive on structure. It took me a long time to realize this because I don’t naturally provide structure for myself. But when I find it, life goes well. I’m able to get stuff done, and I’m able to enjoy myself. I’m able to meet my responsibilities and do things that bring some added enjoyment.
And when it’s gone, I find it hard to do anything. At all. I’ll have a list of things that need to be done, and they will go undone.
Just a bit ago I found myself sitting in the middle of a thought whirlwind.
Work out, I thought. No then I’ll be neglecting the kids.
Play with the kids. No then my house will remain untidy.
Clean the house. But which room do I start in?
There’s an endless world of possibilities, and they all surround me and overwhelm me, and leave me huddling in a corner not sure which way to turn.
Then I watched a video on Facebook. It was by Father Mike from Ascension Press. In it, he spoke about the difference between a child and an adult. Among other things, he said one of the primary hallmarks of adulthood is taking responsibility for what we have been tasked with.
All of a sudden the chaos disappeared from my mind, and I was able to see things more clearly.
I have been given a lot. I have four beautiful daughters to guide. I have a home to nurture. I have a husband to care for.
And that’s what I get lost in. I see so much I can do. I see so much I should do. That I fail to recognize what I can do. Instead of focusing on how I can serve those in front of me, I feel guilt over what I believe everyone else in the world thinks I should do.
Instead of seeing possibilities, I am actually focusing on the judgment.
If someone wants to tempt us into inaction, they don’t need to show us the comfort of a bed, or the abandonment in a book, or the pleasure in any number of meaningless activities. Instead, they can just show us all the possible ways we can be judged and we’ll do all the work ourselves, retreating into a hole to avoid the onslaught of judgment.
When I started writing I didn’t realize this would be a post about judgment. I actually didn’t think judgment was actually part of my problem. I thought it was a lack of structure in my days, and I thought it was a failure of taking responsibility.
But now I realize that the reason I struggle with a lack of external structure is because I can’t focus on what I need to do, what I feel responsible for, how I believe I can best serve those around me.
Instead I focus on the external criticisms I imagine people would hurl my way. I feel so promised to everything around me that I can’t complete one single thing.
So I’m going to stop writing now. I’m going to go serve in the ways that I can. I’m going to give what I have. In the little small ways that I do every day. And I’m going to turn off that voice that says I’m not enough, and I’m going to turn on the voice that rejoices in all the small little accomplishments I make throughout the day.
I’m going to ignore the big, grand plans. And I’m simply going to do one little thing in a continuous stream throughout my day.
And my hope is that at the end of the day, I’ll be able to sit back and look at the ways I served those I love rather than in the ways I failed them.
Surely there will be plenty of examples of both. But our well being is determined by which we focus on.