I’m more likely to be grumpy in February than in any other month. The anticipation and excitement of the holidays have faded into foggy memories. It’s cold outside. I’m tired. Bleh.
This time of year, even the most enjoyable aspects of life can become irritating. Most days, I’m deeply aware of the benefits of our lifestyle. Schooling at home allows the flexibility to enjoy a myriad of rich experiences. Books read together become enduring family friends, and recess often takes the form of digging in the creek or building forts outside. Fidgety boys take basketball breaks when needed, and my crafty girl creates throughout the day. I wouldn’t have it any other way. Usually.
Yet much to my own surprise, I recently found myself engrossed in researching the admission policies and procedures of the private schools in our area. I paid close attention to the big yellow bus schedule and took note that there were plenty of available seats. My mind had begun constructing a new and improved life for myself – one that included long runs and a home with preordained periods of uninterrupted quiet. It had been a dark week. It wasn’t the first. And my commentary has nothing to do with school choice. It has everything to do with the posture of my heart.
I don’t want to be grouchy and discontented. I don’t want to become angry with my kids, short-tempered with my husband, or aloof with my friends. It is my desire to be more. To be patient, kind, and others-centered. But during that discouraging week, I wasn’t having much luck. Rather than deal with the mounting evidence that I was the problem, I found myself trying to sweep it under the carpet. Or perhaps more accurately, put it on the big yellow school bus and send it away.
Voices compete for my attention and energy. There are the high-pitched needs of the children, the muted desires of my husband, and the emphatically heated debate between self-justification and self-contempt that rages inside of me. Yet in the midst of the mental and emotional chaos, a gentle yet unwavering voice emerges…
I’m inviting you to more.
When your children’s needs outweigh your capacity to give,
I’m inviting you to grow in dependence.
When your tired husband returns from a trip and you want his help more than you want him,
I’m inviting you to grow in selflessness.
When you’ve been treated unfairly and want to retaliate (or withdraw),
I’m inviting you to grow in kindness.
When a friend disappoints out of her own insecurities or fears,
I’m inviting you to grow in faithfulness.
When there are mounting bills,
piles of laundry,
sick children and weary hearts,
I’m inviting you to grow in joy.
When you’re heartbroken, or even angry, that life doesn’t look like you had hoped,
I’m inviting you to grow in peace.
When customer service eats up half your day then drops your call and
the guy selling pine needles interrupts dinner while the dog throws up on the living room rug,
I’m inviting you to grow in patience.
When you’re willing to see that the problem isn’t your needy kiddos,
Or those annoying people who interrupt your day,
Or your friends,
Or your spouse,
Or your life situation,
It’s your own selfish heart.
But I’m not condemning you –
I’m inviting you to grow in love.