Tuesday, June 10, 2014
Keeping it Real - Living thru a "Category 4 Should Storm"
Wanna read some of my thoughts, the roller coaster ride that my mind can get on, the topsy-turvy "should storm" that I spend too much of my day battling through?
It starts when my phone alarm begins in the morning. The song it plays is sung by the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir - Grace that is greater than all my sin. I love hymns.
7:00 am - song begins.
I should be getting up earlier than 7 am.
I should stop using my phone as my alarm.
I should walk the dog.
I should go for a walk.
No, I should do yoga.
Actually, I should do some Bible reading and prayer before anything else.
And I should write as well.
But I should have something to eat or drink first.
I should have a juice for breakfast.
No, I should have a green smoothie so I can have the fiber as well.
I should eat an egg on whole grain toast so I can get more protein to start the day.
I should have some green tea.
I should make sure Daniel is awake so that he can start his homeschooling.
I should be more proactive in my homeschool planning.
I should back off and let him take more control of his own education.
I should pray with him to start the day.
I should wait for him to ask me to pray with him.
I should do a load of laundry.
I should drink some water.
And that all happens in my head between 7:00 and 7:05 am.
As it turns out, whatever I'm doing, I think I should be doing something else.
Here are a few examples -
When I get dressed and go out for a walk, I think I should be doing yoga.
When I'm doing yoga, I think I should be lifting weights.
When I'm lifting weights, I think I should be jumping on the rebounder.
When I'm inside, I should be outside.
When I'm relaxing, I should be active.
When I'm active, I should be resting.
When I'm angry, I should be happy.
When I'm joyful, I should be serious.
When I'm grieving, I should be grateful.
When I'm afraid, I should be courageous.
When I'm frustrated, I should be satisfied.
When I'm tired, I should conjure up energy to do whatever needs to be done.
When I'm bored, I should be creative and come up with exciting activities.
When I start to journal my morning thoughts, I should be reading the Bible.
When I'm reading the Bible, I should be studying the Bible.
When I'm writing, I should be praying.
When I'm journaling, I should be blogging.
When I'm blogging, I should be working on writing a book.
When I'm writing my story, I should be spending time and energy on other people, not myself.
(In a whining and nagging voice, I hear myself ask, "How self-indulgent is it to be blogging about my life and considering the ridiculous possibility of writing a book about my life? Just how self-centered am I?")
When I'm at home, I should be out in the world helping people.
When I'm out of the house, I should be at home, being a good wife and a doting mother.
When I travel, I should be at home.
When I'm at my church, I should be at a different church, serving needy people.
When I'm serving people in need, I should be doing so with a better attitude.
When I have a good attitude, I should be sensitive to the sadness of people around me.
When I'm doing laundry, I should be vacuuming.
When I'm vacuuming, I should be mopping or sweeping.
When I'm cleaning, I should be cooking.
When I'm making coffee, I should be making green tea.
When I'm drinking green tea, I should be drinking water.
When I'm drinking water, I should be drinking alkaline water.
When I'm eating fruit, I should be eating vegetables.
When I'm eating vegetables, I should be eating organic vegetables.
When I'm eating meat, drinking alcohol, or having dessert, I should be ashamed of myself.
When I watch television, I should be ashamed of myself.
When I am discontented with my life, I should be ashamed of myself.
When I want to run away from home, I should be ashamed of myself.
When I don't want to do what is asked of me, I should be ashamed of myself.
When I make mistakes, I should be ashamed of myself.
When I intentionally decide to not "be good," I should be ashamed of myself.
(The notion of being ashamed of myself and my desires and my needs is a repeated refrain when the should storms are raging.)
When I think about these category 4 should storms, I should remember that I am blessed beyond anything I ever imagined my life could be or would be. I should be grateful. I should remember that no one in my life measures me by what I should be doing. And if they do, I should not let them be part of my life anymore.
I am getting better at asking myself, "What would you do, Gail, how would you live if you dropped all the 'shoulds'?" If I allow myself to relax and breathe deeply, if I pull out my journal and allow myself to compose a list of those things I would do and be and eat and drink and enjoy if "should" were removed from my vocabulary, a lot of the things I've mentioned here float onto the list. But with grace and joy and desire and love as my motivation - and not shame. Not fear of punishment. Not obligation to others.
And, blessedly, the should storms pass and I am able to find my way back to peaceful thoughts. Thanks be to God.
I should get up and go check on my kids... NOT!
(Am I the only one who thinks this way?)