Monday, October 07, 2013

Letting the plates fall

Most days I feel like the circus performer who miraculously manages to keep 4 plates spinning atop tall poles. The plates may wobble and tilt, but he notices the imminent danger and rushes over with seconds to spare and rights the issue. Then at the end, he bows and waits for applause from the crowd knowing they are amazed at his speed, agility, time management and multi-tasking.

Wait, did I just admit to being a self-absorbed, praise-seeking freak? Yeah, I guess I did.

Since the babies were born I have felt more and more like this circus act. Things are fine as long as nothing else happens to interrupt my concentration. But if one of my children becomes a fuss pot for the day and demands to be held more than normal, or if my 4 year old decides at the last minute she doesn't like the outfit she put on for school, or if I'm trying to cook dinner while cleaning dishes and feed 3 babies and I spill something, I lose my cool and tantrum. Seriously tantrum, complete with occasional foot stomps and door slams. And more than once I've gone to the garage to beat a mattress with a plastic bat to keep from yelling at my daughter.

My doctor thinks it's all because my hormones are still out of whack from my pregnancy. Personally, and spiritually, I think it's more due to issues of pride and stubbornness.

A few weeks ago I meditated on 1 Cor. 13:4-7. My translation says, "Love does not insist on its own is not irritable." For me, this means I shouldn't be stomping my foot and snapping at Addie because she wants to do something her way. Just this past weekend, she and I had a kerfuffle because she wanted to wear an ugly shirt that she thought was pretty. But because I wanted things perfect in my world (in order to reflect well on me) I fought with her and eventually ordered her to change. She then cried and I fumed. Did I mention this was on her birthday? Yeah, score 2 bad mommy points.

I shouldn't have insisted on my own way. And when I feel overwhelmed by trying to keep the house clean, my children happy, my daughter dressed well and behaving, my pantry stocked and whatever other chore I think I need to tackle, I need to force myself to step away from the plates even if it means they fall.

This morning's Bible read spoke straight to this issue. It's the story of Martha and Mary attending to Jesus. One sister (Martha) thought the best way to show love was to provide a neat home and full buffet for Jesus - both of which required lots of time and effort. The other sister (Mary) thought the best way to show love was to sit at Jesus' feet and learn to know Him. Martha complains about her sister's laziness and Jesus says, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but 1 thing is necessary (my note: bet you anything it isn't to have a Martha Stewart home and meal). Mary has chosen the good portion ..." Lk.10:41, 42

So if you see my daughter come to school in pjs or my kids with food on their faces or clutter in my home it could be that I'm learning to rest in God and let the plates fall.

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