I Am No Longer A Machine

I realized something today as I was standing in front of my oven, carefully placing eight dinosaur chicken nuggets in a row on a pan.   Both my children were at the kitchen table, happily playing with crayons and blocks.  It was almost noon on a Monday.  It was at this moment it dawned on me that I am no longer a machine.

See as I was standing there, joy in my heart, gazing over their work – encouraging them, helping them, laughing with them – I felt a pang in my stomach.  A knot of anxiety jabbed me deep in my gut.  I knew what it was telling me, why it had graced me with it’s disgusting presence.  I wasn’t producing anything for it.  I wasn’t doing anything that could be formulated into a spreadsheet to display my progress or lack thereof.

At a previous corporate position I held, we had “Our Numbers”.  Or at least, that is what we called them in our department.  I’m certain this report had an official name, something like quarterly summery progress report, I suppose.  To the people in my department though, it was the still small voice in the part of our brains – not stemming from the Spirit – but stemming from Corporate America.  It was the voice that reminded us time is money.  It reminded us that we were nothing more than the production we put out.  It reminded us that in order to get a raise, which on a good year would equal half of the cost of living increase, was determined by the outcome of “Our Numbers”.

There is joy in hard work, company loyalty, and work ethic – all of which I like to think I possess.  There is also a time for simply living in the moment.  We were not built to be machines.  We were built to create, procreate, and honor the earth we were given.

I spent almost 45 minutes with Isaac this morning doing two things; trying to get him to say “shoe” and playfully helping him pull his shoe on his foot.  I spent 45 minutes with my child in which the worth of my time could not be determined.  I spent 45 minutes in which I did not produce and no client could be billed for my time.  Isaac will likely not be putting shoes on by himself anytime soon. And when he does say “shoe”, it could have been the exact same day he would have learned this word if I had not spent those 45 minutes working with him on it.

My worth is no longer determined by my production.  It is not determined by numbers, graphs, or progress reports.  My worth, in my home, with my children, is the level at which I am able to love them … a worth that cannot be broken down and analyzed.  The deep longing I have always had to stay at home with my children, is to be given the opportunity to simply love on them more hours of the day.  I am here to love them.  Nothing I do, or don’t do, short of loving them is going to change that.

I am no longer a machine … and this will take some getting used to.

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How To Still A Dizzy Heart

I’ve battled with anxiety my whole life. It sprouts up from time to time in a most disgusting and volatile way. I rarely see it coming. I usually can’t idenify a concrete reason for its arrival. And I’m always unhappy to have it around. Recently, it has come to visit. I suppose it showed up after Christmas; sometime after the tree was taken down, and the holiday was finally at a close.

And so, as of this morning, I feel like I’m being chased in circles. Like someone is whispering that I have more to do than I can ever get done. A whisper that has a taunting nature; telling me I should stay out of the way of the people who love me. A whisper that has the power to evoke old feelings of inadequacy and worthlessness.

Although it’s very hard to recall with any certainty, I don’t think I have felt the true weight of this anxiety since before Matt’s death. Sure I have been anxious from time to time, but never a constant nagging on my stomach to attain the unattainable. I feel like I’m running in a race which not only I won’t win, but likely not even finish. None of these inner mutterings are truth. I can affirm that I do what I can, when I can, in the best manner I can.  I have faith God is ever loving, gentle, and that I am in His care.  I know that I am doing things to move forward.  But those anxieties that are laying waste to my inner self still surface.  I know they are wrong, and yet they still appear.

Part of the anxiety lies in my fear of the unknown. Fear of what this last year of grief, moving, and life changes has done in me. What these changes will bring me to – or worse – what they won’t. I want to DO something. I have grown so unfamiliar to normalcy, and the return of that brings a sort of angst to me. Normalcy is scary. After seeing what I have seen, losing all I have lost, you would understand that to go back to the place that I came from is nothing more than complacent and foolish. To avoid this feeling I want to move. I want things to keep happening at the rate at which they have been happening. Moving forward, getting things done.

Keeping up …. Keeping up … Keeping up

I want to be the reason for my surviving (and at times thriving) through this journey … and there in lies my problem.  I am not the reason for any of this.  His grace given to me … for the glory of Him who was sent to save.  I am being told to wait. God has brought me to a place in which endurance is needed. Suffering can feel easy at times compared to patience. A person must be still in patience. Being still, especially after a time of such massive movement, can seem beyond daunting.

It’s that feeling you get when you stand in one spot and spin. Even after you stop spinning your legs wobble, your eyes can’t focus, and your head is still dizzy. You want to be able to see where your spinning has taken you, but you can’t control yourself enough to stop moving and look. You want to be able to walk, without veering to one side or the other, but it is hopeless. From all outside appearances nothing is causing you dizziness; after all, at this point you are just standing in one spot. And yet, you feel out of control. And the only way to overcome it  … is patience.

I have learned in the last year that I am in control of nothing. I have learned that God’s provisions for me have always been greater than my expectations. I know that surrender of my dizzy little heart must be a daily request.  And so I must breathe.  I must enjoy what is in this moment.  And I must take each day as it comes.

It’s time for a little patience.  It’s time for a little stillness.  It’s time for a little endurance.