I looked at my list of the events of yesterday long and hard before I posted them. It was all true. The events actually happened, and they even looked neatly compartmentalized. So why, I asked myself, do my days feel so chaotic so often? Why don’t I feel like the dance is elegant? What was missing in the listing?
Ah, the feelings. Yes, the days are event-full. It’s one thing after another, “Just do the next thing“, which is the probably the most valuable lesson Elisabeth Elliot ever taught me. The thing that poses the challenge, though, is the feelings. Faithfulness does not depend on them, thank God! Neither does effectiveness. Actually, they don’t really matter all that much in the grand scheme of things.
Think about the people Jesus commended for living their faith in Matthew 25. “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
- For I was hungry and you gave me food,
- I was thirsty and you gave me drink,
- I was a stranger and you welcomed me,
- I was naked and you clothed me,
- I was sick and you visited me,
- I was in prison and you came to me.’
Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’
And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’
This sounds so simplistic, but it has helped me a lot to deal with the repetition of life as a homemaker/mother to settle in my heart that my feelings are not what matters. It isn’t about me at all. Oooh, ouch.
Yesterday I woke up and felt hurried because it was later than usual. I felt kind of bothered until we had breakfast over. I got interrupted by questions about 15 times during the course of the school day. The pencils dropped on the floor with annoying predictability. Olivia and the dictionary were not getting along amiably at all, and her frustration seeped over me. I dislike ironing and mending when I stop to think about it. When it was time to go for a guitar lesson, my son was in the barn and couldn’t hear me calling him. A few people at the supper table smelled like goats.
I felt good things too. Gregory’s poem, the perfect cursive “D”, the feeling that algebra is connecting in our heads, gratefulness to have my husband home in the middle of the week, the quiet hour of chatting with a dear friend, the scent of clean laundry, the symmetry of rows of brown eggs in boxes, sharing a love of reading aloud.
It all mashes together in an ordinary day, and I no longer gauge the success or failure of a day by how I feel at the end of it. Well, sometimes I do. I am not that far above the tumult yet, 🙂 but I take heart in offering it all to Jesus.
“This is my worship, Jesus. This meal, maybe just this cold cereal… I offer it to my people because I love them and I love you. If a pack of flashcards and the timer can bring you glory, then here they are. This squabble I settle because I value peace and You love peace. Please, redeem this mess that I made with my impatience. Forgive my stinging words and give me humility to apologize to my children. Help me to move on in grace.
This day with its imperfect beauty is for You, Jesus. I will give it everything I have, and depend on You when I don’t reach around and I simply don’t feel it. Please, will you accept my homely gifts?”
He has never told me that it’s not enough.