Home business, home education and health challenges: what makes us tic?

Posts tagged ‘love’

For Better or Worse

Warning: Abrasive tone and dark sarcasm ahead.

Allt hat you are is all that I'll ever need - Ed Sheeran

Umm … no pressure. I’m not even all that I need.

Your role, should you choose to accept it, is to spend the rest of your life in service to Mr X. You will ensure that, at the very least, your dishes and laundry are always done. Wherever possible, you will do his as well. You may not leave any laundry or dishes lying around the house – EVER. And you must clear away yours and his whenever you notice them. Be vigilant!

You will plan and prepare all meals – and don’t forget that you’ll need to do the shopping, too. Oh, and of course, you’ll have to earn the money for that shopping … you ARE and independent woman after all, aren’t you?

You’ll have to do “your share” when it comes to raising the kids – and it’s very important that you always agree on every aspect of parenting. This means that getting them dressed, clean, fed, educated, loved, cared for, and played with rests every bit as firmly on your shoulders as it does on his. And so does discipline. This is all about equality, after all – so you both get to do everything. All. The. Time.

But wait – there’s more! You need to listen to him: his plans, and hopes, and dreams – and don’t you dare dash a single one! Just listen. You need to listen to his fears, and irritations, and the things that make him MAD. And remember: he’s just venting. None of this is aimed at you. No matter how angry and hurtful it all sounds, just listen. All he wants is to get it out. He will want to ponder the big questions of life with you, so mae sure your philosophy is up to date. And he’ll have some pretty serious emotional damage (who doesn’t?!), so better brush off that psychology degree. Sometimes you’ll drive him crazy – for no good reason. When that happens, he’ll need to talk to you about it, so be calm and compassionate. Listen patiently, and try to see how you were wrong, and how you can improve and do better next time.

He needs a buddy: go bowling with him. Or watch the sport he loves. Or play that video game that keeps him up all weekend. He needs companionship, and that’s what marriage is all about. Make sure you go fishing with him, and takes those long walks he loves. Never mind your allergies or your bad back – this is for the greater good. It’s important. Oh – and so is your “Me Time” – so don’t neglect yourself. Be sure to fit in some self-care time. Shave. Exercise. Stay in shape … you don’t want to turn him off with the way you’ve let yourself go, do you?

Since you’ll be sharing the cooking duties, you need to be sure your skills are current. Be a good chef! And remember to put all the dishes away WHERE THEY GO when you wash up every day. After all, that’s what he would do.

You’ll need to make the bed if you’re the last one to leave it. And take out the trash, of course. Really, that’s all anyone’s asking of you – surely that’s not so hard, is it? Oh wait – and you need to keep your car serviced and running properly. His too, come to that.

Now that he’s married you, he really doesn’t need anyone else. You’re there for him. You listen. You’re his confidante and his sounding board. You GET him. That’s what you’re there for, after all. Right? So make sure you’re objective and can see all the sides of the situation all the time (no matter the day or week or month you’ve had). But also don’t forget to be on his side all the time. He needs your complete support, trust, and understanding. No matter how crazy or hormonal or emotional or irrational he sounds.

After all, without getting absolutely everything he needs from you, he can never – EVER – be truly happy. And you just don’t have the right to take his happiness from him. That’s very selfish.

I know this is had, but it’s meant to be tongue in cheek. Over the last two years, I’ve been working on my perspective of the things that frustrate me in my life, trying to see how I can see things more clearly and thus become more content with the way they are. It’s been my experience that we lie to ourselves and make our lives seem worse than they are, and then allow those beliefs to sap all our joy and happiness from our lives.

This piece, then, is actually the expectations we (or at least me) tend to place on our menfolk. I’ve written it as if they expect this from us, just to show how very extreme our demands are. No self-respecting woman would ever accept a job like this, no matter how much we loved someone. And we’d probably also never admit – to ourselves or anyone else – that we expected this much from anyone, let alone our one true love.

And yet, when I chat to my girlfriends, and even more when I consider my own frustrations, all of these things have come up. We do expect the men we marry to work and provide, and of course maintain cars and home. But we also expect them to do at least as much inside the home as we do … and then we trivialise what they do, and pick on them for not doing it our way (the right way, obviously!).

And on top of all of that, we expect them to meet every emotional, psychological, physical, social, and ambitious need we have. All the time. We call it “being there for me”. But really it’s more like we’re some kind of giant emotional parasite sapping an already depleted source.

Years ago, when villages were strong and families and friends all lived in close proximity, sharing chores and labour and child-rearing between them all, these expectations were less common. We had mothers and sisters and friends and daughters and fathers and uncles and village elders and mystics and cousins and grandparents and pastors and priests to guide us. We had midwives and farm managers with decades of life under the belt, to answer our questions.

We had companions on every hand – people to help with the cooking and the cleaning and the kids, people to share jokes with and discuss ideas with and get advice from. And they weren’t all one poor, hapless soul who had the misfortune to fall in love with us.

