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Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Caught In The Middle


Last week someone wrote to me to let me know that the post I wrote about my bad day helped her to put me in perspective. She explained that she struggles with reading blogs and putting people on pedestals, and apparently, I had fallen into that category. I laughed as she explained how far I had fallen OFF that pedestal when I posted all about my bad day. I laughed because I have done the very same thing-- looked around me and decided that someone else surely must be handling life better than I am. I am guilty of comparing our finances, my marriage, motherhood and other people's levels of patience with my own... and coming up short. I seem to take my internal failures and compare myself to what other people have let me see.

I think one of the number one comments I get from people is "How do you do it?" That is a question to which, unfortunately, I don't have a great answer for. I usually quip, "Not very well." And they think that I am kidding. I thought about this today as I went flying over to my son's school after I didn't budget my time very well and needed to take him something he could eat, knowing full well he was sitting at school at lunchtime, waiting on his mom to bring him food. (He has had an orthodontic appliance put in his mouth and is in a great deal of pain and can't eat regular food.) What I didn't budget for was the line at the Wendy's drive through. And so, as I came running into his classroom holding his Frosty aloft-- victorious!-- I thought, this is how I do it. Last minute, off schedule, running late, flying by the seat of my pants, forgetfulness dogging my every step, praying for lots of grace all the while. My children's teachers know how I do it. My children know how I do it. My friends know how I do it. My husband knows how I do it. Because they see it all. The dropped balls (from juggling too many) and the chipped plates (from having too many spinning) and the ducks that never seem to stay in line.

And so, I guess that's my answer to how I do it. Do I get a lot accomplished in a day? Most days. But do I lay my head down at night and wonder if I did any of it well? Most nights. My life is a continual balancing act. And as I heard this song today as I left the school, I knew God was speaking too me. And I knew that I had to share this one with you all. Because I think you will all identify with being Somewhere In The Middle. That is where I live. Somewhere between the woman who wants to do it all and the one who, quite simply, can't. And learning to rest in God's love all the while. Because that's a great thing to be in the middle of.
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19 comments:

Laura said...

The pressure to be great is unbelievable. Not just good, but great. As women, we tend to look around and play the comparison game. Many people (who don't know me well) have made the comment I make it look so easy. Ha! My sweet friends who know me laugh. Because they know I am an unorganized, late for most things, always missing something, goof. But I learned a long time ago, it doesn't matter. I just go with the flow and pray God covers me with His grace. Thanks for the post and for being real.

Jess said...

so, so, beautiful. this is one for me to read and read again.
love
jess

Teri said...

This really, really spoke to me. I needed to read this today...thanks for sharing! Teri

Alyce said...

I compare too much as well. I compare my home, my spiritual walk, my children, husband.. And for what? Who cares? God knows exactly who we are. We should try to impress none of those other people.
I think people question how you do it all because of the number of children you have.. I feel like I can barely keep up w/ two kids some days. But I've come to realize all we do is a choice that we make. We choose whether to get up and spend the morning w/ the Almighty or to stay in a warm cozy bed. So on and so on. Life is tough, but I have peace in knowing that my God equips me..
Marybeth, go on over to Rachel's blog and try to win a spa giveaway..you deserve it!! Better yet, just treat yourself to a spa day..at a REAL spa!
Blessings,
Alyce

Kelly said...

Ha! I barely can keep up with a full-time job, a husband and a black labrador! So many times I feel out of control, not having gotten anything done, etc.
I think for all of us, the pressure can be so intense. But how freeing it is just to be real, relax, be ourselves, no comparisons, no keeping up with anyone else, and knowing how much God loves us, just as we are. And that's not just a cliche, it's really true!

Holly said...

I think you're really cool Marybeth...
and I love reading your blog!
love, holly

Andrea said...

Thanks for keeping it real, Marybeth. That's why I keep comin' back.
You inspire and encourage, even through your weakness. Guess that's God! :)
Hope you have a terrific week.

Laura said...

Thank you, Marybeth, for sharing your heart. I've had one of those days when I don't stop going but it seems like nothing has gotten done. We need to encourage each other, and laugh at the craziness of it all! You are an inspiration for me. Taking care of two children is difficult enough for me. You're doing a great job.
Laura

Billie said...

Oh I still feel quite badly! I am the stool "knocker over"! Don't worry, you are not off my pedestal. I admire you more for your honesty. I am never disappointed in someone to hear about a bad day. Instead, I'm usually am blessed and encouraged to know that I am not the only one that hollered at my kids.
So, even though that pedestal wobbled...you are still there...in fact, I will even add a seat cushion for you!

Jenny said...

I have never heard that song before. I LOVE it! Your post and that song are exactly what I needed to hear this morning. Thank you!

Darci said...

This post reminds me of a devotion that a friend emailed me. She found it on Crosswalk.com and it was written by YOU! It was titled "A Path to Contentment" dated October 8th. This devotion really spoke to me, so much, that I printed it and read the prayer at the end of it everyday. I thought maybe you could repost it here since this is obviously something so many people struggle with. Thanks for your honesty and all your write about - the ups and the downs!

Rachel said...

Thank you for your blog today. I so identify with it. As a mum of four with a husband in full time ministry and being in part time ministry myself I perpetually play the comparision game and it is so deflating because I am always so convinced I do not measure up. People always ask me, "how do you do it?" and like you it is only by the grace of God that I make it to the end of each day reasonably sane!! As women we cram so much into our lives and so often we feel like we are running on empty, living on a diet of guilt and never stopping to enjoy the ride. Thank God for His grace and strength and thank you for your honesty. Always good to know we don't travel alone.

LAUREN at Faith Fuel- said...

Yes, that's where I am too: somewhere in the middle, sometimes planted in the land of grace, and sometimes wandering in hope and fear. And always God finds me to lead me home, back to center, back to square one-
that when I am weak, He is strong.

Van said...

Wonderful, so real entry. I especially appreciate the humor in the midst of real life. I know how you do it - you laugh. P31:25 "...she laughs..." Thanks for helping us laugh.

MrsProverbs31 said...

I think that's the reason why I put off writing and speaking for so many years. I put people on pedestals, never listening to what God told me, until one sudden day when God spoke Jeremiah 1:17-19.
You had to be there. It was scary and exciting at the same time.

You are only human. This saying, "People don't care what you know until they know how much you care." It is so true. Thank you for showing us how much you care about our feelings of inadequacies. I am blessed to have known you.

Lindsey @ Enjoythejourney said...

:) You are wonderful, Marybeth. Just know that!

Julie said...

Thanks for this honest and real post... it helps to know others struggle with "keeping it all together".

Christine said...

We must all compare ourselves, when we should all just give ourselves a break!! I get that question too, and my answer is the same as yours.

Dawn said...

I always get that line, too - "I don't know how you do it!" Do what? I'm hanging on by the seat of my pants.

I wholeheartedly agree with that feeling at the end of the day that you didn't do anything well. It's easy to get stretched too thin.