Saturday, March 13, 2010

Not where or what I long to be

It's Saturday night. I'm starting this post a little after 7:30. My 4 kids are in bed and I believe at least 3 of them are already asleep. I am listening to the hum (or more appropriately, the clanks) of my dryer. The house smells of cleaner- carpet cleaner. My living room carpet looks fantastic. I am enjoying a quiet house and time to myself.

It could be a perfect night. Except that nothing is quite right.

My alone time a result of my husband being gone to a dinner where I am supposed to be his date. My living room carpet was freshly cleaned today to remove the stain and stench of vomit. The dryer is running because I am still washing and drying clothes from a day that consisted of several clothes changes. Three out of my 4 kids threw up today. Two of them spent a good part of the night being sick.

I spent much of the day struggling with a bad attitude. And then, I gave in to it.

I came downstairs and considered checking my husband's facebook page. What? Yep. I didn't. This time.

I had a brief conversation today with my husband about whether or not my facebook fast has been good for me. I have succeeded in staying off facebook (except for a few times when I have looked over his shoulder). Is that enough to call it a successful fast. I don't know.

I do know that I have developed a longing for more. I want to be doing more. I want to be more dedicated. I don't want to let little struggles overwhelm me. When I am down and out, I want to pull from a higher source. I don't always do that. I didn't today.

I struggle.

Lent represents Jesus's 40 days in the wilderness. He was tested. He was offered the chance to be an earthly king. The wilderness-or desert- was a place of solitude and struggle. That's the way I think of it, anyway.

When Jesus went into the desert, he pushed aside all of the expectations and hopes of those around him. My Lent season means depriving myself of many "around" me. I am not connecting regularly with friends on facebook. My Lent experience is about deprivation. Since it is such a shallow deprivation compared to how little some in the world have, I hesitate to describe it that way. I am depriving myself of something and when I think about what that means in my everyday life, I shudder. I realize more and more that I am a slave to my desires. I want. I need. I deserve. Really, it's shockingly true to recognize the selfishness of my thoughts.

I deserve a Starbucks because, I took care of sick kids.
I deserve a date because, it has been so long since I have been on one.
I deserve sympathy because I have had a tough 2 days.

It is ridiculous. I admit I think that way way too often.

This Lent season, this hard-to-explain-to-friends-facebook-fast, is more than it appears on the surface. I thought I would be accomplishing more. I am struggling more.

It is a season of soul-searching. It is a time of reflection. I am slowly and sadly acknowledging that I am not what I long to be. It's a burden. But, it's also a beautiful struggle.

I have hope. I recognize emptiness in my life. I realize I long for things that amount to nothing. The world is in me. Desires that amount to death abound.

I have hope. In my vain attempt at creating discipline, I see my need for a Saviour.

My need is real.

And so, I press on through my Lent fast and my selfishness thoughts, looking forward to celebrating resurrection on Easter Sunday.


Pete said...

Failure is essential to a Lenten fast. It's what makes us not only long for Easter, with its end of the fast, but it's what makes us realize just how lost we are without Easter.

If we could do it on our own, why would we need Jesus?

ChupieandJ'smama said...

I hope the kids are feeling better!!
I'm struggling too. My Lenten fasts are teaching me something about myself too. I also gave up Facebook and I've been struggling. I miss connecting with friends and family from far away. But it is helping me to see some other things in my life more clearly.

Foursons said...

I love your transparency. I think you are way to hard on yourself, but I also think you are an amazing woman.

He & Me + 3 said...

I love Julie's comment. So true. Jane Anne, you are precious and God knows that you are trying. He doesn't expect us to be perfect just that we are trying to be the best Christ follower we can be.
Your heart is in the right place.
You are a wonderful Christian & an encouraging blogger too!

blessedintexas said...

Thanks for the post. It really touched me because I'm right where you are. Life can be a struggle and it's hard to not feel selfish in an attempt to get through each day with a little sanity. But you know what, sometimes it's ok to be a little selfish. Sometimes moms spend so much time taking care of others that we fail to take care of ourselves. Then we hit bottom and feel overwhelmed and are no good to anyone. So get a Starbucks now and then and kick back and relax. You deserve it!

Mimi said...

This post was so moving for me. I too feel a longing for more in my life, a dissatisfaction instead of thankfulness for my life as it is today.

Leila said...

This is a very honest and open post. I think that email and facebook are so important to me because I crave contact with other people. When I don't get it, I feel lonely and rejected and sorry for myself, just as you are describing!
But once long ago it occurred to me that Our Lord wants me to be a little lonely so that I will seek contact with Him.
He won't force Himself on me. But He's waiting for me to tell Him that I'd rather talk to Him than anyone else.
I try to remember that, but I don't always.
What if Jesus had a facebook profile? :)

Jeanne said...

What a moving post, Jane Anne! You are not only challenging yourself, but your words are inspiring and challenging me as well! Thank you for your honesty! It's what I needed to read today!

Alicia, The Snowflake said...

Amen! Too often we think we have it all under control. We have it all figured out. But really our need for a Saviour is great. May we recognize that need this Lent and look to our precious Jesus to fill it.

Thanks for this great thought provoking post. I pray your family is much better today!

Jen said...

Thoughtful post, and I like what Pete had to say, it's a good point.

I'm trying to remember daily something my dad told me recently, and interestingly it also popped up in a photo in our local paper - Jesus first, others second, then yourself (Joy). The world would be a better place if we could all do that.

Hope the kids are feeling better (and you too, mama!)

Amy said...

I have struggled just like you with the facebook fast. I too thought I would be much further along in what I hoped fasting facebook would accomplish-and I am not.

For me, I think I set my bar too high-and have not planned enough. I am renewing my desire to not only learn from this time, but learn more about how God sees me-failures and all.

Thanks for being real.

Avery's Mommy said...

I just took a week off of Facebook and I thought I had really accomplished something! Don't be so hard on yourself :)