Okay, technically they go on sale Friday at midnight, EST, but every year people get confused and ask me, “Friday at midnight, or Thursday night?” It all feels confusing, I know, so have your fingers ready to pounce at 11:59pm Thursday night, because there are only 50 early bird tickets and those babies go FAST. Like, gone in 2 seconds fast. At least that’s what’s happened the last three years.
Drink your coffee, have your crab dip or chocolate cake ready, and have some fun on Twitter with us allume gals as we hangout and have some fun during the ticket launch. There may even be prizes. 😉
See you there! #allume
“One of the most potentially destructive forces in a woman’s life is when she begins to look for fulfillment in something or someone else.” –Sally Clarkson, Desperate
Today we’re talking about Chapter 8 of Desperate – Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe. In this chapter, Sally and I talk about the temptation to escape our circumstances. Sometimes the escape is about getting away from the mundane, sometimes it’s about avoiding our responsibilities because we’re so overwhelmed, sometimes we are just desperate for a break, and sometimes it’s about running away because the life we’re living isn’t what we thought it would be, and now we’re not sure we want it.
I think it’s important to know, to ask yourself where the desire for escape is coming from. Is it coming from a place of desperation, where you can’t get any help or a break and you’re just going to break if you don’t get out for a bit? That’s normal, and in my opinion, we all need a break from time to time to refresh our souls. But maybe you want to escape because you’re trying to escape your life; no matter how many breaks you get, they’re never enough, because the truth is, you’re aching deep down for something else. This kind of escape is killer, because it ties your soul into knots of guilt, confusion, shame, regret, and covetousness. Listen, I’m not down on you if you’re experiencing this kind of escape, I have felt those things and been in that place, but what I know about that place is that it is empty and unfulfilling and ultimately will make you miserable, because that longing that is slowly coursing through your spirit is a longing for something you can’t get here on earth.
I know it hurts, and maybe you’re playing Taylor Swift songs on repeat, dreaming of another life, or you think if only you had married someone else or if you lived somewhere else, you’d be okay.
Or maybe you’re just dying for some attention. Maybe you want to be understood.
Friend, those longings in your soul, they’re there for a reason, and they aren’t going to be met by anything or anyone on this ball of dirt (although relationships are super important – we were made needing community!). Those longings, that tension, is there to remind us that there is a place that we’ll be one day that will fill every empty space in your being. Mark Buchanan in his powerful book, Unseen Things, says:
“On earth, everything falls short of some hoped-for ideal…in response, we can become so cynical that we poison ourselves, so self-indulgent that we devour ourselves, so despairing that we collapse into ourselves. In fact, self-pity and self-indulgence, boredom, and despair, envy and greed-such are only yearning gone sour…a once-burning zeal dwindles to a dry itch, and everything becomes a frantic attempt to get passion back, or a plodding resignation to its death…God made us this way. He made us to yearn-to always be hungry for something we can’t get, to always be missing something we can’t find, to always be disappointed with what we receive, to always have an insatiable emptiness that no thing can fill and an untamable restlessness that no discover can still…It’s not the wanting that corrupts us. What corrupts us is the wanting that’s misplaced, set on the wrong thing.”
Now please don’t get me wrong here, I do think God gives us glimpses of heaven here on earth, and I think He puts desires in our hearts that He means to use here for His glory and even, dare I say, our pleasure. But the ultimate longing and ache will go unmet, for now.
After asking yourself and talking with God about why you’re feeling the need to escape, and if it is healthy or unhealthy, you need to ask yourself if you’re willing to accept the portion God has given you. When I went to Colorado to visit Sally, I was in a pretty dark place. At the end of our time together, she gave me a tea cup and said, “This is your portion. You can choose to throw it away or smash it on the floor, or you can accept it and let God fill it, and see the beauty in it.”
Sidenote: While I am talking about accepting our circumstances, I’m not advocating accepting circumstances where abuse is involved. God is for freedom of the captives, so if you’re not free, find someone you trust to help you.
I am choosing, sometimes minute-by-minute, sometimes rather clumsily, to accept my portion, and to be thankful for it. And when the longings rise up, I’m thanking God for those as well, because it means something magnificent is waiting for me when my feet leave the dirt.
- Do you struggle with longing for another life?
- When do you most feel like escaping?
- How can you show your sweet babies how much you love them and are thankful for them today?
I’m finally adding a link-up for all of you who have written posts about Desperate and want to join in the conversation with more words than a comment holds (sorry it’s taken me so long to get on the link-up train!). Please link directly to your post and not just your blog. Happy linking!
“When I finished reading this book, I immediately told Aileen that she would find it rich and encouraging…I very much enjoyed reading Desperate and am convinced that it will bless and encourage any mother who reads it.” –Tim Challies, Challies.com
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I really love people.
Most of the time.
Sometimes I think they’re jerks.
Most of the time I’m the jerk.
But here’s the thing, I see a lot of un-love, especially in the online world where it’s easy to say what we want behind a screen. We can “unlike” someone we disagree with, and we can tell them so (“I’m un-liking you, so there!”). And really, would we talk that way in real life? Over coffee? Would we get up and say, “I don’t like that you said that, dislike! Goodbye!” I don’t think so.
