We tend to problem solve, starting with the thing making the most "noise". (Often that really IS the problem and we need to just use common sense and take an ibuprofen, or put a screeching toddler to bed.) That was my morning this morning. Not a headache or screeching toddler, but a headache, screeching toddler, my health bottoming out again, I've somehow gotten a month behind on our schooling and still not "accomplished" anything, feeling that sense again of letting people down, struggling to be a good steward but having constant new expenses that crop up... Some of my physical ailments are quite simply just making it hard to think clearly. I've been overwhelmed with all the typical Mommy things, piled up laundry, clutter piling high, dental appointments, feeling hormonal, etc... (I could go on, but trust me, you don't want me to).
And somehow, somehow...my focus was veering off into left field. Maybe it's lacking good time in the Word. Maybe it's taking in too many worldy philosophies through the tube while I haven't been feeling so hot. Maybe it's forgetting to take those thoughts captive that are specifically designed to discourage us in what we already know to do. Probably all of the above...
I tend to be pretty hard on myself (which I know, is sin), and instead of enjoying all the things I've checked off my list in a day, I add more and more until I'm absolutely wiped out and feeling discouraged about everything I didn't accomplish. (Never accomplish). The things I do accomplish simply felt like they weren't enough. It's that feeling of waste, futility and vanity that Solomon described so well in Ecclesiastes.
Much of the work of mothers is continuous and revolving. There are always dishes, laundry, poop, the bathroom always gets REAL dirty just moments after a deep scouring...tummies are always empty soon after they were filled (often before clean up from the last meal has even been finished!) I was feeling that old familiar sense of pouring my life out, feeling like I'm coming close to an empty tank and not remembering. Not remembering what I know to do!
This morning I was evaluating myself in light of all those things I'm struggling in and not measuring up to....all the unchecked boxes again, while using my own feelings and emotions as the measuring stick-- The litmus test in the current new age Oprafied folly of self actualization and fulfillment.
Ironically it was a chapter from Elisabeth Elliot's Keep a Quiet Heart book specifically titled and intented "The Childless Man or Woman" that shook me out of my backwards thinking. Everything she says is always so inspiring and some of my dearest friends are childless, so of course I read the chapter for the childless.
Her context was encouragment to the childless to still pour out the love they would have on their own children on others while not being discouraged by their feeling of loss, but to just keep pouring. She quoted the italian preacher Ugo Bassi's beautifully put words. It turned my day around around in such a way that I must quote it for you.