LeFou, I’m afraid I’ve been thinking…
“A dangerous pastime!” “I KNOW!” (Name that movie.) I’m not sure why I’ve been so introspective recently, but I guess it’s just where I am right now. And that’s okay. I’m sure there are all manners of pyramids and flow charts and 90s television shows that talk about life, and finding balance in life, but I’m going to talk about it some more. SO DEAL WITH IT.
I feel like my life, right now, can be broken into four quadrants.
1. Home- Bills, dishes, laundry, cooking, cleaning, etc. Chores. Adulthood. Housekeeping. Homemaking.
2. Work- The day job.
3. Writing- Working on the book, blogging, short stories, poetry.
4. Relationship- The Hubbit. Friends, family, Jesus.
Great. Nailed it. Life, defined. So what’s the problem? I only have two hands. And 24 hours in a day. I saw something on Instagram or Pinterest or the internet or something once, and it was one of those pretty quote graphics that said, “You have as many hours in a day as Beyoncé.” At first it was funny. Then it was depressing. I feel like I am constantly juggling my four life facets. And sometimes I totally drop one. Like the first quarter of this year, when I worked 100+ hours of overtime in three months. I pretty much just held the work ball and kicked the rest out of my way.
Or when I try really hard to write a lot, on top of the day job, and so then dishes don’t get done and husbands don’t get cuddled, and friends don’t get called.
Or, when I leave work instead of staying, to go grab dinner with friends, or to go home and write. And things start to pile up there.
The common thread associated with all of these is guilt. I am in a guilt cycle. I bounce around, trying to do everything, feeling like I do nothing, and feel guilty about what I’m not doing. Work is the least emotionally important, but it’s important in that it pays my bills and gives us health insurance and the like. Plus, it’s just not in me to be a slacker. I do a good job, period.
So what do I cut loose? Housekeeping? In the dream house of my mind, we live in a clean, organized house, where dishes are done. I am so stressed by our mess (mostly the remnants of moving, which are still around because of that whole overtime situation right when we moved). Do I get rid of writing? Not going to happen. Besides, that’s what everything is ultimately working toward. It’s my passion. So what? Relationships? Goodbye family, friends, and God? Not possible. Relationships are so, so vital to me. I could never do without, even though I feel (you guessed it) guilty for having worked so much and lost so much relationship time. Some days I’m able to convince myself that all my friends hate me. But then I remind myself that I’m not thirteen, and I move on with life.
I’m sure/I hope some of you recognize what I’m talking about. I think this guilt thing is a societal problem, yes, but it tends to be more of a women’s problem. And I’m not trying to stir the volatile pot of gender conventions and such, but I think in this day and age, much, much more is expected of women. I’m not saying more difficulty-wise. Life is hard for everyone. Balance is hard for everyone. But more is expected of women quantity-wise. We were designed to be so many things to so many people. Throw in day jobs and careers and passions, and we’re up to our ears in commitments and feelings.
But, here’s the thing… we were designed to be like this. We were made to extinguish all the little fires that threaten to destroy what we, with or without husbands, have built for ourselves. We are beautiful multitaskers, an ability that is literally lacking in the typical male brain. So why do we all feel like we’re drowning instead of flourishing? Where is this guilt coming from?
Maybe a part of it is still backwards societal views concerning the strength of women. We are strong. Maybe that’s leaking into our subconscious. I don’t know. Maybe it’s a self esteem issue. Maybe it’s a spiritual attack. Maybe we all (and don’t we all, always) need to rely more on the Lord.
So what does God have to say about all of this? Quite a lot, it would seem. As I read verses for this post, more and more kept jumping out at me. We were made to be master jugglers. We are loved and valued for being just that. And “guilt” that is conviction is healthy. It’s how we grow, and change, and leave nasty parts of ourselves behind. But this origin-less, overarching life guilt is just condemnation. Over nothing. Or maybe a lot of very little somethings. Forgot to put the clothes in the dryer. Painted my nails instead of volunteering to feed orphans. And it became clear to me that the key to unlocking this stupid guilt cage lies, like so much else, in forgiveness.
As a Christian, I know and believe that through Christ, I am forgiven. But… do I forgive myself? And the answer is a big, whopping heck no. I do not. I carry around guilt over all these tiny little things forever. And they all pile up and crush my spine and convince me that I’m worthless and I’m not worth forgiving, which the bible tells us is NOT the case. Over and over, the bible tells us to forgive. One of my favorites, though, is Colossians 3:13.
In researching the verse, I found that the “one another” in Greek is Heautou, the definition of which includes themselves, himself, and HERSELF. There it is, ladies. Forgive yourself as the Lord forgave you. Forgive the grievances you have against yourself. Forgive yourself.
I’m going to work on that.
Y’all have a great, guilt-free day!