Psalm 127 is a beautiful psalm… But do I believe it?
It’s easy to read and agree with, but not as easy to live every day.
What happens when I find myself incredibly irritated and super-sensitive to the smallest annoyance from my precocious children? There are times their shrieks are like fingers on a chalkboard. Their naughtiness drops right into my rage center and turns me instantly into something akin to an angry Beorn the Bear. Why? What’s wrong?
Admittedly my kids can be terrible sometimes, as all little kids can. They are bad on purpose; they do awful things on accident. But I think the biggest problem is me, not them. Like I keep telling my daughter, “your sister didn’t cause your outburst, even though she is acting like a lunatic. You get to decide how you respond to her.”
Why don’t I practice what I preach? Do you?
It’s hard to live with small humans. What we need is a change of mind and a change of heart.
When I’m really honest, I’ve got to admit to spending a huge part of my life waiting for the kids to go to bed, or out of the house, or…to anywhere out of earshot. It’s all because I refuse to let go of this expectation in my mind of a lifestyle I wish I had. I’d like to spend my free time really being free again: to lay around in bed all morning, then get up and wonder what to do with the day. Maybe I could make a nice cup of coffee and sit down in quiet, and finally poke at the half-dozen writing projects. I’d also love to just be with my wife more.
What do you dream of doing that you cannot because of obligations and responsibilities?
It’s a recurring theme that’s the problem here… I have these expectations of a quiet life of uninterrupted peace and productivity. And instead of the expectations being fulfilled I get a near-constant cacophony of kids screaming (when they’re happy, upset, excited, well, all the time), continuous interruptions to jump up and stop them from destroying things, or throwing stuff at each other, diapers to change, things breaking all over the house that need to be fixed, a continuous backlog of schoolwork, and a heartless barrage of kid activities.
Do broken expectations disappoint and irritate you as they do me? Are you ready to jump into rage mode on a hair-trigger, even when the kids are on good behavior? Are our lives what we signed up for?
The reality is that this is EXACTLY what we signed up for. And the point of Psalm 127 is that it was worth signing up for.
Children, and the chaotic lifestyle they bring with them, are a blessing. It’s way past time to release our idea of peace and quiet. Embrace the happy chaos! What we need is a better dream to reshape our life.
Remember that these little people fussing all around constantly are a mission field, worlds more important in God’s plan than most other things… And they’re more important than any sort of “self-care” we imagine we deserve. Don’t refuse to really be in the moment because your mind is pining after stuff you’d rather do.
I did sign up for this, and there is no turning back. And really, when I’m most honest with myself, I’d never want to go back. I love my kids, I really do. And I love being around them and teaching them and playing games with them and having adventures with them.
God was right: each one of them is a blessing so huge it’s still tough to wrap my head around. They enrich life in ways I’d never have thought to imagine.
It’s past time: we need to get our heads in the game, throw ourselves into being parents, and purposefully use free time to build up our children. It’s time to start thinking less like Earnest Hemingway and more like our Heavenly Father.