Friday, January 7, 2011

Slam the Door?

You know, at times I get really frustrated with some of the side effects of being a stay-at-home daughter.

Making my work and influence sphere center around my home and family was my own choice, and it certainly a choice that I don't regret (although phrasing it that way makes it sound like a one time decision, rather than an ongoing commitment), but that doesn't mean I love every minute of it.

There are times when I shake my head and say "Amber, why do you choose to live this way? Don't you get tired of planning your schedule around your family's schedule? Don't you wish you were more independent? Don't you want to prove to the world that you are a mature, capable adult?"

I have to squeeze my eyes shut and remind myself that the most mature, capable people I know - my parents - also submit themselves and their schedules to what is best for the family as a whole. They can't run around doing whatever they want. They don't live on their own, and yet no one questions their maturity and "independence."

But there are times when I get frustrated anyway. Take this afternoon, for example. Or yesterday afternoon. I've just sat down to work on my computer, a work load staring back at me from the screen. Website maintenance, business correspondents, language studies, and O how I wish for time to work on my newest book that I'm writing! And free time to research hobbies online would be wonderful.

Yet how many times must I get up and answer my bedroom door? No, sister dear, I cannot cut your rabbit's nails right now. Yes, Mom, I can help you edit my sibling's school work. Yes, Daddy, I can come tell you what it exactly that I wanted you to help me with the other day. Yes, Mom, if the phone call is for me, I'll take it. Yes, Mom, I'll watch whatever is on the stove while you run an errand. Yes, brother, I have your project all ready for you - here it is. Yes, other brother, I can cut your hair sometime this evening. No, Dad, I don't want to go the the garden store with you, though I absolutely LOVE doing that. Yes, Mom, I'll help you find that book. Yes, yes, yes...

Sometimes I get so TIRED of saying YES! I want to slam my bedroom door, lock it, pound on it a couple of times and yell, "What do you guys think I am? Do you think I exist in this home to do nothing but help you with all your problems? I've got a few projects and problems of my own, guys!"

This is a moment of terrible honesty. Because, truly, I don't like confessing that that is what I ache to do and say. I'd rather say that I am constantly cheerful and always willing to help out. But I'm not. And even if I'm helping out, I'm not always doing it cheerfully. Sometimes I'm secretly yelling at the person I'm "helping."

My projects are important to me. I like to have time to work on them. And as an adult, I do have stuff that is necessary for me to accomplish. I have to take time to make a budget every month. I have to maintain our online thrift store's website. I have to reply to certain emails. And so on and so forth. When I don't have the time to work on these things, I get a sort of panic rising in my chest, starting at my stomach, and getting tight toward my throat.

But do I really want to be on my own, free to pursue only my own projects and passions, never disturbed or encountering conflicting schedules? Do I really want to still live in this house, but operate completely independent of its other occupants, only interacting with them at mealtimes and on holidays? Do I really want that?

Let's see...I'd get a whole lot of work done. Maybe even finish writing my book. I wouldn't be so tempted to lose my temper so often. It'd be less stressful.

But what would I have to give up to get that?

~ Family. Real, true family, that interacts with me constantly and knows me ever-so-well.

~ Strength of character. How else would I ever learn patience and kindness, if my limits were never tested? It's easy to be sweet and helpful when there's no one to demand those things at a moment when you feel anything but sweet and helpful.

~ Help. It's only fair to admit it; these people who constantly ask for my help also are constantly giving me help. If they weren't here, who would do all the things they do?

Am I willing to give up these things - family, character building, and help - in exchange for solitude and peace?

Not hardly.

Because there's a forth blessing involved; the knowledge that I'm right where God wants me to be. I'm convinced that He put me in this family to serve, and to further this home. Sure, He's given me personal projects, but that doesn't cancel out my other job; that of daughter, and sister. I know He can give me the strength to do both. ...And if I start running out of fuel, then I should start asking myself if all those "personal projects" are things God wants me to be doing, or things I thought up on my own.

That's all I have to say for now. I just needed to sit here and remind myself why I should not get up and slam the bedroom door. Because I really do want to be cheerful and helpful. For Christ's sake. Because He is the one I am serving.

P. S. For those of you who read my New Year's Eve post, I ought to mention that I have postponed that series I mentioned; I still plan to publish it, but probably not until February. Stay tuned!


ConstitutionGirl said...

Relationship. It's all about relationship and not missing the people you are with. :)

Jessica said...

Thank you for posting this!! Such an encouragement to keep on keeping on in this race of life, guarding against selfishness and keeping the ultimate goal in mind!