I'm finding that, among other things, Lent has become a time for me to get over myself, so to speak. The Spirit is gently showing me where I depend too much on the opinions of others or think I know too much or, in other words, teaching me to see the world outside of ME. I needed that kick in the pants!
1. I have a tendency to be critical about things that I actually can't do any better than the person I am criticizing. For example, I always criticize children's Sunday School curriculums. Now, I have never actually taken the time to write one, but that is beside the point. I just assume they don't actually teach kids much, and they certainly don't seem to teach Bible stories anymore, just use them as illustrations to make a point which may or may not be the actual point of the story. So when my sweet boys started asking to pray before meals and started praying things like, "Thank you, God for making me and my family. And thank you for your wonderful world. Thank you for giving us food. Thank you for giving us Baby Linus," I was tempted to think what a good mom I was for teaching them all these things. Then I looked back and saw that their Sunday School curriculum lately has been about God making the world and creating them and about worshiping through prayer. Hmmm...maybe those curriculums are worth something. I know the teachers are!
2. I have mentioned before that I am fasting from excessive internet time during Lent. Mostly this means that I am fasting from Facebook, to which I had become slightly addicted. I am learning how much I depend on the opinions of others for my sense of worth. Though Facebook allowed me to maintain relationships with good friends and to share important parts of our lives together, it also became a substitute for seeking a relationship with my Father. I will return to Facebook after Lent, but I hope that I will return with a new perspective and that my priority will be spending time with my face in His book first.
3. I am horrible at reaching out to form relationships with my neighbors. I don't think I used to be, but somewhere along the line in this motherhood thing, I became very insular. So, when my neighbors' kids, aged 10 and almost 5 started showing up at my door because they had forgotten their key and then just started showing up to ask Calvin and Hobbes to come and play, I finally got a clue that God might be using them. We'd only lived here for almost three years...God is patient! We had a bit of relationship with this family from Ecuador, but now our kids play outside with them whenever the weather is nice, and the mom and I have had two significant conversations about kids and life in general when she gets home in the afternoons. And, as with most things God wants us to do, this has been a blessing for me, as the older boy is really great with his sister and my boys and very willing to play with them. I can send them out in our backyard with no worries. (I had already been letting C&H play by themselves out there for a few months, but I had to check on them every 10 minutes or so because they fight so much when there aren't other kids around.)
4. I have spent a lot of time stressing out about parenting over the last few months. I have even been reading parenting books, which I avoided like the plague before now. Fortunately, my children keep thwarting my attempts to read too many of these books. Hobbes has been begging for my attention so much lately that I finally realized something. My kids don't need the perfect parent, a clean and organized home, or the ideal environment for their personality type. They just need me, flawed as I am, to sit with them in the midst of piles of laundry and read or do a puzzle or play a game. Really. It's that simple. God will take care of the rest if I am there and willing to let Him love through me.
5. A visit to the dentist's office is always a good lesson in humility for me. I think I have the world's worst teeth. I had two cavities filled as a five-year-old, and it's been downhill since then. I brush twice a day, floss at least 5 nights a week, don't chew gum or eat candy, and only drink the occasional sweet tea, never any cokes (sodas for you non-Southerners.) All of this, and every single time I go in, I have another cavity or a tooth that needs to be watched. EVERY SIX MONTHS! This time, because they couldn't do x-rays or fillings while I was pregnant, I have four fillings to get done. Fun! My husband? He brushes once a day, never flosses, drinks many more sugary drinks than I, and they tell him he brushes his teeth too hard. That's it. No cavities.
6. Finally, a funny "get over yourself, TwoSquare" moment:
I was in Tennessee this past weekend visiting my family. While I was playing on the floor with my niece and the boys, my niece asked, "Do you have another baby in your tummy?" When I replied in the negative, she asked, "Then why is your tummy so big?"
My friend, who had a baby around the same time that Linus was born, calls them our muffin tops. I tell her that the top is the best part of the muffin, but, really, I am not taking this post-baby weight with grace. Not at all.
7. And, in an effort to learn to live in my imperfection, I am leaving you with only 6 Quick Takes this week.
Check out Conversion Diary for more quick takes.