Some days I just need a do-over. A can-I-take-it-back kind of day. Days when the mommy guilt rubs my heart raw. I’m exposed, bleeding from expectations I set, yet can never meet.
And if I’m honest, right now I need a do-over week. I’ve barked at Prince Charming, chastised my Princess, growled at my Court Jester. The last several days have pulled at my already-frayed edges, and I’ve threatened to unravel.
Stress has cut-off my air and I’ve been left gasping. Essays needing grades stack higher instead of getting done. Financial burdens close in. I’ve detached when my children need my connection. My husband gets my paltry leftovers.
Spinning too many plates. Not a single one can be pulled down and tucked away into the cabinet. All are necessary responsibilities. Plates that cannot be dropped—cannot stop spinning.
And I’m tired. So very tired.
I feel myself slipping again. Into the dark cavernous hole that swallows me alive. The pitch black that tries to make me forget the light. The ominous night that whispers in my ear—You’re a horrible mom. I don’t know why your husband loves you. You’ll never get it right.
Oh these lies. Lies straight from the pits of hell. I know this. Yet, there are days, moments, weeks I believe distortions of truth. Times when my heart just sits in the abyss of those lies because to fight my way out is just. so. exhausting.
Do you know those lies?
Have you ever embraced them as I have? As I do?
But you know what I realized today? What the God-of-the-Angel-Armies pointed out to me as I cried out to Him from my darkness? He showed me how much I have been focused on the me.
I have been stressed. I have been tired. I have been depressed. I. I. I. The lies I listen to are the lies that turn my focus inward. Lies that get me to concentrate on me.
This afternoon I read an interview with Katie Davis, a young mother of 13 adopted daughters, living in Uganda. She said this should be our God-question: “’What could I do for You (God) today? How could I say, “Yes”? How could I love as Christ loved and give my life up as a fragrant offering for God’s glory?’ Dear friends, be imitators of God alone.”
Do you see the light yet? That pinhole prick of bright? It’s there.
Because here is the great paradox of our Jesus—Only when we take the focus off of ourselves and place it on others, only then, do we begin to crawl out from the hole that sucks the very marrow from our bones.
Scripture actually requires this of us: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” (Philippians 2:3-4)
Wait. What? Focus on others, and I will be joyful? I can’t explain it. I know it doesn’t make sense. But I know this—when I follow this crazy Jesus-Truth, my own heart begins to be pierced with His Light.
So when the darkness closes in I should really be asking, How can I say yes to you, God?
The real do-over I need to ask myself is, How can I be a blessing to someone today? How can I bless my children today? How can I bless my husband today?
A self-focus only keeps me in the dark. Stuffed down. Chained. But I want Light. My soul screams for it. Because Light is worth living for. And so I feel a shift, deep down in the hidden corners. My life is not my own. Only when I give myself, when I serve those around me, only then will I begin to unveil His joy.
So tonight I served my family. With plates spinning, exhaustion seeping out my pores, I spent my time, feeding them. Cooking dinner. A chore I don’t usually enjoy. At all. The difference tonight? It wasn’t about me. It was about them. And the corners of my mouth reached my eyes for the first time in days.