Here’s another thing, let’s give people the benefit of the doubt. Let’s believe the best about someone (I constantly have to remind myself to do this because I’m terrible at it). If I tweet a link to an article written by a gay Christian, can we all just assume I think the article is worthwhile and I’m not necessarily endorsing everything on the blog? Can I share articles and quotes and thoughts from those who may vary wildly from me? Or maybe they don’t. Or maybe it doesn’t matter because I’m not the authority, God is. And maybe even though I’m a leader or an influencer (and even a teacher, which keeps me trembling), I’m also a person who is figuring out my way and will never have it together until heaven, which is why you need to take everything I say (or anything anyone says) and compare it with the Word of God and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Also? No one has cornered the market on truth; we humans, we’re fallible. Quite.
We will all stand before Him one day, not before each other.
“…God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6
“If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” James 1:5
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:36-40
The other day I was sitting in my comfy chair enjoying a great, page-turner type book. My four year old (Caroline is now four!) walks over and asks me to play Candy Land with her.
I don’t want to.
I want to read my book.
My very, very good book in my very, very comfy chair.
I look into her pleading blue eyes and ask, “what did you say?”
That line always buys me a few seconds to think through what my answer to her will be.
After thinking about the fact that I know I will feel so guilty if I turn her away, and what if she remembers these moments where I chose to read instead of play with her, and what if her insides hurt because her mama chooses the book over her, or what if I’m just really neurotic and this is no big deal but still WHAT IF…?
“Sure, I’ll play.”
But the truth is, I don’t like it. I’m selfish and I just want to read my book and I’ll bet she feels it. Will I ever change? Will I ever be un-selfish? Will I ever choose to engage my girl and enjoy this time together, or will I rush through it just waiting for it to be over so I can do my thing? And isn’t this how I sometimes, mostly, live my life, just waiting to get onto the next thing?
Will I ever figure out how to live well and in the moment, and with joy?
Life is really hard, and some days are awesome, and some days are so very un-awesome. So no, I’m never going to figure out how to have a together life, and I’ll certainly never have a perfect one (what a silly notion that is!). And joy? Maybe. Fullness? Definitely (because Jesus says so), but what does that mean? Maybe I should just give up trying to figure out what it means to live.
But maybe I shouldn’t.
Maybe we all are facing a hard battle (Plato), and maybe we are selfish and tired or neurotic, or whatever, but I still think there’s more, because I long for it. I feel the pull, and ultimately, I know that pull is toward heaven, but in the here and now I think there is more. I know it. Not perfect more, not tidy more, but something…
And that something has to do with hope, a hope that trumps the defeating feeling of living battle worn.
Living in the blink isn’t about figuring out how to live a perfect life, or even an always happy life. It certainly isn’t about living an easy life.
Living in the blink is about living true in the midst of the battle. It’s about living free. It’s about living with a longing in our souls that we know can never be met here, but reminds us that something so much better is coming.
Living in the blink is about being intentional without being overly idealistic. It’s about choosing the good thing in the moments, without beating ourselves up for choosing poorly sometimes. It’s about recognizing the reality of sin in this world and just under our skin without letting it define us or how we live. It’s about falling down and picking ourselves back up. Rather, it’s about falling down and getting up knowing we aren’t alone.
Living in the blink is about redemption.
I walk, I fall, I get up, I help someone else up; they help me up. I trust in the power of the Holy Spirit living in me and I keep walking. I keep on.
And if I can keep on going, if I can keep walking and hoping and trusting that God is doing something beautiful in me, then somehow, I think just maybe, I can really live.
P.S. I know there is so much more to say, and so many questions to be answered, and I really dislike triteness, so maybe I’ll be tucking these thoughts and many more onto some real pages that maybe someday you’ll read.
8 years old.
My oldest is 7.
I bawled my eyes out.
I said over and over, “It is settled in my heart that God is good.”
Then I cried some more.
And then I decided, as the mama said, to “Enjoy your gift. Breathe in the scent of your child’s hair, breathe. Let them cook with you and make a mess of the kitchen. Play hide and seek with them, build sand castles with them, take them on picnics, read to them! Listen to them, value and respect them, never shame them. Your words they will carry with them their whole life and you have the power to give them wings or stunt their growth. Motherhood can be tough but it’s worth it. It can be exhausting, boring, tedious, but never for long. You blink and they’re grown.”
(I might cry again just posting this.)
I went upstairs, hugged my babes, smiled at them, and about 10 minutes later was all, “If someone asks me for ONE MORE THING…!”
My renewed vision for motherhood lasted about 10 minutes.
Life doesn’t become easier just because we realize how sacred it is, or how quickly it can be gone, or how we might not have our little one to hold tomorrow. Life moves forward, and our sin-disease moves right along with it. Sin doesn’t give us a break, or care about our little ones, or pause when we need to re-group.
We have to live in the tension of “breathing in” our precious kids and not missing the “blink” while also dealing with our sin-junk.
To be continued…
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