I was in an analyzing mood today, and so all of you faithful/careful/hapless readers get to be the blessed recipients of the result of this exercise.
Actually, I found it to be a very useful exercise and encourage anyone to try it.
(And, yes, I noticed that my wife-ness didn’t hit the list, but I think that is indicative of the way God works in our marriage– all of it has been quiet, natural, and nearly invisible. So it almost never makes it to a list.)
One of the blogs I read encourages finding/creating a purpose statement for your life/writing/work. I’m not ready (focused enough?) to do that, but this list is probably the next-best thing– and I really like it.
It goes like this:
I am drawn to a number of different things in my daily life. Why? Do they have a purpose? What do I hope they accomplish?
What I want to do?
Why I want to do it?
Because I hope to somehow touch lives beyond my family without detracting from my primary responsibility and assignment.
Also because it helps me better understand myself, so that (Lord willing) I can better/more efficiently improve myself to be a useful tool and effective witness for my heavenly master.
Being less of an embarrassment to myself is an additional perk.
Because I’ve always felt competency in an instrument it is somehow a part of a “complete” life, along with the husband and children and so on.
While not wishing to diminish the the intensity of the desire for children, this is the best analogy I’ve found so far: There is a image of older women desiring children; that they feel a hole, along with a sense of urgency while they wait. That’s the best way I can describe my “need” for excellence, or maybe just existence, in this realm of music.
Being able to sing (even well) is somehow not enough, in the way that these women, while perhaps willing to adopt, desperately want to hold their own baby.
It is a very awkward need to have, truly, because I’ve found little internal motivation (e.g., to practice) beyond the bloated sense of need that it happen. The means of happening is woefully under-funded.
To enrich my inner world in order to strengthen and motivate my outward living.
That is, everything else I do is nurtured and fed by what I read. Without reading I find it all atrophies.
Why care for my children?
Because this is my God-given assignment. I am the means God has chosen to train them in righteousness, and they are one means God has chosen to perfect my faith and character. They also are my means of writing on the walls of time.
What do I want their lives to say?
That they know and live by the faithfulness of God. That they were created to serve. That their mother showed them what it looked like to live for Jesus when they were the only ones watching.
Why maintain my home with excellence?
So that the need to “catch up” will never get in the way of anything good: ministry, sleep, intimacy with God, or the opportunity to share my home with another woman who needs a little peace away from her own place.
I was recently made painfully aware that there is no way I can competently serve even the most needy new mother (I wished I could bring her a meal) when I don’t know what my own family is eating for dinner tomorrow, or I don’t have an extra pot to share with.
That realization motivated a prayerful overhaul that is still shaking out.
MAINTAINING my home with excellence is something I have always struggled with. It is my main ongoing battle as I fight to find a system (or even just the self discipline) to make it work.
I can clean the house to beautiful perfection. But it never stays that way.
I would love to maintain it so that I am free, as you pointed out, to serve.
Becky– I don’t know if I’ll ever do a real blog-post on it, but God has been guiding me into some slow and sustainable changes in the area of home keeping (this designation including children as well).
I’ve been surprised as how… almost holy some of this feels, as I watch something click that never has before (someone needs to write about the poetry of a counter that’s always clear, or the peace of both knowing what to make for dinner and having the pot or pan clean to cook it in).
I can’t “take a day off” (or things fall apart, of course), but for some reason I’m less of an overwhelmed blob doing my work. It’s more purposeful.
At the beginning of summer the older women asked us young moms what we wanted to study for our last six weeks of Sunday school without the men. We (I) clambered for home management.
They agreed, prayed about it, and came back with a study on The Fear of the Lord (beginning of wisdom, remember?) that culminated on the last week with a study of the 12 gates of Jerusalem, and their parallel to the 12 gates (areas) mothers guard/guide in the home.
(I’ve since decided the 12 is not an exhaustive– or the most effective– list. But God definitely used it.)
I think my second tipping point (the first one was the how to rise early) was taking from that lesson that food is my first priority after Christ.
Don’t know if anybody else got that, but it was very clear to me, and I started working from there. It’s been an amazing beginning of simplicity, and made further grades of change more manageable.
Most improvements are the subtle kind only Jay notices, but they are real enough for me (basically) to “trust,” and watching them accumulate I have more hope and anticipation of order now than I think I’ve had in 7 years of marriage (especially since children).
What a rewarding exercise. :)
BTW – I tagged you with another meme. Hope you don’t mind. :P Have a good weekend!!
I especially liked that last two paragraphs.
I think I’ll finally make my menu up. It does make life easier!
Wow, I really like this. Very inspiring. I may need to copy you… :)
Thanks for your comments on my blog this morning, they were very encouraging and you hit the nail right on the head…
Always good to visit your blog, Amy. Good stuff to ponder. I somehow lost the link to your blog for a while but I’ll be back. Really enjoyed this post.