So spring break is over. But it wasn't really a break, because the house was torn up, floors being sanded, dust everywhere, cold outside, had to cancel a trip to the beach, and three people got stomach bugs (and then that whole birthday thing). Still, it's always just nice to have a break from the normal routine, and I did enjoy that. I had some trepidation going into Monday, though. I knew that I was already a bit...testy. From the sanding, the mess, the sickness, and just generally not accomplishing what I felt I needed to in order to start back to school well. Besides which, I know myself. I knew that getting back into the routine was likely to be a huge challenge to my fast. It's usually trying to manage all of the normal events of the long strings of "normal" days that drives me to control freakishness. There's usually too much to fit into the day, and I'm trying to make it work anyway, often running over the little (and not so little) people who don't keep up with the plan.
It's not who I want to be. I know that it's not who God wants me to be. Because He calls me to holiness, but also because I'm missing out on delighting in all of the good gifts He has given me.
So back to the week after spring break. I learned yet another new thing about myself over the last two days. My mouth has motor memory. I must have dozens...maybe hundreds...of little lectures stored up in my brain. They cover an enormous range of transgressions, large and small. Someone didn't get his chores done before breakfast? Got it. Didn't clear the dishes/wipe up a spill/put away a toy or game or book? Got that covered too. Working too slowly on schoolwork? I've got half-a-dozen lectures ready for that one. And on, and on, and on it goes. The alarming part, though, is that I discovered today that all of those lectures are just waiting there for an event to trigger them, and they are practically jumping out of my mouth before I knew they were coming! I'm not kidding...over the past two days I've just kept hearing this voice from my past...okay, I just wish it were from my past...correcting and criticizing just like always. I'm likening it to the way your fingers can type certain words seemingly on their own. Or your feet just start pedaling when you climb onto a bike. Unfortunately, my "mouth memory" doesn't serve such a useful purpose as those other forms of motor memory. I am trying to look at the bright side, though. Maybe if, God willing, I am able to really win my own personal little "war of words", my mouth will start remembering new phrases. Wouldn't it be great it I started spouting, "Hi honey, how was your day? You look tired; sit down and let me get you the newspaper," without even thinking about it? Or how about, "Great job, guys...you sure did work hard at getting your rooms cleaned up." Or better still, "I love you. I think you're great. You make me smile. You make me so happy. I'm so thankful God made me your mom."
Even when I can't offer up praise and really do need to correct someone (at least after these 30 days), there are so many positive, patient, grace-filled ways to do that without lecturing and tearing down. ("...only what is useful for building others up, according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.")
So here's to "motor memory" of the mouth. I'm counting on it. Tomorrow is a new day...and I'm going to start plugging some new phrases into our old routines. Yes, I am frustrated with myself. I want to be "there" right now. But I am believing God's promise that He will be faithful to complete the work that He has begun. I started the day feeling pretty discouraged, but I'm going to bed hopeful. Even though I've blogged about a lot of failures over the last week or so (and those are what we generally focus on, right?), I'm also glimpsing some signs that "the times, they are a-changin'". More about that later, though. On to day 10!