Summer is hard. Wonderful, but hard.
I find myself frustrated by needing to accomplish the same things I do during the school year days (client deadlines, etc.), but wanting (and needing) to spend the time with the kids. Result: this productivity junkie is getting very little done.
After reading multiple articles on how crippling perfectionism is to productivity, I’ve had to coach myself to use the 20 minute gaps of time interspersed within my days because I won’t have two uninterrupted hours. Instead of waiting until I have “enough time” to do something well (read: perfectly), I need to do what I can with the time I have.
This time of year, students everywhere are doing math.
Not just to demonstrate proficiency in concepts on final exams. Many are calculating the minimum score needed to obtain the desired final grade in the class. “I can get a 77% on the final and still keep my A.”
While it’s been a couple decades since I graduated from college, I still witness this kind of thinking.
My son is adopted.
He spent all but two weeks of his first 21 months in a Russian orphanage.
After more than 10 years at home with us, we still spend time in therapy each week. Most often, we’re trying to work through the issues of abandonment and rejection by his birth mother. My husband and I have tried to portray a woman we don’t know in the most positive light. To assume the best, if you will. We’ve even tried to ascribe some nobility to her actions: “She loved you enough to know she couldn’t take care of you.”
Whether due to our American culture or simply the carnal flesh, most of us are hungry for success.
Not always in the forms of fame or wealth, sometime we just want a sense of growth or progression. (Or a small assurance that we’re not irretrievably screwing up our children? Anyone?)
Sometimes my actions defy logic.
Any man reading this would probably attribute that statement to the absence of a Y chromosome. Ha!
Given that I’m a linear thinker who relies on logic to make decisions, allocate time and [try to] parent my children, ignoring logic seems foolish. And it usually is. I’ve recently been studying Gideon’s story in the book of Judges. This meek man’s time as God’s chosen warrior depicts beautifully that His power is made perfect in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). It has caused me to re-examine the areas of weakness in my life, temperament and faith. I didn’t have to look far to find the most glaring of weaknesses: my need for control.
I felt like a schmuck.
Today in church, my pastor called all the educators in our congregation forward so we could collectively pray over them as the new school year begins. He noted our beautiful state of Idaho spends less than 48 other states on education. (Only Utah spends less.) My heart sank and I internally lamented how much I wish that were different. I instantly began plotting ways I could personally supply the needs of the many classrooms in my school… city… state. Ideas began to swarm in my head: fundraisers, donations, gifts. We can do this!
And then I winced.
I recalled this snarky post I made on Facebook just ten days ago.
He couldn’t even look me in the eyes.
The weight of yesterday’s foolishness on his conscience made it impossible for him to lock his gaze with mine. Though I had tucked him in bed with assurances of my love for him, he still awoke this morning unreconciled.
He’s since apologized and our relationship is restored, yet he still bears a countenance of guilt. I console him again with scripture:
While delivering that truth to his tender heart, I pondered why I don’t often wake with the awareness of guilt that he so frequently does. I’d love to think that’s because I have fully internalized the grace contained in the Lamentations passage.
I’ve dug my heels in. But I may not be winning.
I make a conscious, daily effort to take a stand against the cultural norms of our day in the area of body image. Yep, that’s me: middle-aged, suburban rebel. Americans worship youth and beauty, thereby shackling women (in particular) with concern over their appearance. We pay thousands of dollars, and spend countless hours, “managing” our bodies as measured in pounds lost, grays dyed, wrinkles stretched/treated/injected, breasts implanted, cellulite extracted, teeth whitened, and the like.
I want something different for my daughters and the young gals for whom I lead Bible study.
“I don’t want to go.”
My daughter informed me that she had qualified to run in the district track meet but that she didn’t care to. Only the top three runners in each event are sent to compete with students from all the other schools in our area. Her news thrilled me, so I puzzled over her reluctance.
A four letter word. Of the best variety.
I’ve been reading the book of Amos this summer, in anticipation of studying it this fall. Amos beseeches Israel to repent of sin and return to God.
For thus says the Lord to the house of Israel:
“Seek me and live; but do not seek Bethel, and do not enter into Gilgal or cross over to Beersheba; for Gilgal shall surely go into exile, and Bethel shall come to nothing.”
Seek the Lord and live, lest he break out like fire in the house of Joseph, and it devour, with none to quench it for Bethel, O you who turn justice to wormwood and cast down righteousness to the earth!”
— Amos 5:4-7 ESV