There are those times when we fail to show up on time to something and people scorn us - if you're like me, there are repeated times when I fail to show up at all - having totally forgotten that I was supposed to be somewhere. Which is why being a stay-at-home Mom suits me just fine. I can never be late to my job. I can never fail to be on-site or available - unless I try really hard and get sucked into computer-land. Maybe it is easy after all to be late to my own obligations within my home. Either way, at least I have constant reminders if I am late or temporarily unavailable. The wails and pleas of children don't tend to fall on deaf ears - yet. I hope my ears and heart will always be open to them.
But lately I have come across an unnatural feeling for me. I can almost label it guilt. But I can't go that far because I tend not to live with much guilt. Maybe that's why it's so foreign to my experience. It is the feeling that I am, on occasion, sequestered to the emotional doghouse. Now, I'm not saying others send me there - though they may shoo me on my way by their attitudes and comments of my ongoing shortcomings. It is that I somehow get there and suddenly feel bewildered and downtrodden and in puzzlement wonder how I sank so low. And if any of you have ever been in the doghouse - whether in marriage, parenting, on the job or in other relationships, you know that the feeling is so bad that you want to do anything to get out of there.
I recently had another of these doghouse days - more like a few days - where I found myself in an emotional slump. I began to look at all the things I do wrong. All the ways I am a total failure. All the ways I could be better. All the ways anyone could honestly accuse me if they knew me well. I took inventory of my life and was not encouraged by what I saw. Okay, others helped me take inventory and they didn't help either. (These others will remain nameless to protect the privacy and reputation they so dearly hold :) )
It is not so much their fault for my wasted joy and time in the doghouse. It is mine for being unprepared and out of touch with the truth of God's Word which teaches me that my life really isn't about my performance, but simply about seeking God and growing in Him so that He receives glory from my efforts, lack of efforts, successes, failures, accomplishments or lack thereof.
When a Mom is sent to the doghouse - or discovers herself there and doesn't know why, it is time to consider the basics once again. Here are a few basics:
1. God loved me enough to sacrifice Himself, by sending Jesus to die to pay the penalty for my sins on the cross.
2. God loved me enough to rescue me from the pit of ugly sin and gave His very own Son to remedy the muck of sin in my life.
3. God loves me in spite of my performance.
4. God wants the best for me. He wants me to 'succeed' in life. But He wants me to know what He defines as success. Success in His mind may include suffering well, conquering difficult tasks, sharing His love with others, seeking to please Him even if it displeases others... - and that's just a few.
5. God wants to be glorified in me.
6. The Bible is life-giving truth which heals sin-sick souls by delivering spiritual nourishment to those who hunger and thirst for God.
7. Satan is known as 'The Accuser.' Anyone who wants to identify with him, go ahead and accuse. Otherwise, tread carefully.
8. Jesus stands before the Father interceding for me.
9. Perfect love casts out fear.
10. I am never alone.
Those are just a few basics to begin with. I know 1 and 2 are almost identical. I thought of labelling all 10 the same way - because the very basic truth is the Gospel and that is what will usher me out of the doghouse.
And it did, and it has. And I rejoice in the hope and secure redemption I hold - knowing that I can never fail so dismally that I am severed from His love for me.
Keep me, Lord, I pray, from wallowing in miserable doghouses when I could be enjoying sweet fellowship and rejoicing in Your presence. Let me be rooted and established in Your love, and not moved from the hope You daily hold out to me in the Gospel. Let me live each day for Your glory and commit to perform only for You. May You be pleased in me - today and always. Amen.