Tuesday, May 4, 2010

For the Sake of Transparency

There is a part of me that is thinking this post might be just too much information for this blog.
Too much sharing.
Too much letting in on what's going on in this brain of mine.
What's going on in this heart of mine.
But I'm going to write it anyhow, as if this were my journal.
And if at the end, I am brave enough I will hit "PUBLISH POST"
If not, well then you will never read this.

Here goes.
I think I do a good job of trying to take a positive outlook on life, or on my life anyhow.
Especially on this blog.
Someone commented the other day how everything on here is so "pretty"
Well thanks so much.
While I strive to focus on the positive and the "pretty", it doesn't always show what's underneath.
I think it's very easy to do in this world of blogs.
No one's life is perfect.  Not that you thought mine was.  

Lately, well really, for a few months now, I feel like my mind is full of chatter.
Too much of the wrong stuff is preoccupying me and not leaving room for the right stuff.
Focusing on the wrong things, not on the right things.
Letting worry, stress, competition, ideas and nonsense just fill my brain.
It's like I'm not living with "purpose" if that makes sense.
I'm just doing.  Making lists and seeing how much stuff I can get checked off.
Not truly being present in the places and with the people I should be present with.

I started to pray today in the car, to ask God to take it away.  Just help clear my mind.
And I got stuck.  I literally couldn't pray.
I started with the words, "Dear God, please..."
And that was it.  Stopped dead in my tracks.

I know that part of what's missing in my life is a stronger connection with God.
Don't lose me here now.  Please.
Whether you are a believer or not, whether you pray to God or meditate, or whatever, I think it is safe to say that at some point in our lives, we all hope/want to have a connection to something bigger, stronger, than ourselves.
I have been in that place for months now.
I am so hungry for it.
I'm going to a prayer meeting at my friend Nancy's house on Thursday, so it's a step for me.  Did you know it was National Prayer Day on Thursday?  I didn't, but I do now.
Nancy and another nice Southern girl have also invited me to their church, which I will for sure be taking them up on their offer.
I just am not connecting the dots at our current church and yearn for something smaller, more intimate, with more opportunities to get involved, that push me.
It may or may not be the place for me, but I'm tired of just complaining about my current church and not doing anything about it.  So wish me luck.

The other thing I need to work on is doing less.  And by that I don't mean just going to less events, making less commitments, less promises.  I feel very fortunate to have the connections and friendships that I have, and I'm not willing to give that up.  If my dance card is full on a Saturday, then lucky me.  I really could have worse problems.

What I do mean is trying to really do less in my mind.  Let the chatter quiet down in there.  
Even on the days when we are at home, I am not getting the same amount of joy and fulfillment out of them that I used to.  My kids love to be home, and I do too.  But lately when we're home, it's all about the laundry, the blogging, the checking emails, the sewing, and on and on.  I think the kids really do play too well together because they literally could let me be for an hour at a time at home.  I don't want them to let me be though.  I want to play with them.  I want to help them create, play games, build forts.

So I'm setting some rules for myself.
Shutting the door to the office after 8 am and not opening it until at least 2 pm when nap time rolls around.
Chores will still get done, somehow, but there needs to be a start and an end to the chores.  No more of this all day business where I'm simply stepping in and out of the kids playtime to divert a meltdown or temper tantrum.
I want to be in there with them.
More down and dirty, less fluffing and folding. 

I don't know.  It's a start.
I hope a good one?

I would love to hear any thoughts, ideas, suggestions for how to help quiet the chatter.
Do you set rules for yourselves?
Any good book recommendations on faith?  Living with purpose, with intention?  Not really self-help type books, but uplifting, encouraging books?  I love to read, and if it does help, well then fantastic!
I'm hungry for change and welcome any and all advice.  
Thanks for reading/listening my friends.
Good day to you.

21 comments:

  1. I'd like to say "ditto" to this post.

    Feel free to send any and all advice you get my way.

    If you send it with a chocolate bar, I will love you forever.

    :)

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  2. Andrea,
    Thank you for posting this. I believe this is a struggle that so many people face.
    They feel like there is alot of "noise" in their minds/life.

    I would love to talk more about this with you. For both of us, since I have often thought about this. Let's get coffee soon, my friend.

    Good for you on sharing. It's not always easy, but it is ALWAYS appreciated by those that can relate.

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  3. Oh how I know what you're feeling. I am struggling with EXACTLY the same thing right now. I just read Eat Pray Love, and while I don't totally agree with the author's view on God, I 100% agree with the soul searching and finding yourself aspects of the book. I recommend that one. Not a riveting fast read, but an easy read from which I gained a little perspective.

