OK, that might sound like something my son tells my daughter when her arm is cocked with some kind of ball in hand. But I mean it in a different sense. I don't think any of us need to cling to a label. Once we do, our minds can go through changes it doesn't need.
Morning Person/Night Owl
The first thing I do once all my kids have been put on the bus is to run around the house in a cleaning frenzy. Seriously, I am most motivated to attack clutter and even the big messes before I sit down in front of the computer and get lost in cyberspace.
But ask me to exercise in the morning? You might think I never work out from the excuses I give you. I do not do morning workouts. As a matter of fact, the later the better. I could go out for a run at 11:30 at night with no qualms at all. And I'm not even in college anymore!
So, you could call me a morning person, but you can't. You could call me a night person, but you can't. (If I'm not out running at 11:30 - and I'm usually not - I'm in bed.) So what am I?
Right Brain/Left Brain
Here's a funny story. I am a professional writer. (I won't say I write for a living, because I don't really make a living from it.) Anyway, I write every day. Doing it every day is supposed to make you better, right?
Writing - organizing thoughts - is a "left-brained" activity. In other words, it's something that the left side of your brain controls. In general, all logic-based thinking, such as math and grammar are run by the left side of your brain. If you are better at those types of activities, then you are said to be "left-brained."
The right side of your brain is the creative side. It's also known to be less organized. Artistic people are usually the strong "right-brainers."
Back to my story. For my job at church I had to write a letter. That should be a breeze for a left-brained writer, don't you think? I wrote it and gave it to the pastor to go over. He scratched his head and handed it to the secretary. Both were confused at how unclear it was. The secretary asked where my outline was.
Outline? Who writes with an outline? I just write. Because as hard as I work to be left-brained, I'm really right-brained. But I still LOVE to have things organized, and clutter drives me insane. Could it be possible, that I am NOT one or the other?
YES! You don't have to be a left-brained, ENTJ nerd whose learning style is visual and whose intelligence is linguistic. For goodness sake, you can just be Bob. Or Joe, or Sally, or Frieda. You can like sports and not be a jock. You can excel at math and not be a geek.
We're spending a little too much time trying to see what group we belong to, when really, we can hang out with anyone we like.
Who were you in high school? Were you a jock? A rebel? A geek? One of the popular kids?
I'm willing to bet you answered that you didn't belong to any one specific group. But chances are that your classmates remember you from a certain category. And it might even surprise you which group you are placed in!
I had a great conversation on Facebook with some of the people from my old high school. Our conversation gives credit to the above paragraph. Sometimes I look at my friend list and think, "Wow, I can't believe so-and-so is a friend of mind. S/he was so popular in school!" Then, I started having conversations with these "popular people." And you know what? They are just as real as I am. They are dealing with many of the same crazy things in life that the rest of us are.
So here's the thing. You don't need a group. At age 40 now, it's easy to see that we can all branch out. (And after talking to a bunch of friends who are also 40, it's safe to say I'm not alone.) Remember in high school when the seniors wouldn't talk to the freshmen? Because there was a 3 year age difference? And now some of the people closest to us are 10-20 years older or younger. The number one requirement for talking to someone isn't how cool they are, how smart they are, or how they dress. It's how close they are standing to you and if they will look at you when are speaking to them.
There are no more "groups."We all just enjoy each other's conversation with the common background of having gone to the same school. It's quite freeing, and I can't wait until my kids escape the lock boxes of cliques in school to be able to enjoy real people. (And not just "computer people," "soccer people," etc.)
Does this mean we have lost our identities? I mean, who am I now? Well, I am a Christian wife and mother who writes books and works with kids at church. I've done a lot of other stuff, and I do a lot of other stuff.
And if that comes up in conversation with the person next to me, then maybe I have a new friend. No matter what time of day she likes to go running.
Some things in my life, I always thought were givens. I'm a nice person, so I need to act like it. I'm a neat person, so I need to be neat. I having a working brain. Right?
