Stream of consciousness

On children:

  • There were things I loved about being a child in a family of just four. I loved our holidays as a tight little unit going off on adventures together. I loved how close we were (all of these things still apply but for now, I want to remember what it was like to be a child in a family of four). I loved our identity as a four. I loved the opportunities we had. I loved the quiet. I loved the strength and confidence we found in each other.
  • When I see a family of four, it reminds me of my childhood; a joyful, rich, blessed, loving upbringing that made me everything I am today and brought me this life I love. Our resources weren’t stretched and being a small family opened worlds of opportunity to us that may not otherwise have been there. It gave us the flexible lifestyle we all wanted and which, especially at the time, was against the norm and made my life as unique as it is.
  • I’m not sure why then, despite all that, I’ve always loved the idea of having three children. I love the possibility of big, joyful Christmases. I love the fantasy of ‘soccer mom’ living a full, productive life, looking after a home and clan of kids. I love the dream of hearing lots of children laugh and play in the garden. I’m realising that none of these things would cease to apply if we just have two children and I think God is changing my heart so that if that is how we end up, I’m OK with that.

On who I want to be:

  • Joyful – even when I’m tired, or sad, or worried, or frustrated
  • Thankful – remembering that the things that wear me down¬†and annoy me can also be the source of my joy
  • Aware of the corporate impact of my sin – particularly my selfishness
  • Hungry for Scripture – knowing that the Word of God can teach, encourage, correct and guide me to be all that I can be, not just for myself but for my family and all those around me

On sleep:

  • Sleep can be subjective. Even if it has been broken, I may well still have got all I need. Even if last night was hard, it doesn’t mean that tonight will be. Even if I’ve had multiple bad nights, it doesn’t mean that all joy has been whisked away. There are always people to help, for which I’m truly thankful and, when really needed, those people help me get the sleep I need to rest my body and mind and come back to life in full strength.
  • I need to remember to pull back the curtains, truly see the new day, take a deep breath, enjoy the early morning air and start my day with hope.

On social media and using time wisely:

  • Scrolling can be soul destroying. It sucks away life, eats away time and encourages many of the thoughts and attitudes that seek to bring my heart down. In itself it’s not bad. I love sharing photos, keeping in touch with friends and finding creative inspiration and encouragement. Rather it is my use of it that forms an unhealthy habit.
  • Instead, I could read, or write, or study the Bible, or any of the other things that bring my soul to life. These things also model positive habits to my son, who is increasingly making me conscious of what I don’t want to encourage in him – unconsciously (he’s only 5 months old) ‘shaming’ me if you will, into a life that is fuller, brighter and wiser than my human weakness tempts me to live.
  • A little self-discipline is going to be required to find my balance again…
Advertisements

One Day

One Day I’d like to live in a house with a garden. I’d like it to have space for a library so that my husband can immerse himself in books and those he has penned can have their own pride of place. I’d like a kitchen with space to create delicious dinners and bake fun treats. I’d like a play room for the children and enough rooms so that each child (hopefully 2 or 3) has their own nest and we still have a spare for guests.

My husband I both have a vision of this house. Our images seem to match and we dream of it fairly frequently. But it’s not just the house itself that we want, it’s the lifestyle and choices it represents and that go alongside it hand in hand in our dream.

We’d like the flexibility of work that allows us to raise our children mostly ourselves, encourage them to love learning and give them opportunities to explore. We’d like to welcome people and for them to enjoy being in the moment, to relax, cast off their burdens and feel blessed by our home, our food and our family. We want to¬†practice hospitality, enjoy the seasons in their most basic and beautiful forms and we want to teach our children to do likewise.

I’m often impatient for this house; for this dream. I catch glimpses of it so often but am never able to connect the dots between our lives now and how we get there. But somehow, I trust we will get there, because it’s not just the house, it’s a God-given desire to create a place which others can also call home. A simple and genuine home free of fear and judgement for our children, friends, family and strangers.

So until then, I must simply learn patience and practice hospitality, enjoying the seasons and creating a warm environment in readiness and preparation for One Day.

The curse of comparison

Look at your life for a moment. In isolation from every other person’s life, are you happy with yours? If you didn’t know that a colleague had a bigger house, a friend had more children or an acquaintance had a higher paid job, would you be satisfied with your life?

Comparison is ugly. Not only does it make us compare tiny segments of other people’s lives to the entirety of our own lives, it takes our eyes away from what we do have.

If we were truly to compare our lives to others, then we’d have to take their good with their bad. We can’t be jealous of one element of their lives without taking into account everything else that makes up their daily living. They may have something you want but they inevitably will have other things that you’re thankful you don’t have to deal with.

It’s worth remembering that to someone, your grass is greener than theirs. To others looking in, those Instagram photos, job updates or home improvements are exactly what they are aspiring to in that moment. They won’t see the in between, the struggles, disappointments or failures.

It’s the one time in life when blinkers are acceptable. Usually, a life led wisely demands a broader perspective, to consider the needs and circumstances of others and to see the world beyond our narrow existence. But when it comes to comparison, we are free to put those blinkers on, block out the lives of those around us so that all we see is our own. If there are things we still want to change or we’re unhappy with, we can work at figuring out how to move forward, where possible, but only if those areas and dreams are free from ties to a life lived elsewhere.

Comparison is a curse. Why indulge it when the alternative is thankfulness for the blessings in our lives, which leads to greater contentment and peacefulness? If we weren’t so caught up in contests and races, the answer would be a no brainer.