I worked 4 days this week and it occurred to me that that hour each day that I work must have been the time I would have otherwise dedicated to blogging. It (the job) is super-easy, as I thought it would be, and I walk away thinking, "I'm good at that."
It's weird in a way. I think I'm good at a lot of things, but something about not getting any external affirmation for housewifery is difficult for me. No one's giving me a high five or a paycheck for cleaning the bathroom (even though I'm good at it), and for the most part no one says "thank you" when I'm finished for the day, like this little boy's mother does when I'm heading out the door. So even though I haven't had any kind of formal evaluation from the organization that hired me, I feel a sense of affirmation from being from professional setting and doing something that I'm good at.
Also getting dressed in decent-looking clothes every day helps me feel less schlumpy.
Yesterday I was a little tougher on the child, having him sit for longer periods, asking for eye contact or signs, and having him clean up, and he spontaneously waved "bye bye" to me in the middle of an activity. That was a nice unprompted social connnection.
I cooked every night this week - 5 days in a row. Do you know what that means? Leftovers until they're gone.
I would like to acquire some gourds and decorate for fall. Also I want to try to make a burlap wreath for our front door but am concerned it will take more than the 8.5 minutes I want to dedicate to it.
Since I'm working I can't go to the Ladies Bible Study at my church. Well, I guess technically I could go to the evening one but I have a hang-up about going out at night (and my kids have issues with it, too) so it's not an actual option. I did get the book, though, despite some apprehension . . . the last book I read by Nancy Leigh DeMoss triggered a anxiety-filled season of shame and sadness that not only was I now aware of the things she was telling me to do/not do, I was also not following her directions.
But that was before I knew God loves me.
(coming back to this after 12 hours . . . where's that train of thought?)
Anyway. So I approached this book with some apprehension. I am praying for an open heart and mind but also a discerning one; there's too much "do this to be right with God" in the world I came from. I'm afraid she's going to miss the point and say "be happy because you're supposed to be!!" and suggest the repression of all emotion she deems "negative."
The first red flag came in the introduction: "Nancy leads you, step by step, through those select Scriptures and insights that are your journey into heaven-sent joy." Did you see it? I bolded it for you. "Select Scriptures" sounds suspiciously like "proof text" and we all know proof texting is the quickest way to form a personal opinion about an out-of-context verse and then impose that opinion on others like it's God-breathed Law.
Second red flag also appeared in the introduction: "[when asked a question] Dr. Gruden responded, 'Honestly, I don't often become discouraged. I continue to see evidence of God's work in my life and the lives of those around me, and I am simply overwhelmed with thankfulness to Him' (italics added)." He may genuinely not feel discouragement, but most people do. To me this answer reeks of "I'm so holy and if you were, you would not be discouraged either. My holiness has helped me rise above normal human emotions."
Several years ago, I read The Blessing of Skinned Knee (it's pretty remarkable). I still pick it up from time to time. One thing that really stood out to me was in Chapter 5: The Blessing of Longing: Teaching Your Child an Attitude of Gratitude. "Jewish tradition encourages adults to say 100 blessings of gratitude a day. To fill a blessing quota this huge, you have to be vigilant about looking for things to be thankful for." She talks about observing this ritual by being thankful you woke up, that your "tubes and passages" are open so you can use the bathroom, etc. I never counted, but this encouraged me to be more aware of how much there is to be thankful for, even when "nothing" is happening.
This mindfulness of thankfulness led to me changing my attitude in the middle of the night when woken by one of my children. I'd be staggering down the hall thinking why is this child waking me up?! and then stop that thought train and say, "Thank you Lord that I have healthy children who can communicate their needs."
So maybe on top of my skepticism and fear of this author, I think, I'm already working on this attitude of gratitude, is there really much more to learn? "Not that I have already attained," and all that (look at this version). Each day before I open the book I pray again for my heart to be soft and teachable, for my critic radar to be turned off.
I was going to finish this up with a rant about consignment shops, but I'll save that for another day.
Thank you for reading.