Well, I've had to alter my whole line of thinking lately. Allow me to let you in on a few conversations I have had with the Holy Spirit about how my life is changing. My daughter's diagnosis with T1D (Type 1 Diabetes) was a bigger change for me than I expected it to be - even 6 months down the line.
We knew my daughter would have to make the most changes, but the rest of the family had to make some too. Well, no one told us it would be easy. And I'm not just talking about what we eat. Here, you will see what I mean.
Me: Oh! I see she finally had her baby. She'll be overwhelmed at home. I should take her a meal to help out.
HS: When did you expect to be able to do that?
Me: At dinner time, of course.
HS: Will that be before or after you make dinner for your family, and how much time are you leaving in there for blood sugar checks and insulin bolusing? If you do that more than 20 minutes before she eats, you risk a drop. And if you wait too long even without the insulin, she could start falling and not catch up quickly enough.
Me: Oh yeah. I'm going to have to pass on helping anyone else out during a mealtime, aren't I? But I always make meals for new mommies. It's killing me that I can't do the extra helping.
HS: Why? Because you really want to help? Or because you want to look like you have your whole life together?
HS: It's harder sometimes to accept help than to offer it, because you have to admit that you are broken, and your best didn't quite make it. But think of it as an opportunity to let others feel what you feel when you help them.
#2: Donating Money
Me: The Readers Association! What a great cause to support. How much should I give?
HS: Well, how much do you have left after buying the pain-free lancing device, the new food scale, the medicines that were not covered by insurance, the organizing shelves, and bags,…
Me: I get it. I'm almost out of money this paycheck. And I really need to support the JDRF, so they can find a cure for diabetes and I won't have to worry about it anymore. But I guess I will pass on the Readers Association, even though I do want kids to read more. I can't give to every cause, even if I think it's worth it.
#3: Looking Good
Me: I'm off to the gym!
HS: Don't forget the phone. The school nurse might call. And you know she usually does.
Me: Thanks for reminding me. I forget a lot of things lately. I hope she doesn't call at the gym today. I really need to get in a good workout. Now to just brush my hair, and I'm off.
<Looking in the mirror>
Me: Yikes! Is this how I really look these days?
HS: Yes, I'm afraid all the late nights and getting up to fix blood sugars give you those dark circles under your eyes. And the stress may account for some of that new grey hair. The wrinkles, though, are probably just from being 40.
Me: Well, I'll have to just fix it with make up.
HS: That's probably not going to happen. If the nurse doesn't call you at the gym, she'll be calling you after… so don't expect time for make up.
Me: Well, at least I don't have to look at myself. Hope everyone else understands!
#4: Remembering Things
Me: OK, I've packed her lunch, counted the carbs, written in the daily log, written the note to the nurse, done her blood sugar, made and gave insulin for breakfast, made sure she has clean socks, checked her backpack for notes. I think she's good to go to school.
HS: Don't forget to calibrate her glucose monitor and attach it to her!
Me: So glad you reminded me. I should be able to remember everything, but with new routines added to the list, I forget a lot of things lately.
HS: I know. We just had this conversation, remember?
#5 Cleaning My House
Me: Where is that book?
HS: Sorry, I don't keep track of things like that.
Me: I know! I'll just clean the whole downstairs until I find it!
HS: Ha ha! Wait, you're serious? How long will your house stay clean if you get it all done today?
Me: Probably until tomorrow.
Me: OK, it will be a wreck again as soon as school lets out.
HS: Then don't bother. Use your time on more important things, like working on reports to the doctor.
Me: It's a waste of my time to clean? I'll go crazy!
HS: You're going to go crazy anyway with everything else you need to do. No need to rush it by doing it yourself.
#6 Thinking an Uninterrupted Thought.
Me: OK. Blog post. Here we go…
HS: Here's what you need to say…
Child: Moooooommmmmm!!! I need you!
Me: Coming! Hold that thought.
Me: I'm back. Blog post. What where you saying?
HS: "The 'Shoulds" I Can't Do Anymore." Make a list of…
Phone: Ring, ring!
