Saturday, August 09, 2008

*Want* To Do lists

So, after Heathers comment on the last post (and after reading the post that I did over again) I realized that it didn't come out the way that I meant it.

I tried to explain more on the comments of the last post though so I won't get into that, but I did want to share something else related to it. I've probably talked about this before though... it takes me a while to learn stuff so my ranting and repeating things on here is for that reason not to tell other people what to do.

I was thinking today a bunch and was remembering a story that I'd heard a long time ago. It was about a woman who was married to an abusive controlling husband that gave her this list of things he expected her to do around the house and how to behave toward him and everything. It was a pretty daunting list and she never could do everything to his satisfaction. It was miserable as you can imagine. Well.. somehow in the story he dies or something and she marries another man. This man was really wonderful and loving and didn't expect anything from her except her love and they had a wonderful relationship. Well, after they'd been married for several years she was cleaning out some papers and found one of the lists made by her first husband. She started to cry as she read through the list because she realized that all these years that she'd been married to her wonderful husband she'd still be doing those same things that were on the list, and she didn't even realize it!

The analogy of course is comparing our new life in Christ with our old life and how before we become His we are weighed down by laws and rules and our sinful selves can't do anything good enough to get to heaven. We need to take the only way that Jesus made to get to heaven.

Anyway, what I was thinking about it was that it also can apply to how I am now. I'm some how trying to go back to laws and lists and formulas... why? Why do we as humans think it is some how easier to follow a list to do something than to just do things because we want to? I actually want to do the things on my list... I want to obey God.. I want to love my children and husband... I don't need lists in the day to help me out!

That doesn't mean that I'm doing anything differently.. I even can still make lists. But I've decided that my lists and everything I do in the day is going to be because I *want* to do it. When it's Youssef's birthday I don't need to get him a present. I want to find him something! When so many wives wish that their husband would *want* to do something for them it's a deeper meaning than what we usually think of as a want. I asked Youssef one time, "Do you want to change Renna's diaper?" It would have been fine for him to say, "Actually I have to finish this one part of the story I'm writing. Can I do it some other time for you?" There's nothing wrong with that. But it was interesting because someone said (I think it was my brother) "Wow, she not only wants you to change a diaper she wants you to WANT to do it!" Well, it's true. I would like my husband to want to do things for me. Not because he actually really likes changing diapers or something, but because he's showing his love for me by what attitude he does something with. He ALWAYS does too! Most of this that I'm explaining now is because of how Youssef has treated me and always showing his love for me by the attitude that he has when he helps me and by not expecting anything of me. When we were first married that made me feel so free. And that's the way we should feel with God too. I've been trying to change my attitude about things. Every day things like cleaning and doing things for other people... doing artistic stuff too. It's too easy for me to tell myself that I "need" to do whatever and beat myself up until I get something done. I can work that way, but I work SO much better and am so much happier when I accomplish my *want* to do list. The list is just the same you understand... it's all about the attitude.

I started a new system since the normal "get it done" theories never have worked for me, and I thought I'd share it so that I can remember it better and you never know... maybe it will encourage someone. :)

For house stuff, I've started in the back of our house in our bedroom and just tidied, made the bed.. walked around and thought, "What do I want to clean? What do I want to straighten?" I work my way through the house this way and so far it's really great. I'm actually cleaning more and better and then when the girls want to do something with me I can stop and play with them. I really do want to play ball with them or run around playing tag with Lily.. or lay on the floor with Renna! I even cleaned some of our appliance type things. The waffle maker was dirty and rather than thinking (like I normally would) that I should have some sort of system for when I should clean my appliances or what days or times or whatever. I just cleaned it. It wasn't the "just get it done" attitude either. That doesn't work for me. That makes my stomach tighten and is about the most depressing way of doing something I can think of. I just thought, "I want to clean this" and I did. It felt SO good! Not only to have it clean, but even the whole time I was doing it. It was satisfying and felt great because of that! I wish someone had told this to me when I was young. Even emptying the dishwasher today I had to work on my attitude.. first I kept thinking how much I hate to empty the dishwasher, but then I forced myself to think why I'd want to. So that I don't have to do it later! (That's a good one) I'm also glad we have a dishwasher (falling apart as it is) because then I don't have to wash all the dishes by hand (I always wash some by hand though) but.. well.. it just made me feel so much better.

