I find that the minute I want something that I cannot get easily, I slump down into an internal pouting heap and blame someone – anyone – for failing to get me what I want!!
Case in point:
I’m a rather simple girl whose “one simple desire” is to enjoy a hike now and then.
For immature and unidentified reasons, I can’t seem to muster up enough wherewithal to plan a hike myself. It just happens to be one of those things that somebody – anybody – better plan for me or else! (Which is a real pity, you know, because I’ve planned dances for hormonal teenagers, reunions for hundreds of alumni, neighborhood block parties with enough Edy’s ice cream to feed an army, final exams for stressed-out college students, and weekly meals for ravenous toddlers. Yet, an afternoon hike just seems over the top of my planning abilities. It’s too hard. Just thinking about it makes me whine inside.)
Although I’ve expressed my desire for a family hike, weeks and weekends seem to pass by without my unsuspecting (not to mention overworked) husband making sure that a hike happens for me. When I whine, he explains that it has either been raining or that we’ve been traveling on any possible hiking weekend. Of course, he’s right, but this doesn’t stop me from sulking and blaming him for not actualizing my “one simple dream“.
Then, I got to thinking about all of my “one simple dreams” that I blame people for not actualizing for me. I blame my lifestyle, my circumstances, and my close relatives for things left undone in my life.
I jotted a list of the emotions that seem to feed my blaming:
* a lack of control
* a lack of self-discipline
* a total disregard for the blamed-person’s personhood
* a diva disorder that places me at the center of the universe and all of you at my feet.
Although I enjoy dumping my heaviest burdens on other people through blaming, the Lord has revealed to me that this is not loving or right. In fact, my habit of blaming reveals an ugly hole in my prayer life, a chasm in my faith, a distrust in my Savior, and a stumbling in my servanthood.
You’re never going to guess which Scripture the Lord has been using to correct me in this habit, so I’ll just tell you:
“Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways and be wise. Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest.” Proverbs 6: 6-8
Mmm-hmm: the ant verse.
(As I always say: You know you’ve got it bad when the Lord has you learning lessons from an ant. You know?)
But, consider her: no chief, no officer, no ruler to look over her life; no one to make sure that all of her work and dreams come true. No boss answering for her, gettin’ her back, holding her hand, or paving her way. She just sees what has to be done and does it for herself. No blaming. No whining.
It turns out, I was subconsciously expecting people like Ryan to behave as a Master of Ceremonies for my life, planning and executing fascinating side-shows and field trips for me. But when I consider how the ant doesn’t have a Community Organizer, or Master or Spouse to pave its way, I am encouraged to collect my thoughts, garner my strength, and labor for the dreams myself. (Of course, I just happen to be married to a man who sincerely lives to actualize my dreams; here’s hoping to ease his burden just a bit!)
I’ll tell you what: this “I’ll take responsibility for the work!” attitude is gloriously freeing – to me and all of my blamed-loved-ones! What rich satisfaction is found at the heart of labor; labor that demands no compensation, honor, or special perks. Just labor for love’s sake.
Needless to say, I’ve officially released Ryan from his responsibility to plan our family hike and I’m looking for a beautiful day when I will pack up the trail mix, holler for the troops, load up the car, and we’re off!