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  4. Something my former therapist (how's THAT for TMI?) said was to be careful about being too judgemental about the negative voices. I found it helpful to just learn to recognize the neg talk for what it was, a passing thought, not truth. Like, "wow, that is such a weird thing to think about Xperson/myself," and let it pass.

    Putting yourself out there is hard to do, but worth it. You'll inspire others and yourself!

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  5. Min, after reading your post, I kinda felt ashamed of myself for wishing that "just once the kids would play together and not want me in there constantly with them" But really, why? What could be more important than those 4 human beings that God blessed me with? Certainly not the laundry or the dishwasher or even this darn 'puter. I am blessed that my husband is willing to work extra hard so I can be home with my babies everyday, and how dare I complain and say I wish they would not need me all the time.

    But I do have 1 rule: Mom is off duty at 8 PM!!

    XXXOOO
    Your Sis

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  6. Been there... I still find my old self trying to rear it's ugly head during certain holidays or occasions... but, since I have started writing down my prayers and having a quite time with God (reading the bible or an inspirational devotional) things just seem much less frantic and less important... But, for the most part, I am asking God to "put my in my place" daily.

    And you better believe He sure does!

    PS, I go to a great church with lots o' opportunities to serve and connect... let me know if you are interested... or, for all I know you could be leaving that church, lol.

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  7. I love it. I feel the same way, but have been getting much, much better about it. Church helps. Prayer helps. I have some other books and ebooks that I have read that have been very enlightening, too, on possessions and competition and values.

    I own the book Crazy Love, but (sad to say) I haven't read enough of it to tell you whether it's a good book. I bought it, though, because I have heard that it's life changing.

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  8. the chatter is the enemy, no? i work really, really hard to stay in the THIS moment. that means i tell myself that i only have to worry about this minute right in front of me. it's hard to do, especially in a world addicted to moving too fast, but it is worth the effort.

    right now i'm reading simplicity parenting and while the parenting advice is great what is really making an impact on me is the support and advice on how i want our (my family's) life to run. simpler and more full. i highly recommend it.

    in regards to connecting to God and prayer i ALWAYS start my prayers by thanking Him for the goodness in my life. one thought of thanks leads to another and before i know it i forget to "ask" him for anything. it has helped me immensely in creating an open relationship with God.

    i hope those little bits help you. i know what it feels like to feel disconnected from your life and i'll be praying that it can change for you. soon.

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  9. I struggle with all of the "noise" too. Lately, I feel like I am incapable of stopping the madness in my head, my life, all around me. I just want to appreciate what is around me. what God has blessed me with instead of being focused on the to do. I am right there with you, my friend. Right there with you...

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  10. What a beautifully honest post. I think the first step to making a change is acknowledging what you want to change. You've done that my friend and I'm confident that you will work hard to get to that place.

    Although my children (as you know) never seem to give me the time to do those "things" you mentioned and I think I spend a lot of time playing with them I still really struggle with being fully present for them at times. I am planning on going to the May 13 - “Staying Present with our Children” seminar with Shaila Saint. Maybe we can go together?

    I am also really looking to deepen my relationship with the Lord. I look forward to hearing how your prayer meeting goes on Thursday.

    I think what you are looking for is something that many of us strive for. Maybe we can figure out a way to come together as a group and accomplish some of this collectively. Maybe we can set aside some time to get together and talk - talk less about the kids latest accomplishment or crazy stunt and start talking more about ways to connect with God and our children and strengthen our faith.

    I don't know, just some thoughts. I'm glad you hit publish and I hope your week continues along your new focused path. Get down and dirty with your little ones and share some of the joy later in the week.

    Hugs-
    Nicole

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  11. Just found your blog today- I'm very drawn to it, and have read a number of posts already.

    Learning from a lesson I'm teaching my two boys, I'm trying to take an extra breath before responding/reacting; and also looking for the little ways God sends 'love notes' to me... sounds odd, but stuff like noticing a gentle breeze, the laughter of my boys, the crazy snow that came today... all stuff to bring my focus off myself and my 'list' and back on to Him. This helps me to appreciate each moment (or is supposed to *sigh*)

    Looking forward to more of your posts.

    Chris in SK, CANADA

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  12. quieting my mind, so overwhelming! I believe that I have come to be addicted to the "busy" and the "fun" and the "acquisition of pretty shiny things"...
    sometime I feel like I set myself on fire just for the thrill and then spend hours or even days feeling spent and "burnt out" with no real way of recovering...
    I'm with you honey, I'm with you!

