Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Turning around....

Today is a sad day for me. I think it's a good day, though.

Today as we were walking in to school, my son walked a few steps ahead of me. When we hit the door, he headed up the steps, and didn't look back. Even when I said goodbye.
There had been no fight. He wasn't mad. I just realized he was cold. And tired. Of me.

Julia skipped on to class with me, oblivious, and I was thankful.
But the contrast was painful. And I cannot be oblivious.

I think 9 is too early for this. But so is 16. So is 21, and 37 and 54.
Culturally, we tell ourselves this is normal... part of growing up and growing independent. I even let some of those phrases try to reassure me. But I realize that's a lie. Growing up and growing cold aren't the same.

Twice in the last week, he's told me that he's really bothered when I point out all the bad things he's done, and don't point out the good things.
In the few hours I have with him each day, correction is a constant.
If things are going well... I'm just thankful .
I don't balance needed discipline with intentional encouragement.
I'm 'too tired' to be creative or fun... or do much of anything besides just 'get by'.

And I tell myself and my family that I'm doing 'all of this' so I can quit and homeschool our kids next year. At one point I was questioning how much damage from my attitude and this schedule could really be done in just 6 months. And then I realized how appalling it was that I was even asking that question.

Today is the day that I realize everybody else is right.
I've been talking to people about boundaries, and having few, in the name of ministry and in the name of accomplishing goals for my 'family'.
I talk about prioritizing, and haven't - in the name of ministry and family.
All the choices I have in front of me are good.... to not choose one of them... will not "feel" good.
From a heart standpoint... none of the tasks needed or the people behind them are worthy of disappointment. And burnout seems crazy to consider! I'm surrounded by wonderful people!
But that's the point. It's not everyone else's fault.
It's mine.
My passion for ministry changed to a passion of pleasing people. Or avoiding displeasing people. And I don't even have a good attitude about it anymore.
My ministry ... isn't about Jesus.
He had boundaries. He said no to people he loved. He worked hard, long hours. He rested and related to people. And his priority was always His Father.

My family has become a checklist of goals I'm working towards... but not living among.
Saying yes to everyone really isn't ministry at all. And putting my family last really isn't being a mom at all.

How many people have learned this lesson?

Friends have warned me I'm doing too much. But I thought they were wrong. I thought I was pretty strong. I knew it was just for a time.
But I didn't think about the strength of my kids.
Sure... I can hold up this crazy schedule.
But I expected them to go along.
And they do, compliantly, without choice. But not without affect.

How foolish of me. I hate being wrong - but I hate even more being foolish and prideful.
That image of Eli walking up the stairs and not looking back is now burnt into my heart.

Thank you God, for letting it sting. For letting me sob over this. THANK YOU!
Please forgive me for putting You and those You gave me last.
Please give me strength to say no, kindly, to others. Please heal if that 'no' hurts them.
Please give me wisdom to say yes only to what you call me to.
Help me not expend energy in things you didn't plan for me to do. I've done way too much of that.
Help me watch more for what You desire for me to do. Help me turn my drivenness over to you. I believe it is from you, but not always reigned by you.

And please help me now to heal the messages I've sent to my son and to others.
You know how to communicate love. Help me watch You. Closely. Remind me that it's the most important endeavor- to learn from and to emulate You.

That, Father, .....Your love... helps us grow up, but not cold.