Friday, May 26, 2017

Reconciling Mother Culture / "Me Time" With Responsibility

We're cooling off from a batch of naughtiness over here: no sleep, not many smiles, and any attempts at "cozy" ending with someone busting angry seams (mostly me) has been the measurement of our joy lately. Mix some teething in there and we've just been hitting the sweet tooth straight on. Not. But you know, I'm making it out worse than it is. Really, it's just been one of those times where I've found myself desperate for refilling, in quiet, alone. But an old tug of war between the responsibilities of faithfulness and this screaming need have yanked me straight into the throes of heart vertigo. It is a strange balance though, isn't it?

On one hand, there's this awareness that I'm not my own. This decaying humanity of mine that screams for this need and that need was bought at the high price of holy blood. Bought. A part of the conquering Savior's own body now. Didn't I count that cost? Aren't I committed to laying everything, everything, down and gaining everything lasting and worthwhile in return? What sweet hope! Of course I want to live wholeheartedly for this God who has claimed me as His very own.

But how in the world does this whole, "hey, I deserve this or that," that I constantly hear is "normal and okay" mesh with complete and total surrender of everything?

On the other hand, the introvert in me legitimately requires a recharge from time to time so that I don't curl up in some quiet corner with my trusty books and never return to the land of the living. Otherwise put, the good Lord created me with this natural need in my soul's design, and that need was made to be filled, right? To totally ignore this portion of me that God created, wouldn't it mean that I'm ignoring His unique design? And if that's the case, wouldn't that leave me half crippled in trying to march forward faithfully? In my case, what Sally Clarkson has said over and over hits the nail squarely on the head: "We must take time to fill up, if we are going to be able to pour out." Filling my reading stack with Charlotte Mason infused titles lately has only fueled this thought: "Is there not some need for 'mother culture'?" She demands. "But how is the state of things to be altered? So many mothers say, 'I simply have no time for myself!' 'I never read a book!' or else, 'I don't think it is right to think of myself!' They not only starve their minds, but do it deliberately and with a sense of self-sacrifice which seems to supply ample justification."

So how in the world can these two sides reconcile in solution that satisfies both?

This past month has been a time of relearning the answer; and frankly, it's so simple, it's embarrassing:

It's Faith. A living, active faith is what reconciles the two sides. And, when you think about it, it's pretty much the only thing ever asked of us at all.

Faith is the whole and complete surrender I want to live; the acknowledgment of His design; and the way of faithfulness I crave. It's not a question of deserving this or that, it's question of actively trusting God with my life, my needs--letting Him be the provider I claim to know that He is.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, Carissa, don't depend your own understanding. Trust Him with your life, your family, your talents. . . your endless to do's . . . your lack of sleep. . . your need to recharge. . . Good heavens girl, give it all to Him and He'll show you the way.

Let all that you are wait quietly before God, Carissa. All that you are. Your strengths, your weaknesses, your gifts, your needs. Your hope is in Him, remember? He's your rock, the rock; your salvation, the salvation. Don't be shaken.

You strange girl, don't you know? Your God knows the hairs on your head, the thoughts of your heart, all that coffee you consume, how you really need to shave your legs, all those delights and sorrows harbored in your heart--He knows and cares for it all. Quit saying that and truly believe it.

Wait a moment, the Lord is your shepherd? Your provider? The lifter of your head?. . . because it sounds good or because you truly trust Him to be these things? Act like it then.

I won't lie, I wish it wasn't so hard to put this in practice when I'm running on proverbial fumes, but ah gracious, friends, He knows that too and offers grace for the coughing, sputtering, somewhat lifeless attempts we (I) make. Isn't He something?