verbosevictoria

Painting heart-cries, word by word

The Rest of the Story July 18, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — verbosevictoria @ 11:02 am
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The other day, and not for the first time, I complained on my Facebook about how messy I’d let my house get by wasting a whole morning on reruns and then going out for the rest of the day with my kids. I knew it was by my own choice, I took responsibility for it, and I was admittedly still annoyed with myself over it. I then received some great advice which boiled down to a neat house cannot replace good relationships. That is so very true. And that is not at all what I needed to hear at the moment.

But there was no way for that sweet person to know how I perceive housework and family. All that person knew was I am a young mom with young kids, doing hard work every day, and probably needing much more compassion than I ever give myself. Again, all true. What that person did not know, simply because I’ve never told them, is that a messy house is gauge of much deeper issues for me. And what hardly anybody really knows is that when I say messy, I don’t mean toys are scattered and the sink is full of dishes and the laundry is in a pile on the floor waiting to be folded. When I say messy, I mean the floor is literally layered in toys, the sink and all three enormous counters are full of dirty dishes from three days ago (or more) and the clothes on the floor are both dirty and clean which means they’ve ALL got to be washed again. Don’t even ask about the bathrooms.

Messiness in my life is not the result of every day chaos from raising small kids. I’m totally okay with realistic mess. I have no problem saying “the dishes will be there in the morning” if my sister-in-law or friend needs to talk. I don’t even mind when people come over and see the reasonable amount of untidyness. It’s just us, living our life, and gettin’ messy doin’ it. That’s fine!
The destruction that goes on in my home, in my life, is a direct result of running from reality and choosing to believe lies about who I am. I believe horrible, horrible things about myself–or, I used to believe them. I’m working on that.
But the point is I know I’m losing the fight when I see my house in disaster mode. I know I need to cut off all my retreats (books, internet surfing, idle phone calls, movies, unnecessary errands, etc) and deal with the actual problem–my brain being wrong. It’s my responsibility to care for this house. It’s not a demand for precision, it’s a need for love. I can’t love when I’m depressed. I’m too obsessed with the version of myself I see. So when I complain online about it, I do need support but I don’t need the advice to let it go and not worry about it.

However, that requires a lot of explaining to a lot of people. It requires “the rest of the story.”

I tend to be an over-sharing person when it comes to my life. Big surprise for a blogger, right?  I have no problem telling anybody who seems to care that I had a day filled with terrible choices. There’s a liberation in it for me, like I’ve got a chance to move forward now that I’m all exposed. (No, I’ve never done streaking or anything. I’m mostly metaphorical.)

The problem with being so open is I feel a need to explain who I am to lots of people. Most people want to help if you say you have a problem, but they usually end up giving me the wrong advice with the best of intentions simply because they don’t really see the whole issue. They take the issue I’ve exposed and apply their own perspective to it, saying whatever would help THEM in a similar circumstance. This is completely understandable and I appreciate the sentiments very much. I just have to be careful what advice I follow.

Most of the time I say “thanks very much” and remind myself that I can’t just let it go for a day, that I have to deal with the lies, that I have to face reality, and that I need to embrace the joy of living.

The only real point I’m making is we all have trigger areas. Some people can’t walk into a bar because they know it’s too dangerous. Some people can’t be in a romantic relationship right now because they know they aren’t ready. And some very silly people, like me, know they can’t spend all morning watching reruns of TV shows from the 90s just because they don’t feel like looking life in the face that day. We have limitations, and that’s okay, because those limitations help show us where we are. They show us where we’ve made a wrong turn and how to correct it.

So, in closing, NEVER ENCOURAGE ME TO IGNORE THE HOUSE. haha. 😉

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Glorified Thinking July 16, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — verbosevictoria @ 8:22 am

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you NOT to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”  –Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love

In a recent blog post on immersionstrategies.com, Bill Livingston wrote a thought-provoking post about our intrinsic value as creations of God. We somehow think it’s more “Christian” if we keep asserting “I am nothing.” We think we’re being humble, when really we’re giving a bad report about our Father and gifting Satan with our timidity. Strong words, but it’s the truth. What would Satan have to fear from a people who crawl around feeling like scum all the time? Those aren’t world-changers.

And that’s exactly how I’ve been living my life for the past 20-odd years. I haven’t believed I’m an awesome creation of God, destined for good works that God had in mind specifically for me (Eph. 2:10). I have been blind to what God sees when He looks at me–or what anyone else sees, really. All I have seen is someone unworthy of praise or attention, someone borrowing time on other people’s compassion, someone who is defined by failure and smallness.

That is not who I am. THAT IS NOT WHO I AM.

Did God take the trouble to create me, placing me in generations of family, strategically joining me with a wonderful man, making me the mother of four beautiful children–did He do all that just so I could spend most of my time running away from how much I hate myself? I don’t think so! He created a woman who would be full of His glory and reflect His glory back to Himself. I am full of Christ’s glory (John 17:20-25).

What does Christ’s glory look like in me? I guarantee it isn’t the small, shriveled thing I see. The beauty of His perfect love is now MY identity. I am not the Victoria I’ve made in my own eyes. I am HIS Victoria, the one HE designed, redeemed, and sanctifies.

And now I wonder–what will change? Now that I believe I am who God says I am, what will change?

Do you believe it?

 

The Beauty of Boundaries, part 2 July 2, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — verbosevictoria @ 10:34 am
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Now look, we all have this sneaky desire to break the rules now and then. Some of us get addicted to breaking the rules, some of us operate in that “quiet desperation”, but all of us WANT to break the rules.