Anyway, I don't know if this makes much sense to anyone but myself, but it's just really nice and I want to keep it up. I want to be joyful. My other epiphany was how I had been blaming things in my past for not being as joyful now or like I'd some how changed because of those things so much that I never could be care free like I was when I was younger. Here's the thing though. It wasn't those things that caused me to be the way I am now. I let those things change me. There is a way back to being joyful again. I used to sing all the time because I was praising God. Especially when I was depressed I'd sing worship songs or hymns and I'd remember and then be joyful again. I know now what to do in my life to be happy. I knew before, but I thought I'd lost it or something. For me it's remembering to want to do things. If I'm depressed or feeling lazy there is a part of me that wants to get up and do something. A part that really WANTS to be happy. I don't force myself into being joyful, but if I do what I want to do (and understand that since I'm a child of God we aren't talking sinful wants here but wanting to do good like Paul explains in Romans) then true joyfulness comes!

I never quite understood what Jesus meant when he said that his burden was easy and light compared to the burden that the scribes and other religious rulers laid on the backs of the people. Some people feel that from their church or family, the burdens of what is expected of them. I mainly felt it from myself. What I expected of me. The thing is though, I never felt better when I tried to lower my expectations! That actually wasn't the problem. It was just my attitude. The verse, "If you love me, keep my commandments." Has a new meaning to me that I didn't fully understand before. I understood intellectually but how does that look in real life? When I want to read my Bible should I just do it.. no matter what time of day it is? Or should I only read it in the morning for "devotions" or at night or what ever time other people have suggested is a good time? Perhaps I do want to read it every morning... that's good too! My main discovery is that when I "fail" at something or don't finish something or fall behind on the list of "to do" things I beat myself up (in my head of course) and then feel terrible and inevitably can't accomplish other things because I "failed" in that area.

SO! All of that said, you should understand when I say that I'm going to be doing what I want to do from now on! I haven't made my *want* to do list yet, but I'm going to. It doesn't feel burdensome anymore. It feels freeing and fun to think of all the things I want to do! I don't HAVE to do them or have a time when I'm SUPPOSED to do them. I want to have a time each morning in the shower or while I'm wandering around the house doing the "want to tidy" stuff where I can think. What do I *want* to do today? I've said *want* a lot in this post, but I'm trying to drill this into my head. Yesterday I drilled it in so well that I was joyfully scrubbing my floor and playing with Lily almost at the same time! It was a wonderful afternoon (after I finished vacuuming like I said I was going to do in that last post that is and started having this epiphany.)

Ok.. I wanted to write this.. but now I've run out of stuff to say and I don't have a good ending, but we are going to go see "Kung Fu Panda"!!! So.. I'm wanting to stop blogging for now.. I'll get back on when I want to again.

I like this new way of thinking. :)


Youssef Sleiman said...

*After Kung Fu Panda*

I haven't seen Lynne' laugh that hard at a film in a long time. After it was done, she said, "We should buy that one."

You know, Lynne', you have been different as you've worked on gaining the right attitude. I'm glad I played some part in it, but it really is like watching a rose blossom land in a pool of water.
We all swing so far one way, and so far the other. Until finally, the water catches us and we're released. In that way, we all drift down the river.

Daniel and Natalie said...

These last few posts reminded me of something I saw on a starbucks door the other day. It was an add for their new smoothies (filled with lots of energy stuff apparently) and it read "because the best kind of days are hard to keep up with" What does everyone else think of that? I'm curious. Okay Lynne' so with the slow down in blogging I'm assuming more of your computer time will be spent on facebook. I was just getting the hang of this blogging thing!!!! Oh well, I shall endeavor to follow your intrepid leading and fingure out facebook next. Love, Nat