[Note: I have no idea what the deal is with the font today or why it is so different and big. It was either this, or very small. What the heck?!]
It's so hard being human and it is so easy to neglect ourselves. I see it all the time. Parents pour out their lives and don't keep enough for themselves. I give everything to Caleb. My life is exactly as it is right now, because of the choices I make for his benefit. This has been very hard for me, as I am not able to move away or go out of state for grad school. I have mentioned this frustration in Sometimes Adjustment Hurts.
However, I am beginning to wonder how our story looks now, in the bigger picture. How maybe I am supposed to be right where I am at after all. How while I have never intended to be a single mom, or even a mom really, here I am with a genius, creative, funny boy. Here I am in a city I dislike, maneuvering through life with gorgeous, compassionate friends who love deeply and wonderfully. I wonder how all of this looks in the bigger picture of life. And if somehow, even if it is never what I would have wanted, it is where I need to be. God always has something up his sleeve. I just hope to stick around and see what that is.
As I said, it is easy to neglect what is good for us. A stark example would be in terms of drugs or addiction or sex, Paul says in Romans 7:19, "For I don't do the good I want to do, but instead do the evil that I don't want to do." I don't think there is a single person who can say they have not experienced this. And it doesn't have to be an evil, as Paul says. It can be anything that hinders us from the people we are to become in Christ; or any choices that are unwise.
I have plenty of examples of this from my own life. One practical example of this applies to the concept of dating. Ideally, it's fun to date around. It can be fun to go out and just talk and meet new people. There’s nothing wrong with doing that. However, I tend to make it a practice to be mindful of what I need and ultimately want. This affects whom I choose to date, which so far, has been no one. I think this is a good thing, and I think that God has me exactly where I ought to be, for such a time as this.
Dating wise, what I want to find, is someone who has a genuine and evident love for Christ and actively lives that out in his life. I need and want to live in a way that coincides with these qualities that I hope to find in someone else. Being human is hard enough as it is, but being a Christ follower is particularly challenging. To deny what you want or what might be fun in an effort to maintain the bigger picture of what God might have for you is a real task. And it could look like lots of different things for everyone. As always, I have room for improvement. I am as human as they come. But my need and my desire remains the same, and that is for Jesus.
Sometimes neglecting ourselves looks like not giving ourselves the time or space we need to grow. This is a hard one for me, because my personal time is limited. When I get that time, I just want to do all the things I can never do, or just waste that time I have choosing to do nothing at all. I'm not intentional with my time in more constructive, life building ways, and I am very aware of that. I think the reason for this used to be because I was scared of what might happen in me as a person, if I gave myself time to "water and grow". Now, I don't know what my excuse is. Ha. I do know this though, and that is that it is hard to be human. Today I read a fabulous quote that I think pertains to so much. I was ranting and angry today with some friends about cultural and gender biases, and applied this quote to that reality we face in our society. Well, in this context, it applies differently but works just as well:
“The first problem for all of us, men and women, is not to learn, but to unlearn.” -Gloria Steinem.
It seems like doing all the things that are less wise is so natural, whereas consciously making choices that align with the betterment of us as people and in Christ is a process. It is a process I will gladly take, but continue to recognize my failings in. Sometimes, we have to be conscious to being open to "unlearning" preconceived thoughts or previously learned behaviors. Maybe that is part of our journey as people who are growing and changing. I know that when it comes to gender and racial biases, there is much to unlearn. I mean, starting off by recognizing our words or private thoughts that are apart of this bias problem is a positive start. I think the same goes for us as people in our own processes of denying the sort of things that might not be what is right or healthy.