Beggared, Part 1
by Heidi Jost
Yes, read it again. I picked the second definition:
beggared: to exceed the limits, resources, or capabilities of.
Now do you want to hear how good being beggared is?
Climbing out of ruts is painful. Those neglected mental muscles are taxed. But the climb yields delight, because above the mud of the rut is a beautiful view.
And I’m seeing another piece of it. Slowly, slowly.
I’m seeing that comparing really is stupid. (Can somebody get this genius girl a gold medal?) Horizontal gazing only brings deeper ruts, deeper dissatisfaction. Yuck. More mud.
Vertical gazing is really amazing. No eyes on the Joneses anymore, just on Jesus. (Yes, I will stop being so tacky with my wit now. I don’t want you to drop reading this in disgust, because maybe some of my journey will overlap yours and help you a bit, like mine has been helped by so many others.)
I say “Jesus” a lot more now. And I know, as I say this incredible name, I am still far from comprehending the massive awesomeness of Who my mouth refers to. But I say “Jesus” and I think “Jesus” because I see more how everything really is all about Him.
I don’t want to shock you, but I need to tell you that I failed today. Better yet, I said afterward, “So what?”
Because I am learning to see that my identity wasn’t dropped and scrambled when I failed. There are no pieces for me to pick up and reassemble in shining order. In and of myself, I am a mess. Always. Deep down, you probably know that’s true of you, too.
I had a couple of glorious days of sailing through life, delighting, seeing the beauty of undeserved gifts from God, like, oh, our intact, warm house and being able to meet unafraid with sisters for prayer and having diapers and dumpsters to put the used ones in – and health. I marvel that we are healthy, because by the average social media articles being shared, we should all be dead six times over as of last Friday. Everything is toxic, apparently, but that’s a subject for Those People who actually know what they’re talking about.
My point is, after these couple of days that went well, I bottomed out. Do you know what I have usually done to remedy the awful feeling that follows my having snapped at the kids or not having finished schoolwork/housework? Two things: a) I try harder. This is called pulling yourself up by your bootstraps. And it’s as painful as it sounds. For me, it looks like this: Nagging the kids more (thereby transferring my feeling of failure to them), doing more jobs so I feel like I made up for my failure, and/or throwing a grouchy diva scene and going to bed. Because sleep solves sin, right?
There was one other thing besides trying harder that I tended to do, and still fall into. I would mentally and verbally beat myself up. Turn up the soundtrack, and it sounds like the following, “You are worse than that mom over there. You are so dumb. You can’t even keep your house clean like so-and-so. Your kids are way behind in the level of school they should be at, and clearly, we know why, because you don’t even know better about not ending your sentences with prepositions! This must all be Jesse’s fault.” Yes, the embarrassing pièce de résistance my tape comes around to. I get tired of blaming myself, so I turn on the sacrificial lamb of the family. None of it is his fault, but I don’t know how to deal with this nasty stinking bundle of guilt, so I transfer it.
Yuck. Just so much MUD!!! I want out of this rut so badly. My self-made resources to climb out are beggared.
But I’m tired of writing right now, and I’ve taken way too long a hiatus from being a mom. So I’d better go undo the disasters that Justin has very likely made upstairs, and I will finish this another day for you.
But think on it in the meantime, till we meet up again later in the second half of these thoughts. If I summed up everything I just said in biblical language, here it would be, “Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?” Romans 7:24