Part I:

I am not a good housekeeper. I grew up in a disaster area. Trying to clean it up was a study in defeatism. Trying to organize it without ‘wasting’ things was impossible. Ugh.

When I had only my stuff at college and no one reminding me that I might someday want that old paper I wrote and no one exclaiming how much joy my children would someday get over owning some toy/trinket/handwriting sample or other, my room remained neat.

When I moved into an apartment, the clutter was kept semi-organized and lower in volume, but the actual dust factor rose.

Now I’m in a home with four children, a mother who loves stuff and my mountains of books!

I’ve read all the "how to" things. I could watch the hoarder show (which my husband would love to see me do that). I’ve heard live success stories. Seen real homes where dust and things don’t impede activities. Homes with small children in them and busier mothers than I, no less!

I have gone after some areas in my home with a passion, organizing, throwing out, putting away, achieving some very temporary success… only to turn around and find another mountain of junk and lose the will to continue.

It’s not that I don’t know the tricks of the trade or understand the idea of perseverance. I just don’t care enough to pursue it wholeheartedly.

Part II:

A few years back embracing the Biblical definition of femininity was all the rage. And I mean that both in the sense of "causing persons to rage about" and in the sense of "lots of people jumped aboard".

There I sat. Back row. Listening. Hearing several right things. Knowing several honorable things.

Not wanting to do any of them.

I could see the logic. I knew the background. I understood the theology behind it. I had a few good examples to follow.

What did that yield??

Nothing.

Not a blessed thing.

Just a person who felt even MORE frustrated with the fact that she’d gotten married in the first place when she’d known from the fourth grade that she wasn’t cut out for married life and was being shown – yet again – why she should have spared her poor husband and children from having to live with an inept female.

So I grabbed a mentor. A godly woman who was actively living out many of these good qualities of trust and faithfulness. I asked for her help. I explained that I knew what needed changed, I just didn’t care enough to actually do anything about it! How many of you can guess how much help she could give me? A person who did not even wish that I wanted to pursue this, only knew that she should?

More on this one in a moment.

Part III:
Yesterday, my sister called to tell me that she is 12 pounds lighter than last week simply because she cut Dr. Pepper from her diet. Another sister in law is working out at a gym. Another sister has lost weight because of her dedicated regimen. A friend of mine dropped the baby weight from having three kids and not fits in her wedding dress. I am very happy for these people but only because they are happy. Their stories honestly make me wonder if there is something wrong with me that I am not so inspired that I immediately start working on this type of goal myself, but I’m not. 

I know all the health reasons, all the aesthetic reasons, all the good common sense reasons and all the moral/practical and logical reasons why I should pursue this end.

I know about nutrition. I understand the way our body processes what we eat and what happens when we eat too much or do not move enough to metabolize those things.

I have a large acreage to walk on, multiple ‘active’ pursuits to go on with my children. I own a bike to ride, feet to walk and even a bike my husband purchased so that I could ride during my down time in front of computer/TV.

I have multiple persons in my life who are vitally -some obsessively- interested in health and wellness that could serve as inspiration and role models, various ‘support groups’ I could latch onto and several individuals that would be happy to encourage me. I also have a husband who would be thrilled if I’d at least be small enough not to crush his legs when I perch on his lap.

Doesn’t make a lick of difference.

Part IV:

I have lots of access to fresh produce and good meat. I have the ingredients to bake bread and the money to buy it. I have recipes and websites and good role model chefs that would all be happy to encourage me in my pursuit of better baking/cooking and generally putting together meals for my family.  I know about the food pyramid.  I understand which foods my children love adn which ones they won’t eat.  I know how much better we will do with storing items and keeping variety in our meals if we had a food schedule/meal calendar/plan thing. 

Don’t. Really. Care.

Quite frankly? Trying to figure out what to have for a given meal bores me to tears. UGH! Who cares what you eat, go scavenge something! Isn’t there an apple or some berries or sandwich makings or some cold cereal somewhere? Something you can nuke in the microwave? Sheesh! If I can survive on it, why can’t you? That’s basically my attitude towards food.

There have been some small improvements in this area… some declines… some improvements… some declines. Basically, I just can’t seem to care quite enough to keep good food coming.

Part V:

I know there are a thousand helpful and positive and worthy goals I could seek once the children are in bed. I could make great strides in any of the above mentioned pursuits! I could write, develop a skill, learn a language, educate myself on a variety of topics, or just read my Bible and enjoy God’s presence.

Embarrassingly, I’d rather watch TV shows and read fiction by that point in the day. You’d think that knowing my mom spent the time between her kids going to bed and my dad getting home at 1am cleaning, doing laundry, sewing outfits for her children and cooking him a full course meal for when he arrived would inspire me to at least ride an exercise bike while being a lazy bum, but honestly it doesn’t do anything for me but reassure me that I am totally NOT her and have no hope of ever accomplishing the same amazing feat.

Conclusion:

The question isn’t can/can’t. Not really. I mean, some of us are just really wired to do certain things that seem hard to the rest of us (my husband’s juggling abilities for example), but anyone can LEARN to do them. I am not wired to be social and charming. I could LEARN to be a good hostess anyway. I am not wired to smile and nod when people say things that I consider to be rather ignorant. Nevertheless, I have learned (at least partly) how to be somewhat diplomatic when the need arises. I am not wired to throw objects in the air in a specific pattern and make sure I catch everyone of them, but I could learn to juggle. I am not wired to smell poop on a regular basis, but I am currently a diaper changing expert. You get my drift.

There is really only one thing standing in the way of us non-wired people learning to do things we weren’t specifically built for…

We’re not imbeciles. We’re not incapable. We just don’t really want to!

If I wanted to be a good cook, I wouldn’t stop until I was able to make all my husband’s favorite dishes exactly the way he wanted them. If I wanted to get back into my wedding dress, I know how to make that happen! If I wanted to have a clean house at all costs, I would keep working at it until it was FINALLY (10 years of sorting and cajoling and discarding later) to an ‘easy to maintain’ state.

But, I don’t really want to. I am not COMMITTED to these things. The skill areas are NOT where my giftings lie, that much is true, but the real problem is.. I don’t have any interest in learning those things.

The ‘health and fitness’ thing (not so much a skill area as a discipline) would not be an easy thing to work into our lives right now, but it certainly could be done! And even if I didn’t want a full regimen there are smaller ‘tweaks’ I could make to my life that would probably make a huge difference. The truth is, I simply don’t care enough to put forth the effort.

Now the femininity thing?? That one I feel like I’ve made some good strides on. I still mess up, but we’ve come a little ways on that. I care enough about this one to actually put some effort, reading, thought and perseverance behind it.  Because though my mentor could NOT make me want to do these things, she could stand by me until I at least wished that I wanted to do the right thing and have the right attitude. Then I actually WANTED to do the right thing and have the right attitude. And once you get to the point of WANTING to do them? It may be a bumpy and sometimes backsliding ride, but it is ALL downhill from there.

So… I guess what I’m trying to say is that knowing a good end is out there and not wanting to pursue it? That wanting to head for things that I AM wired for instead of maintaining a course that sends my right through the sea of Skill-less Despondency? That right there… in a nutshell… is the story of my life.

Oh what I wouldn’t give to actually want all the right things. Or at least WISH I wanted them.

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