You see, yesterday, I prayed that God would help me wake up so that I could spend some extra prayer time with Him. Next time I pray that prayer, I will absolutely be more specific. I need to actually get some sleep before I get woken up. However, I haven't prayed over my girls like I did last night in a long time. Okay, well, really, ever. It was pretty cool. And irritating that they had to be awake all night. And exhausting. And I wish I had a magic pill that would take my crankiness away tonight. And, on top of that, I am just about out of coffee. And I can't concentrate on schoolwork, not at all. Okay, my complaining is done. Well, I hope it is done.
Have you ever been given a compliment that was genuine and kindhearted and totally awesome, only to realize you wish you didn't have that quality? I was given some encouragement tonight, and I so needed it. I experienced a total weak moment in the midst of tired and school and schedules and just one more thing, and lashed out. I shouldn't have, and will probably find myself apologizing again because my mouth just spouts off at just the right second. I am seriously going to have to
Anyway, it made me sort of think about how the grass always seems greener. When we see that amazing Mom at Kroger, using a quiet, kind voice that just screams Proverbs 31 woman, we envy her patience. Or we envy her compassionate spirit. Or we long for an extra helping of organizational skills we lack. Maybe it is the Mom on the PTO board whose makeup is always perfect, clothes impeccable, and seemingly has never known what it is like to have single mom struggles. And we sit there and wonder what they did that was so right, that they got the perfect life. Or the perfect patience. Or the perfect hair. Or the perfect husband. And the list just goes on. We immediately start to compare. Okay, I immediately start to compare.
Have you ever stopped to wonder how that woman got the patience to not be frustrated by two squirming toddlers fighting over who has the bigger cookie? Or that single mom who the strength to just keep it all together? Or that parent at the school who just has the perfect life? Over the last few years, I have realized I am strong. I can endure many challenges. I can overcome worry and doubt and hating myself. But, how do we get to that place of knowing we are capable?
Oh yeah, by walking it out. By living it, one day at a time. And, it's tough. I hate that in order to gain more of something, we have to work harder to achieve it. It is like training for that next big run, or acing the final, or making your marriage work. It doesn't happen overnight. We are each given circumstances to help us train for the bigger goal. For me, my strength came from experiences I don't really like to think about, and God knows, I sure didn't want to experience them. However, during those tough times, I realized how capable I really am, because He never leaves my side, never quits fighting for me. I have been given the tools I need for this season of my life. And, when this season is over for me, I will possess tools that will be valuable to someone I can help later. I might wish I had more patience or compassion or most definitely a quiet spirit. What I don't realize is that in order to gain those things, God is absolutely going to put me in situations that will require those actions to be practiced and proven.
It is so simple to look backwards and compare myself to others, to my old self, to my closest friends, to my greatest enemies. To wish I had their lives instead of mine, to wish this or wish that. And I think of one of my favorite verses, "Forget all that - it is nothing compared to what I am going to do (Isaiah 43:18)." Forget about it all. Don't waste time comparing where you were to where you are now. Don't worry or wish or fret over what is or isn't happening right this second. I'm just gonna be honest, the compliment was a hard one for me. I am tired of being strong. I am not strong because I want to be, but because I have no other choice. It was one of things, I immediately started comparing myself to others around me. I want their life, their patience, their house, whatever. I want to be better at ________... I had a much needed meltdown tonight. I was tired. It was necessary. It has been a WAY emotional weekend, leaving me high and low and all over the place. I'm pretty sure I was described as a roller coaster yesterday. Side note: you know who you are, and let me know if credit is required... ;-) Focusing back, I know comparing myself is only going to lead to failure. I can't be anyone except myself. Anything less than me is failure. I have strength. I have the ability to keep going when I don't really want to. And the most awesome thing is that I have the ability to look up when I don't feel able to do anything else. Tonight, I feel weak. I feel tired. I feel unfocused and incapable. And then I remember, I know who holds my tomorrow. I know who gives me my strength, and who is in charge of laying it all out for me. Philippians 3:8 says it perfect. "Everything else is worthless, when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord." Tonight, I feel weak and unable to take anything else, but I know strength comes when I hit my knees. I'm tired, but He gives rest to the weary. I feel incapable, but know that I am capable of anything with God on my side. Yup, it sounds cheesy and just so easy when I read it. It seems so simple, like magically all my problems just vanish into thin air. Doesn't work quite like that, but I can sleep knowing my peace, my strength, my hopes are in Someone who only wants His best for me. And how can I not feel strong and capable and ready to fight these stupid battles with that going for me?