I've had a rough couple of weeks. First, I messed up my back and was laid up for about a week. As a busy mom with three kids, there are no words that make you laugh more hysterically than: 'You need to put your feet up and rest.' Yeah, right. The day the Dr. told me this, my husband had a meeting that ran late and he didn't make it home until around 10pm. Totally not his fault but of course there was no way of obeying Dr's orders at that point. I remember the Dr. saying "Can't you call your mom or a sister or other family member to come help you out?" I teared up as I told her that, like so many others, I'm a transplant with no family or support system around. Mom is gone and everyone lives too far away and is way too busy for me to ask them to come help for something so minor. I'd rather save up a trip from the grandparents for something fun. I know this is pretty common in this day and age but that doesn't make it any easier.
So I laid around and did nothing (didn't even feel like blogging) and watched in horror as things started piling up. Christmas decorations still had not been put away. Laundry everywhere. You get the picture. You would think having an excuse to do nothing would be kind of fun. Didn't turn out that way for me, unfortunately, because I spent most of the time beating myself up for being a useless lump on a log who was being a major inconvenience to my very busy hubby and was slacking off in the motherhood department as well. I beat up on myself. Why did I do that?
Enter the two biggest troublemakers in my life. You may know them, they go by the names Guilt and Condemnation. They are always lurking in the background of my life waiting to pounce when I'm at my weakest. They are crafty little buggers and they are subtle. Sometimes I never even detect their presence until they've infiltrated the breach of insecurity in my defenses and I allow myself to believe their lies and take on shame. They create a web of damage that takes a lot of prayer and soul-searching (and soaking the shoulders of loving friends) to untangle myself from. Has this happened to you, too? I'll bet so. Guilt and Condemnation are equal opportunity destroyers.
Pile on top of that a situation where I was forced to make a difficult decision involving one of my kids and found myself feeling thoroughly misunderstood, as I was judged and found lacking by another parent who was quite vocal in their disappointment and disapproval of my decision and frankly, of me in general. This was particularly painful because it was someone I really like and for whom I had a lot of respect.
Being that I was already on board at that time with the fact that I was a useless lump on a log, I stood there and took a verbal lashing because I felt I actually had made some mistakes and besides, Guilt and Condemnation already had me on my knees and I must have felt I deserved it somehow. I regret that. I wish I had a do-over. I wish I had not felt the need to explain myself and justify my decisions regarding my child to another person. I wish I had had it in me to just politely say "I acknowledge your concerns and am sorry you are upset but am going to handle this matter privately which is my right." I hardly ever say things like that. I always think of clever and brave things to say after it's too late. I'm lousy at confrontations and other people's anger and disappointment really immobilizes me. It's a by-product of an abusive upbringing that doesn't serve me very well. With God's grace and infinite mercy, I'm making progress. I'll never be okay with confrontations but at least this time I felt there was some resolution and I have learned to love myself enough to walk away with my dignity and self respect intact regardless of the outcome.
Many of you will read this and identify with me. Many of you will not. That's fine with me because something I am learning (at this late stage of the game) is that we are all different with varying talents and ambitions, desires, dreams and goals. We all have our own baggage and issues and whatnot. There is no way we will all agree on everything. We will not always be able to relate to one another. We will say things we shouldn't and do things to offend each other without meaning to. We will try to impose our own values on others who won't understand where we are coming from. We will screw things up royally from time to time. There will be people who don't like us for the simple reason that, well..they just don't like us. We need to be okay with that.
And that is where my dearest friends, Compassion and Forgiveness come into play. Compassion and Forgiveness can come in like a flood and kick the business end of Guilt and Condemnation right back to the vile place they came from. Here's the most important part of the lesson: Don't expect or need to receive Compassion and Forgiveness from others. If you do receive it, great. Just don't set yourself up for disappointment. Instead ask it of Jesus, the one who never fails to extend His love. It works every time, guaranteed. While you're at it, offer yourself the same loving gift. Stop beating yourself up. Put the bat down, wrap your arms around yourself and hug it out. You are loved and don't you forget it. I'll try not to, either. I know you'll be here to remind me if I need you to. Thanks for being such loyal readers and remember that I'm praying for all of you as I hope you are praying for me. Have a great weekend, everyone.
There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. ~ Romans 8:1