I'm painfully aware of my place in the Sower's field. I am the seed that falls among the thorns, the seed that gets choked out by the worries of life and the deceitfulness of wealth, so that it cannot grow to full health and maturity and fruitfulness.
I am very much a "grass is greener on the other side" type of person. I love the blogging life, but I have to admit that I often feel "substandard" when I read most other people's blogs. Maybe most people aren't "real" in their blogs. Or maybe I just tend to think that other people's struggles are more "normal" than my own. I mean, how many other women out there have my set of neuroses and indiosyncracies? A pervasive fear that I've suffered all my life is that "if people really knew me, they'd think I was insane". (Which is sometimes countered by the thought that, "If people really knew me, they'd think I was brilliant and fascinating." I like that one better.)
I look at other people's blogs and think, "they're normal and I'm not." I KNOW this is not true, and there is no absolute standard for normal, but I still tend to fight the feeling that I'm more messed up than most people.
Many bloggers have pictures of their cutie-pies all dressed up. I rarely post pictures of my kids because they rarely look like that, even on Sunday, when I often let them wear flip-flops to Church because we can't find their Church shoes in the mess of a house in which we live. And only when we get to Church do I realize that their toenails haven't been cut in a good 3 months, and the nailpolish from last Easter is mostly chipped away.
Many bloggers post pictures of their beautiful abodes. I do not, because, although my house is sufficient and "homey", I don't know how I could ever keep one room clean long enough to get a decent picture of it. And even if I could pull that off, I don't know how I could hide the chipped paint, the stained carpet, the peeling laminate on the sink cabinets, or the distinct lack of decor.
I have an endless list of "things" in my life that I am unhappy about.
So, in my little place in the field, instead of enjoying the sunshine and the rain alike, and letting each one fulfill its purpose in my life, I find 101 things to be discontent about.
And God called me on it.
When I was praying this week, I was reading about the Israelites in the desert, and how quickly they forgot about God's goodness in freeing them from slavery. So, instead of being grateful that they were free - after 400 years! - from hard labor, they started to piss and moan as soon as the going got tough. Now I could sit there and say, "What idiots! I can't believe they were so ungrateful." Instead, I saw myself. Even though my life is incredibly, amazingly, exponentially blessed, I find many things to complain about. Which brings me back to the parable of the sower: I am so busy worrying about how to get my house to be perfect, or to get my body in the shape I want it to be in, or to get my husband to read my mind, or to get money for the next big "thing" on my list, that I am choking out the life that God truly intended for me to live.
God has commanded me to "Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances!" And I want to do it! But I need accountability. But how do I keep myself accountable for my attitude and my internal state? I'm chewing on that right now and trying to figure out if there's a way to work it into my blogging. I can't just walk around "feeling" grateful; I think it will be helpful to say it out loud - to my family and friends, as well as to my blogging friends.
I will come up a plan and let you know. Maybe I'll give thanks for 10 things or 100 things each day for a week. Or maybe I'll come up with some cool Mr. Linky thing where other people can share how they keep a positive and grateful attitude instead of complaining.
Any suggestions? I'll keep you posted, and you can keep me accountable!