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  13. Lovely post mama. As you'll see from the comments you are not alone. I try really hard to only hop on the computer when the kids are not around. It's lights out at our house at 7:30pm, so that helps me have "me" time.
    The whole endless chores thing..can't help ya there...or maybe I can. I make them a game. F helps me dry the dishes, E feeds the dog. Both girls love to fold laundry...I know...weird. I commit to getting down on their level and "playing" at least a few times a day. Right now they're really into artwork. F likes me to copy her drawings.

    At the end of the day there's a balance. A balance that will work for you and your family. You're already 5 steps ahead to notice the unbalance right now. Kudos to you for calling it out and searching for the answers.

    I'm gonna go have a baby now...i think...

    xoxo

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  14. Hey there...I've been reading for a few weeks now and I've loved your sense of style and "keeping it all together" but I knew there was a deeper reason why I felt I connected to you. As a fellow believer thanks for being transparent. I also loved that you titled your rambling gobble-dey-gook, because I feel like that is what is stuck in my brain too.

    Your prayer in the car reminds me of Romans 8:26. In the same way, the Spirit intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.

    I'm so glad that God knows our heart and how to "read" our longings even when we don't know how to articulate what we are feeling.

    Have you read Donald Miller's book A Million Miles in a 1000 years? It's great. I would highly recommend it. He breaks down life into a story and asks, Are we living a great story? Are we living what God wants for us? (Or are we just saving to buy a volvo)

    Thanks for being real with all of your gobble-dey=gook

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  15. Bravo to you for hitting "publish." You are definitely not alone...

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  16. I think we all go through what you described. Putting it down on was brave and inspirational!! I for one appreciate what you have to share with us.

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  17. Sometimes it's not easy to hear God over all the shouting in your head. Even prayer can be a battle because we translate our needs into language, more head noise. Don't forget, God doesn't need your English words. He knows your heart, what you need, and sometimes you have to simply listen for that "still, quiet voice". Put on classical music, Geez, put on Syd's white noise machine, and give your self a moment of rest....and go get a massage.

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  18. WOW, my friends. thank you so much for all of your input, feedback, and support. it feels good to know that I am not the only one that struggles with this. I can honestly say that I cried at almost every comment posted...I was very emotional yesterday. Thank you to the ones that shared their own struggles, and thank you to those that offered suggestions.
    Heather, I really appreciate your take on starting your prayers by first thanking him for all your blessings. I hadn't thought of that in a long time.
    Carrie, your words about God not needing my English words was like WOW!
    SincereFaith, that book sounds intriguing. Right now I don't know what kind of story my life is telling...and I appreciate you reading.
    Chris in Canada, welcome to my little blog :) While outside today, I felt a breeze and thought of you.
    Jules, I have heard of Crazy Love but don't know much about it. I will talk to Rachel about it because I know she started a book club based on it.
    Janna-I read Eat, Pray, Love and wrote a blog post about it. I will send it to you.
    Amber, please send me an email letting me know about your church. I'm willing to look into all opportunities.
    Laura, I too try to make a point to sit down and play with the kids throughout the day. But the thing that makes me sad is that while spending a few minutes playing with them, my mind is somewhere else. It really makes me sad actually. I so want to be there with them. thus, doing less in my mind :)
    Nicole, i would LOVE to get together a group of us and talk about those things. I think it would be so beneficial. Thank you for suggesting it.
    Okay, everyone else, thank you again from the bottom of my heart. I truly appreciate and value and love all of your comments.
    Love, me

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  19. I feel like I could have written this post myself.

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  20. Just stumbled onto your blog, and I've been working on this issue myself for quite a while. There's a book that has been helpful for me called, "The Creative Counterpart." It's a little old school in places, but there are several chapters that are really good.

    Thanks for the post!
    TJ

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  21. I just found your blog and wanted to say that your candid heart is refreshing. And no, you are not alone.

    I believe that we all go through dry spells at times and finding our way "home" can feel overwhelming, scary and very isolating. It's at these times in my life that I remember the story of the prodigal son. I hope you can follow me on this one. Often times, when I am too busy, I find myself walking away from my Father and spending my inheritance, working on my own projects, my own things, my life, my, my, my..... you get the point. And then, I find myself much like that son, wishing and longing to go home. Take note, this is the amazing part. Luke 15:20, "But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him." The father was gazing out on the horizon, waiting for his son to come home. And once he saw him, he ran to him. I guess my point is this. We have prodigal moments and then realize it is time to come home. Praise God that he is waiting for us. And, when He sees us on the horizon He runs to us. He embraces us. He has compassion for us. And we find forgiveness and His heart. He is a good God.

    Thanks for sharing your heart.

    KCR

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