Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Run YOUR race.

There is something that I think many of us suffer from...
                                                            the "disease" of comparing ourselves to others.

This can happen in ANY arena...

Your body.

Your intelligence.

Your beauty.

Your income.

Your reading list.

Your Facebook account.

Your vehicle.

Your education.

Your clothing.

Your speech.

Your children.

Your spouse.

Your checkbook.

Your parenting.

Your ability to hold it together.

Your decorating.

Your sewing.

Your cooking.

...and many more. (the list is endless, isn't it?)

Satan absolutely loves to get us going about, well, really anything! He cares not how he misguides our hearts, just THAT he gets our hearts off track.

Remember what Scripture says about him? "The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy..." John 10:10         He's out for blood, baby. Not just to irritate you.

(I learned this when he kicked me when I was down in the depths of grieving over another baby in the grave. He did not "give her a break, she's hurting," but rather came after me with a vehemence meant to destroy me once and for all.) I cannot help inserting a PRAISE GOD here for His faithfulness and the gift of Jesus who comes to give us ABUNDANCE in life (the rest of John 10:10!!)

I digress.

I used to struggle greatly with how my body compared to others. Now? It's all about how good of a mother I am. ...Or, actually APPEAR to be.

Since coming home from Africa with a former-orphan, I have been literally SWAMPED by my youngest three children's needs.

And honestly, there ain't a lot of hope that they are going to suddenly care about MY state of mind anytime soon. Toddlers, well, they are pretty much selfishness defined.

So the new area that Satan has tempted me with is watching other families via blogs and how they are "doing." I've listened to the lie that they are all doing better than I am.

I would be a fool to assume that anyone missed me blogging, so I'll just say it. I've written very few entries lately. I've had no ability to blog about my holiday decorations, cute ideas I had or new family traditions we installed this year. In fact, we didn't travel for the first time EVER over the holidays because the needs of our newest family member dictated such.

Not a single article of new clothing. Nobody matched in church on Christmas. In fact, we didn't even all go to church together over Christmas thanks to the family flu.

I thought about how this was his first Christmas and I should blog about it...but when the time came he was running a fever of over 102 and cried his way through Christmas morning. Blogworthy? Oh I don't think so.

My reality is: our house is messy and laundry is a continuous and never-done chore. I can't talk on the phone because I get mobbed by loud children who much of the time are fussing at each other. I tidy a room and the Littles untidy it again. Didn't I just vacuum that? Yes, yes I did, but someone has spilled the pretzel crumbs all over it. Someone comes to me crying. Someone else needs help with homework. Another child comes to me asking for love. (And yes, this is literally the verbiage used this morning by Darrah Kate, "Mommy, I t'ink I need sum wuv.") So I stop, kiss, solve problems, advise, listen and love. All the while the messes continue to whirl at breakneck speed. Not many craft projects are taking place.

I've had to stop following particular blogs that paint life with a well-groomed brush. I find myself looking at them and scouring them for faults. "Is their house REALLY that clutter free?!" "How does she think of all these ideas?" "How have they gotten their newly adopted children to attach so quickly?" "How can they afford that?" "They went where to serve whom?" "Matching outfits? Really?!" And I come back to my own life feeling like I don't measure up.

I've come to the realization that my dear Savior was pierced for this transgression. He was killed because of this sin of comparison. This is NOT how He wants me to live! I am not to live under a cloud of heaviness because I simply cannot keep up with [insert name of bloggy super mom here]! No! He wants my eyes where? Where again?

On Him.

Check it out. I think He's talking to ME!

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith." Hebrews 12:1-2

Two things: "And let us run with endurance the race God has set before US." I don't have to run your race. Or her race. I need only to run mine.

Ah. That's nice. And quite freeing too.

The second thing comes in verse 4. Get a load of this:
"After all, you have not yet given your lives in yours struggle against sin."

Gulp. Did you read that just now???

I haven't YET given my life in the struggle against sin. Wow. I'm not fully sure of what that verse means, but I can be sure that it means that I'm not done battling against the powerful force of sin. And that I haven't yet gone the distance in my effort to be free from it.

I have noticed that I can carry my carefully balanced load in an acceptable manner...until the unexpected comes along and demands my attention elsewhere. Like a house of cards it all crumbles and I am filled with intensity, stress and [gulp] yell at my children because of the stress I am under. I have learned that no matter what other people may be able to add to their plates, I cannot compare and must simply say no. I need to take on less so I am available for my children more. This is my race.

The process of saying no has been good for me. (You might try it!) I am forced to examine my worth in the eyes of Jesus again. It's not how MUCH I do, for how many people or how much money I raise for worthy causes. It's about doing what He asks me to do.

For now, that's simply to focus on the adjustment and attachment of our dear child from Uganda. Helping my other young children adjust to our new family and address the needs of each person with great care. It doesn't matter if other people agree or even understand. I just need to obey.

Sew matching outfits? Bake cutesy treats for the class at school? Volunteer at the nearby nursing home? Lead a Bible study? Assist with my child's team? Great ideas. But right now, I've just gotta run MY race.

And for now, those just aren't in my path.

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