These are my constant balancing challenges. How do I manage our days home with making sure we tackle school, keep the house in a real-life lived in "clean-ish" state or at least not an episode of hoarders? How do I give responsibilities to the boys and have them do the "right" amount of chores? And one of the benefits of homeschooling is that they can have time for their hobbies, how do I find a good balance for this?
I DON'T KNOW! It's like juggling bowling pins. And that's not a strength of mine either.
Just like a ton of moms I've talked with, we have this thing we're really good at. (and it's not something to brag about) We excel at constantly second guessing ourselves. I've seen those posts about the mom being in bed and not able to sleep at the end of the day wondering if she loved enough, gave enough, did enough, etc... the message we play is "everyone else has this figured out" Why do we torment ourselves like this? I've been spending some time thinking over this- and have a few ideas.
First, I think we compare. I compare other homeschooling schedules, I compare other people's fb posts of their clean homes, I compare life, compare kids, and compare talents. Why do we do this? Our lives are all different, and as my friend Amy says, comparison is the thief of joy. I believe this! When we look at other homes, other marriages, other schedules... we are pulled away from contentedness. We are pulled away from thankfulness and gratefulness and joy. My life isn't yours... so unless we can encourage eachother in our own unique journeys please please please don't compare.
The second reason I think we get trapped in this, is we aren't transparent enough. I was just talking with a friend Sunday evening at church and it came up in our conversation that how on earth can we encourage eachother, support eachother or be there for one another as sisters in Christ if we pretend life is perfect? This goes hand in hand with a passion I've had recently to celebrate real-life, not perfect life. To find the joy in DAILY. And it's true! We need to open up, let others in, and share our struggles with the people God gave us to do life with. We need eachother. I don't have it all figured out, but I can relate to the struggles in marriage, mom-ing, even in our walks with Christ. And the point of sharing isn't to complain, but to get in the trenches with eachother. We can't get in trenches or have anyone come meet us in our trench if we pretend life is great... and are never willing to share struggles, challenges and hard stuff. Transparency is a powerful thing. It shines light where darkness is. The thing about darkness is that's where lies thrive, sin thrives, struggling alone thrives. So let's open up a little more. Let's get alongside eachother, not in comparison, but in a heart of encouragement, empathy, compassion and growth. So that we can do this real-life thing together.
The third thing I think happens with this constant second guessing thing we do as women is having discernment to know what is guilt, and what is conviction. Satan wants to point out our failures over and over again. He wants to remind us of all the ways we aren't meeting the bar. He wants us to feel defeated and not worthy. To make us believe his lie that everyone else is thriving and we're alone over here failing. We need to call out truth in that battle, because Christ's message to us is SO different than that. He wants to call out our sin, not to keep us wallowing there, but because HE PAID for that sin on the cross and it cost Him everything in order to set us free! (John 3:16) He convicts us in order to FORGIVE and to give us VICTORY over those struggles. He wants us to live a life that's free. Not free to keep sinning, but free from the trap of sin! He wants us to live out our unique stories in a way that shines our lights blazing bright into this dark world... and to shine in a way that gives Him the glory! But we need His wisdom to know the difference between guilt over things we really don't need to claim guilt in. And wisdom to know the voice of conviction and to have a heart willing to repent. A heart tender and seeking Him. The best way to grow in discernment is to get in the Word... to study it, learn from it, and make that a priority.
The last thing that I've had on my heart is our pride. Man it gets in the way of making changes that will actually benefit us. We want to do this well, but we don't necessarily want ideas to change things up a bit. This is an area I want to let go of. I want to be confidant in the roles I'm living, but I want humbleness and a heart that's willing to be taught, nurtured and sometimes flat out called out. (ouch) Pride is ugly, but it's clothed in a really tempting garment. It's deceiving but it hides itself well.
So sisters, let's rise above! Let's let go of some of these traps we have blindly fallen into and let's do this real-life journey together. To HIS glory! Let's live an abundant life.