Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Art of Being a Doormat

We aspire to be many things in our lives. Successful professional, maybe. Good wife. Super Mom. Sunday school teacher extraordinaire. Attractive. Youngish. Assertive. Powerful. Funny. Whew!

But, have you ever dreamed of being a doormat?

I mean, really.

Doormats are rather plain. Sometimes they have cute sayings on them, but eventually weather and wear make those disappear. They have mud, dirt, grass, and even doggie business on them. Sounds attractive, right?

They also get walked on, kicked around, and beat up. But, there they lie. Never getting up and running away or protesting, "I will NO LONGER be a doormat!" They hang in there and take it because that's what they were created to be.

Now then. In our culture today, we are sent repeated messages telling us that having doormat-like qualities is weak. "DON'T LET PEOPLE WALK ALL OVER YOU!" the therapists and the talk show hosts and the TV judges scream. "STAND UP FOR YOURSELF!" the magazines and the movies and the teachers and the billboards shout.

But, listen to what Jesus said:

"Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." Matthew 11:29

"Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth." Matthew 5:5

Of his accusers, while dying: "Father, forgive them. They do not know what they are doing." Luke 23:34

Doesn't exactly sound like Jesus is calling us to stand up for ourselves, does it? Jesus was no weakling. But, he understood the importance of humility in his relationship with the Father and with his fellow man.

Please understand that I am definitely not suggesting that you should allow yourself to be abused. But, there are many small ways every day that we can allow ourselves to be, well....walked on. We don't have to continually be looking for the thing so-and-so said that offended us. We can choose not to let hurt feelings make us abandon a friend. After all, you didn't hear your doormat grumbling about that big wad of gum you scraped onto it yesterday, did you?

It's a tough thing to picture ourselves as humble, ratty doormats. But, this is the beauty of the Christian life. God is not going to run down to WalMart, buy you, and put you in front of a busy doorway to watch you get stepped on. But, He will watch with love and joy (and He will help you) as you choose to lie down in this life and say, "I desire to be like Christ, who humbled himself. I. AM. A. DOORMAT. It's ok if I get walked on a little bit!"

The Christian life is NOT all about standing up for ourselves. It is about standing up for Christ. And oddly enough, you can't really do that until you lie down.

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Lazy Perfectionist

I have issues.

I think I suffer from a rare form of perfectionism which causes me to quit things that I've begun.

Exhibit A:
Childhood journals. Dozens and dozens of them, started with gusto, tons of enthusiasm, an I'm-gonna-write-in-this-every-day-if-it-kills-me attitude. Day three. Too tired. Think I'll do it tomorrow. Tomorrow comes. Disgusted with myself for being too lazy to write on day three. Never write in it again.

Six Months later. Brand new notebook. Start again. Day three. Vicious cycle ensues.

Exhibit B:
Prayer journals. Don't you just get so enthused when you hear a speaker recommend prayer journals? You think about how great it will be to look back in your journal to see all the things God has done. I know the idea grabs me EVERY TIME. So, I buy a brand new notebook, guessed it. Day three. Vicious cycle ensues.

Exhibit C:
Any number of "great ideas" I have for teaching my kids. I buy a workbook or a program or a book or a CD or a DVD series or whatever. I don't even have to tell you how it ends. Blah, blah, vicious cycle.

So, when I started this blog, I told myself that I don't have to write here every day. I told myself that everything I put on here doesn't have to be Pulitzer Prize worthy (duh). I told myself I was doing this for fun and nothing more. And now it's been three months since I've written anything. And I've probably lost my three readers for good. But, I'm determined not to quit because, actually, I really like thinking about this blog, even when I'm not writing on it.

And besides, I've found a loophole.

I took the summer off.

See how that works? Just like that. It's no longer a matter of laziness or lack of ideas. It's what we busy professional mothers/bloggers have to do. We have a life, you know. We take time off from the trials of a popular blog. I mean, my three readers can be really demanding!

So, I'm back from my summer sabbatical. My, it was refreshing! You'll be pleased to know that this summer I started yet another prayer journal that I abandoned. I don't think I even made it to day three. But, hey, I wouldn't have even been able to start it without my time off.

I like to think that my lack of stick-to-it-ness it more about being a closet perfectionist than being completely without discipline. Or maybe I just really love to buy new notebooks. Whatever the case, I hope that I can come up with something else to say here before I have to claim a fall holiday. Thanks for reading!