Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Measuring Up - Chapter 2, Hope for the Weary Mom

Yardsticks.  Rulers.  Tape measures.  We have lots of measuring devices around the house.  Scales.  Thermometers. They measure things too.  We have devices everywhere that can tell you the length of something, take a temperature, or guess your weight.  And we rely on these things all the time.  We rely on the temperature gauge in our refrigerator and oven to keep food at a certain coolness or hotness.  We rely on the yard stick or tape measure when measuring the stature of our children.  Those measures are true and consistent.


So, what measures are you using that aren’t true and consistent?  Let me give you some examples of what I mean… “Susie is a working mom.  She must think I do nothing all day because I’m a stay at home mom.  I need to show her that I am just as busy and productive as she is.”  Or “Debbie is a stay at home mom and I’m a working mom.  I need to prove to her that I have just as good a relationship to my children as she does.”  How about, “Look how nice Dora’s house is!  I’m a horrible housekeeper.  Ok, mental note, I need to go home and clean the house from top to bottom and THEN invite Dora over for coffee.  She can’t see my house as it is right now!”  Finally, “Look how fit and trim Mary Ann is!  I need to start walking so I can look as good as she does.” 

Does any of this sound vaguely familiar? We do it all the time.  Women, especially, compare themselves to everyone around us.  It’s painful and it’s exhausting because God didn’t make us to be Susie, Debbie, Dora, or Mary Ann.  He made me to be Lori Lynn.  He made you to be Gina, or Holly, or Tammy, or Brenda.  NOT Lori Lynn and certainly not Susie, Debbie, Dora, or Mary Ann.

And yet, we want to be like those other people in some ways don’t we? That’s what comparisons are all about.  In today’s chapter, the writer wanted to be that woman standing  in her kitchen judging her cleanliness.  Even though the judgment was painful, she wanted to be the cleaner version of herself.   We want to be thin like Mary Ann, or clean like Dora.  We don’t want to be Lori Lynn, sitting in the middle of our messes, with too much to do and not enough time.  But here’s a little tip for you:   those other people who we think have it all together, have areas in their lives where they don’t measure-up too.  We all have shortcomings.  We all have places where we feel we don’t measure up.  That neighbor you have who always seems to have time to serve in the community, is struggling to relate to her child.  That person sitting across the aisle from you at church who has a perfectly ironed dress and beautifully done hair every Sunday, had to step across a mountain of laundry to get out the door.  We all have messes.  We all have areas in our lives that leave room for improvement.  You just can’t always see them.

Confession #2 of our seven-day journey towards hope:  I am a horrible housekeeper.  When our Big Mac was born, nearly 15 years ago, it was pressed upon me that he was going to be my mission.  I felt God telling me that I was to invest my time in our boys for whatever length of time I had them.  Our baby was my 20 inch yard stick to measure how to spend my time, and energy.  Today, my yardsticks are like 71 and 69 inches long.  But nothing has changed.  My main focus in this house is to be mommy.  If I'm needed, I'm there.  If they want to show me their house in Minecraft, I'm there.  If they want me to watch them play a video game, I'm there!  If they want to talk about a recent conflict they are trying to resolve, I’m there.  Teenagers need you just as much as they did when they were small children, they just need you differently and on their time-schedule.  I find that if I try to manufacture a great heart-to-heart talk with one of our guys, it doesn’t happen.  But if I wait until one of them comes to me and says, “Let’s talk” then it is always a fantastic conversation.  I just need to be available when they need me.  And if that means forgoing the laundry for another hour, well the laundry will have to wait.

So, who’s your yardstick?  Are you measuring yourself against Susie down the street?  Stop that.  Let’s look at Deuteronomy 25:13-15.  Here’s the KJV:
Thou shalt not have in thy bag divers weights, a great and a small.Thou shalt not have in thine house divers measures, a great and a small.But thou shalt have a perfect and just weight, a perfect and just measure shalt thou have:  that thy days may be lengthened in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.
And here’s the Lori Lynn translation:
Don’t compare yourself to others when you are out of the house.Don’t compare yourself to others when you are inside the house.You have the perfect measurement.  He lives in your heart.  His name is Jesus.  And He has called you to this time right now to do this thing that you are doing.  He gave you these teenagers.  He gave you this home.  He is your true and perfect measurement.  And if you look to Him for how you measure up, He will give you what you need to keep going.

And so finally, here’s my philosophy of home-keeping, for whatever it’s worth:
And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; - Colossians 3:23
When I have time to clean, I clean “whatever my hand finds to do.” (Ecclesiastes 9;10)  That may mean swiffering the kitchen, or scrubbing the tub.  It doesn’t happen on a schedule, and it doesn’t always happen at all.  But I am keeping open-time in my day for the important relationships in my life.  I am staying present in the moment because our boys will not be with us much longer.  Let’s face it, mom’s, our teenagers are in count-down mode, before we know it they will be heading to college or the work-force.  Let’s be available now, when we are needed.  We’ve got teen-sized measuring sticks.

5 comments:

  1. "So, what measures are you using that aren’t true and consistent?" - what a super question.

    The problem I have is really a phantom mom that doesn't "reallly" exist anywhere but my head. So that makes her impossible to compete with. But, I can kick her out with Scripture. Thanks for the encouragement today!

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    1. That's the thing right there Stacey. I think that everyone we compare ourselves to doesn't really exist. Your phantom mom may be a figment of your imagination, but all those real-live people we compare ourselves too are never as perfect as we think they are. "All have sinned and fallen short." Could also read "All are flawed..."

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  2. So I haven't read my chapter yet but I love when God says things repeatedly on different venues .... I've felt compared my whole life --you see I'm an identical twin and so "naturally" people compare and I compare myself or try to be so different.... the other thing I would say is that we must be careful not to compare our kids with each other!! (ouch) so easy to do but didn't God make each of them fearfully and wonderfully and uniquelly too? So why Do we -I - think that the same discipline, the same rules the same anything will work for all of them? And isn't that how resentments are formed? .... anywho here's a link (Hope that's ok) to another thought on comparison today: http://www.proverbs31.org/devotions/comparison-trap-2012-06/

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    1. Oh Holly, I think that's excellent. God does this to me so often, He presents me with the same information over and over. I always smile and say it's because He knows how hard headed I can be. But I think He just wants to make sure we really get it some days, don't you? For me, I really related to the writer in the proverbs 31 devotional, my comparisons came from me from the inside. I never felt like I truly fit anywhere, so I tried to change myself to be what everyone wanted. I praise God, truly, for my 40s. Something changed inside me after I turned 40 and I am breaking those bad terrible comparison habits. Referring to the Proverbs 31 devotional again, I love it when she says something like, "We're not supposed to compare to each other. We're supposed to complete each other." That is truly inspired.

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  3. oh I've got the inside and the outside going on pretty good some days!! LOL ... honestly both of these "lessons" also came after admonishment from my wonderful 20 year old daughter to stop comparing myself to others or the worlds standards for my weight,etc (yes I need to be fitter but so I can serve the Lord better NOT just cause I want to be able to buy clothes that fit or feel pretty around other women which is something I've struggled with for a very long time) and that I'm a beautiful woman and mommy (her words) .... so yeah I think it's something God is trying to tell me, I'm the same way need it on repeat!! :) he he

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