Thursday, October 29, 2015

On Discouragment

It's the end of October and I've had a couple of rough weeks. Nothing serious or even anything to complain about. But weeks where I'm more frustrated with just myself and how I seem to be reacting to ordinary, everyday things with anger and frustration and annoyance.

It is another one of those stumbling blocks and reminders that I'm not "progressing" or "accomplishing" or moving forward in as many ways as I want to think that I am. I want to think that I'm becoming a better mother with each passing year and in turn not have to deal with the same things that I've stumbled on in the past.

And sure, I'm sure I've gotten better at this "mom-ing" stuff and I really hope that I've become a better and holier person with each passing year, but when you hit a rough patch of a couple weeks of impatience and frustration at nothing in particular you've got to wonder to yourself why this little stuff keeps bringing you down.

It's humbling. I know. Humility. Oh, humility. It comes and it doesn't feel great, and it changes you a little bit by knocking around some of your tough prideful points and sometimes it takes a bit more force than not. But it also brings a fair bit of discouragement.

For us normal, ordinary people who encounter our regular, boring types of non-dramatic humbling it's the discouragement that can really do the most damage. Not directly to our selves, but to our faith. It's the discouragement that knocks most of us off track, makes us change course, or even give up.

I'm talking about discouragement when you know you're in the right place doing the right thing. I'm fairly confident in this vocation of mine, 5 kids don't allow for much second-guessing in that department, and I believe the daily mothering is of amazing, vital importance to them and me.

It's just that these times of frustration, second-guessing, plodding and persevering can be spiritually discouraging. I've been thinking and churning about a lot of things, but it seems that all that's necessary is trudging through this rough patch of whatever this is. It's tough to feel like you don't know what to change, and even worse to know you don't really have the internal ability to magically change yourself. It is humbling to realize you still need God in all the same places where no matter how hard we try, we just can't fix ourselves by ourself.

I think I'm also going to allow this feeling of discouragement to sit with me instead of instantly ignoring or denying it. Not that I'm giving the discouragement credibility or allowing it to take root, but just saying that's just how I feel right now. I'm going to keep trudging though.

(sidenote: I just found this photo on my camera card from a few weeks ago and I can't even believe I took because it's so good, if I do say so myself, but usually they need so much editing.)

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  1. First off, holy smokin' incense, that picture is awesome!!!!! Wow, like that is super gorgeous. Secondly, I am so with you on this post! What is it about this October? I mean, it's amazing, but earlier in the month, I was definitely in a plodding slump which was super irritating. Like you said, when you know that you're in the vocation and doing the thing that God is calling you to do, it can be very discouraging to hit a frustrating slump! I've definitely been learning a lot about perseverance, which God knows I need to work on. Also, in the midst of my "big slump" earlier in the month, I picked up "Introduction to the Devout Life" (which I had been trying to finish for years), and opened it to the section on "patience." Well played, God. ;) Keep on fighting the good fight and living out your awesome vocation!

  2. In college I met with a sister who was serving as my spiritual director for a week long retreat. She told me about this time she was on a retreat in the wilds somewhere, and she went on a long walk, meditating about all the things she used to struggle with and how she is still struggling with them. Along this path she was walking, there were moose leavings. Some fresh, some quite old. (She was a quirky gal). As she walking and meditating, she realized that this sh@t she's struggling with, some of it is new, some of it is old, but it is the same sh@t.

    I always think of her when I have the times of discouragement and frustration at things that I shouldn't, like you are experiencing. I have to smile at her story. I hope it can help you smile a bit, too, as you walk through . . . Well, you know.

    1. Ann-Marie..this story is gold as is that Sister! Yes to all of it! So glad you shared it and for the time you were able to spend with her!

  3. Your post reminded me of this quote I love by C.S. Lewis:
    “Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of - throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”

    ― Mere Christianity

    Happy Friday :)

  4. One thing my therapist has told me countless times that has greatly encouraged me Christy is that when we feel and name our feelings they go away. When we put a name to them it takes away the power, esp. negative, difficult feelings can bring us. So you're spot on sister in NOT ignoring it!!! <3
    Prayers for you sweet friend!!

  5. I hope your discouragement gets better soon! ;)

  6. I've had this blog post open on my browser since first reading it, because I wanted to come up with a response that expressed just how much it resonated with me; how it took the deep discouragement I've been experiencing the past few months and made it into something a little less dark, a little more normal.

    And here it is on my browser, and I really needed to (re)read it this morning after some pretty nasty-feeling mom-ing failures. So thank you so much for sharing ... it really means a lot.

    I know that recognizing our failures is supposed to bring us closer to God ... I always wonder how someone like St. Therese could take *joy* in her littleness and weakness. And I think that humility is the answer. Painful, liberating humility. I've been praying the litany of humility almost every night ... still waiting for it to take effect though!

  7. Yes! There are so many mothering moments and decisions in which I really don't know the right course of action. I have no idea what I'm supposed to do in a particular situation. I honestly never remember feeling like that before having kids. Very discouraging and very humbling.

  8. Such a good post, Christy. I've been up and down in this area too. Especially with all our little pregnancy complications plus being in our third trimester with holidays all just around the corner. I just feel like I can't catch up. The house is a mess, our guest room is a ball of laundry, we need some reconstruction done from a back up flood that happened in Julyyy, new homsechool endeavors, and more all surrounding this mess I call *me*. This post has been on my browser since you wrote it. Solidarity, friend! And, pray your November has been more gentle and flowing.


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