However, I must admit, he wasn't the only one who was cranky. I was. I had been all day. Whenever he takes exams I feel just about as much weight as he does. I don't sit there and do the math but, I have to sit at home, keep the kids going and wonder how he is doing, knowing how much is riding on all of it for him. As his wife, I feel just as much pressure. So I'm sure being nervous for him didn't help.
But that wasn't all of it. In fact, I had gotten myself in quite a slump that I began listing out all of the things I was cranky about and I made sure to get them all down and tell God about each one of them. I huffed around the house saying to Him in my mind, "Oh and THAT! And THIS! And THAT!" Thinking that at least I was being "spiritual" and "praying" about these things rather than just keeping them all in. Ha! Sometimes, I even amaze myself with how totally sinful and sneaky I can be with myself when no one else is watching. It is quite amazing. It's also amazing how much grace we want to extend ourselves but how little we want to extend to others. But I'm digressing...
As the day went on, I had racked up quite a list of complaints. And I felt quite dignified by them. I was right to be upset about these things (little though they were) and God was going to know all about them because well, I felt better when I was complaining to Him about them all. Well, good thing I "prayed" about these things because God had prepared quite a smacking for me.
I climbed on the treadmill around 2 pm to get some pound the pavement time. I needed it. That helped relieve some of the stress and pressure I was feeling. And after my shower, I decided to check the Femina blog since I hadn't read it in awhile due to it having some issues with their website. That's when I got smacked. Here's a little snippet from the post Harvest Time:
Now that I have hit sixty (and I don’t mean mph), I have lived long enough to see a few harvests. If you are reading this and you are in your teens or twenties or thirties, consider what you are diligently planting, because when you hit your forties and fifties, a harvest starts rolling in.
For example, if you have been sowing a whole lot of low-grade discontent, you’ll be reaping a harvest of misery. If you’ve been picking on your kids for a decade, you will see them disappear over the horizon. If you’ve been complaining to your husband for two decades, you might see him disappear over the horizon as well.We see a harvest on both the physical level as well as the spiritual. Women who have been trying to look twenty in their thirties and thirty in their forties reap a harvest of looking like day-old donuts. Stale. (My husband says that the only thing worse than a day-old donut is a day-old donut with a fake tan and hoop earrings.) Women who have been sowing idleness and slovenliness start looking neglected and rejected. None of this happens overnight. It takes years of diligent seed-sowing....
Now don’t quit reading this post because you think I’m being so very pessimistic. I’m just saying that the things we do, the habits we cultivate day-in and day-out are like seeds. They germinate. They grow, and they produce a crop. So consider what you are planting. What kind of seed have you been sowing in your field?
If we are planting faithfulness and sacrifice, the harvest is peace and joy. If we are cultivating a gentle and quiet and meek spirit, we will have a beautiful crop to put in the barn some day. So what’s sprouting in your field right now? Respectfulness, kindness, gratitude? Envy, bitterness, self-centeredness?
She continues on for a few more paragraphs but this should give you the general drift and it should also explain why I got the smack down.
Ever since Steve started grad school, there has been an attitude in my mind of sprinting. It goes something like this, "Okay, I can't do this forever, but I can do it now. So I'll give it everything I've got so that my favorite person in the whole wide world can succeed, and then once I've made it to the finish, we'll have accomplished something." That's not necessarily bad.
But with sprinting also comes the things you leave by the way side. When you're sprinting, you don't stop for a drink. You grab one and throw the cup on the ground for someone else to pick-up. And then you keep focused on the finish line, while you're panting and straining. You don't see those alongside of you. You just keep going. And although these are survival techniques, they are also a means to leaving important things on the side of the road like a crumpled up piece of trash.
But remember, I'm not going to do this forever, so it'll be okay! Right?! A few harsh words to this child here, an unjust punishment here, an absolute inability to listen to that story over there because I'm too exhausted from the long days by myself, add up over time. And even though it just seems like one cup, if I keep doing that, I'll have built up quite a stash. And then what am I sowing over the long term?
Not to mention the frustrations that can stack up in my mind? Discontent with this, upset over that...although it's okay to go to God with frustrations, if I'm building them up and righteously leaving them at His feet in a huff all because I just want to complain because I have a right to, then I'm just sowing self-centeredness. And I need a major smack in the face. I need to get back on track. And I need to remember where I come from and what God has called me to do.
I am a woman. I am strong. I am capable.
But NOT because I think I am or because I can sprint for awhile.
But because I have a God who will carry me, one who will fight for me and one who has made me to accomplish my tasks even when I'm weary and frustrated.
I may not have far to go with this Masters. But after that, it'll be something else. I can't hide behind it. The principles are the same. Sowing cheerfulness, thankfulness and joy will produce a beautiful harvest in my home and more importantly, my own soul.
I just need to choose it. And I need to keep choosing it. That's what sowing is-hard work. But it's work that's totally worth it in the end.