I think we've all scrolled through Facebook and thought whine, whine, complain, complain, can't anyone be positive! Then there are days you scroll through with a lot on your mind and see "be happy" "think positively" "there is always something to smile about" maybe it's just me, but usually on those days where I am struggling with something those posts are a reminder of how I am failing because I don't feel like being happy, I am having a very hard time finding a positive, and I really am having a hard time focusing on those things that make me smile. Now this reminder can be a good thing, it reminds me that I am still a woman in need of a savior, that I need to have some quiet time and focus on the things that are good and lovely and pure and not on the junk. Very needed kick in the teeth? Sometimes.
On the other side, the complaints of others can be used as a way to see into the struggles they are having, it is a way of knowing exactly how to pray for that person, and in a lot of cases what they are going through is something very difficult, even if it is only difficult for them. It is also an opportunity for us to realize that we are not alone in our struggles. Sometimes on my really hard days realizing that other people struggle with the very same thing I do is more reassuring to me than a "just smile and be thankful for the blessing." Not because I want to see other people struggle, but because I can see in these people an invitation to be real, to share my pain and struggles, because they understand pain and struggles, because they aren't afraid of breaking the look of having it all together by saying, "hey, I'm having a problem with this, could you please pray with me about it."
Today is Monday, I've already browsed my Facebook, I saw some "ugh, it's Monday" posts, and I've seen some, "God is always good, even on Monday" posts. Both are real. One may be more pleasant to read, unless your dad just died, your cat ran away, and your first born is in the hospital. I guess the bottom line is, I like real! I want friends who I can be real with. I want friends I can pray for, and friends I know will pray for me and not just tell me that God is in control and everything will work out for my good and His glory. Real. I don't want to fear sharing my struggles because someone will know I'm not perfect. I love God, I read His word, and after I've shared my real He usually quiets my heart with His real, which is so much better than a reminder that sounds more like a reprimand. Most of the time our Christian friends know that God is working all things for their good, what they really need when they are crying out is a gentle reminder and an "I'm praying for you, I understand pain and hurt, and I've felt the very same way about this very same issue, and God can and will make this better for you in His time." That would be priceless.
These are some of my real struggles right now, the ones I have to keep on giving to God, the ones that I have to remind myself may be my real, but are not His real:
- Looking in the mirror and being one of those pregnant women who just look fat. When I'm not pregnant I struggle with my looks too. Yes, there is a silver lining to this and I do see it, no fear of people touching my stomach and saying "oh how cute, when are you due?" So, yes I can smile, but it is not really the kind of smile I'd like to have. I've struggled with eating disorders and this may be harder for me because of that. I do know the truth, that God made me, He loves me, I am His work of art. I eat right, in fact I eat better than most people I know, which also makes it hard for me to still look like this, but the truth is, I am loved by God, I am cherished by Him, he calls me His child. These things I know, I tell myself the truth when I feel bad, I refocus on Him, but the struggle remains daily. It is something I could use your prayers on.
- Feeling foolish, silly, stupid, etc. when I make a mistake. Two factors play into this, I was in an abusive relationship for 3 years, and was frequently told these things whenever I'd do something as simple as bump into someone, or forget to do something, or spell something wrong, you get the picture. I often hear the stupid, foolish, mantra in his voice in my head when I make a mistake. Also, I am having trouble with my daughter being put back into Kindergarten. She simply wasn't reading well enough for first grade, I home schooled her last year and I keep thinking if only I'd done a better job, ordered a different curriculum, spent more time on this, didn't bother in the first place....she wouldn't have had to go through starting school in the first grade and moving up in Sunday School and having her hopes set high for moving to the "big kids" Wednesday night club only tho have to go back. Now again, I know the truth, that God has a plan for all of this, that He is working in this, He is working on me, He is working on Lilly, and it is going to be so good, I can even see this, and yet every tear she cries about it, every time she acts out because she is frustrated, I have to fight the "this is all your fault." Just another area I need prayer in.
- This house. Our house is not organized, it is not always clean, it is, in fact falling apart. The living room needs all the potentially lead filled paint out of it, it is currently stacked high with my husbands e-scrap, tools, and junk. I look at it and it is depressing, I'm overwhelmed with knowing that if something doesn't get done soon I am going to be bringing yet another baby home to a disaster. I don't feel like having people over, I just found out I'm going to need a home nurse coming over weekly, and I have to show her into this wreck of a house... My health at the moment does not allow me to just get in there and go to work, my husband, bless him, comes home tired with a sore back, and he also has not been feeling well, so there it is, this house, and not being able to do anything about it. Yes, the truth is that God is using this time to work on my patience, to reassure me that the condition of my house is far less important than so many other things, to be content (or at least He is trying to get me to be content, I'm being rather stubborn) and I know that He will allow us to get done the things that absolutely need to be done before this baby comes, and anything that doesn't get done is not absolutely necessary, but this is still so hard for me, so very, very hard. As a matter of fact, I think this is my number one struggle at the moment. I want to have things in order, I want to have a home, I want to be the perfect Proverbs 31 women, it feels impossible in this house. I read so many devotionals about having your home in order, having things clean and tidy when your husband comes home, those devotionals are sometimes heartbreaking for me. Yes, I need to focus on the things I can do, and not dwell on the ones that are out of my control. still a struggle.