Have you ever had one of those days when you wake up angry? When you resent having to get breakfast for the kids and change the baby's diaper? You know you should be grateful for all of your blessings but you don't and that makes you feel even worse...
Tonight I want to go to adoration but if I do then the kitchen won't be cleaned and I'll be totally unprepared for tomorrow. It's easy to say that things will work out when you're not responsible for getting the tedious details of life done. So I have the desire to take care of myself spiritually but I have to weigh that against the physical need for sleep. It's all so unfair. How can it be so hard to have a half hour alone with the Lord?
Yes, this is exactly how I feel now. It's not nice. It's not joyful. I'm not beaming with pride or personal fulfillment. I just feel tired and worn out. And alone. And yes, angry. I would give anything for a call from a friend right now (as long as she wouldn't mind talking while I clean the kitchen). These feelings are normal. They're honest. Feeling this way doesn't make me a bad person. God knows I'm weak.
How do you know when you give too much? When you cannot give joyfully. What do you do when you cannot give joyfully but still have to give more? Invite Jesus into your kitchen and talk to him while you clean. Some of my best prayer time happens when I'm washing dishes or folding laundry. Usually I say things like: "You know I'm doing this for You, right? I mean, I don't take any particular pleasure in cleaning the same cup for the fifth time in one day. The night is lovely and I would much prefer to be going for a walk. But am I? No! I must love You and my family a whole heck of a lot to put up with this!" Okay, so it's juvenile. But it beats saying: "I cannot believe how ungrateful my family is. I feel so powerless and unappreciated. If I go out this late then I'll really regret it in the morning. How fair is that??"
I added the word 'kenosis' to the title. Kenosis is emptying one's self so that God may enter. It doesn't mean that our own thoughts aren't important. Our thoughts are so powerful that they can invite in or shut out the grace of God. Our thoughts are crucial. We must use them wisely. So instead of feeling sorry for myself, or stuff my emotions into a corner and pretend that they are unworthy of notice, I'm going to clean the kitchen and know that I'm doing it for love of Him and my family.
Life is hard. No matter who you are or what you do - it's hard. Whether you have one child or a dozen - it's hard. It's so easy to believe that others have it better than you. They don't. We still have to finish the tedious details of everyday life. They're not sexy or fun. But they need to be done. And we can invite God to join us or we can shut Him out. I've done it both ways and I prefer the former. My way might be a little bit messy - but so is my kitchen.
May God continue to bless you.