I hate myself today.*
I didn't know I felt this way until a relatively minor mother/son clash occurred. Some disrespect, some defiance, some almost-eight-year-old attitude - nothing I haven't encountered before. But after sending the culprit to his room, I retreated to my own (isn't it funny how that's a reward rather than a punishment as we get older?) and as I collapsed onto the trunk/bench at the foot of my bed - which incidentally is right in front of mirrored closet doors - it all came pouring out, along with my tears.
I hate myself for being a bad parent (I must be a horrible parent to have such a brash, undisciplined son); I hate myself because I've somehow managed to put on yet a few more pounds this summer (which I definitely did not need); I hate myself for gradually falling out of several disciplines that have been so life-giving (I've been so lazy and undisciplined and indulgent this summer); I hate myself for feeling so aimless, direction-less, purposeless (shouldn't I know what God wants me to do next?); I hate myself for being a terrible wife, daughter, sister, aunt, friend (seems like I've neglected everyone I care about); I hate myself for worrying about the future, about finances, about my family (seriously, haven't I learned anything about trusting God?)...
I'm so tired of trying and failing in so many vital areas of my life, trying again and failing again, and again, and again... Looking back over the summer, I'd have to say that I've pretty much stopped trying.
My summer has had the appearance of productivity and fullness on the outside. Packing up, moving, unpacking; backyard fires and gardening; little family outings; preaching and leading worship; getting up early to walk - these things filled my days with activity, but little else. The depths have remained unstirred, have stagnated. The inner life - real life, one might even say - has shriveled up.
The overall effect of this whirl of activity has been that I've allowed myself to give up on the things that are hard, that take effort, that aren't fun, that don't come easily and naturally. Disciplines that are refreshing and life-giving and healthy and beneficial - but not amusing or sugary or undemanding. More like challenging and painful - at least at first.
But now it's Fall - or soon will be. A new season is a gift from God, a chance to begin again. And oh, I'm so grateful! But will I take this opportunity and run with it? Or will I let it slip through my fingers yet again? Stay tuned...
*In case you were wondering, this intense hating myself moment didn't last very long. But the fear to try remains. It was about a month ago that I wrote about falling down and getting back up. I wrote from a burst of motivation that quickly fizzled out. In fact, that's where most of my blog post come from - a place of fallenness, of brokenness... Ughhh.
But that really shouldn't come as a surprise. "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." (1 Corinthians 12:9) This is where God's light shines the brightest in my life, when I'm weak and powerless. He loves to come in and pick me up, dust me off and set my feet on His path once again. It's only by His grace that I can remember at all that my feelings aren't the boss of me; that the way of least resistance is rarely the best way; that my value and worth are inherent, NOT based on my actions (or lack thereof).
Into this and every new day, we can venture forth with courage and hope - armed with His power, filled with His peace, covered by His grace, drenched in His love.