A couple of years ago, I was standing in my kitchen dazed by the amount of repetition and effort I had been putting into the upkeep of cleaning my house. I remember feeling too tired to be resentful. Too tired, yet still pulling out the top rack of the dishwasher to place one more sippy cup inside. Somehow, somewhere I had developed the ability to continue going through the motions no matter how exhausted I felt inside.
But living with the exhaustion had taken its toll on my mind. Even when I had slept soundly for a whole night, I still found myself in the kitchen doing the same things, feeling the same way, and resenting every second of it.
Of course, I signed up for the crazy ride that is mom-guilt which took me through all the standard emotions of feeling poorly for resenting the mess my children make, or the food they constantly need me to prepare, or the never ending pile of dirty laundry they create. After feeling such negativity, angst, and boarder-line-bitterness, then something polar would happen and I would calmly reflect on how much joy and gladness my heart was full of for doing this thing called “motherhood.”
The rocking back and forth on the crazy ride finally made me sick enough to try to stop. I was tired of wishing my right now away because of all the resentment and exhaustion. I confessed my harbored sin of fantasizing about a cleaner, more glamorous life – because in this fantasized world I knew there was no place for the treasures that are my little people. How could I continue to love them and pour my life into them if in the secret place of heart I was fantasizing about a life without them?
I looked around at all the things in my life – the dirty, messy, ugly, constant chaos and clutter – and right there decided that there would be no more wishing it away. I decided to agree with reality. (I know, no one will ever accuse me of being a rocket scientist.) I stood up straighter, held my head higher, and chose to choose my life all over again.
I pick this house. Out of all the rest. With all of its old floors and crooked lines, bad paint, dusty light fixtures, cramped storage, and dangerous entry way. It is the only place in the world that I call home, and I will love it for all that it provides for me no matter if it is never better than it looks right now.
I pick my husband. I chose him years ago and I didn’t have to. I wanted to. He was given to me by God and his position in life provides well for our family. I confessed all the years that I spent waiting for him to engage me in his life and how my waiting led to my isolating myself from the one person that I am one-with. I chose to choose loving him in a no-matter-what way and in a even-if-it-doesn’t-get-better way because feelings aren’t good life-drivers. They tend to lead me down all the dead-end roads.
I pick my children. I choose to embrace their right-now ages. I don’t want to miss one single day of this age and stage even if that means I teach them how to put away the Duplos a dozen times in one day. I don’t want to rush through their littleness for the fear that I will crush their spirits and train their minds to think of me with scrunched eyebrows and in harsh tones. I submit to the challenge of raising them, knowing full well that the training and timing of their days will break me in ways that I cannot fix on my own. I surrender my rights to feeling good about my home, my body, and my life. I confess that my complaining about my lot in life as a stay-at-home-mom is sheer selfishness and pride. I confess that the effect of this sin is hurting me and it is not providing the pleasure of having a better life like the sin promised. If you taste the fruit of having a clean, child-free home then you’ll be happy. Those words are poison.
I pick this life. For this is mine and I will never get another. Once I’m full of years and my days come to an end, there won’t be any more room for do-overs. If I don’t embrace my right now, taking a deep breath of acceptance for all that is, then I will have failed.
I remember the smile that came over my face, as the resentment rolled off my brow. I looked around at all the clutter and craziness – everything I tried to avoid – I stared at it all and chose it.
And something beautiful birthed in my heart. Something more than just counting blessings or choosing joy.
I was really living. I felt alive. I could breathe under all the pressure. I could see my children’s faces again. I could feel their heartbeats in full hugs. I knew I was meant for these moments in life. I realized that all the resentment was lying to me and robbing me of the right-now goodness.
What’s more? I didn’t feel exhausted anymore.