Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Seriously Stressing, Stressed, and Stressful

Here's the deal…we have some more home repairs facing us and it is rocking our little world just a bit. The truth is that it feels whiny and shallow to be so affected by all that faces us in the next month or so because goodness knows we are healthy, happy, and on most days we like each other around here very much.

This house, though, has just about defeated us.

In the next month we'll likely have two projects facing us both of a costly nature and we haven't quite recovered from the kitchen costly just yet. Frankly, we are looking for the biggest, fluffiest towels we own and are searching for wherever that place is where we are supposed to "throw them in."

(Sadly, I photo-edited this as much as possible!)

I keep reminding myself that we are indeed blessed to have a home with a roof (fairly new), a beautiful kitchen (sparkling new), nicely functioning bathrooms (also very new), a fresh uncracked driveway and patio (a year old), food in the fridge, families who love us, teeth in our heads…

….well, most of us… but our nerves are shot and we are both teetering on the edge of a despair-themed pity party, which is not our bent. Oh, often one or the other of us finds ourselves headed down  an alley of despair but most of the time the other of us is walking on sunshine and is able to pull the dreary partner in a more uplifting direction. Not so these days. These days you might find us grabbing the other's hand and saying, "Come on let's jump in to all of this yuck and wallow in it together for a bit, I'll keep saying how awful everything is and you keep agreeing with me."

The tough part about it all is that this house stuff seems to be taking up all of our rope, even the extra rope which we would normally rely on to deal with the normal everyday situations in life: bickering kids, huge piles of laundry, dinner that needs cooking, too many dates on the calendar, conversations with people who don't see things the way we do, an unexpected expense, a busted iPhone, someone needing time and energy, and a front door with a badly chosen paint color.

 When we are at the end of that rope to begin with, extra things must be dealt with from a deficit.

This is never a good situation.

So, these days around The Wright Place, my Man and I are attempting to conserve as much rope as we can while still living life. Listening to my feelings seems to be a terrible practice because I find that letting feelings rule just takes me to drab and dreary and makes me look around for company.

I am learning that it just might be the little ordinary, everyday tasks that add length to my rope. Last week I walked around this place in a stupor. Not willing to deal with it all, assigning the most immediate tasks to the kids and hoping that they'd forget that dinner was a real thing. Last week all I felt like doing was sitting in the corner and sucking my thumb. Best not to go with feelings.

This week, we took some action and began the process of fixing some of the problems and it felt better.

This week, stirring the oatmeal, reading in my little gold Bible, cutting the lettuce, eating sweet corn on the cob, ironing work clothes, joking with the kids, texting with friends, reading a funny and thoughtful book…my rope has gained an inch or two and I am thankful, even as we are overwhelmed and still facing decisions and difficulty.

My Man and I have both been reading a book called Keeping the Heart by John Flavel, a Puritan pastor born in 1628. While reading this I'd often say aloud, "Oh, this is so good." I commented about it so much and in such a way that soon, I saw another copy of the same book appear in my Man's stack and now it's often open in front of him and now he says from time to time…"Wow, this is good." I finished this book before our house issues began and now I'm going back to it for a second time. Flavel addresses many situations in which one is wise to pay attention to the matters of one's heart. Writing about "great trials," he counsels me:
In such cases [great trials] the heart is apt to be suddenly transported with pride, impatience, or other sinful passions. Many good people are guilty of hasty and very sinful conduct in such instances; and all have need to use diligently the following means to keep their hearts submissive and patient under great trials:

One of the means Flavel recommends is this:
Cultivate a habit of communion with God. This will prepare you for whatever may take place. This will so sweeten your temper and calm your mind as to secure you against suprisals. This will produce that inward peace which will make you superior to your trials. Habitual communion with God will afford you enjoyment, which you can never be willing to interrupt by sinful feeling. WHEN A CHRISTIAN IS CALM AND SUBMISSIVE UNDER HIS AFFLICTIONS, PROBABLY HE DERIVES SUPPORT AND COMFORT IN THIS WAY; BUT HE WHO IS DISCOMPOSED, IMPATIENT, OR FRETFUL, SHOWS THAT ALL IS NOT RIGHT WITHIN...
 So, here we go into the future with sage words from the past working in our hearts, "suprisals" and trials and comforts and all.

 "Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith!"
~Luke 12:27-28 

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