I read part of the book of Ephesians yesterday and this scripture caught my eye, “”Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love…” (Ephesians 5:1-2a)
One of my immediate thoughts was, ‘if only I was single, I could live that life of love…you know, just spend my days doing all kinds of nice things for people…wouldn’t that be so great?’ I am embarrassed about how silly that seems, especially written down. First of all, I was single for 33 years and did not make this my focus and secondly, clearly one can live a life of love no matter where or what stage in life you are. Sure you may have more discretionary time when single (in some cases), but still taking care of my kids is an act of love…it stretches and forces me to give and be patient like nothing else.
I have a really bad case of what I like to call the “situational paralysis disease”…I’m always waiting for something to change in my situation before I take action towards creating the life I want or getting things done that I would like to. There is always something about my situation that is holding me back from what I want to do. For example, when I was single, I felt that I had no time to do the things I needed to do to get healthy (e.g. workout and meal plan) and I blamed church, other people, my work, etc. I also would think of Paris and be like ‘oh woe is me’ …I cannot go there because I don’t want to be in the ‘city of love’ without a partner…that would just be depressing.
Now as a mother of two (yes, my non-existent audience…I forgot to inform you that I just had another child in September…a son…he is literally the most chillest child I have ever met…haha…hence mommy writing so much these days) and staying with my lovely parents to get some much needed help, I catch myself saying, “Oh I’ll work on getting on a healthy eating plan, once I’m back home on my own since there are so many treats at my parents’ house – hard to exercise self-control here” (let’s not get into the irony of the last statement) or “I’ll start working out when I am back in my condo with such easy access to the gym” or “I’ll start that project when I have a good hour to myself, undistracted” . Well you know what? a mom has only so few precious hours to herself and there are a myriad of things to be done during that time.
So basically, I blame my situation for lack of progress and am paralyzed from doing anything to further my goals or intentions. Such a foolish waste as focusing on the circumstances ignores all the areas and things that are within my control that I can change. And the most amazing thing is that the more I focus on what I can control, the more I control (does that make sense? Stephen Covey talks about this in his “7 habits of highly effective people”…genius must read by the way.
Every situation and stage in life has its challenges and its positives….the key is to focus on the things I can do and optimize those instead of being mired by the fact that my situation is not perfect for what I would like to accomplish. It really is another form of procrastination stemming from perfectionism to think of ‘if only’s’ all day long as I have and continue to do….
Also there are unique opportunities that will be wasted in every stage if we continue to focus on what we do not have. For example, it will be many, many years before I will be able to do a big hiking trip like Machu Pichu because I have tiny children. Meanwhile when I was single, this was definitely a trip I could have taken even though Paris might have been depressing (although the latter idea is debateable).
Nowadays, I’m trying to practice asking myself “what CAN I do NOW towards that goal or dream?” when I hear myself saying “if only” or “I wish.” Hence, I may not be writing the magnum opus about child rearing and all the research around it that I would like to do BUT I am practicing the craft of writing itself through this blog and writing down simple day to day observations in my journal about my days with the kids. Both will also serve to preserve memories of these busy and tiring but full-of-love days which I am desperate to do.
…also maybe I’m not doing the intense workouts, but I have cut out eating sweet stuff for the last few days and that has helped. And maybe I cannot have long involved times with God everyday, but I try to spend a few minutes here and there with Him.
…and I am grateful.