I was just reading a blog by a woman relating how she had put her dreams and passions aside for so many years as she raised her family, etc., and was just now beginning to reclaim some of those dreams and is becoming involved in the theatre again . . . and there were a lot of posts by women who seem to struggle with the same thing and were thanking her for "awakening" in them this new freedom to exercise their gifts . . .
So I'm wondering, why is this such a struggle for women? I feel like I wrestle with these questions constantly! Right now is a perfect example . . . I look forward to those ideal days when I can actually get both my girls down for their naps at the same time and can have an hour or even two to myself. I really try to protect this time, to use it only for the things that I want to do, or for the things that I absolutely can't do when they're awake . . . The things that I have decided are worth my time at this stage in my life are: reading (anything and everything), writing (this blog, my journal), studying my Bible (which I try to do first thing in the morning), and keeping up with friends (I try to save this one for later in the evenings or when I am too tired or too distracted to do the first two).
I have put considerable effort into thinking this through, eliminating any extra busyness that keeps me from doing these most important things, and giving myself pep-talks constantly that reading and writing are two things that I shouldn't feel guilty about giving my time to . . . I am fortunate to have a husband who constantly encourages me as well to do these things. I also have studied quite a lot of verses such as "stir up the gift that is in you," the parable of the talents, the virtuous woman . . . I heartily believe that God is all about every believer living a full, passionate, purposeful, uniquely shaped and abundant life!
So why the guilt?
I get both girls to sleep, quickly clean-up lunch, sit down . . . and my mind starts racing . . . I should finish steaming the peaches first. The house is still a mess. Did I read my Bible long enough this morning or should I do that instead? Those phonecalls I haven't gotten to make yet. Guilt. Guilt. Guilt.
Is it because as women we feel like our work is never complete, there is always a little more we should do? Or that doing things for our husbands and children feels more self-less and therefore time to ourself is selfish? Does anyone else struggle with this kind of time management? I think that one consistent failure in my life is this: responding to the immediate and neglecting the essential.
I think that the Prov.31 woman just rocks. Why don't women today have this kind of confidence? She considers a field and buys it. Then she plants a vineyard. She reaches out to the poor. She feeds and clothes her household. . . and on and on. I don't understand why she is looked to as a proper example for keeping your home, and not also as an example of a woman creatively multiplying her talents!
So I have to notice the things that (apparantly) she's not doing, as she does all this . . . she did have the same number of hours in her day then as we do today, right? She must not have been too proud to admit she couldn't do it all, seeing that she had help. It says that she got up early, but it doesn't say anything about her reading through the Bible in a year (I know, she wouldn't have had one), but the point is that she must have understood that when she is connected to God, everything she did that day was spiritual, not just doing her "devotions" so she could feel good about herself. And she probably didn't watch every move her children made, capture it all on camera, and then scrapbook it. And I bet she didn't feel guilty about it.
And, so it goes . . . my little one is crying for me. Naptime is over!