Every day, I wake up hating myself.
Most of you wouldn't categorize me as a negative person, I suspect. But what I've allowed to follow me around, what I've allowed to speak to my soul every day is very different, I find, than what I would have wanted. Here is a picture of my thought life:
The baby crying draws me out of bed at 830am. That's too late. Dang it Megan. So much you could have done by now.
10am comes along and I've gotten myself dressed, the baby dressed, my son has done his morning chores, I've gathered the laundry and decluttered, possibly vacuumed, the upstairs- So now, finally- I allow myself to meander downstairs to eat breakfast. It's cold steel cut oatmeal my husband made at 7am. I've already nursed the baby twice. If you'd get things done faster, Megan, you could have eaten by now.
I busy myself with cleaning dishes of the morning, making preparations for lunch and dinner, and tidying here and there. I take note of the wooden boards sitting lonely in the closet and chastise myself for not having gotten those black and white prints made when I meant to- Before the job loss.
I see the clothing bins in the baby's room (my peaceful room, now cluttered) and demand of myself that I go through those clothes tonight, to wash and ready them for consignment. I agonize over whether now is the right time to consign the brand name clothes to a store, or whether I should wait until after the seasonal consignment sales are over. I can never make a solid decision. Ugh, how does one know? I should know. I should know. I should ask. I don't want to ask...I'll look like I care too much. I do care too much. It's just money, right? Ugh. But if I need that money in 6 months and I don't have it, I'll think back to this and kick myself hard. Seems extreme, but my husband can acknowledge it's truth.
After lunch the kids take their nap and I decide to make dinner early, to be sure I don't burn it, haven't forgotten an ingredient, and can be sure it will be ready in time. Typing that now I see...I don't trust myself. But my track record gives me good reason.
I think about reading. My mind wanders to the bins in the sleeping baby's room. Why didn't I bring those down when I was thinking about them? I should at least put the clean laundry away before I read. Then I'd better clean the bathroom. Goodness, how did I let those blinds get so dusty? I'd better do that too. Maybe I'll reward myself when I get those things done.
The baby wakes up. I should have read my book. I should have worked faster. If I had woken up earlier...
And so my day goes. So thick, so full of "Why didn't I?s", "I should haves", "Next time I'd betters" and "What the heck is wrong with mes". I have drive. I have lists. I have meal plans and laundry schedules and google calendar dates.
I have no joy. And, I notice...my kids haven't much either.
I took that picture last week. I walked into the living room and saw such lovely sun and white lines- Lines of the plantation blinds, the computer armoire, the drying rack- In beautiful contrast to the bold colors of the diapers. Beauty. Lines. Simplicity. I took a picture, I took note. In the words of Ann Voskamp (One Thousand Gifts), I "nailed it down". I put a paper weight on it. I noticed.
Joy. Joy in the little things. Thanksgiving to God for the simple, the ordinary, the stumbled-upon of life. Diapers drying and lines of light brought me such joy. And it seemed so dang....silly. Immature. Another word from Ann Voskamp: Amateur.
But maybe it isn't. Maybe being able to find joy in the little things, all the little things we experience and take for granted each day, isn't amateur at all. Maybe easy for a child, but so hard for us, the mothers, the wifes, the housekeepers; the busy. Maybe...it's exactly the type of maturity I need. Maybe if I take time to notice the little joyful things, I'll see the gifts God gives me all morning, noon and night long.
Perhaps my persistent thoughts of self hatred could be replaced with thoughts of God, His gifts, thankfulness and even, perhaps even...joy.
If you'd like to join me on my journey of thanksgiving and finding joy, read "One Thousand Gifts" by Ann Voskamp. I'm a skeptic turned ...joyful :). So I'm taking the dare to record 1000 good gifts God gives. From light shining in the window to huge life change. I'm sure there will be more posts on this topic in the future!