Sunday, January 15, 2012

Looking Forward to a Terrible New Year

Confession:  Today, I cleaned our bathroom for the FIRST time since moving in...four months ago.  Shocking, I know, not to mention disgusting!  (If you've been a guest at our house and used our bathroom--no worries--I have actually cleaned our guest bathroom on a regular basis!)  Truth is, most of the time our house is not unlike a hurricane disaster area, and I really don't think I'm exaggerating. (And if you've been to our house, you still might not know the extent of it, because I'm good at frantically stuffing things away without really cleaning.)  I actually am an organized person.  I actually like to clean.  I actually HATE living like this.  

This is how I've been feeling lately...buried, with no hope of catching up!

This past year has been hard.  That's no secret.  But, coming into this new year has been even harder, because it seems that over the past couple of years I've been getting through each stage of life by holding on to the hope that when we reach the next stage, things will be better.  I'm chasing that elusive dangling carrot of an easier life, where things are in order, where need is eradicated, where we are in control of our own lives.  And I have neatly packaged that "easy life" dream into the box of "normalcy": my husband having a job, having a house, having a larger (and even second!) vehicle, etc.  The trouble is, every time I get to that new stage of life, it's NOT the golden age that I anticipated it would be, and worse--it's HARDER than before!  (My guess is, if I'm really honest with myself, that those of you who have these things probably wouldn't label your life "easy" either.)

These may be cheesy, but they have a good point!

And each time, I get angrier.  "I'm not asking for that much, here!  Just a normal life, with the same normal things that everyone has!  A job, a car, a house, a dog.  Why does it always have to be SO HARD?????"  I know that this will make many of you cringe and want to rush at me with Bible verses in hand, but often I have felt and begun to believe that God really doesn't love me.  (But hold your sermon-writing...just wait...we're not at the conclusion yet!)

Time after time this has happened, and I've worn thin; I've worn past thin, to raw, un-coping nerves.  I admit, for some time now, I've given up.  My house has, in a way, become an expression of my inner life: the mess inside my heart and mind just spewing out into confused heaps on the floor.  Efforts to clean and organize have been frustratingly unproductive, because how can I create order when I'm muddled in confusion? 

Last night, and I honestly can't even pinpoint why or how, I felt like someone had wiped my eyes clear.

Maybe...instead of complaining, "Why does life have to be so hard?" I should wonder, "Why should life be easy?"  Maybe God has bigger plans and bigger blessings in mind for me than my own mediocre goal of "easy."  Maybe God has more faith in me than I do in myself to achieve dreams He hasn't even yet placed in my heart.  Maybe, just maybe, this time of hardship is exactly the blessing I need to push me to do what I would never normally do (you got it--because it's not easy!) so that I could see past my limited vision and limited dreams to a whole new world of possibilities. 

Okay, these conclusions are obvious, I know.  And I'm sure some of you have tried to tell me these same things a time or two, and I just couldn't hear at the time.  I was spinning in space and just had to find my own feet.  I honestly always thought I was a strong person, unafraid of new challenges, never willing to quit just because of adversity, quick to find resourceful solutions.  But I'm realizing now that I've really been weak and cowardly, hiding behind a facade of strength. 

So I guess I've decided:  This year is going to be hard anyway.  It's a fact and it's not going to change.  So...Instead of fighting it aimlessly and wailing about the injustice, as I've been trying for years, why not embrace the hardship and do things I may not want to do, which might make this hard year harder, but will make our future brighter?

That's my goal for the New Year: to have a really, truly terrible year, in the very best possible way!  To take a year that's filled with hardship and turn it into a catalyst for blessing.

 And my bathroom is clean.

(P.S.  I'm not super-motivated here, folks.  I'm scared out of my mind.  But I think it's going to turn out to be a very good thing, indeed...)

1 comment:

  1. I also always want to look ahead toward something that will make my life easy. Right now it's an extra bedroom and a laundry room. (Although I wouldn't complain if we had an extra car, too!) I seem to keep needing to learn and relearn the lesson that I can't always control my surroundings, but I can control myself.