I’ve just started reading Liz Gilbert’s book, Committed. In the early pages she talks about the Hmong tribe in Vietnam, and their very ancient, village-like living arrangements. Lots of people living together in small spaces; women doing women’s work while me do men’s work. Your friends were the women folk who shared your daily chores. Your advisors were the elders of the village. Your husband was a protector and a provider and a progenitor … and yes, maybe even a friend. But not necessarily a confidante and counsellor and business partner.

And I really don’t think that was ever the plan. Surely that’s too much to ask of one person!

I know I wouldn’t be okay with it.

Just some food for thought.

Love

loveWe need to love ourselves. Once we understand some basic principles, we have the tools we need to love others.
We are loveable. Every human is loveable. So loveable, in fact, that God thinks we’re to die for.

Just think about that for a bit.

It’s not about being good or kind or fair or generous or helpful or forgiving or any of these things … it starts with LOVE. He LOVED us. And He keeps on LOVING us. Forever and ever and ever amen.

We are loved.

Each person is so very loved that, even if that person was the ONLY person on earth, He would have died for them. He would have died for me – and only me – if I was the only one. He loves me THAT much. He wants to be with me. He made me to love me. He made all of us to be loved: to love Him, to be loved by Him, and to love one another. The Word says that’s how we’ll be recognised as His: by our LOVE. And yet, how often are Christians characterised by their LACK of love? We fight. We judge. We nitpick. We’re hypocrites and we hate. We don’t even love ourselves. We buy into the lie that we’re worthless and evil.

Yes, we’re sinners. In other words: we make mistakes and we think thoughts that result in pain and misery in our lives. Sin is making a mistake. It’s natural and human and INFINITELY forgiveable. How do I know? Because I’ve been forgiven by the Infinite One. He teaches me to forgive and, above all, to LOVE, by ACTIVELY SHOWING me how it’s done. If the Infinite, Perfect,
Inimitable God of the Universe can love me, who am I to hate myself?

He MADE me what I am. How dare I not LOVE it? How dare I not revel in it? How dare I not be inexpressibly grateful for every cell and breath and thought and emotion and skill and personality trait and talent and inclination ever? It’s all from Him! He made it!

Wow.

But instead, we complain. We hate what we are and we resist it and we try to change it and we reject it. We don’t love ourselves. Not even a little bit. Not even at all. We just hate-hate-hate. We don’t accept the gifts we have – from the smallest toenail to the longest hair on our heads. We try to change every part, like ungrateful prigs returning heartfelt Christmas gifts.

We need to learn to LOVE ourselves – I need to learn to love myself – … in a daily, ceaseless flow of gratitude for all that we are. I can do that by meditating on the truth of Him: my Maker, my Creator, my Sustainer, my Substitute on the Cross, my Saviour.

When I fully grasp how loved I am, how loveable I am, it becomes to easy to love others. Love casts out fear. Love makes forgiveness EASY. Love sets us free. We can easily love when we are loved. Everything becomes beautiful and clean and perfect and loveable.

You Live, You Learn

to learnWhat are we here for?

To learn.

To grow and become the best possible version of ourselves.

Life on earth is prep school for life eternal.

So, what are we here to learn?

A good place to start, to me, seems to be the fruit of the Spirit. Are these things to work toward, or the gift we get at salvation? I’m inclined to believe that they’re gifts. We have them. We need to learn how to use them.

Let’s recap:

  • Love
  • Joy
  • Peace
  • Patience
  • Kindness
  • Goodness
  • Faithfulness
  • Gentleness
  • Self-control

Actually, when I look at the challenges my body is presenting to me, the way it’s highlighting parts of my life that need work, the primary things I need to work on seem to be FEAR and FORGIVENESS.

Perhaps these Fruit will address those.

Want to vs ought to

Part of getting the cobwebs out of my brain and getting my mind back into the light was determining what things I actually want to be doing. Do you find yourself, like me, panicking as you try to fit in everything you just know you should be doing because they’re right and good things to do? Things that healthy, happy, well-adjusted families do? Things that efficient, effective people do?

Yep. I thought so. Me too.

In the end, not only do I NOT do any of those things I feel I ought to be doing, I don’t do anything at all. At least, not what I want to do. I stare at my computer for hours, trying to simulate busyness in the empty hope that it will morph itself into meaningfulness.

Spoiler: it doesn’t.

So I reasoned that if I could at least work out what it is I’d like  to be doing, I could commit to getting some of that done, and then I’d achieve some of what I should be achieving, too, since there’s a whole lot of overlap there. I’m rambling a bit, so I don’t know if my logic is coming through. Let me cut the chatter and get straight to the meaty stuff.

