Sunday, August 8, 2010

Dear Lord, Bless Me with Simplicity

A little while ago I realized I am high-strung -- one of those things that everyone else has figured about you before you actually see it yourself.  My life is fabulous.  I have the best husband in the world, kids I love like crazy, a beautiful home -- lots and lots of blessings; I could go on forever.  Problem is, I tend to get a little caught up in "What's next?"  I tend to worry about getting it all done in one day, or making the most of every minute.  "If I have time to clean two rooms this afternoon, isn't three better?"  Better why?  "If I can squeeze in one more errand, I'll be ahead for tomorrow."  The problem with that is, tomorrow I'm thinking the same way, and figuring if I have so much extra time by the end of the week I can tack a couple more projects to my list.  (That, boys and girls, is called OCD.)  It doesn't stop there.  With all of my "piling on" and "making the most of my time" -- not efficienly, irrationally -- I have developed little quirks.  Eating too quickly, grinding my teeth, not being a good listener, tension in my neck and shoulders to name a few.  At some point, I began to notice that death grip on my toothbrush, or the panicked looks from my dogs as our relaxing morning stroll turned into training for the Boston Marathon.

Each day during my quiet time I pray for God to make me "usable."  Now the things I consider make me "unusable" never seem to be the things that God wants to work on.  For instance, I know I am judgemental, and for a while now I have been praying for God to show me how to love others the way He does, to help me to see others as He does -- through the eyes of love.  God, however, is interested in making me more aware of  my crazy obsession about time and accomplishment.  So how does that work?  Well, come to find out, one of the things that makes others so "intolerable" to me is the way I see them as lazy or slow.  The lady in the line ahead of me who insists on writing a check but must wait until her order is completely rung and bagged to begin digging through that disaster of a purse of hers, or the guy who thinks that leaving the back end of his land yacht six feet over our drive is "good enough for government work."  How do I keep from pummelling these people?  God changes me.

As I wolf down my breakfast, I ask myself "why," and pick up a book for a couple of chapters of "me time."  As I find myself plenty early enough, but still trying to break the land speed record on my way to work, I set the cruise control and lean back.  When the lady with the ridiculously bleached blonde hair sits in her car at 11 o'clock at night jamming to Gospel music and smoking God knows what, I wonder what she is going through and how I can serve her, instead of tsk-tsking at the lazy, trashy, hypocrisy of it all.  And those days when we load up the family truckster and head to a local farm to buy produce -- a venture that is sure to take at least an hour, as opposed to fifteen minutes at the co-op -- it is the smells, the colors, the feel of a warm summer day, the excitement and enjoyment of our family that reminds me, simple can be better.  This world is imperfect, others are imperfect, I am imperfect; my days will not always go as planned, my life is not a solitary one, but one that impacts and relies on the lives of others.  By reducing and refocusing expectations for my own life, I can stop pressuring others to be what I think they should be and instead, walk -- not run -- with them to discover what God would have us become.
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