Let me give you a brief sketch of who I would like to be. I would awaken every morning, before dawn and before my kids, to spend an hour in complete silence, prayer and meditation. I would then do an hour of yoga until I was as flexible as a bendy straw or one of those weird foam curlers that was popular in the 80s. My children would awaken to the smell of a healthy, all-organic breakfast baking in the kitchen. After breakfast and morning routines, we would have at least a few minutes of enriching Montessori-like play in my extremely organized playroom before we began the day's scheduled activities. Their lunches (and mine) would be packed in bento boxes with extremely cute themes. Our afternoon would be divided into blocks of sensory play, Bible study, imaginative play, etc until it was time for me to cook our healthy, organic, preferably vegetable-protein heavy dinner, which would be hot and steaming on the table at the exact moment my husband gets home from work. After bedtime, my husband and I would spend at least a quiet hour of quality time together, rich in conversation. I would also sew, knit, bake my own bread, visit local farms for produce and practice intentional random acts of kindness. Oh, and I need to fit in those three mile runs every other day.
Now, maybe there is someone out there who just read that paragraph and thought, "That's me!" I'm trying not to hate you right now. Because my life looks nothing like that. I wake up when one of the kids smacks me enough times in the face to actually rouse me. I then shuffle into the kitchen to make coffee so my brain will work. I usually do feed the kids healthy meals but I'm woman enough to admit that there is a box of Fruit Loops in my home and it might or might not have been what my kids had for breakfast today (but with coconut milk so that makes it healthy, right?) I'm in a god-awful rush on preschool mornings and hardly have time to smear PB & J on some bread before we are out the door. My playroom is kind of the whole house and there are stuffed animals and toy boxes full of junk just sort of scattered willy-nilly about the place. While my kids enjoy lots of undirected free play in this way, it has been several months since I actually busted out a sensory box. Dinner is most likely something out of Betty Crocker's 1-2-3 cookbook and involves a can of non-organic something or other and non-Angus god-knows-what-fed beef from a regular old grocery store. I don't sew unless you count buttons. Can't use a pair of knitting needles. I do bake my own bread but not nearly as often as I would like and I have yet to visit a local farm... ever. I ran for the first time in three weeks yesterday...one mile and it just about killed me. And as for quality time with the husband, I'm usually in bed about ten minutes after the kids go down. I'm a mess.
I'm beginning recognize, though, that being a mess isn't necessarily a bad thing. If I were exactly like that wonder woman I described in the first paragraph, I would be so pleased with myself no one in their right mind would want to hang out with me. I would be intolerably smug (though with a heart for those poor, lesser mortals out there feeding their kids Spaghetti-Os and calling it a night). I would have no friends. And worse, I would have a severely stunted awareness for my need for God.
Because I fail, massively and regularly, at the things I try to do. At becoming the person I envision myself being in my wildest daydreams. It reminds me that the flip side of "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" is that I can do precious little without Him. I can accomplish what He wants me to, even if it's running a marathon, but if the basis of even my least ambitious endeavor is selfish pride He's going to make it hard on me and I'm so, so grateful for that. Pride is bad and easy to fall into. I want to be humble because I want to be close to Him. So, maybe it's okay that I'm not Jillian Michaels, Mahatma Gandhi and Martha Stewart rolled into one big (freakish) ball. I'm beloved and that is better.