Thursday, August 21, 2014

Peck after peck after peck (chaos and contentment part 2 )

What would it take for you to “feel caught up?”
What is this elusive goal we chase after so hard?
I raised these questions in part 1 of this series.

I just want to feel “caught up.” I say this, feel this often, perhaps daily.
It’s a resonable request, isn’t it? I don’t need a perfect house or a completely empty schedule. I like busy, but not crazy busy. A schedule that is full, but not suffocating. I want a life that runs along at a pace that keeps me moving, entertained, and fufilled, but does not push me over into drained or exhausted.

Is this too much to ask?

What would it take for me to feel “caught up?” What does that even feel like?

I can tell you what it doesn’t feel like.
It doesn’t feel like trying to help a child with homework and then you can’t find a pencil and I know the bird is squawking so who forgot to feed the bird and - no, I said feed the BIRD… get your peanut butter cracker off your brother right now! and I know you want a drink but I have to help your sister with this math problem first but oh my WORD why can’t I find JUST ONE PENCIL in this house? No I don’t know where your kneepads are, no you can’t make cookies right now, YES please go outside but stay away from the road and don’t let the dog go to the school and you can eat the raspberries but don’t pick the tomatoes unless they’re red— oh forget it, just stay away from the garden— because I said so that’s why, YES, fine play in the hose I don’t really care if you get muddy, so now where were we daughter? A pencil! I could kiss you and I might after I finish this math problem; wait, you’ve got to be kidding me when did you start doing algebra? Why is the bird still squawking? Why can’t you all just be quiet so I can THINK!?

I could have gone on for five more pages, typing down the wild runonsentence that is my never-caught-up life, but I will stop there.

Someone, tell me you relate.

And when the loud cry of tasks undone surround like a flock of birds around prey,and the small irritations assault, peck after peck after peck… is anyone surprised when a mama explodes in yelling, flailing, and (perhaps) running for her life?

I do not always perceive a room full of children with needs in this way, but when I do? Suddenly everything is personal. Every mess, every need, every inconvenience is an attack on my sanity. Life out of control leads to emotions out of control, and that is when things get ugly. Again, do you relate?

It’s not always like that, of course. (How would we survive if it was?)
Sometimes, I’m merely on the edge of this and praying that someone falls asleep before I am pushed right over.

But sometimes- sometimes I feel caught up. Every now and then, I can sit in a chair next to unfolded laundry, ignoring the booger stains on the couch, and I can hold a child, start a book, make room for more children, read more of the book, and still feel…calm.

I am not frantic, not hurried, not wild to get it all done.
I sit even in imperfections, and I let them be imperfect.  The fingerprints can wait, and I refuse to let them rush me.

When I “feel caught up” there is space in my heart and my mind for interruptions.
A visitor is not an intruder.  A child’s injury is a chance to show compassion.
A need is not annoying but a God-given task which I respond to gladly, receiving His strength.

If there are problems too big for me, they are placed at the feet of Jesus through prayer.

I am not the glue that holds the world together.
I feel my own smallness, and accept it.
Like the world, I am created.

I see the bigger picture. I have been placed here by God who keeps my heart beating.  He made my small hands, made them to receive from Him, and to do the small jobs He puts in front of me.
He gives big gifts, pours out lavishly on me as I receive from Him moment by moment.

I receive the moment that flows over me with gratitude.
I am where I should be, doing what I should be doing.
I am content.

Feeling caught up.
What is this thing that I chase after so hard?
Feelings- blown here and there by circumstances, weather, hormones— feelings cannot be bottled and kept, nor it is worthwhile to chase them.

But contentment-
An open heart and open lap,
Eager hands,
A body happy to serve, or rest, or play, as the Lord wills,
This is worth pursuing, with the help of God.

Come back soon, as we continue to think together on these things.
Meanwhile, tell me: How would you describe your struggle with contentment?
How do you feel/behave when you are NOT content?

This is part 2 of a series on "chaos and contentment"
Part 1: I'll never be caught up


  1. Best line I have read this week "Life out of control leads to emotions out of control"...soo true

    I first feel angry and upset when things go out of control, then I realize I do not control 'everything'. Every struggle redefines contentment.. makes it simpler. A year ago that disney trip made me happy and thankful.. now a trip to the park makes me thank God.


    1. Oh renga, yes, a trip to the park... in suffering we see the true gift of even the simplest things. It is so hard to be not in control, but you are right, contentment is being redefined in my life all the time too.

  2. I can totally relate to all of this. Sometimes all the needs and requests press down on me just as you described and I do come undone. Other times, usually days when I've spent some with God, I'm able to handle things so much better. Thanks for your honesty and sharing your true heart!


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