Five things I want to do OFTEN:

  1. Get active: run, dance and climb
  2. Create: paint, draw, make, build, write
  3. Work: write, design, strategise, make, imagine
  4. Grow: listen, care, learn, share, think, read, research and write

As you can see, there’s a lot of overlap here. There are also common goals between what I want to do often and what I want to achieve in my work and with my children. Identifying those common goals allows me to focus my efforts on the things that will cover the most bases and this deliver the most far-reaching results.

I’m distilling this into a practical philosophy of daily being, and it looks something like this:

  • Move my body every day (and include as many of my family members as I can)
  • Create something beautiful and/or useful every day (and include the girls)
  • Read something meaningful, think about it, and record it in writing somewhere (prepare to be blogbarded). Also: share what I’ve learned with the people who mean the most to me, in order to spark discussion and foster understanding.
  • Deliver great work for my clients, that helps them achieve their goals.Be kind to one another

Action steps:

  • Achieve at least three things on my TO DO list (so far, so good).
  • Do something creative with my kids (not so good yet … we’re getting there).
  • Spend time in prayer and reading God’s Word (this also needs work).
  • Move my body.
  • Read something meaningful.

Verses:

Seventeen years!

Today it has been seventeen years since Papa Bear and I said “I Do”. We’ve had a wonderful day: board games with the girls after breakfast, and coffee in a picturesque spot with family after lunch.

Just perfect.

friendship

Softly holding

Hold lightly

Gently hold all that is given into your care, remembering that it is never yours to own. Manage it well, wisely and with compassion.

Love is patient and kind

Live Intentionally

Live Intentionally

1 Corinthians 13:4-8

4Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.8 Love never ends.

This is true love.

We talk about love all the time, don’t we? “How do you know if it’s true love?” “How can I show my love?” “Does he love me? I wanna know! How can I tell if he loves me so?”

The point is that love is a verb. It is an action word – a doing word. And the person doing the loving is YOU!

11 practical ways to demonstrate love in action:

  1. Be patient. Don’t expect the person you love to change over night – or at all.
  2. Be kind. Cutting words and cold sarcasm are destructive weapons, destroying souls in their wake.
  3. Don’t envy, and don’t boast. Don’t crave what someone else has. Don’t begrudge them their success or joy. And don’t rub their noses in yours.
  4. Remember that you’re no better than anyone else. Don’t be arrogant. No one is inferior to you. Don’t be rude. No one deserves that. Ever. And it demeans you to behave that way.
  5. Don’t demand your own way. What are you? A Four year old? Since when is getting your own way the best thing – even if you ARE right?
  6. Don’t be irritable or resentful. I battle with this. I resent what I perceive as me having to do everything while Papa Bear seems to me to be doing nothing. It makes me irritable, cold and mean. And then it makes me ashamed when I realise all he has done, and how I have allowed in self-pity like a petulant child. I could save myself a lot of mojo-sapping negativity by simply applying this principle. Just don’t let it get to you. It’s never worth it.
  7. Don’t celebrate poor responses to life’s trials. That means “don’t laugh at your girl friend’s mean joke about her useless husband.” It’s not funny, it’s not kind, and it does no one any good. Even if it is accurate and witty.
  8. Rejoice in the truth. The truth is, you love that person because God loves that person. And because God loves you. Not because they (or you!) deserve it. We deserve nothing. We get infinite riches. That’s definitely something to rejoice about in my book!
  9. Take it (you can, and you must); endure it. Loving someone difficult may be hard. Bear it. You can bear it, I promise you. Endure what you face now. It will be worth it in the long run. It really, truly will.
  10. Believe in the person you love; hope for the results you desire. No matter what they do to erode your faith, believe. Hope for the change and, infinitely more importantlybe the change. It doesn’t start anywhere but with YOU. And even if you never see the future you’ve been hoping for, your faith will be counted for righteousness.
  11. Never give up. Hang in there when it’s tough. Hold on tight to your Saviour: He is your anchor. Stay the course and look ahead: the light IS there, no matter how far the end of your tunnel may seem to be.

I want to run this race and be proud of my results. I want to run well. I want to run to the end. I don’t need to be happy as much as I need to be successful. Sometimes, those two things are not the same thing; sometimes they don’t go together. Sometimes, doing the right thing, taking the high road, behaving with dignity and grace, makes you very sad indeed. But it is right. Not in the self-justifying sense of the word, but in the absolute sense of the word. No one can doubt that self-sacrifice for the good of another human being is noble and – well, good. So do it.

John 15:13 “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

So lay down your life. Give it up. Give up the small dreams you may have nurtured for a fairy tale ever after, and choose instead the glory of a rich, hard-won eternity. You don’t need a half-life when you give your all to get it all, and gain a life along the way.

Live intentionally. Live your best.

– By Vanessa Davies – daily discovering Joy on a Shoestring.

If you’ve decided to live your best, please let me know. Did you start today? Last week? Last year? If not, what’s holding you back? I’d love to hear from you.

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