First, as I've already said more than once, February sucks as a month. I can't speak for anyone else, but in the homeschooling world, we all feel the pain. We keep getting sick. The weather is especially schizophrenic. We still have months left of school. Our hope is nearly exhausted for the school year, yet we still have months before we can plan for the next thereby refueling our hope tank. This is when those If/then statements take hold. I've had a quite a few If/thens rolling around my head lately.
- If I wasn't so tired, then I could keep our house cleaner.
- If I was more disciplined, then we'd be getting more school done.
- If I had more self control, then I could stop eating all the sugar. And chips. And exercise more.
- If I only had that Ikea drawer thing, I could go back to workboxes and stop forgetting to do math facts with Matthew.
- If only I could be thinner/more pleasant/get more done around the house/generally be better, then my husband would be happier.
- If I could schedule things a little better, then the kids could do all the activities they want to.
See all these things swirling around? No wonder I'm exhausted. These are heavy thoughts that weigh on me. Now let's break this down. What am I really saying to myself? What is my idol? Well, as usual, my idol is my image. My idol is myself.
While none of these things are bad, the desire behind them is less than noble. I want so desperately to "have it all together". But I don't. And I won't on this side of heaven. So what standard am I comparing myself too? It's all those Facebook pics of people getting their school work done. It's HGTV and Food Network with their spotless homes and gourmet meals. Obviously those are not attainable or real standards, but don't we all fall into that trap from time to time? If I'm being honest with myself, things are not really all that bad. Our house is not spotless, but it's not the scene of a Hoarders episode either. This school year has actually been one of our more successful ones. I'm not a pig with food, and I can still wear the same shirts that I've had for the last 10 years. (I don't shop much). The kids do stuff. They see people. My husband is happy to come home. He likes me, and he doesn't complain about the house or the food I provide. Ikea? Well, life really would be better with a few more bookcases and cabinets.
At this point in most blog posts, this is where I usually read that I actually am enough. I don't need the things I think I need because I'm already enough. That's another lie as well. I am not enough. I could do with some more discipline, self control, organization follow-through, and Ikea drawers. I guess it's both. What I'm doing is the best I can do at this time in my life and it actually is enough. It is also never enough because I will never be enough on my own. Ultimately, I'm trying to make everything work with my own easily distracted mind and strength. That's where my failure is. I cannot do this life on my own. I cannot white knuckle it long enough to become the person I'm supposed to be. A stone cannot chisel itself into a statue. I cannot make myself into the kind, competent, loving person that I want to be. Only Jesus can do that.
Maybe I should be thankful for February. It seems to bring out the worst in me every year. I mean, nobody likes the worst side of me, but the only way that God can work on that part of myself is if it's brought out of the dark. Since I very much want to change, I have to go through that painful process of having an idol grow large enough for me to take notice. Then I can allow the Holy Spirit to do what He needs to do to shape me into the person He is creating me to be.
So...I guess I should thank February for being the crappy month that it is for helping to shape me into a person that hopefully looks just a little bit more like Jesus.
Oh, and everyone should read Idols of the Heart. It's really good.