Painting heart-cries, word by word

Disillusion SuperWoman April 4, 2013

I have learned something. I have shifted and I believe it goes deep.

All the while I was growing into a young woman, when I was still a child, I kept waiting for God to make plain the talent He had given me and the destiny He planned for me. I gazed with shining eyes at Olympic gymnasts who had started their path by age 4 and whispered to myself, “That will be me.” When I heard about the women’s soccer team at North Carolina and saw Mia Hamm play with such fire and agility, I whispered to myself, “That will be me.” Any time I heard a prodigy musician, read about a barrier-breaking athlete, or watched a national talent show on TV, I whispered to myself, “That will be me. I will have my amazing talent. And I will know what it is because it will come easy to me, like it does for them.”

I was able to do many things as I got older and pursued interests. I could throw pots (in the ceramic sense), draw fairly well, sing pretty well, run quickly, talk circles around most people, read like a boss, daydream like nobody’s business, and timed the recording of my favorite radio songs onto cassette PERFECTLY so there were no half-commercial gaps between songs. I even seemed to be a bit of a writer, when I put my mind to it. But not once did I discover I could play concertos on the piano by ear or make a goal from midfield with my eyes closed.

Of course I was upset for a few years because I thought I had no talent. God shook His head, half-smiling at my ridiculous and childish assumptions, and began teaching me about my non-scripted destiny.

But a much more insidious assumption was growing underneath all of that silliness.

Like most people, I have many responsibilities in this life. There are things over which God has placed me in authority–my own self, my children, my home, etc. I have been going crazy trying to keep up with these things and there are plenty of factors for why that’s been such a struggle, but one lie in particular has been crushing me under its weight. I have held the belief that I should be extraordinarily TALENTED in every area where I am RESPONSIBLE. I have been thinking it should come easier than it does.

You see? You see how debilitating that is?

I am not talented as a housewife, and that is the bald-faced truth. Lots of women may make that claim, but any of my friends, family, and especially my husband will tell you that my 6 yr old daughter is better at housekeeping than I am. I don’t say that to be self-deprecating or falsely humble. It is just true.

So every time the laundry is out of control, every time the kids spend more time cleaning up than I do, every time Eric has to come home and rescue us all from the mess, I am crushed under guilt. I let myself sink into depression. I let disappointment slice my soul until I am a tattered mess. That sounds melodramatic–again, it is just the truth.

Even when I get help, I can’t enjoy it, because I have believed I should be more than capable; I have believed I should be a TALENTED housekeeper. If I’m responsible for it and God says He’ll equip me, then what’s the problem? I listen to my friends swap organization ideas and whisper to myself, “That should be me.” I pop in unexpectedly, my friend asks me to excuse the “mess” of two toys on the floor and a laundry basket of clean clothes in the corner and I whisper to myself, “That should be me.” I listen to plans of spring cleaning, gardening, canning, sewing projects, et al, and I crawl into a ball, hide in my unmade bed with sheets that should have been washed a month ago and cry quietly, “That should be me.”

I have finally accepted it. That should NOT be me. In fact, burn the word “should,” burn it with fire, because the reality is I am not a talented housekeeper. I have to work really, really hard just to be a passable housewife (not to mention a happy one, which is all my husband really cares about). That is a fact. I want to live in that reality and be willing to accept what small progress I make.

Hey, if I’m not talented, then every victory becomes instantly huge!

~Put away a load of clean laundry in the drawers today–GOOOOOOOOOAAAAALLLLLL!!!

~Dinner is on time and the table is set, all by 6pm–w00t, w00t! Holla at me, gurrrl!


So. Getting back to the actual point, it is a straight-up lie which I swallowed whole that you should be talented wherever you are responsible. Not true. God likes hard work (something I am still trying to comprehend, weak-willed as I can be). It follows, then, that He has no problem making us responsible for things that don’t come easy.

Armed with this epiphany, I shall only work on getting better and staying content. I don’t freak out on myself for not becoming an Olympic gymnast. I won’t freak out because I’m not Mary Poppins either. Time to disillusion SuperWoman. Time for Victoria, vessel of God’s love, to just chill already.

**I do recognize I have some talents. Everybody does, and if you think “yeah, except me” then I give you a hearty slap on the back and welcome you to this journey of discovering God is way smarter than we are. Next blog will be on talents, just to even things out. I like symmetry in my life, when possible.


Half Failure April 1, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — verbosevictoria @ 8:53 pm

“Red Smith was asked if [writing was] a chore. …’Why, no,’ dead-panned Red. ‘You simply sit down at the typewriter, open your veins, and bleed.'”

Right now, I feel the need to bleed all over this web page…

I screwed up.

Things started pretty well–felt somewhat rested, exercised, had a game plan for the day, got some laundry clean, read “1000 Gifts” while nursing, kept up with the kids. And then somewhere in there, I gave myself permission to slow down. And then I got caught up in feeling good, me me me again, consumer, entertained, self-distracted. And of course when Eric got home it felt like the footsteps of judgment walking through the door.

So here I am, feeling lousy. I’ve tried a few times this evening to hoist myself out of it. Tried to see things back in the perspective of reality. Tried to silence the sneering voice in my head.

I couldn’t even say thank you when my tired-from-work, pulled-in-all-directions, determinedly-hopeful, upwards-and-onwards husband sorted the clean laundry and made sure the kids put their clothes away. I wanted to let him know I knew what he was doing, wanted to acknowledge his service to me, but I couldn’t do it. Saying “thank you” meant staring my own failure in the face and saying, “yes, that was me choosing not to do my job.” It meant admitting, “yes, I am making you do my job as well as yours.” It meant I had rendered myself useless for the day. All I managed to actually say was “Just pretend I don’t exist until tomorrow.”

Wish I didn’t exist until tomorrow. Wish I could erase what I did, or go back and fix it. I mean, part of me knows full well that this wasn’t a failed day and I can hear the voices of people who care about me listing all the reasons I have for not being 100% Martha-Stewart-approved perfect. I have a newborn, I parent four other active kids, I home school, I have time to get a balance back in our lives, I have a lot going on, etc. Of course I know all that. But those are never good enough reasons because I feel, I know, I am capable of much more than this.

But I’ve probably got it all wrong…again.

I’ve probably been trying to do it all on my own, without God’s help, proving that I’m worth something in the world, that I deserve to be here, somehow vindicated by perfectly stacked towels and dinner at 6pm every night and children who aren’t used to my yelling.

I’ve probably missed the point entirely, gotten too focused on myself, gone too far introspectively, flipped the universe inside-out in my head and made it alllll about ME.

Ms. Voskamp had just been telling me this morning, in “1000 Gifts,” about giving thanks when things are not sunny, about joy and pain being received as one.

I’m sitting here this evening wondering, “how do I give thanks when the biggest problem is my own choice to be selfish? How do I thank God for my failures, even the half-baked, mundane, silly ones?”

I can thank God for one thing. I thank God for finite days in my life, days that end, so that when I am sure I’ve botched everything, I’ve at least got a shot at getting it tomorrow (God willing).