Wednesday, February 2, 2011
And if I listen for the answer, of a husband or of God, or of God through the husband, the response is Truth. It is always, "No."
When my children were little, they liked a TV show called "Caillou." And when they'd watch that show, I'd feel my blood pressure rise. I'd feel an increase in agitation, a lack of peace. And then I realized it was because the little animated child on the show was incessantly whining or crying. Now, it was always with the intention of teaching an object lesson, but the notion of inviting, and possibly encouraging, more whining into my home through the TV was ludicrous! It could be hard to turn off the whine when my own children did it, but it was easy to turn off Caillou! So I did.
It's sort of like that with everything. When things get tough or confusing or just too much, I realize I've taken on more than the Lord has for me. Because His yoke is easy, and His burden is light, and when things get crazy, it's usually because I've taken on my own burdens. My son has brilliant musical aptitude that he introduced to us at age three. That is from God, and so we nurture it with time and energy and finances. My kids like soccer, don't love it, and aren't especially gifted at it. So time- and money-intensive travel teams are not God's assignment for us. We are pared down and focused in our activities.
I believe in doing things well. In researching and putting forth full effort. I like to think long and hard about things, which can lead to over-complicating every single little detail of life. But as I progress in this school called "motherhood," I also realize that not everything is for me, and that not everything is for my family. And that once I've figured something out, found a good resource or product, hit on a good exercise program, or found a well-fitting brand of shoes, I stick with it. It simplifies life and frees my attention for that which God has for me.
A little while ago, I performed a week-long fast from television, the internet, catalogs, and magazines. While the experience is worthy of a longer post and more thorough explanation, I do want to mention it here, because my primary reason for performing the fast was because I had found myself strapped for time: prayer had become perfunctory and infrequent, my home wasn't as organized as I'd have liked it to be, decorating projects were lagging, important books had gone unread, my patience at homework time and bedtime had become short (that's when I'd cradle my head in my hands!), marital conversation was brief and abrupt, and exercise became too infrequent. I knew I needed to "make" time, and I had an inkling what the culprits might be. By performing this fast, I did indeed rediscover loads of time and, what's more, a clear focus, because the temptation to seek out distraction was eliminated. Some things shone as bigger issues than others, and it became clear what was NOT part of God's light and easy burden for me.
No one dodges bullets in this life. We all encounter difficulties, some more desperate and life-changing than others, and those certainly do make life hard. But they are God's burdens for us. I do believe that it's what we take on for ourselves, day to day and minute by minute, not the momentous losses or battles, that we must cull in order to find simplicity.
Find more lovely reflections on Simplicity here.