Friday, July 16, 2010

Shaking it up

I'm a huge fan of being prepared. Actually, that is putting it too casually. Feeling prepared is a big deal for me. It is just how I was made, I guess. Some people get really bent out of shape when they aren't appreciated. Some need a lot of validation. Some get itchy when they don't spend enough time alone. I'm not a stresser, for the most part. But I get a little insane when I don't feel prepared. I pepper my husband with a million questions sometimes simply because I am trying to feel prepared, gather data, get a grasp on what is to be, whether we're talking about the upcoming Saturday or some hypothetical situation that hasn't even actually happened.

A couple of weeks ago we had a little, beautiful, 2-year-old guest who stayed with us for seven days. Her name is Ella and she is addicted to Hello Kitty (her mommy blogged about our time with her here under #5 over at The Reed Life). The day before she arrived, I was bustling about doing everything I could to feel prepared. I haven't had a 2-year-old in about three years. I haven't thought about diapers, strollers, high chairs, or exposed electrical outlets in a long time. What I did not realize was that while I was "preparing," I was behaving like a grouchy ship's captain, treating my family like hired hands. It wasn't a proud day for me, and at one point I ended up crumbling. I remember, through my messiness, finally trying my hardest to communicate to my husband how much I just wanted to feel prepared. That's all. I was just mishandling my need, and quietly believing the lie that my bustling and busying would meet it.

We both know that is a big, fat lie. No matter how hard I work at it, I can't ever be fully prepared because I can't predict the future. I need to rely on something much more formidable than my efforts and my plans. Lies masquerade as the truth and leave us crumbly. Just like the lie that having enough validation will disperse your self-doubt. And just like the lie that being appreciated will finally make you feel like you're enough. All lies. All impostors of the need-filling truth God wants to speak to us.

Trusting God is the antidote of my driving need to feel prepared.

This short and sweet post over at Mama Manifesto a couple days ago reminded me that having a child shakes everything up in a way for which you cannot be prepared. And that makes parenting hard to recommend. I love the author's resolve at the end, as she basically says, so what? So you can't prepare for it. So it makes your life a crazy, shaken-up, sleepless mess. That's kind of what makes it beautiful, and it's so worth it. Bottom line.

I couldn't agree more. That is the truth I needed to hear. For me, the post boiled down to these notes to self: reasonably try to prepare myself for stuff and then get over it when my expectations aren't met, trust God to prepare me for what He has in mind, and relish in both the beauty and the agony of the journey. Or should I say roller coaster. Maybe acrobatics on the top of a moving train. Yeah, that's a little more like it.

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