Me: Ugh. I have to answer that. I have answer all the calls now. Be right back.
Me: Back again. Where were we?
HS: I don't remember. I forget sometimes too.
Child: Is it time for dinner yet?
… And one "Shouldn't" …
Me: Wow, with all that I'm not doing anymore, everyone's going to think I'm a mooch, a complainer, and a lazy bum.
HS: There you go, thinking about what other people think about you again.
Me: At least I won't be stalking another mother with a screaming child at the grocery store and threaten to call the police on her.
HS: No, but judging that woman for being an overprotective parent isn't any better than her judging you for being a kidnapper, is it?
HS: It's all judging.
Me: I suppose I do have enough to think about. I shouldn't be concerning myself with what everyone else thinks, huh? Especially if I am placing labels on those people too. Thanks.
HS: No problem. That's why I'm here, to guide you. Just do your best, and I'll take care of what is said about you.
Me: I hope you're taking care of a lot more than that!
You love your bed, don't you? I love mine. It has the best sheets in the world. Really, it wouldn't matter what sheets on on there. When the alarm goes off in the morning, it still feels like nothing could drag me away from them.
So then, why do I go to bed so late at night? If my bed were so great, don't you think I would be jumping into it the minute the kids are sent to bed? I don't. I usually wait at least 2 hours after they are in bed before I even think about it. The draw of everything else in the world pulls me back. But that's a different line of thought to which I will return in a minute.
There are nights when I suddenly find myself so tired, I can't even haul myself off the couch to go to that glorious place called bed. I don't think I'm the only one.
So why? Why, why, why? Why don't I go running up to my bed as soon as possible? I'm tired, aren't I? Even if not at the moment, I know for a fact I will be tired and need sleep eventually. I always wind up in that bed, and I am never unhappy about it. Never.
Hold that thought.
Have you ever put your hand out, hoping to have a bird come and fly to it? You may have even called to it, hoping it would understand that you will not hurt it. Why won't it come? Sometimes, you may even have food in your hand, and it still won't come. What is wrong with that dumb bird?
Keep this in the back of your mind. Back to the bed idea.
If there were something even more secure than your bed, and going to it were inevitable, would you hesitate to go? It is so inviting, the allure of it draws you near. But you don't go in. Even knowing that you will go - at some point you will have to go - you hesitate. You wait.
God has put out His hand. There is no more secure resting place than in His hand. Like you with the bird, He has no intention to harm you. Like the food you had for the bird, He has sustenance for you in His hand. You can trust it to be exactly what you need.
His hand doesn't grab for you. It waits for you. You must go to it. You must put everything else aside and go to it. Once you are there, you receive so much more than His nourishment. You receive His peace, His comfort, His protection.
At some point, everyone will be brought to His hand. It is better if you choose to go on your own, rather than being plucked away from the world and forced to see the back of His hand instead.
No, where you want to be is curled up in the warmth of his palm, perhaps being stroked, perhaps being cooed at. Definitely, He is smiling at the prize He holds.
So why are you not running to leap into that hand? Maybe you are like the bird and you have trust issues. Or maybe there are too many other things around you, distracting you from the hand.
Or maybe you are waiting because you don't think it's time yet. You want more out of the world before you settle into the comfort of the hand.
Really? When I sleep on the couch, I get a kink in my neck. My bed was made for comfortable sleep. If I don't go to bed in time, I stay up and just get more tired. For what? A movie on TV? Time on the computer? Is any of it better than a full night's sleep in my bed? NO!
God's hand has His hand out for you. You were made to be held in His hand, and you won't be quite right anywhere else. You can stay away, but why? What in this world is better than God's comfort and love? Nothing is. You will need to go to Him eventually. Do it while the welcome is open.
Oh, and the best thing about His hand? There's no alarm clock. You never have to leave. So snuggle in. You've got all eternity to get comfortable.
P.S. - This post was completed at 11:38 p.m. Time for bed!
Passion Under Grace,