Reposted from my 2008 column at Catholic Mom. I thought this would be nice for a mid-Lenten pick-me-up!
Too many times I have fallen in to the trap of pulling out the Measuring Stick!
You know the one. The one that compares your life, your children, your home school, your faith to others. How do we measure up, we might ask ourselves??? Are we doing enough, well enough, faithfully enough, lovingly enough, blah blah blah! This can be an all-too-easy pattern to fall in to and we must stop ourselves in our tracks, slap our hands, and put that stick AWAY!!
It's a little bit like driving in the fast lane, but going too slow. People keep passing you. Do you pull over, or speed up and try to keep up? What if you've got your signal on to get over but no one will let you in? They are so busy trying to keep up themselves that they don't even notice you...
For those of us who choose home education as a vocation alongside being a wife and mother, we are very good at trying to keep up with what everyone else is doing and we sometimes fail to notice when it's time to take a step back and look at the big picture. Sometimes it's imperative to get over into the slow lane so we can catch our breath, and just BE....with our children and our family. And this is NOT the time to bring out the measuring stick either! Our "measuring up" should be left to God and what we are doing everyday to bring Him and his Blessed Mother into our lives to keep us on track! And how about inviting some of those Saints in for a little tea and reflection time as well.
If you're feeling like you haven't got it all together like you may think others do, then it's probably time to turn off the computer, forget about checking email throughout the day, and disconnect for a little while so you can just chill with your kids. Fact of the matter is, you are doing God's work every day, period!!! Only HE can know if you're doing it well enough, lovingly enough, faithfully enough!
My personal pledge is not to try and measure up, except to what He wants me to do. I am asking Our Loving Mother to please bring me closer to Him who is all good and loving and forgiving of little 'ole me when I feel the urge to whip out my stick!
"That He might be made known."
I only want to be obedient to Him, maker of all good things. To find joy in the day to day happenings in our life, not to what others might think.
"Upon my servants and my handmaids I will pour out a portion of my spirit."
Well, this is good news to me as truly I depend on the Holy Spirit for guidance and I will gladly accept my portion. Hopefully with His help I can manage to portion out the better parts of ME to my family and discard the rest! As His servant and handmaid I can only trust in His grace and that of His loving and most gracious Mother.
If you are needing a little sojourn into the slow lane, but feel guilty about it because we just finished up with a large and enjoyable break for Christmas, ponder these ideas and see if any of them will stick (but leave the measuring stick in the closet):
Remember all the fun games you played over Christmas break?? All the baking and crafts??? Well, you don't have to abandon that frame of mind to keep it all going! Why not have a baking day every week during these longer winter days, there's nothing like the smell of something yummy baking to bring everyone's spirits around a bit! Combine the baking timer on the clock to your Read-Alouds! I'll bet three to four picture books could be read during those minutes ticking away!
What about a weekly arts and crafts time while listening to stories on the CD player, or combine that with your music appreciation time. There are so many lovely classical CD's you could listen to during this creative time. The kids will truly look forward to it, especially if you can plan ahead a little bit and have some art trays ready to go! It's still the perfect time for knitting and crochet projects too! Even the littlest can learn finger knitting, it's pretty cool!
Games anyone??? We had a blast with our new Settlers of Catan and Clue games over our break, we can't get enough of these ones!! Evenings by the fire playing a family game together is a wonderful way to perfect ourselves in His sight! He loves our domestic churches and would only encourage family game night, any day or night of the week!
The long and short of it here is this: Winter is long, winter is cold (unless you live in the South Pacific somewhere) and winter is a time for solace and turning inward. Just like a little hibernating chipmunk, it is okay in His eyes to let your heart beat a little slower, maybe a LOT slower and snuggle down deeper into that cozy nest.
I'm certainly not advocating abandoning all your lovely new years goals and resolutions that you have made, just keep them all in perspective. Keep them within reach and keep the measuring stick hidden away, far, far away.
You are perfect in his sight, and holy, and blessed.
"May the God of peace himself make us perfectly holy and may we entirely, spirit, soul, and body, be preserved blameless for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen."
I wish you many blessed un-measured days of peace and perfection! And prayers for your remaining Lenten journey to the Cross of Our Lord and His Resurrection!