Do you ever feel like you're running even when you're standing still?
As I got ready for work a few mornings ago my brain was spinning like a centrifuge, trying to resolve problems and set priorities. If I were a comic book character lightning would have been shooting from my finger tips. I forced myself to focus: Breathe in, breathe out, repeat.
At least I was standing still, unlike my friend K (no, not the Men in Black character), who described a typical morning in her home in a recent Facebook post (reprinted with permission):
I am extremely jealous of all those mothers who are able to get out of bed two hours before their children...exercise...do laundry...shower...and bake hot muffins for their children to wake up to every morning...greeting said children with a smile and gently getting them off to school...
I, on the other hand, have TWO alarms set...one at 5:45 and the other at 6:20... when they go off, I quickly calculate the joy I will get out of emerging from my cozy bed an hour or so ahead of the boys and leisurely getting ready vs the joy of sleeping in and hitting the snooze alarm...guess which one wins? I typically manage to emerge from the covers at 6:57...race down the hallway to shower while waking (none too gently) (Son #2) with a shout...race back up the hall to dress...
At 7:30, I start encouraging (read talking at an ever increasing volume) (Son #2) to get dressed because we have to leave in ten minutes....I am convinced velcro sneakers were invented because of moms like me...I yell at (Son #2) to hurry up with the shoes and he moves into a higher gear...rampaging snail...stampeding turtle...
At 7:42, I start looking for my car keys...which I can't find...Found the keys...and my wallet...woo-hoo...and pulled out of the driveway at 7:46...we made it to school with two minutes to spare...and then I went home to do it again with (Son #1)...who we have nicknamed Lurch because he's approaching 6 feet at age 13...and, well, his top speed isn't much higher than (Son #2's) first thing in the morning...
Does reading that make you tired, or is it just me?
I love K's reference to the muffin-making moms. In the ancient, pre-Web days you didn't know what early morning miracles these women performed until you spoke to them at work or church or in your neighborhood. Even then they might take in your dirty sneakers or not-quite-styled hair and show mercy by not talking about their good works.
But now we live in the age of Facebook, and the only thing missing from some posts is the newsboy's cry, "Extra! Extra! Read all about it!" The paragon K described might write something like this:
A bit of a busy morning here. Had to shorten my run (only three miles today!) because I promised Jasper I'd help him finish up his diorama about the Iroquois. Then I realized I haven't made buckwheat pancakes in at least a week so I whipped some up. After a quick shower (can't forget to exfoliate!) I drilled Jasper on his multiplication tables while I braided Theodora's hair---then she and I chatted about Charlotte's Web while I finished packing their lunches. Both are on the bus now so I better finish getting ready for work. I hope we can figure out that last piece of the genetic code today. Bye bye for now!
I can't get too high-and-mighty about Facebook because I use it myself. That's how I get the word out about this blog. And I think we're all guilty of a bit of spin now and then, tweaking details here and there to make our lives look extra bright and shiny.
It occurred to me the other day, the morning my brain was buzzing, that I tend to make things harder than they have to be. I throw rocks into my mental backpack then wonder why I'm bent over with the load. I toss in one stone after another: Do I meet the expectations of others or do I fall short? How do I measure up to my peers? Did I say too much or too little? Why do I have so much trouble conquering (Insert bad habit here)?
I've spent my Sunday mornings with preschoolers for a number of years and I think I've learned more from their pared down lessons than from any lofty sermonizing. I especially like the story about Peter---audacious, impulsive, fiercely loyal and yet terribly fearful Peter---and his reaction to seeing Jesus walk on water.
Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. "It's a ghost," they said, and cried out in fear.
But Jesus immediately said to them, "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid."
"Lord, if it's you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water."
"Come," he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!"
Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?"
And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, "Truly you are the Son of God."
Matthew 14:25-33 (NIV)
I tell my preschoolers that Peter was fine as long as he kept his eyes on Jesus but he started to sink when he turned his attention to the wind and waves. I need to remind myself of that on a daily basis. No "to do" list, no matter how long and involved, can overwhelm me when my eyes are fixed on my Savior. His is the only approval I should seek.
Breathe in. Breathe out. Repeat. Do everything for an Audience of One.