There’s something about rules we don’t often consider, though. Rules create freedom. Structure encourages creativity. Boundaries are beautiful.

I mean it! If there weren’t any fences, it wouldn’t matter where you were standing. There would be no order to it, no reason to go anywhere or not go somewhere else. Chaos is not freedom, chaos is destruction. Freedom is having a frame of reference and making a journey. You see the fence, you consider your options, and you make your choices. You can get somewhere with fences, be it the wrong somewhere or the best somewhere ever. Rules, fences, boundaries, structure–they give life direction and meaning!

Quick word on extremes:
1) You have to make your own choices; do not depend on rules to guide your life for you. They are there to point out your options, not to get you out of the responsibility for a decision. Grow up!
2) You don’t need to add fake fences in order to keep away from the wrong side of the real fence. More rules are not going to protect from doing something you want to do. Work on actually WANTING the best thing for you, not just hoping you can make yourself listen to good sense.

Okay, so let’s make this practical. I don’t even have to spell it out for you, just read the list.
Road markings, signs, and traffic laws.
Mathematic formulas and principles.
Grammar.
Classroom rules.
Health department guidelines.
The growth of an apple tree from an apple seed, rather than from a peach seed.
A really good party.

That last may actually be better when explained. Have you ever been to party with friends when no one had any ideas of what to do? I don’t mean the fun kind of nothing where inside jokes abound and battles with pool noodles ensue. I mean actual nothing. Sitting around, bored. Now contrast that with parties that have a purpose–well-planned birthdays, surprise anniversary celebrations, and coffee house gatherings to catch up with old friends. Sure, a party can have too many agendas and become boring in that way, but if there’s a balance, fun times are had by all. A balance between expected events and encouraging spontaneity gives people FREEDOM to be creative in their fun because they know what is expected. If I know we’re serving cake at 4pm, then a sudden game of freeze tag at 3:30 is completely acceptable, even if I didn’t plan on it. However, if the party doesn’t even have an ending time and the ice cream cake is sitting out melting, then a sudden game of freeze tag might stress me out a little more. Or a ton. Because I’m a closet perfectionist. (Different blog; long story.)

You get the point. Boundaries are beautiful! They show you where you are, where you can go, and all the choices in between. Embrace them! Use them. Rejoice that you don’t live in literal chaos.

Be creative in your freedom and be responsible for your journey. 🙂

(If you would like to read Part 1, go to the previous post or follow this link: https://verbosevictoria.wordpress.com/2012/07/02/the-beauty-of-boundaries-part-1-2/ )

 

The Beauty of Boundaries, part 1

Filed under: Uncategorized — verbosevictoria @ 9:36 am
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A comment online: “It’s funny that most parents mostly determine their child is ‘in trouble’ if they are doing something the parent doesn’t want them to. If a parent feels they are not in control of their children, they feel like the child is doing something …’wrong’. Unless the child is doing something life-threatening or dangerous, you shouldn’t tell them what to do. Having a child, to me at least, means letting them explore life how they want, and being their play-mate, partner, provider, and protector. I can’t wait to raise my kids and see life through their eyes. It will be the most rewarding experience of my life, I can imagine.”

My Response:
It is true parenting is not about control and it is true the trap is an easy one to fall into. However, as a parent of four small kids, I don’t agree that the only time to say “no” is when they are in danger of losing their physical lives or health. There are more kinds of danger than just physical. There is the danger of allowing apathy to breed, the danger of never encouraging good communication, the danger of permitting your child to believe there are no boundaries in life and therefore no safety nets to count on. There should always be boundaries. Not to keep them from exploring but in order to ENHANCE their exploration.

Let me put it this way. Pretend you’re exploring a hiking trail that takes you through amazing rock formations, gorges, shallow caves, etc. Now there is a trail to follow that everybody uses, a worn path clearly visible to the eye, and that’s where you start out. You are more curious than the average person though, so you begin to drift to one side of the trail, now the other side, in search of wonders other people have missed. But you always know when you’re going a little too far because you can see the trail behind you.

Now pretend you wake up in the same area but you’ve never been introduced to the trail before. You have no idea where you are, no idea where you can go to get fresh water, no idea how to leave the woods, no idea where the dangers are. You start exploring but it’s slow going because you have no frame of reference. You slip on a cliff of loose rocks because you haven’t heard anybody tell you that’s not the best way to go. You try out a cave and realize too late that you went deeper than you thought and can’t remember the way out.

 It’s not a perfect analogy, but you get the idea. We all do much better when we have a frame of reference, when we have clear boundaries to show what other people have discovered to be true in the area we are exploring. I homeschool and we’re currently using the “unschool” model which is VERY exploring-focused. But at the same time, when my daughter shows interest in mathematics, I don’t sit back and say “you’re doin’ great honey!” when she tells me 2+1=5. I correct her, I show her the boundaries. And I do the same with life principles as well because I Love her. I don’t want to watch her stumble around, trying to find her way, when I know at least a few things that would help her. And right now, with how young she is (6 years old), that involves a lot of trust on her part and consistency on mine. As she gets older, I will let her gain more authority and receive more responsibility for her choices, but if I don’t show her that her choices have real consequences, she will be ill-equipped for her larger freedom later on. This is a time of training and I will do my job, even if it means I look like a killjoy in her 6 year old eyes.

It’s not about control, it’s about giving her a map to use so she will find her way with greater success. In writing there’s a phrase–you can break the rules of grammar, but only if you know what they are and when it’s okay to break them. Same with life, really.