Today is an *all* of the things day. As in, no matter how hard I try to stay positive and joyful about my circumstances, life is throwing curve ball after curve ball. I feel like I am wading through jello as I approach even the normal, typical, daily tasks.
I know for certain that everyone I’ve ever met has had an *all* of the things kind of day. This is not because it’s lost on us that we are still crazy fortunate and can always count blessings if we stop to think about it. This is because we are human, because we have young children, because some things are just plain out of our control…because someone else is having a bad day, or the moon is getting full, or simply, because we aren’t well rested or well fed or stress free. Some days the things just pile up, one after another. And I’m sharing because I realized something today in the midst of my own pile:
The world doesn’t have to be crumbling…our lives don’t have to be turning upside down…we don’t always have to compare our “small” problems to someone else’s “big” problems and feel guilty that we’re temporarily frustrated. It’s OK to feel the weight of *all* of the things and to acknowledge that we are more desperate, more sold out, more human, more imperfect, more in need of a Savior.
This year has been hard. Maybe harder for our family than any other to date. And certainly harder than I ever like to admit to myself or others.
It’s much easier for me to carry guilt around for having a bad day than it is to acknowledge that a bad day is a fine thing to have. I see people…not just any people, but very dear friends, members of our family, people we do life alongside…who are experiencing really, really hard things. And no matter how difficult some things have felt here, in my heart, I’ve continued to tell myself that they’re not as hard as what so-and-so is going through. Not as hard as what most of the rest of the world faces.
And then I pile on guilt. And I minimize the hard in my own life because I believe the lie that it doesn’t stack up to someone else’s hard.
The lie: Because my hard isn’t as big as someone else’s, I can’t be honest about it and how it makes me feel. I can’t let it be hard, or admit that it’s hard, because it’s not nearly as significant as someone else’s struggle. To admit that something has been crazy hard is to minimize what someone else is going through. And it means that I’m obviously not grateful for all of the good in my life.
Calling this out as a lie is credit and testimony to the handful of friendships in my life who are willing to do real life–beautiful, crazy, terrifying, messy, hard life, with me. These friends have been honest about my struggle with guilt as our family has faced hard things. These friends have named my guilt. And they are the first to pray, to check in, to love, to be honest, when I start believing the lie again that I’m not allowed to call a spade a spade. To call the hard things, hard.
To have an *all* of the things day, like today, is to acknowledge that the little things stacking up are enough to send us to our knees. I’m not saying the 32 inconveniences today even remotely measure up to someone else’s really, truly devastating day–or to my own. I’m saying that I don’t think we need to beat ourselves up over being frustrated, when sometimes the 32 little things can make a regular day feel really rotten.
I’m saying that I’m going to try to be honest with myself and not feel guilty (and I don’t think you should either), when days like today feel really raw for *all* of the little reasons.
Today I struggled over dollars lost when I’m trying so hard to be a good steward. Today I strained with all of me to put a fighting, 46 pound four year old in the cart at Target to try and hold my ground as a mom. And I got kicked in the gut. Literally. Today it took me 45 minutes to get through the store when all I went in for was diapers, hand soap and kleenex. I changed another, countless poopy diaper in the parking lot, I battled wills from all angles, I broke my sunglasses, and I cried in front of my kids in the driveway.
These are not big things, but they’re my things. And in total, they were either going to put me over the edge or send me to my knees. I know God can be glorified in the latter.
So I put my big girl pants back on, but not before I asked God for help. Not before I took a moment to be honest with myself that things felt hard. What else is there to do? This, I suppose. To share openly about the stirrings of my day so that when you have a day with *all of the things*, you allow yourself to have it instead of feeling guilty that you couldn’t pull it all together or hold back tears.
Because it can be hard to extend ourselves grace. And it can be hard to ask God for it sometimes. He gives it freely though, if we’re willing to ask, and I believe He extends it far beyond the hard and the ugly and the things.
grace to you, my sweet friends. grace for it *all*, big and little, today and every day.
P.S: Care to say NO to guilt with me as I keep working on it this year? I hope you will