A feeling of unrest has surrounded me for months... I'm not doing enough... I am not enough... I am not good enough, smart enough, pretty or thin enough... and the list goes on and on.
I have had a longing for nearly two years to move to a new home; it's new to us but is a very old home in Knoxville's center (inner) city. I have had a vision of our family serving our neighbors together; Bible studies, meals together, offering homework help for neighbor children, loving our neighbors as ourselves.
And then, it all came crashing down! Maybe I'm being a bit dramatic. But that is how it felt for a few hours. The impetus? Mix a ten year old, smart-mouth, disrespectful boy (and a few of his friends who laugh and thus encourage him) with a menopausal, hormones dying woman and stand waaaaayyy back! It's not going to be pretty.
I did not lose my temper with the boy; however, I did point out to him that his attitude was not conducive to my wanting to help him with whatever problem or need he might present to me during our time together.
Unfortunately, my husband did not have the same good fortune as the boy. He said one slightly offensive thing to me and I unleashed my wrath. Thank heavens he has been working on yielding to the Spirit and had the wisdom to speak softly and ask questions. We had gone to pay a bill and put fuel in his car. I came undone at some comment he made that I cannot even remember now. He knew I was stressed and tired when I had returned from my volunteer gig; so when I came undone, he began to ask exactly what had happened. It's hard for an argument to escalate if one partner remains calm and collected. He let me talk about the frustrating experiences and the fact that I had been "on edge" all day, even prior to my time with the kids.
He asked what was making me edgy. It is really hard for me to be nice when asked the same question multiple times over many days. After all, I had shared the confirmation after I saw my GYN doc a few months ago, "There is no doubt you are in menopause!" What a loaded bag of trouble that one statement is! I don't even recognize myself some times with the struggles I'm having getting along with others and the lack of nice I have circulating in my thoughts. The lack of nice is directed externally and internally. It feels a lot like spiritual warfare. I have so little patience with myself and with others; it wears me out by about five in the evening making it difficult to keep fighting back the negative responses that come into my mind.
I know this is a temporary state of being. Thank you Lord and please don't let it last for five to seven years the way I've been told it could!!! I find myself singing the Fruit of the Spirit song inside my head trying to focus on how I should be instead of how I feel. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control.
But by five o' clock most evenings, I want to quit everything. "Forget our desire to move. I will not be a nice person much less a good neighbor. I will not shine God's light. How dare that child be such a rude individual; there are so many other places I could be and things I could be doing. I don't HAVE to use my vehicle, time, fuel, patience (it's wearing thin!) to deal with this. I could be home reading a book, cleaning my house, cooking my own supper."
When I took a step back from it and talked it through with my husband, I could hear all those "mys" and "I's" in that tirade. And I told him, "I'm so selfish, self-centered!" Deep breath.
He talked me down and I'm grateful. I know these feelings will return. I don't know if menopause is truly to blame for all my negativity; but I do believe it is a factor, even if only a small one. I don't know for sure that the enemy is engaging me in spiritual warfare; but I do know it feels like he is. And I do know that he operates in exactly these ways: making us question our own self-worth, plants discontented thoughts in our heads, or worse, tries to separate us from healthy, fulfilling relationships with others. I know that children are going to be mouthy and disrespectful at times. I have to expect it and be prepared for it in order to be successful in working with them and showing them God's love.
I decided to share some REAL here because I know that the journey is hard and tiring and sometimes we want to give up. Someone please, tell me I am not the only one who has these struggles! But I also know I have a Father who loves me in spite of myself and I need to look to HIM for comfort, rest, and goodness. He is always the answer!